Wednesday 22 January 2020

Shroomy Hollow II, some Ravening Jaws and a little peek into the future...

In my last post I shared some images of my Shroomy Hollow project in progress - I've now completed the Shroomancer's Hovel (which functions as a Balewind Vortex endless spell) and have even added some extra details before painting!

Completing the Sculpt

First up, I needed to make something for my Fungoid Cave Shaman (or any other Shroom caster!) to stand on as I wanted this piece to represent a Balewind Vortex Endless Spell.

I didn't want to just resort to a wooden platform, so I decided to create a giant flat headed toadstool to fit in with the overall theme.  I approached this in the same way as the main structure, creating a basic shape with tinfoil then coating it with medium grade Super Sculpey.

I wanted the large flat surface to be really interesting, so I created some nice splits along the edges and sculpted pits and boily protrusions on the surface.  The overall effect is very pleasing to the eye, having quite a nurgly look to it!

As the top surface was very large (approximately 3" across) it needed plenty of surface detail to stop it from looking out of scale.

I tried a new technique for detailing the underside of the head and the stem of this mushroom.  I cut slightly deeper channels into the surface then used isopropanol to smooth the surface.  This also has the benefit of removing unwanted surface details such as finger prints.  I use this technique sparingly though as it can easily melt away finer details...

Once the large flat mushroom had been fired, I glued both parts to a large acrylic oval base (which I scored heavily to help adhesion) and used Milliput to create a better gradient - this also helped anchor the parts down.  The flat acrylic base was a conscious decision as it's heavier than a hollow plastic one and offsets the high centre of gravity which the sculpt has!

The final build stage was adding some additional smaller mushrooms and texturing the base with rocks and sand.

The skeletal signpost from the Aleguzzler Gargant kit finished off the base nicely!

I added these extra smaller mushrooms to the surface of the main one to break up the large surface a bit.

The wiggly tendrils where the mushroom meets the base look wonderfully creepy!

The Finished Shroom Hovel

Although I'm still working on some lesser (only 5" tall!) mushrooms to properly finish off the Shroomy Hollow board, the main Shroom Hovel is now complete.  Behold it's fungal Splendour!

The Shroom hovel mushrooms are all finished with fluorescent paints, so they are lurid under normal light and glow in UV!

It was difficult to photography this 'miniature' as it stands approximately 10" tall!

The yellow eye-like pods and smaller green mushrooms break up the main cap's large surface nicely

I used white moss, yellow grass and dark green clump foliage to simulate a light starved underground environment.

The surface detail on the flat toadstool is probably my favourite part of this piece.  The green flesh peeking through the tears really makes it pop!

As a final details, I added a couple of barrels stuffed with more Shrooms to the hovel - snack storage, potion ingredients or a shop front for an enterprising grot?  I like the story they suggest!

What else was I going to write on the sign?

Mollog and his little helpers are on the hunt for new digs...

Mmmmm... Mollog likes dis.  Mollog gonna stay...

Gnash Gnash!

In preparation for a recent game of Age of Sigmar (my first in over a year...), I decided to paint up a particularly nasty looking spell - Ravenak's Gnashing Jaws!  Annoyingly I didn't manage to successfully cast it during the game, but I was very happy with the final paint job.

Ever since I first saw this model, I wanted to have a crack at making it look like the creatures from 'Attack the Block' which were jet black with luminescent, glowing teeth.

As cool as jet black looks on film, it's dull on a miniature, so I used pearlescent paints to give it some texture and shimmer on the black surfaces.  I plan to add some glow in the dark paint to the teeth when I have time!

On the horizon

So, whilst I have been delving into the underground world of the Gloomspite Gitz, I have also been looking to the future.  38,000 years into the future to be exact!

The next big project which I am working on is an Acastus Knight Asterius 'Quake Hydra' who will be joining the ranks of the Fisher King.

I need to get him finished in time for the 2020 UK Titan Owner's Club Walk in June, so it's full speed ahead!

As the eagle eyed amongst you can see, I have replaced the carapace Plasma cannons with two of the Armiger class Conversion Beam cannons.  The reason I did this is simple... it looks bad-ass.

The base for this model is 10" across, so I had lots of room for a strong theme!  The front section of the base will be filled with lapping resin waves when it's completed

Getting the pose right on this model was pretty difficult as it is really chunky and like other knights, only stand on its toes, so I had to take that into account when building the base as well.  I'm happy with the overall look - posing at the edge of the beach, gazing out across the endless oceans of Corbenic - a bit like this wonderful painting:

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by German artist Caspar David Friedrich
When I built the contemptor Dreadnought conversion beam cannon, the grills were annoying.  Having to tidy up and straighten 8 conversion beam grills each the size of half a contemptor dreadnought was despair inducing!!

When I test fitted the arms onto the Asterius body, I found that the shoulder pads interfered with the carapace.  Having looked back at the Forgeworld site, I could see that this wasn't an issue with my assembly, but with the kit design as the rivets from the trim overlap the carapace.

Things like this annoy me because they detract from the realism of the miniature - the arms can't move if the shoulders which they're mounted on can't move.

To resolve the issue I created two 3mm thick spacers using greenstuff.  I used rubber and steel washers glued to baking paper to create a push mould then cleaned up the rough edges with a knife once they were removed.  These increase the thickness of the joint where the shoulder meets the body giving better clearance from the carapace.

Yes, I am anally retentive.  And no, I'm not sorry!
Corbenic is akin to a deathworld, with huge underwater expanses where giant beasts roam, testing the shoreline and dragging the unwary into the icy depths.  I wanted to make a little window into this inhospitable environment with the addition of large tentacles investigating the artificial shoreline which the Knights patrol.

I used octopus musculature for reference to add a bit of realism to the tentacles.  I'm very pleased with the overall form; it looks to be writhing and lashing without being made of jelly which can happen if you don't imply a structure under the surface of the arm.

Two film creatures helped me find the right look: Ray Harryhausen's giant Octopus from 'It Came from beneath the Sea' and the monster from 'Deep Rising'.  I liked the suckers and heft of the Octopus arms in the former and the gnarly 'teeth' and skin texture from the latter:

It took me several iterations before I settled on this sculpt for the questing tentacle. Tentacles are notoriously difficult to sculpt and I have a new appreciation for anyone that does them justice!  I added the toothy protuberances near the tip of the tentacle to make them seem a little more threatening and otherworldly.

I'll be sure to post some more pictures once I've finished Quake Hydra!

Monday 6 January 2020

Designing Shroomy Hollow

In my previous posts I've mentioned the Age of Sigmar event which I'm planning for a local gaming centre (The Outpost).  Putting on a big elaborate event takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you're doing it all yourself!  For this project I've produced enough original art to fill a book, let alone the new miniatures and terrain I've been churning out!

Some of these images have been used to produce cards and unit profiles, some for maps and others for new unit concepts.  I've shown you snippets of each of the cards and maps but thought I'd use this post specifically to show some images which are being translated into gaming miniatures and terrain for the event.

Although I don't want to give the game away (pun most definitely intended!), I hope that you'll get a good idea of where I'm going with these pictures and sculpts!

I sketched out a number of huge Mushrooms for the Shroomy Hollow terrain pieces.  The intention was to create a sort of conjured 'Shroom-forest' where a Fungoid Cave-Shaman mixes potions and grows his special shroom crops.  For this reason, the biggest ones had to have a sort of tent shape to the trunk
In order to make the huge Shrooms both structurally sound (as they are intended as terrain pieces) and light, I first sculpted the basic shapes using kitchen foil.  This is a versatile material for quickly mocking up maquettes or bulking out larger models.  As I would be sculpting the final piece in medium and soft grade sculpy, so also needed it to be heat proof.
The next stage was to coat the foil core with sculpey to create an even and smooth outer skin which I would then be able to start sculpting details onto.  I try to keep my sculpy to approximately 2mm thick as this gives just enough thickness to prevent cracking once fired whilst not going crazy with an expensive polymer clay!
Next is the fun stage which is adding details!  The main Shroom bodies are medium grade grey sculpy which is great for structure, but I use soft pink sculpy for some of the details as it's much easier to add without deforming the rest of the sculpt.

As I'm sure you can see from the images, I also used ball bearings for some of the surface boils.  Some of the larger ones would later be removed prior to firing so that I could replace them with lighter plastic balls.  This was to prevent the piece from becoming too top heavy - Sculpy is very light once fired and could topple with the weight of the bearings.
 The whole mushroom has the pleasing silhouette of a gloomspite goblin; I deliberately sculpted the spiky parts on the mushroom's peak to resemble gnarly goblin snouts as well.  The tinfoil packing at the bottom was removed after firing to leave a nice opening for storing arcane potions and implements!
Here's the final sculpt after firing.  Annoyingly, the shroom was so tall that the uneven temperature in the oven burned a couple of the highest spike tips.  Luckily this didn't actually cause any shrinkage or deformation, so this flaw will be hidden once painted.
You can better see the singed peaks in these images as well as some of the details I've sculpted into the cap.  Overall I think this huge Shroom (approximately a foot tall) is a great battlefield centrepiece and I'm very please with it!
This is one of the smaller mushrooms post-firing.  The large Shroom took me a couple of days to produce, but this little fella was done in an hour!
They speak of a huge Dankhold Troggoth who stalks the depths... could this be him?!