As my 2020 blog entries were a little light on giant monsters, I decided to kick off my 2021 blogging with a nice package of Kaiju goodness!
King of the Monsters
|The mighty Godzilla dwarfs a nearby blue whale|
Anyone who knows me at all will tell you that I love Godzilla and I'm lucky enough to have a son who's now old enough to appreciate the big guy too!
For his birthday, I decided to make him a display piece for his new bedroom using reclaimed wood from the shelves I recently took down in his old room. I settled on a bookend / nightlight and went to work!
One of the most iconic scenes in Godzilla King of the Monsters was his underwater investigation of Monarch's deep sea facility. I wanted to mimic this with a swimming Godzilla moving through an underground cavern beneath the ocean.
As always, I started with some sketches to help me work out the most important aspects that I wanted to capture. I found it surprisingly difficult to find any decent reference pictures of the modern Godzilla swimming. Although it wasn't an exact match, I used images of marine iguanas to help me understand the body shape of an aquatic reptile.
|Sketching always helps me immerse myself in the subject|
Early on, I also decided that I needed to show Godzilla with something else, giving some context to reinforce his size so that it didn't just end up looking like a swimming lizard. For this, I settled on a blue whale swimming nearby, so I also researched the relative size of the two creatures to help me get a realistic representation of both.
The sculpt itself was fairly conventional, with a wire frame and layers of putty to form the core shape. I built up the basic musculature over a few sessions - I didn't have a lot of time for this and had to work quickly and keep it secret from my son!
|Godzilla does look very odd without his scales and spines...|
|A swimming posture is quite different from a standing one; the most important thing being the straighter upper spine|
|Lizards swim by flicking their body and tail from side to side in a smooth motion. From above, you can see that Godzilla is in an S shape because of this movement|
|The next stage was to add scales and plates to Godzilla's body|
|I attempted to sculpt the dorsal spines, but found that the putty wasn't stiff enough to hold the shape|
|I chose to carve the tiny spines from styrene (5mm X 1mm strip). Although it took me a couple of hours to carve enough for Godzilla's three rows of spines, it was worth the effort|
|The first couple of rows were glued in place - you can also see the tiny blue whale I sculpted near Godzilla's tail|
|I achieved a far greater height with styrene than I could have with putty of this thickness|
|Once the third row of spines was in place. After this photo was taken, I finished off a few details and then added texture to the spines with more putty. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of that stage!|
|As you can see, I textured the seabed and cavern top then set everything up to test before painting|
|I was pleased with the overall look, so marked everything up, removed the temporary wire supports from the miniatures and prepared for painting!|
|I masked the wood on the top and bottom sections before painting as I wanted a natural varnished wood rather than painting it|
|The top and bottom sections were both painted by hand as I didn't want thin spray paint seeing into the wood, nor solvents introduced to the pieces which would be encased in resin|
|The cave roof with a circular cut-out for the small LED torch I would be adding|
|The sea bed was painted in basic colours as I would be tinting the clear resin blue and I knew that only high contrast details would show up|
|Godzilla and the whale also received a high contrast paint job as any subtlety would be obscured by the resin tint. I added blue UV paint to Godzilla's spines and eye as this would help them stand out under low light|
|Once painted and sealed, everything was re-assembled and prepared for the first resin pour. I used hot glue to ensure a tight waterproof seal|
|This picture was taken after the second pour. The first was deliberately a little darker to simulate the deep water stretching off into the distance. The second and third were lighter in colour and less opaque|
|After the third polyester resin pour, it was starting to come together. At this stage, it looks a bit cloudy and uneven, but there's a lot of cleanup and sanding to get a glass finish|
|With the light on, you can start to see some of the surface imperfections. The majority of these would buff out|
|Annoyingly, the blue whale detached from his stand on the second pour and sank too far down into the mixture for me to retrieve it without destroying the resin which was already cured to the gel stage|
I didn't document the sanding process for many reasons. There are so many videos out there telling you how to do it. Essentially, you go from coarse grit sand paper (I.e. 100) up to the finest grit (I finished at 1500 grit then went to a polishing compound), then buff to a glass finish. It's a hot, messy process which covers you in resin slop (you have to wet sand it to achieve a good finish) and you need to wear a face mask throughout as inhaling resin is extremely bad for you.
Suffice to say, I didn't want the process to take any longer than necessary and I didn't want to have to stop and clean myself up before taking pictures. In the end, it took me about 5 hours of solid dry, then wet sanding followed by polishing and buffing as I ended up repeating the whole process due to surface issues with the resin. Polyester resin sometimes forms a waxy coating on the surface which doesn't cure. It's basically a discharge from the resin and I had to re-sand the whole surface when some more bled through. The horribly sticky coating can ruin clothes and emits horrendous fumes, so I couldn't avoid treating it.
Despite polyester resin being great for this job, I think I will try epoxy next time as the fumes alone make working with polyester resins tricky. I'd advise people only to use it if they have access to a room with proper air extraction which will remain at room temperature or above during the curing process (which is anything from 24 - 72 hours depending on temperature).
Anyway, this project took me over a month to complete, but I'm pleased to say my son was over the moon with it, so mission accomplished! On with the pictures!
|I varnished the wood once I'd finished the resin work, then sealed the resin as well. I'm very pleased with the final product|
|The final piece looks great lit up at night!|
Lord of the Rats!
|Skitter my pretty pretties!|
|Saliva dripping from his diseased maw, the Warpgnaw Verminlord lets loose an ear-piercing shriek, signalling his minions to advance|
|On one side of this huge rat daemon is a scarred, torn face set with glowing green warpstone|
|The absolutely huge horns on this miniature look spectacular from the side|
|I went with an albino colour scheme to make my Verminlord look even more unnatural and sickly. This also created a great contrast with the dark hairs and runes carved into his raw flesh|
|I painted his back spines as warpstone spikes which also sport grisly trophies|
|I was very pleased with the colour transition on his tail - I think it compliments the rest of the miniature well|
|The huge staff is mainly wood, black cloth and rusted blades. I painted a few small sections like bone so that it wasn't too divorced from the rest of the miniature. The giant chunk of warpstone also echoes the colours of the spines|
|The spindly hairs running up his back are so brilliantly disturbing! All it needed was a lovingly skewered corpse to finish things off!|
|The tide of rats following this monstrous creature form a living carpet in his wake|
|The rats are even pouring out of a sewage pipe along with something even less savoury!|
|My Verminlord fits right in with the rest of my disgusting rat monsters|
|I have plenty more Skaven miniatures to paint this year - my aim is to get at least 2000 points finished by the end of the year!|
A Colossal Troggoth
|I want the underside of this beast to be 'hairy' with moss and fungal growths|
|I wanted the face to be a distorted collection of tusk-like teeth and heavy, blocky features|
|Evolution of the face from the front. I started by blocking out the features, then slowly refined them. Once I was happy with the facial features, I added fun details like rocky scales, fungi and a mossy beard|
|When working with sculpey, it really helps to block out the features then look at it from all angles so you can get the form correct before the first firing|
|From the sides you can see the stalactites I added to the underside of the monster's chin. I intend to carry on this particular feature on the underside of the body too|
|The body started out looking a bit like a plucked chicken|
|Once I had a basic shape worked out, I fired the body so it was easier to handle without denting it|
|My original idea for the rider was to have him mounted on a rocky throne up on the back of the model|
|The rocky throne was sculpted separately, from the Colossus. I think that's why I found it so hard to make it work naturally with the Colossus. The throne has now been shelved, but I will undoubtedly find a use for it in a future project!|
|I added clay dimples over the surface of the back and upper arms - these would form the basis of the rocky scales. At this stage, I could start to gauge how the scale pattern would look|
|I decided that the scales would inhibit movement too much over the shoulders, so I reduced them significantly|
|I managed to hit a happy medium with craggy and rubbery on the skin. At this stage, it was still just test textures on patches, but I liked how this layer looked|
|This was the point I got to when I decided that things just weren't working out the way I wanted|
|I used some superglue and baking powder to stick the head in place then roughly filled the gap with sculpey|
|I didn't worry too much about the seam as I needed to do a lot of work on the body anyway|
|All things considered, the join was actually pretty good|
|Next, I started on the second arm - I made a wire armature and bulked it out with baking foil. I then coated the armature with firm sculpey so that it was nice and solid. This would allow me to make the leg armature without deforming the arm|
|The beast is pretty imposing on his own - I can't wait to see him with a Troggboss rider!|
|The left hand will be resting on the top of his thigh, making him appear lopsided and twisted - perfect for a troll!|
And finally, some kit-bashed beasties...
|This poor Tzaangor has literally been torn open by a huge bloody maw ripping its way out of his chest.|
|The intention with this miniature was to make something like The Thing; a ravenous, predatory creature which skitters forward on spiny feet, messily devouring anything in front of it!|
|You can see the beast man's broken form atop the fleshy maw, with his skeletal legs trailing behind, still attached by the spine...|
|A glistening set of inner jaws wait to hungrily swallow down its prey|
|From above, it looks like the huge meat monster is literally exploding its way out of the tattered Tzaangor - his twitching pink tongue makes me chuckle|
|Again, I used a disc of Tzeentch for the insectile base of the model, but this one is distinctly different from the first|
|I love the sense of movement and flow you get when looking at this thing from the side. You can almost see the tentacles writhing and whipping in loops and lashes|
|From above it looks like intestinal offal. Delicious!|
|This revolting beast poses a brilliantly horrific question. Which end is the mouth, and which is the... bottom end? Just let that question sink in. Either way round, Tzeentch has REALLY punished this Tzaangor.|
|Or bum head?|
|If you hadn't yet realised, the Tzaangor's original head is at one end of this vile creature|
|I had to make a special base for this creature.|
|I swear the shape of the base was accidental.|
|The final spawn was the most complex in its construction and required a bit of pinning and sculpting to get the result I wanted, which was magical fire literally annihilating this Tzaangor from the inside out|
|From the front, you can see the flesh of the chest literally sloughing off down the front of his exposed ribcage|
|The magical fire is forming an effigy of a Tzeentchian servant|
|From the rear, you can better see the screaming faces trapped within the magical plume and the exposed spine poking from the slab of meat which has been violently thrown backwards as the beastman literally explodes!|