Sunday, February 23, 2014

So many projects... so little time.

I started this week with lots of motivation.  I have so many projects going on so I want to stay committed to doing something hobby related every night, if possible.  This week though, everything went wrong.  Work kept me super busy and so sleep escaped me most of the week.  Also had a good buddy go into the hospital and so I spent some time with him and his family.

Finally got around to having some time on my hands today, and as bad as I wanted to put some paint to some models, I have a lot of other hobby work to do.  This post is going to seem a bit like a study of ADD, but sometimes you just gotta get the slave-work done so you can enjoy the fun part later.  This week's gonna be another doozy, so here we go.  

Adepticon is coming up VERY fast.  My goal for Adepticon this year was to have my Ogres completed.  Well, as I've repeated several times, I have 3 more models to complete that goal.  With that, my VIG pass allows me two entries into the Crystal Brush competition.  Having caught the competition bug last year at Games Day, I really wanted to try something out.  The Crystal Brush competition was fierce last year - the models were absolutely amazing.  The really cool thing about the Crystal Brush is that I'm not limited to Games Workshop models.  I have several other collections, including some Warmachine, Zombicide, etc., but one miniature I picked up last year was Kingdom Death's Flower Knight.  It's quirky and cool and I had this idea...

This Flower Knight just looks magical.  My vision is to make a diorama where the Knight is walking down a path.  Both the path and the plantlife around it would be dead, but where the Knight is walking, things would sort of spring to life again.  I've never done a diorama before - usually I don't even do much converting, so this is new to me.  But I've been doing my homework.  How would I do the path - that was the question that most intimidated me.  Could I find some miniatures or plastic scenery that I could use?  Would that count against me?  Hmm.. I decided to try something out that I saw in a basing video recently.  

Plaster! I never really thought about using it.  I recently acquired some lightweight hydrocal and molded some woodland scenics rocks - easy right?  I also had some plaster of paris, so I took some blister packs and used them as molds, making several bricks of various sizes and thicknesses.  See below.
Varying degrees of thickness is important for my plans.

You can easily break this pieces apart!

Get your sculpting tools ready.  This next part is really cool.

 So, after letting these plaster pieces dry for a day, I pulled them out of the molds and broke some of them.  Then I took a scultping tool with a fine edge and began carving some detail into the pieces.  My thought was to use these for the path and to make them look like stones on the ground.  To give the Flower Knight a centerpiece feel, I wanted the path to step up so he would be elevated above the rest of the scene.  The plaster is very easy to work with and if you're not too careful, its also easy to dig into the material too much or even break the pieces accidentally by applying too much pressure.  Again, I wanted this scene to look dead and broken, so I weathered the stone quite a bit and broke several of the pieces (the cool thing about having square pieces of the plaster is that you can break them and keep the pieces together to make it look real, like pieces of a puzzle).  
Some of the pieces I may have weathered too much, but I learned!

They are also easily stacked. 

Very easy to make real looking stones.

I arranged the pieces the way I wanted to make a path that curved and stepped up and then I glued them to the foam board using PVA glue.  I doubt this will hold the pieces extremely well, but this is not intended to get a lot of use, so I think it is appropriate.  I've seen wood glue used for this purpose, but I don't have any at the moment - not sure if it would work any better.  

Then, I used various grits of Vallejo texture paste and covered the majority of the base around the path.  On the lowest elevation points of the path, I left the area sparse as if the ground has built up over the path over the years.  You have to see my vision, I will have lots of grass in the area, even between some of the bricks when it is done. I used sand grit and grey pumice texture pastes for this purpose.  I will continue to build up some of the layers as I go (I also plan to texture with sand/rock.  

I don't really think that the path can be the only scenery detail on the diorama - so I decided to add a tree in the background.  The idea again will be that the tree is dead, but begins to grow again as the Flower Knight passes.  I thought about using a model tree (like from a train scenic set) or even a Games Workshop tree, but it just didn't feel right.  Taking the dogs out for a walk yesterday, I explored a little bit and picked up some twigs and broken tree pieces from the ground.  I went through the look today and picked a good stump.  Then I took a thinner twig and pinned/glued it to the stump (this will be the part that is growing and will have leaves on it).  Getting the tree to stick on the ground is going to be a challenge.  I'm going to have to sculpt some roots, otherwise it just won't look natural.  In the meantime, I'm using Flex paste to try to stick the tree to the foamboard - its going to take several layers of this stuff I think.  Afterwards, painting to match is going to be a pain.  

So, needless to say, I'm excited about this project.  I have another (Lizardman themed) diorama planned for Golden Daemon, but this will give me some great practice.  The Flower Knight is gonna be fun to paint as well.  There is one floating around the internet right now that is absolutely stunning.  Let's hope I can get somewhere near that level.  

In addition to this work, I have several less-than-fun tasks to complete.  With 3 Maneaters down and 3 to go, along with 3 bulls on the block, I started some of my cork bases so that I can paint and mount them all at once.  I'm planning on putting this together as an easy cork base tutorial for beginners.  Its easy!  I also began putting together more regiment trays for the Ogres and placed a couple dozen magnets.  I'm using tin sheet over the GW trays to keep them stuck.  Boring but necessary.  

These magnets are the perfect size for the holes in these 40mm bases.

Just need to texture and paint and they'll be ready to push some Ogres across the board.
All in all, a pretty productive day.  Again, I'm expecting a busy week, but I did get the remaining 3 Maneaters primed and ready for painting.  I'm also looking forward to painting up one of those new Imperial Knights... wow.  The local shop is having a competition and I'm hoping this will motivate me to paint one up quickly.  Better brush up on my transfer skills.  

Ugh... look at this WIP shelf.  I'd have some hope for getting it cleared out, but my other shelves keep getting more full of new miniatures in the box..  Anyways... time for Walking Dead.  Happy Painting!