Friday, 17 March 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen [WIP - Claws & Colours]

I may be a year late but I've finally managed to incorporate the Pantone Color of the Year 2016 - namely Rose Quartz and Serenity - into a miniature painting project. Two years ago saw the start of my fascination with Pantone's annual Color of the Year announcements. It has become a treasured source of inspiration for my art projects especially miniature painting. Last year's was no different.  

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen: work-in-progress on claws and colour scheme

Admittedly though, not even I could have foreseen the miniature I would eventually use the hues on. Pantone officially describes the colours in question in the following way: Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace. So I'm pretty sure they didn't envision them being used to depict a servant of chaos.   

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 - Rose Quartz & Serenity
Slaanesh Chosen's colours run the gamut from Rose Quartz to somewhere in between to Serenity

Another miniature, another first. Here, the Slaanesh Chosen's claws marked the first time I had ever used Vallejo Model Color metallic paints. In this instance, I used Vallejo Gunmetal Blue with Citadel Chainmail and Mithril Silver in varying ratios to achieve a kind of 'pastel metallic hues' for want of a better description. A thin wash of Citadel Asurmen Blue was also applied on parts of both claws. 

Sheen on the Slaanesh Chosen's claws were painted using Vallejo Model Color and Citadel metallic paints
Light blue bordering on violet was used to nudge the colour scheme towards Pantone's Color of the Year 2016

A couple of shots below provide a sneak peak of the Slaanesh Chosen's front end but it's not the finished article yet. Not much remains to be done, yet enough that a complete reveal is still days away. What little that can be seen, however, shows a variety of surfaces from metal to cloth to bone.  

An inadvertent sneak peak of the Slaanesh Chosen's front end during a closeup shot of the claws
Violet blues of the loincloth completes the range of Pantone's Color of the Year 2016

Awash in pastel hues, the existence of any creepiness factor whatsoever is debatable. That said, I'm hoping the dichotomy which exists between the sculpted details and the colour scheme would still instill a sense of unease in anyone who lays eyes on the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen. 

A closeup shot of the Slaanesh Chosen's back to show the piece's predominant colour scheme

All this talk about Pantone's Color of the Year has gotten me all excited about this year's iteration too. But that's a story for another day as I finish painting last year's hues on this W40K miniature.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen [WIP - Armour, Cloth and Demonic Flesh]

Of the four chosen chaos space marines dedicated to Nurgle, Slaanesh, Khorne and Tzeentch, it is Slaneesh's favoured one which fascinates me most, colour-wise that is. That's because Slaanesh subjects have base colours that can be mixed into a light pastel-like scheme. And as I've mentioned before - probably ad nauseam - light pastel colour schemes are firm favourites of mine.  

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen sports a demonic face playing peekaboo from his shoulder armour
Sickly flesh permeates the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen's armour

At this stage of the painting process it's still too early to gauge the overall look I'm going for. Suffice to say I want to infuse it with hues which, to paraphrase the words of the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, reflect a soothing sense of peace and order. Wait a minute! Slaanesh. Peace and order. Sheer humbug? I'll leave it to you to be the judge when I finish painting the last major hue of my Slaanesh colour scheme. But just so you know, I'm going for a creepy My Little Pony look.

Slaanesh chosen, work-in-progress on his armour, cloth and demonic flesh
Demonic face pops out of the chosen's shoulder pads like an unwanted boil
Slaanesh chosen's claws will take on the last major hue in order to complete the colour scheme

For the Slaanesh chosen's organic forms, I wanted to convey ulcerating and necrotising flesh rather than dead or rotting flesh. In other words, molecules in demonic flesh that is trying to regenerate while in its death throes. So that meant flesh with more pinkish/purplish versus greenish hues.

Chosen's violet armour is more or less done with only extreme highlights yet to be painted on bony protrusions
Demonic flesh is prevalent on the chosen's back, more so than in any other part of his body armour
Whereas Nurgle's chosen had rusted metallic parts, Slaanesh's chosen is largerly expected to have shinier metals

Meanwhile, plans are for the base to be kept simple and dull. This is in anticipation of an overall light pastel colour scheme. Anything bright and vivid will likely distract from the miniature itself. To fulfill these conditions, only neutral greyscale colours fit the bill. Sometimes boring is what's needed. 

From this angle, no blues are visible thus showing more traditional Slaanesh hues but too dull in my opinion
Blues of the loin cloth was tempered by a purple wash to ensure a more Slaanesh-like colour scheme

When the claws are finished next, the Slaanesh chosen's colour scheme will then take on a more definite identity. One that will no doubt be confusingly pleasant and disgusting at the same time. Only time, or my next post, will tell if I can pull this off. In the meantime, the weekend is almost here so have a good one until my next update of this project comes along.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Star Wars BB-8 - Bandai 1/12 Scale Plastic Model Kit [Completed]

Unlike in most other fields where artists can start from a blank canvas, we miniature painters and modellers are beholden to the quality and detail of a sculpture or model kit for the end result. That make us more akin to a renderer rather than creator. So it helped that Bandai produced a very well thought out model kit of BB-8 which made life easier for me to achieve a respectable finish.      

Bandai Star Wars BB-8 1/12 scale plastic model kit [Completed]

Let me make one thing clear. I'm not saying in any way, shape or form that I nailed the recreation of a mini-movie version of BB-8. Far from it. Sure I did some repainting, panel lining and weathering but not enough to make this kit as realistic as it can be. What I am saying is Bandai's BB-8 looks disproportionately good (or has the potential to) in relation to the amount of work put into it. Or in simpler terms, Bandai's BB-8 model kit can still look good without doing much work on it.

BB-8, the lovable astromech droid from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Painted parts include the grey/black/metallic sections; red panel indicator lights; and a semi-gloss clear over body panels
Weathering effects on BB-8 were admittedly applied in a too light-handed manner

I had so much fun with this model kit that it is not inconceivable I will build a second one in the future. If I should ever attempt to do so, there are a few things I can do differently. Chief among them to do increase the level of weathering. In addition, I might have to repaint the orange parts or at the very least lay on a thicker layer of semi-gloss clear coat. Now these are things I could redo now but as the missus is happy with the way this version of BB-8 looks - it is after all a gift for the missus - no changes were made to it. That, if it ever gets done, will be for BB-8 two-point-oh.

Panel lining provides more depth to the overall piece
Bandai's BB-8 rests upon a cute little clear, round base
In case you are wondering ... no, Bandai's BB-8 model does not have free rotational movement

This version of BB-8 will eventually be displayed in its new home i.e. the missus's office. To better protect it, I encased the completed model kit in a small plastic display case (see last photo).

If anything, this BB-8 kit can be improved upon white a heavier semi-gloss coat and more weathering
In this version of BB-8, I didn't build and paint up any of its mini-gadgets such as the infamous "thumbs up lighter"
BB-8 all prettied up in a display case for the missus to bring to the office

So that's one droid finished and another to go in the Bandai Star Wars 1/12 scale BB-8 and R2-D2 plastic model kit set. But I think I'm going to take a short break from this kit and do some W40K stuff just to stay in touch with the SciFi universe that got me started in miniature painting in the first place. If I do go down that path, I'll be adding to my Ode to Chaos project and paint up a Chaos Space Marine Chosen in service to one of the four chaos gods (the first was to Nurgle). As to which Chaos god will be the next to bestow its favour, I hope you will stay tuned to find out. Until then, peace out!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Star Wars BB-8 [WIP - Head]

What became clear from the very beginning when working on the Bandai BB-8 plastic model kit was that I wasn't going to use any of the decals provided. Instead I decided to paint the sections for which decals were provided, most notably the coloured sections of the antenna and surrounding areas of the lenses. As for the rest of BB-8's head I either left it alone (e.g. lenses), carried out a complete repaint (e.g. metallic parts), applied a semigloss clear coat followed by some weathering effects (e.g. the white and orange coloured body plates/chassis) or used an enamel wash for panel lining work.

Bandai Star Wars BB-8 plastic model kit - work-in-progress (head)
Area surrounding lenses were painted dark grey while the lenses themselves were left alone

While a complete repaint of the BB-8 entire model kit would presumably result in a more realistic piece, I nonetheless felt that parts of plastic kit (e.g. white and orange coloured pieces) were a good enough base to work from sans a total repaint. Left alone the said parts did admittedly look toy-like and plasticky. But a combination of semi-gloss clear coat and weathering effects has the potential to counter this unwanted feature and increase BB-8's level of realism.   

BB-8's orange and white chassis parts were treated to a semigloss clear coat and weathering effects 
More details were brought to the fore through panel lining with an enamel wash
Black coloured sections of BB-8's antennas were painted on as opposed to having decals applied

If there was something I would do differently up to this point in time it would be to apply a thicker clear semigloss coating before applying weathering effects. That being said, the beauty of mistakes is getting the chance to learn from them. So hopefully things will turn out better with the body.

Plasticky look could be further dampened by applying yet more layers clear coat and weathering
Weathering effects were done using the Tamiya Weathering Master sets A and B
Tinted lenses are arguably the key components of Bandai's BB-8 model kit

I've gone on record singing the praises of BB-8's tinted lenses. It's a key component that allows this model kit to achieve levels of realism which would otherwise elude it. Once BB-8's body is completed and fixed to the head, I'll have to touch up existing weathering effects on the head so as to achieve a consistent overall look. Other than that, the astromech's head is more or less complete.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Star Wars BB-8 & R2-D2 - Bandai 1/12 Scale Model Kit [Unboxing and Pre-Assembly Review]

Known for its impressive details, the Bandai Star Wars product line did not disappoint in this regard when producing the BB-8 and R2-D2 model kits. Strangely enough, despite being a fan since the very beginning I've never owned any of collectible of the franchise's most iconic droids i.e. R2-D2 and C-3PO (and now BB-8 for the younger generation). They were either badly detailed or when done well, extremely expensive. It has taken me 40 years to get my hands on a R2-D2 model that is both appropriately priced and detailed. Granted I'll have to assemble and paint him but that's just gives me better control over the final piece. And then there is BB-8 ... pure icing on the cake. 

Bandai 1/12 scale plastic model kits of BB-8 and R2-D2
Box art and photos found on the sides of the packaging

Photos on the sides of the box packaging give a hint of the tremendous potential inherent in both model kits. It's so detailed that Bandai has even included arm extensions for BB-8 (e.g. the mini-blow torch arm and slot for memory drive) and R2-D2 (e.g. the computer interface arm, grasping arm, power charge arm, lubricant application arm, scanner antenna, buzz-saw arm and extendible auxiliary visual imaging system). This allows for numerous pose variations for those seeking to build a diorama. For now, I'll build vanilla versions of both droids that excludes the arm extensions.  

Bandai BB-8 and R2-D2 assembly and decal instructions, front and back cover
Part of the Japanese instructions for BB-8 and ...
... R2-D2 (both of which can be reasonably translated using the Google Translate app)

Both droids come with 'colour-moulded' parts for those of you who do not want to go through the trouble of painting them. That is okay if you are fine with a plasticky toy-like look as your end result. However if you are looking for a more realistic finish there is no avoiding weathering/painting the parts or at the very least coat them with a layer of semi-gloss or flat clear coat. 

Sprue A: R2-D2's blue and gold bits plus his all important primary photoreceptor lens
Sprue B1: R2-D2's main body and appendages
Sprue C1: R2-D2's metal parts and mini-gadgets

I could go on and on about the movie-accurate parts but actually one minor detail is what truly made this model kit's potential come alive as it were, i.e. the tinted plastic photoreceptor lenses. Bandai's own little touch of genius goes to show they have put serious thought into handing modellers the necessary building blocks from which to create a movie-accurate mini version of the real thing.      

Sprue E: BB-8's core and metal parts
Sprue D: BB-8's orange and white body shell, base, photoreceptor lens as well as mini-gadgets
Sprue SWB3: Bases for both BB-8 and R2-D2
Stickers (left) and water decals (right) for both BB-8 and R2-D2

Once finished, BB-8 is heading for the missus's office cubicle while R2-D2 will likely be destined for my personal collection. My first Star Wars droids. Can't wait to get started.

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