VISIONS IN COLOR: EIGHT 02/2003
The Visions In
Color gallery is a showcase of the best the Mini-Painter
has to offer. All participants are given the exact same miniature and then
allowed to do whatever they want to it. At the end of the working period
the results are put up on Dominic Heutelbeck's site and everyone can
leave feedback for the painter.
Well, I always seem to make these things more difficult than they should
be and this time was no exception. I wanted to convert Zeiren into a god
from my RPG game- Cerideth, the god of Malevolance. I used the body from
an RAFM Leng Spider, some chains from a model ship supply, bend straight
pins for hooks, twisted brass wire for rope, and some clothes from an
The figure went together pretty smoothly and I started painting him and
he came along at a frightening clip. I gave the spider body a mottled
texture that I copied from an octopus... I was admiring how it turned
out and then...
I dropped him.
I worked all weekend to repair the damage to the piece and to help me work on the guy I mounted a 4"
brass rod into the underside. I held this with vise-grips while doing
touch up, and while regluing the two claws back on.
Well, when he was touched up and ready to photograph I snipped off the
brass rod to about 1/4" away from the body. This would let me test him
on the base, but still let me hold him with the pliers if something
When I was satisfied that he was truly done I snipped off that last
1/4" of brass rod. I was wearing safety glasses, of course.
And the Power of The Curse hit and skipped that sharp piece of brass
rod right into my right cornea.
Now, I've been struck in the nether-regions by baseballs, gotten
clocked in the jaw with an axe-handle, and I've even had a ceiling fan
drop on my head- but nothing has ever hurt so much as that little
piece of brass in the eye.
Then, of course, there's the panic... much like little Ralphie in "A
"Oh Shit! I shot my eye out!"
The thing didn't penetrate that far though. I didn't want to wake my
wife up to drive me to the ER, so I tried ignoring it to see if it
would get better.
I set up the mini, snapped one photo and then decided that I was being
Fortunately we're friends with an opthalmologist and rushed me right
into his office. I had a nasty corneal abrasion, but it would heal in
a day or so.
It's healed enough that I can see and it doesn't hurt (just feels like
grit in my eye). So now I can finally see what everyone's VIC entry
looks like :)
My advice to everyone: Use safety GOGGLES. The glasses didn't do much
for me. Without depth perception it's kind of hard to paint these
Public Service Announcement over...
I had to carefully cut Zeiren's torso from his waist without
destroying any of the detail down there since I wanted to use the legs
and such for another piece. This took a bit of time and fifteen (yes,
15) very fine jeweller's saw blades.
Once I had his torso off I had to marry it to the body of a Spider
From Leng (from RAFM's Call of Cthulhu line). I used a dremel to grind
out a socked for him to sit into and then matched up where the pins
would go. I pinned him with brass rod.
Next I used bluetac to get the arms to stick on (sort of :) ) to see
if the "claws" would get in the way of the weapon. I cut off the two
fang-like claws and repositioned them using bend brass rod. I
resculpted their "sockets" with green stuff.
I test fitted the legs to go on the skull base and bent them as
Once I was sure of the pose and the leg position I drilled out the
body to accept the legs and pinned them with brass rod as well.
I built up the waist/spider joint with green stuff and then added the
"skirt" from GW's Cherubiel (Inquisitor line). I made a "rope" with
twisted brass wire.
At this stage Zeiren's torso was on the spider body. The arms and the
"claws" were off, and his head was off as well.
I began making hooks (ala Hellraiser) out of straight pins by bending
them with round-nose pliers. Once I'd made enough I mounted them on a
pre-measured length of model-ship chain.
The chain was secured into the body with eye-hooks, and then tacked
down in spots with superglue.
I primed all the pieces to begin painting.
The paint job was done with conventional brushes and an airbrush. Most
of the spide body was sprayed with an airbrush to get a mottled skin
pattern like an octopus I'd seen. The wolfen parts were painted with a
regular brush using Vallejo and Reaper Pro paints, FW Inks, and
Liquitex Acrylics. I primed the miniature with GW Spray White and
Black. I did the underside in Black and then the top in White to give
him harsh lighting. Once the primer dried and before painting I gave
him a wash in Indigo blue from FW Inks. This effectively did the
darklining in one pass.
The metals were done with Vallejo's alcohol based metallics, Rustall
(God I love this stuff!), and FW inks. The blood streak on the top
blade was done by painting some Crimson FW ink onto the leading edge
and then blasting a puff of air at it from the empty airbrush. This
spattered it nicely.
I was several days into painting when and then attached the "claws",
the head, and the weapon arms which had all been painted separately.
When the glue dried I touched up the area around the new parts and
then I dropped him. It all happens in my mind in super slow-motion...
complete with musical score...
He skittered off the table, bounced off my knee and slammed into the
Two legs snapped off, the torso popped off, the weapon arms flew off
and the blades bent and snapped... and worst of all he was wearing a
fresh coat of cat fur in his fresh paint.
Once I'd straightened out the bent pieces, re-pinned and glued the
broken ones, and rebuilt the weapon with brass rod I had to deal with
the cat-fur (the cat sleeps in the basement).
I didn't want to strip him and start over, so I took an electric
eraser (sort of a cordless drill with an eraser in it) and buffed out
the abrasions, cat-fur, dirt, and other stuff.
After some touch up work I was back on track.
Then I test fitted him to the base and almost put my eye out.
HOW I DID THE BASE:
While glues and paints dried during all this I was casting the pieces
for the base. I made silicone molds of a skull-pile from Armorcast,
some columns from Grendel, and Rackham's guardians of eternity
I cut and routed four basswood discs to make the platform, then cut a
circle out of the top one and routed it on the inside. The two pieces
were glued together to make a kind of "well". The other two discs were
glued together to form the bottom platform.
In between the two is a disc of styrofoam cut 1/2" smaller than the
basswood discs. I cut a strip of brick textured ABS sheet from
Plastruct and glued it on the styrofoam with construction adhesive. To
make sure the ends met I used a heat gun to soften the plastic and
pushed it down with a nail.
There are four decorative plaques on the brick section- two skulls I
cast out of resin, and two shields from a pack of Anubi Warriors
(Wargods of Aegyptus).
The resin skulls and shields were sanded with a drum to give them the
proper curve in the back to fit onto the curved brick.
The platforms were glued together, then each glued to the brick, then
the columns glued to the bottom base.
On the columns I glued a gargoyle to one face.
Once this was done I sanded out any imperfections I could and then
primed it black.
I painted the base in lighter and lighter coats of white with an
airbrush until I'd gotten a good "drybrush" effect and the effect of
light coming from above. Then I hit it with two bottles of Rustall
over the coarse of two weeks. This gave it a wonderful spotty
dried-blood and crud look.
I sealed this with Testor's Dullcote.
I mixed up equal parts of Woodland Scenic's Water Effects Acrylic and
FW Inks' Crimson. I poured this into the well to fill it with blood.
I then spent several hours dripping various red inks and thin paints
onto the base from several feet above. This gave nice spatters all
over, but the basement floor looks like a murder took place there.
When all this spattering dried I poured another thin layer of the
water/blood mixture into the well and put the skull base in it. I'd
painted the base separately.
I added some drops of red, brown, and black ink here and there, and
blasted them with the airbrush to make them streak and spray.
As the "blood" in the well began to cure I used the airbrush (empty)
to gently mold ripples and waves into it using only air pressure.
When everything was done I sprayed the whole thing with Testor's
Dullcote, and then painted on copious amounts of Polly-S' Gloss
Varnish where they'd have the most impact.
I had fun working on this project, despite nearly poking my eye out,
and thanks to everyone else who contributed- now that I can see better
I'm going to go check out the other entries!
Big thanks to Dominic for hosting the VIC each time, and for
extending the deadline for the cursed or procrastinating!
© 2002 Mike McCuen
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