Monday, December 28, 2009

Magenta (head part 1)

Undoubtedly, the most challenging part of this project is sculpting the head. The figure was designed to have the head come as a separate piece, to aid in sculpting as well as casting.
I started off with a blob of duro epoxy putty wrapped around a piece of wire and with 2 beads representing the eyes stuck to it. This was then roughly covered with sculpey to get a sense of the head's overall size and proportion.This revealed one glaring problem which was that the eyes (beads) were too far apart. I felt it was best to start over again. The result can be seen on the right side of the image above. Satisfied with the position of the eyes, I went ahead and refined the overall shape of the head using a subtractive technic with the box cutter / razor saw blade technic.
Here's a comparison of the head with a 1/20th Ma. K. plastic figure. Once I was satisfied with the overall shape and size, I begain adding and refining the head until I reached the stage in the image below. The head was then baked in a toaster oven. A huge crack developed in the head after baking. I didn't anticipate this happening considering how small the head is. The number one cause of sculpey cracking during baking is the uneven rate of cooling, and I suspect that the epoxy or the beads underneath was the main culprit. Not to worry as this can be easily patched up with more epoxy putty, but of course a second baking is now out of the question. In this final image, I've patched up the cracks and built up the eyeballs with magic sculp 2 part epoxy putty. I stepped back and assessed the result and my conclusions were:
1. Although the head was adequately feminine looking, it did not achieve the look I wanted. I wasnt all that happy with the shape of the eyes and the cheeks or the forehead for that matter.
2. There were some rough spots on the cheeks and neck.
At this point, it's taken me a couple of days sculpting. However I decided to press on, knowing my subsequent attempts can only get better. I also wanted to try a different approach to sculpting the head. So this head was put on hold for now, you will see the result of the 3rd attempt soon!

Tools for sculpting

Let's take a bit of a break from sculpting and look at the tools. I'm currently exploring the use of razor saws to shape the sculpey. My usual technic is a press and roll with the back of a paintbrush, but the problem with this technic is that it sometimes pulls the sculpey off the wire armature. With the razor saws, I use a subtractive method by slicing big chunks off with a box cutter, then scraping with the razor saw to further shape it. Also the marks left by the saw helps you read what's going on with the topology.
When I'm happy with the overall surface shape, I will then smooth it out using a paintbrush loaded with sculpey diluent. Folds in clothing and other smaller details are sculpted using clayshapers or needle points. More on this in a future post.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Magenta (first bake)

It's been a while since the last post. Merry Christmas to one and all, and with the season comes my traditional sculpting surge. The picture shows the state of the figure sculpt at first bake. I've roughed in the basic mass of the fig with sculpey firm. The parallel scratch marks serves 2 purpose, 1 to shape the clay without pushing it away from the armature. 2 to provide a surface that subsequent sculpey can adhere to easily. These marks were done with a small razor saw and mimics an ancient sculptors technique.I'm constantly checking the sculpt agains the drawings and also against a commercial 1/20 scale fig. In this I'm using the Ma. K. krote mechanic from the old nitto kit. Based on my calculations, the figure is a little bit big for the scale. Magenta is a small sized girl, but the size discrepancy with the mechanic didn't feel right. I've decide to fix this later by adding the a bit of height under the feet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

girl with a stick (magenta beginnings)

As usual with weekends, I find it escaping my grasp as quickly as sand in a sandstorm. My current project is this 1/20 scale sculpt of a sci-fi character. It's an original design by torei, done up as a possible prototype for the trex mech pilot. I decided to make a small scale sculpt in sculpey. My first go at the armature was to use stikfas as a base and build on top of it (above middle). I went as far as putting on a layer of sculpey before deciding that the stikfas was just too big. So I came up with another armature made from wire (above right). Stay tuned for more progress of this sculpt and feel free to leave a comment!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Head Sculpt Primed

More pics of the head, this time primed with silver spray paint. There's some unevenness on the forehead that I've got to sand away. After that, it will be time to make the mold.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Head Sculpt unpainted

Here's a head sculpt that I am almost finished with. Its done with sculpey and if I am not mistaken, I started this sculpt about 3 years ago or possibly more. The different sculpey roughly represent the different times I've worked on it. The white and light flesh colored was what I started with, finishing with the grey firm sculpey. After baking, I added magic sculp (epoxy putty) for the eyebrows and eyeballs. There was a long break (more than a year) where the unbaked sculpey started to crack, I had to patch these up with fresh sculpey.
This may eventually be part of a custom 12 inch action figure, and I might be able to make a small amount available to anyone who would be interested.
Can you guess which character this headsculpt is supposed to be?

Monday, September 7, 2009

mech popper popped!

I've finally added the last few bits of paintwork on the mech popper. Rubbed on some old dry transfer numbers and then drybrushed some metallic paint to break up the outline. I then sprayed on some greenish metallic tint to soften the harsh drybrushing. I followed this with a couple of oil washes. When dry, I touched up with a little bit more selective drybrushing. Hope you guys like it!I took some mood photos with a bit of post processing.Click here for in progress pics.

Monday, August 24, 2009

hash stash

T'was the kino card's 5th year anniversary and we've more than enough chances to get 20% discount on books, yehey. Got this last weekend, I've seen this book at kino for ages and always avoided it for some reason. Then recently spotted the parka blog review for this here. I told myself, hey, that's pretty good stuff. The art is in similar vein to Koji Morimoto's and Terada's works. I like!
Also managed to borrow the new Miyazaki book Starting Point. Just started reading it but then decided to get myself a copy, but it's sold out at kino.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


A quick post before the weekend rolls away uncontrollably into next week. I've managed to paint and age our plastic sauce container to look like a rusty old bucket, yeeeaaauuuch. Why would someone keep and use a disgusting old thing like that? I might have gotten a bit carried away. Check out the before painting image here. Wanted to take more pics but my cam ran out of battery.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stashed Away

Recent events have led to an exhausting but otherwise much needed re-organization of my stash. Stuff was cleaned, cleared, categorized and stored. As you can see from the above photo of my model stash, I won't be running out of projects for the blog. All this accumulated despite a conscious but obviously wavering decision to stop buying model kits.
Located nearby is an even more extensive selection of books, magazines and references. It's hard when one finds interest in so many genres. One day I dream of a library...and a toy store?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fanboy at STGCC 2009

Well, it's the Singapore Toy Games and Comic Convention this weekend and I had a chance to check out some of the artists. The thing I liked about this year's Con is that there seems to be more things to see in the artist's alley. Where I met and got a signed The Secret Robot Spy Factory book from Sonny Liew.And a couple of comics and a book from Camilla d'Errico

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Optimus Prime Repaint

Here's a quick repaint of a mini-optimus prime figure that came on top of my softdrink cup from the movies. It also gives me a chance to shout out how much I disliked the movie. Grrr...'nuf said!
Click on this link to see how the original figure looked like.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

mech popper w.i.p

You can't buy gum in Singapore but you can chew it and the guy with the gum in the office is most popular. It so happens my friend's gum comes in a ball type packaging. I procured one for my kitbashing projects and here are the work in progress photos.The bits and pieces are stuck in with super glue. The current stage of painting is less than satisfactory. I envisioned a brushed metal finish but the sprayed on silver paint came out too grainy. I'm letting it dry for now and will attempt to salvage it with drybrushed layer of buffable metallic paint. Stay tuned!
P.S. I'm not entirely sure what this thing is. I initially imagined this to be some kind of futuristic grenade, but now I'm wondering if it could possibly represent some sort of mine as a companion piece for my trex-mech project.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Book Binge 1a

Apparently the book binge wasn't over just yet. I ordered this about a month ago and it came in about a week after the first book binge. 2 back issues of minitracks, a small scale modeling specialist magazine from France. Just had to check Patrick Lapalu's articles on making 72nd scale figs and it's a good thing it's bilingual. I ordered them online from Tracks and Troops. Lovely magazine but the cost of shipping from Europe to Singapore is about the price of 1 copy of the mag. Bummer but highly recommended. This lot cost me around S$62.
And the binge goes on. This military reference trio came from a local bookstore. Not where I'd normally find this kind of stuff but what the hey. The machine gun book outlines the invention and development of automatic guns from the 1800's to today. Ties in nicely with my braille scale WW1 Maxim MG 2 posts down. The Mechanized Warfare book is huge. Around A3 size, but cost only S$30 before discount. This one has nice big photos of tanks in action from WW1 to present day. The only downer was the use of modern day photos of WW2 re-enactors without mentioning this in the captions. There was a photo of a Tiger and Stug "in action" and the stug was a modern recreation based on a modern tank chassis, same with the tiger. This can be quite misleading and there should have been a mention of this in the captions.
This lot set me back by S$50.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book Binge

The Great Singapore Sale is here! And coinciding but not related to it, I went on an almost uncontrollable book binge this weekend. Resulting in my wallet being S$204.14 lighter. The culprits from left to right are:
Military Modeling Manual 19 - some really cool vignettes are feature in it.
Mak Profiles 1 Falke - one of the poorest price/value purchase I made. Still if you bought the new hasegawa falke model kit and can read japanese, then this book is highly recommended.
AFV Modeler Tamiya Anniversary Special - a nice compilation of built Tamiya models and a great selection of interviews from well known modelers. Including our very own Dinesh Ned.
Shimada Humikane Art Works - features girls (cyborgs?) that have parts of military aircraft and vehicles fused to their body. I think this is from a computer game. More on this later.
Exodessey - a great selection of concept art from Steambot Studios. Totally inspiring art works ranging from landscapes to characters and vehicles. I'm well pleased with this piece.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Minimized Maxim MG 08

It's a scratchbuilt 1:72 scale Maxim MG08. Used by Germany during WW1. Built from bits and pieces of plastic sheet, plastic rod and metal foil.
The machine gun itself is about 2 cm long.
When finished, it will be part of a ww1 diorama where a FT-17 is attacking a German trench.
The whole thing is built up from 3 main components. It is still missing the muzzle, handles and a mechanical bit on the gun mount. I'll also probably need to build an ammo box, ammo belt and the water can that cools the barrel. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

DIY laptop

Well, not really. It's actually my home made backdrop holder for taking photos of my projects. The photos from the last mazinger Z stikfas post made it painfully obvious to me that I need a nicer background to have better photos.
The list of materials used:
2 x cheap balsa wood framed cork boards
2 x metal hinges
4 x self tapping metal screws
2 x packaging string
3 x paper clips (made from sheet aluminum)
double sided tape
Various colored papers for use as the backdrops.
The hinges were aligned with masking tape and then screwed onto the back of the boards. A couple of screws were then attached to both sides where the strings were looped over. I made sure the angle of the boards was more than 90 degrees when opened to prevent it from closing on itself while I'm photographing.
Aluminum sheet was cut into small squares, corners were rounded, the edges were sanded and then folded over to form clips that would hold the paper backdrop. These were attached via double sided tape. 2 at the bottom and 1 at the top. Locations were based on the size of my paper backdrops.
The sheets of paper I got were quite small but were big enough for small projects. Eventually I'll need to get larger sheets and I might need to adjust the clips position or add new clips.
We'll see the backdrop in action for my next posts.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mazinger Z-tikfas

I'm calling 'im done for now. In fact, he's gone off for a vacation, can you guess where?
One day I gotta get my airbrushed properly cleaned so I can spray a final semi-gloss protective coat on Mr Z here, till then he'll have to wait in the cabinet. Now if you're wondering why you only ever see him in one pose. Why isnt he supposed to be stikfas custom and hence should be poseable? Well you see I built him out of an old stikfas I had lying around. He had yellowed a bit due to sun exposure and the plastic had gotten a bit brittle. The joints started to crack when I put him together so I had to glue him all up. So now he's frozen in that pose, not much action in this figure. Hope none of the baddies come around to bust him up! that an idea for the next stikfas custom?

See here for all the work in progress posts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mazinger Plas-stikfas Almost Done

Got hit by a stomach bug and put out of action. The consequences are of course I get a chance to catch up on some light activities at home. Mr. Z here is all painted up and almost ready to go! All that's left is a protective spray on varnish and final assembly. Of course I didn't forget the second most important chest pieces for all male Mazinger Z fans. See below:
The pieces were pretty small and I was too weak (lazy) to whip up the old compressor and airbrush, so I decided I'd brush paint them by hand. Problem is that brush marks are so obvious when it comes applying glossy paint. I'm thinking of applying a final layer of envirotex lite gloss varnish. Lets hope it works!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cashless Stash

Happily received this in the mail about a month ago, it's a 1/35 scale model the Centurion Mk 5 battle tank. It's a generous gift from the folks at armorama for my SAS jeep article which won the feature writing contest. You might remember my first ever post is when I mentioned this article.
It also come with a set of metal tracks and resin gun mantlet as seen in the photo.

Mazinger Plas-stikfas all wrapped up

No, I'm afraid it's not wrapped as in finished, instead it's wrapped up in tissue and tape for spray painting. Actually did this about a month ago, it's the second stage in painting. 1st layer was Tamiya Color Racing White from a spray can. After drying for a day or so, I masked and airbrushed on Tamiya acrylic Blue color mixed with a bit of Field Blue and Clear. The result is what you see in the pic.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Painting Richard's Mind

Hi all, I got new link today. A very talented concept artist and an excellent sculptor as well (I wish he'd post some photos of his sculpt on his blog!) I enthusiastically present Richard Lim.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tekkon Kinkreet WHITE

Acting on a tip off from my daydreaming friend, I hastened down to the local Jap book store and bought my first Art book this year. Splurged S$72 yesterday for a copy of "The Art of Tekkon Kinkreet White".In these foul economic times, the book was still worth the moolah I spent on it. (So what is a blog these days without mentioning the economy?) This hardbound coffee table book is filled with inspiring full color images of the background plates used in the animated movie Tekkon Kinkreet (a word play on the Jap words for Reinforced Concrete). If you love nicely rendered urban vistas that are bursting at the seams with incredibly detailed handdrawn perfection, well then this book is definitely for you. IMHO though, there are 2 things that will make this book even better - bigger size and more characters. I'm a character kinda guy and prefer to have characters set in the backgrounds, but that's just me.

This book will go well with my "The Art of Tekkon Kinkreet Black", which I got a last year for some forty odd dollars or so.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Art Book Blogs

Someone posted a comment on my post about the Wow cinematic art book. This led me to his blog here. Looks interesting... Thanks Parka!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stainless Jeep The Beginnings

Mabuhay! At the start of the year, I've hinted on a "never before seen here" project - a 1/72 scale Stainless Jeep. A.K.A. the "Owner Type" Jeep, its the little brother of the more internationally known "pam-pasaherong" jeep or jeepney. Its origins dates back to over 60 years ago when the first jeeps served in the second World War. The stainless jeep's appeal is firmly imprinted into the pinoy psyche.
During a recent trip to the Philippines, I was surprised - though I shouldn't have been - to see that the owner jeep is still very much alive and kicking up the dust on the roads of Manila. In my short time there, I must have seen at least 2 dozen jeeps of varying configuration with no 2 vehicle exactly alike. Although I have seen an art piece stainless jeep (in a singapore museum) covered entirely in stainless steel, the real thing is usually composed of sheet Galavanised Iron body work fitted with various stainless steel fittings. The picture above is a good representation of the typical configuration and I've listed the main features I wish to represent in my little model. More on this next time...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Metal Gha Nachkt

I haven't put this baby (ugghhh) to rest. Here's an alternate metallic version I made.
Click here for the progress posts.

Mazinger Plas-stikfas

I managed to finish all the mods I wanted to make on my custom mazinger stikfas. Here's how it looks in all it's bare plastic (and metal and wood) glory!
Next step is to prime and paint. I don't know if it's the age of my stikfas, but the plastic seems to have gone brittle on me. The sockets cracked when I connected the limbs, so I had to super glue the figure into the current pose. There goes playability!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Around the world in 365 days!

A new link has been added under Adventure Links. A couple of friends have embarked on the adventure of their lives and has generously set up a blog allowing us to share in their year long travel to places far and wide. All the best F & G! Only 39000 miles to go :)

Welcome the year of the ox!

I've been retarded about my blog lately. Took several days off from Singapore to visit the Philippines for a couple of weddings plus the mandatory winin' and dinin' = Time just flies when you're having fun. But now it's back to Singapore to usher in the year of the ox, does this mean we have to work ourselves to the bone like the dear ol' ox?
Gong Xi Fa Cai to one and all!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

let there be omnilight

Another new link added to creative buddies. A friend of mine has recently returned to Singapore and introduced me to his blog. There isn't much on it yet, but what little that's there sure impresses me! If it's a sign of things to come, then I'm keeping a close watch on this page.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

a link to daydreams added

Artists often daydream. Some choose to publish it in their blogs. I've added a link to my friend Waiming's blog. There's some cool portrait photography in there.
Check it out here or from the creative buddies link list on the side bar.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

In Memory of Gha Nachkt

Final painted pics of the Gha Nachkt.
So after the details were painted in, I applied a controlled oil wash for the dark shade areas. This was allowed to dry a couple of days before the next step. The highlights were also done in oils, but this time applied using a dry brush technique.Once the oils had dried a couple more days, I sprayed a flat coat over the whole bust. To finish off, I applied some gloss varnish to the eyes, nostrils and edge of the mouth. This makes a nice contrast to the overall flat finish and adds life to the bust.