Friday, March 4, 2011

Black Reach Captain and Ragnar update

I spent this week doing some more work on the Ragnar project I have. I broke out the greenstuff and got few things sculpted.

His left shoulderpad is a wolf's head basically. I ended up taking the wolf head from a Space Wolf backpack, cutting it off, trimming it down along with a regular shoulderpad and joining the two pieces. A little greenstuff for the "fur" and presto, instant shoulderpad.

Actually it's a bit more work than that. After adding a little greenstuff to each side of the wolf head, I used an X-Acto knife to mark off where each triangular fur piece would be. When I got to the bottom row, I cut away the excess greenstuff.

I took my GW sculpting tool and carefully pressed the tip into the areas between the rows to make them look like they overlap. I'm not sure what is on the right shoulderpad since it's covered with a pelt... so it's not that important now that I think about it.

Another piece that took some time to get assembled was his chainsword. When done, this thing will be in probably four pieces for just this arm. I still need to do a bunch of stuff to it like finish sculpting the teeth, add the diamond gem on the blade covering and clean up the joint in the middle of the weapon.

It's made with two chainswords so that I could extend it a bit to give it some real heft. I had to carefully cut each half at a point where I could join them back together and the teeth would match up. The pic above shows the conversion half way through the process, I still need to clean up the face of the chain guard and resculpt the teeth that I had to cut away.

This is a deceptive conversion. It's not as easy as just gluing the two halves together and greenstuffing the joint. This kind of conversion takes a considerable amount of work to pull off and have the viewer not even realize the chainsword has been extended. Stupid teeth on the blade... and they're on both sides in this case.

This picture is from another project, but the concept here is very important.
If you look at the small diagrams at the bottom of the pic (A and B), you'll see what I mean in the following explanation.

Example A is the "normal way" someone might go about joining the two blades. The problem with this method is that it will be near impossible to get a smooth transition between the two parts. The edge of each chainsword will make it impossible to fill the gap and not leave tell tale signs of your work.

Example B is the method you want to use. Before joining the two portions of the blade, you need to trim away the sharp corners and almost round out the edges to be joined. This will allow you to fill the gap with greenstuff and create a smooth transition between the two pieces hiding your work from sight.

Assault on Black Reach Captain test scheme
I have friend that has been kind enough to send me a bunch of models along with some test schemes of armies he'd like to build one day. As I get a free minute every now and then, I try and get one done for him to see what his scheme will look like on an actual model.

Keep in mind this guy was painted up real quick as I'm just trying to get the paint on the model so he can see what it looks like in real life. This guy is half black, half white on his armour, but you can hardly tell since he's draped in so many robes. I decided to keep him somewhat muted overall and use him as an opportunity to try out some highlighting with muted tones.

Instead of just picking a lighter shade of the color to highlight with, I added a light grey to the original color to create the highlight. It gives the highlights a certain feel and they aren't as bright and pure as if I'd done it with a lighter shade of the same hue.

I really like this look. With some experimentation, I might figure out a few new ways to highlight my models to create particular looks and environments.

Drathmere from 40k Hobby Blog and I were talking about his very thing the other day when it comes to highlighting red. It can be a difficult color to get right and maybe even a bit harder to get a nice highlight on top of that.

I've already adopted a slightly muted approach to my highlighting when it comes to red, maybe this will help push me to try it with other colors as well.


  1. Loving the Ragnar bits. Great tip on making butt joints as well.

    The muted highlighting looks very natural -- doesn't scream "I'm a highlight!" -- just adds the enhances the looks of the model.

  2. Hudson: Glad it helps, it's a tiny thing, but real important for those kind of joints. You'd go mad otherwise trying to get them smooth.

    And I'm glad the highlights read well on the model. It definitely gives it a certain feel.\

    I think with some work, I can really get a hold of what I do when I highlight and make them contribute the the environmental feel of the model.

  3. I've contemplated using one of the wolf helmets on the shoulder. There is no way I could sculpt it all after all :)

    I'm following this with anticipation:)

  4. I like Ragnar's chainsword, despite my dislike for painting them these days! How long do you wait for the green stuff to cure before sanding it?

  5. Flekkzo: There was no way I was going to try and sculpt the wolf head either. I knew I was going to bite the bullet and get a hold of the backpack and go from there.

    Drathmere: If I'm going to sand it, I'll wait a day at least. It's very rare that I sand it though. This will be the third time ever sanding greenstuff. Most of the time I sculpt and then cut away what I don't use.

  6. Cant wait to see the rest of your Ragnar conversion Ron.

    Could you please tell me how you have painted the brown leather on The Black Reach Capt?

  7. Steven: The leather is easy enough, it's a base of Foundation Calthan Brown followed by a Devlan Mud wash. Then it's some line highlighting with the base color again on the prominent edges.

    I kept it simple and kinda dark so it fell into the background since the model is so busy up front. I like the little bit of warm color the leather brings to the model, but not so much as to be distracting.

  8. Thanks Ron, I've been looking for a nice light tone of brown to for my for my Pre Heresy Wolves.

    You just got to love those foundation paints and the Devlan Mud (God) wash.

  9. dewi sant: I do like the Foundation colors... once you get used to using them.

    And while Devlan Mud is great stuff, once you learn how to use the other colors, you very rarely go back to the Mud.

  10. Took me a while to figure out where that backpack comes from. If anyone else wonders, it seems to be from the accessory sprue that GW sells.

    I want to make myself a cool plastic Ragnar too :)

  11. Flekkzo: For Ragnar... yes, it's the one that comes off the Wolf Sprue. There's tons of cool stuff on that if you're a Wolf player.

  12. "This will allow you to fill the gap with greenstuff and create a smooth transition..."

    Try HUMBROL MODEL FILLER TUBE 31ml instead of epoxy stuff, it works perfectly on larger flat joints as you can sand it down easily when dried. I suppose it should work on smaller flat joints.

  13. Magiler: So you prefer to use this over just a pinch of greenstuff when making corrections to a model?

    I don't usually sand anything on models outside of mold lines in the beginning myself. Is this stuff workable like greenstuff is or does it dry fast and cure real hard?