Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ragnar Blackmane nears completion

I figured I share some of the final WIP shots for Ragnar. I spent yesterday putting most of the sub-assemblies together and filling in gaps.

A big part of yesterday's work included building the understructure and sculpting the fur pelt he has draped over his right shoulder. One of the key things was making sure I gave the whole thing movement.

The cloak couldn't just lay there flat. With him mid-stride, the pelt needed to reflect that as well. Not impossible, but a bit harder to pull than a regular hanging cloak.

One other aspect was making sure the texture was the same between the plastic wolf head, paws and the rest of the pelt.

Building the pelt structure was done with index card. The head was glued in place on his right shoulderpad and after looking at the original model, I estimated how far down I wanted each pelt arm to fall. A little bending to get the right shape along with some trimming to fit and I was all set.

With the index card piece cut to shape, I superglued it in place. Using a rather fluid superglue as opposed to a gel consistency glue, I was able to coat the index card and let it absorb the glue. This basically turned it into plastic and I could sculpt right on top of a rigid struture and get the shape I wanted.

This is the key to getting the pelt off the body and flowing in the wind. Without the understructure, it would be near impossible for me to do. I glued the paw at the end and added a layer of greenstuff over the top. Making sure to match the texture was the last step in the illusion.

I did have to sculpt his left handed bolt pistol holster from scratch. Even though he's holding the gun with his right hand, the model has it on his left hip and it was the only open space left on the model really. Tucking it under his right arm would have made it disappear with the pelt hanging there.

Using a right handed holster as a guide for the shape, I flattened out a bit of greenstuff to the same thickness as the body of the holster. Once it cured, I cut it out to the correct shape. The flap, the button and the pull tab were all extras that were added to the body of the holster once it was glued in place.

I think it works pretty well in the end. Not bad for a first attempt at building on of these from scratch.

And just a couple more shots of the model as it sits on my desk right now. You can really see how working on top of the index card structure allows me to get the pelt up and away from his body as though the wind were catching it as he runs.

At this point, I need to get the chains in place across his chest and then I can add on his head with all his hair. Last but not least will be his left forearm since it comes across the front of the model. If I were to add it now, it'd be impossible to get in there and work on those pieces still left to do.

I cut his arm at the wrist so I could reposition the chainsword at just the right angle too. It was a little awkward trying to glue just a shoulder in place so I could add the shoulderpad to that.

I need to swing by a craft store and buy some small jewelry chain so the scale is correct. I don't have enough to do this model with what I have on my desk right now. I thought I did, but of course I was wrong.

All in all, I think I've got another day or so of work on this guy to finish him up.


  1. Max: Thanks, but the tough part is still to come.
    His hair and those chains are going to be a bit of a challenge.

  2. Looking good so far.

    I would have stuck with a "right" handed holster(empty of course) though. And just put it on his left hip. And gone for the whole drawn across the hip look like old style westerns. Because with the gun in his right hand and the holster as you've done it makes it look awkward. Like he had to draw with his left hand then pass to his right hand, all while holding a chainsword.

  3. Looks great... my only criticism is how his left leg is externally rotated as he's running, which would be a very awkward running style.

    However, it's superb. The GS work is awesome, the pistol holster is superb.

    Great work.

  4. Tordeck: I think we'll have to assume this guy is that good that he can switch weapon hands in the middle of combat. I see what you're saying though.

    I think if I'd stuck a right handed holster on his left hip (backwards), it may have been accurate for real world applications, but I may have ended up with as many people thinking it was backwards as well.

    Brother Loring: I went back and looked at the model now that you mentioned that. I think it helps with the illusion to have him in a more open stance like he's getting ready to leap instead of keeping his legs close together.

    He's more getting ready to lunge forward than he is outright running forward in a line.

    I am pushing the limits of what his leg can do with then joints we have, but I think the open position is much better than having both legs in line under him.

    Seriously though, I appreciate the critical look at the model guys, it helps me stay on track.

  5. Ahhh.... if he's about to leap then that will look cool. It probably help if his arm on the same side (ipsilateral if you will) is raised up ready to slash down then to give the feel of him opening up ready to... how shall i say... lay the smack down?

  6. ... a little bit like this... although this guy does look a bit odd.

  7. I'm really curious to see what you do with his chest piece.
    Also, I want to see his boots painted, right now he looks like he's wearing light up sneakers.

    Well done Ron! Keep it up.

  8. It is really coming along well. It's going to be one eye catching HQ that your client will field.

    Any quick tips for filling in thin gaps with green stuff? I've got the hardest time doing that. :/

  9. I love that you remembered to model his knife boots, even if they don't have rules any more.

  10. Brother Loring: Yes, kinda like the picture you linked to there. I think with the chainsword across the front, it completes the pose.

    Unfortunately, I can't glue it in at this point since I still have tons of work to do.

    I guess in the end we're looking for the feeling of action and not so much complete technical accuracy. There is a balance somewhere in there and I like to look at it as a give and take. Too far in one direction and the other suffers.

    Solid_Smurf: I thought about priming them so they don't stand out so bad. I may still do that to make sure they are correct in scale and such. The yellow can really throw your eyes off can't it?

    Flekkzo: It's fairly easy actually. I've got some more conversion work in the coming weeks and I'll hit on it then. I have a quick process I use and I'll snap some pics.

    MasterSlowPoke: Is that what they are? I didn't know they had a name much less rules for them. Cool.

  11. I have a general sculpting question for you, Ron.

    When you sculpt icons and details (I'm looking at Ragnar's double-headed wolf belt thing in this case), do you sculpt the GS right on the model? Or, do you sculpt it on something else and transfer it over once it has cured?

    If you transfer it, how do you keep it from sticking to the original surface so you can move it?



  12. Dave: I almost always sculpt on the model itself.
    That's what I did for the belt buckle there.

    When I sculpt things off of the model, I usually do them on plasticard (like the bolt pistol holster) and once it's cured, I carefully peel it away so as not to deform it.

    I don't add anything between the plasticard and greenstuff. Sometimes I will wet the plasticard surface slightly with water, but that can be problematic when it comes time to sculpt since it makes the greenstuff prone to sliding around.

    1. You can use petrolium jelly. Did i spell that right ...