Sunday 30 June 2013

'nids part 88 - Tyranid Bastion growth pt9.

Next up is the dry fitting of my pseudo-heavy bolters. Simple addition of some flower arranging wire, drilled and glued into the donor Deathspitters [plain warrior version on the left, monstrous creature ones on the right, sadly I couldn't get all MC versions, never mind].

Pushed into the foamboard inside their fire slits. I will prepare a 45° fire arc template soon for this

As you can see it's not too bad, I can at least avoid the capillary towers although I'm not holding onto too much hope with my weapons here. A 45° fire arc with a 5+ chance to hit, not great odds but I think the fire ports will be the main benefit, not to mention the 3+ save on the battlements.

Here's where I switch to Milliput for the Chitin plates and I've added some stretched muscular flesh similar to the Forgeworld towers. Of course this meant I had to invest in another couple of packs of Milliput taking my costs up to about £10 spent specifically on this [not including the moonscape base which wasn't being used for anything else].

Second set of Chitin plates on the inner towers, perhaps you can make out how much crisper the detail is on the Milliput ones versus the DAS clay. I'm not 100% convinced I needed to make the swap, I'll continue on for durabilities sake but you could probably use DAS throughout.

The other larger towers first chitin plate.

That's another nights work, bring on tomorrow, although I may have to pause at some point because my Milliput order may take a few days to arrive, ooh the frustration!
Tyranid Bastion Foamboard core template part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. | part 7. | part 8. 

Friday 28 June 2013

'nids part 87 - Tyranid Bastion growth pt8.

One of the things with any creative enterprise is that the end result is often not what you had in mind, there are compromises along the way, however hard you try your skill may not be up to the grand vision in your head. If this blog is anything to go by you can find plenty of examples where I've settled with a 'satisfactory/good' but often you only get one crack at these things so why not 'shoot for the moon'? 
However, there are also those moments where your abilities somehow manage to match or go beyond your expectations. You'll have seen that happen on the blog too, although there'll be satisfactory elements rubbing shoulders with the outstanding bits I think the outstanding parts overshadow them so much, I really don't care. It's these bits that when completed late at night and you've packed away all your paints, sculpting tools, brushes and whatnot that keeps you going back to stare at your efforts over the next 10-15 minutes, mentally 'putting it to bed' instead of actually going to bed yourself. Of course all that really does is fill your head with visions of what you've achieved and the next step, so sleep doesn't come any easier once you tear yourself away from your masterpiece.

What we have here friends is one of those moments. How the frak did I do this? Lets find out...

I'd been debating what to do on the rooftop, whether I should replicate the 'biomechanical' effect o the walls, trying to figure out a way to employ Grubnards Tyranid modelling techniques from the Mandulian Chapel and whether or not I wanted to trade the perfectly flat foambord roof for something I could sculpt that would make models a bit wobbly. I thought sod it and out with the Dremmel but all the time I'm spending trying to cut out the foam now it's in situ I'm thinking 'I'm waisting time that I could have spent sculpting the Chitin plates on the Capillary Towers'. Anyway, you may just make out a rough 'plateau' on the left for a 'hatch' but after quite a bit of time [because it was awkward getting the sanding attachments in there]  I actually found the easiest way to remove the foam was digging it out with my nails, or is that claws and teeth?!

First things first why's it red you ask. Well I had some Terracota DAS clay too and I'd always intended to do some bits with it just to get a contrast so I could see what I was doing, even if I chose to go with my Milliput, which is also Terracota. I'd actually recommend it ahead of standard white now as it smells of marzipan which is not altogether unpleasant [despite hating the stuff as a child] which is better than the 'vomit' odour my wife claimed she could smell after I first used the white DAS [she has the most acute sense of smell, I can't even spray in the garage without it somehow filtering through the walls to our bedroom!]

Anyway, a layer of clay was put down and on the inside edges of the battlements. I'd originally thought about trying some of Hallowe'en haunt genius Stolloween's melted plastic bag techniques to get stretched flesh effect on the inner chitin and battlements but that requires the bag to be glued/fixed in place before melting and there really wasn't room or time for it to be effective. I tried but without fixing the plastic just shrank and fell off, so I abandoned the idea and just decided to sculpt with a mixture of four silicon crafting tools I picked up for £2.99 in a discount book store the other week and my trusty hobby tool like GW's. This baby was thrown in with the ebay auction I won for my Carnifex which eventually became my first Tervigon. Lucky that!

The insides of the battlements were just scored with the blade end of the hobby tool, I should look into some cheap plastic clay shapers too, I bet I could get all kinds of crazy shapes off those. If I'm honest these are the 'satisfactory' bits. I know they could be better and the join with the two smaller towers could have been more effective but they're on the insides, difficult to see and access so their OK-ness is less evident...

...particularly when the ground texture came out so well. All I did was take the bullet tipped silicon tool and scored tear-drop shapes towards the centre of the tower, fat on the outside tapering into the centre. The centre sphincter hatch was just a mound of clay with a thin sausage ring around it. I used the chisel silicon tool to add lines to it for a bit of texture, I bet a Milliput tentacle would have been better in this instance. The sphincter was split 6 ways with the chisel and then the leaves were stippled with the bullet tip, again just for a bit of texture. With practice [see later pictures] I got better at this and wished it was more 'protruding' but for practical reasons having it flat will make the figures more stable.

My efforts on this productive evening did not end there, I attempted to sculpt a Chitin plate on the tower with DAS, just as I would have done for my Defence Line. DAS is not very sticky at first so it is challenging and it does have a fibrous structure that does make it easier to tear bits off compared with Milliput but it doesn't take any time to mix and is £2.99 for 500g which I've only used about three quarters doing the white bits. I may switch to Milliput for the bigger towers, we'll see. Learning point though is that much like the towers themselves I'll only really be able to do one level of plates at a time, which means that's five nights of sculpting as each level of plate is left to dry overnight.

Oh boy, this is what I'm talking about, how did this come out so well. A happy accident, and suddenly the sphincter seemed to have depth and layers of texture. I hope I can capture some of these colours, although the base will be terracota so perhaps not but I really want a glistening wet fleshy look, perhaps I'll look for some more Tamiya Clear colours to achieve that.

I had planned to put a muscular ring round it too but opted to leave it as it is before I mess with it. Perhaps I'll employ the tentacle maker for this. It's also prompted me to build around the fire ports similar to the emplaced weapons so I can add some fleshy bits too and tie it altogether.

Lastly I had a quick crack at boring some holes out of the clay as I may 'texture' the emplaced weapon ports like this. 

It echoes the stomatas you see on the Tyranid tails. I may have to add some little 'nubs' though before I drill to add some more texture :) and add more time :( we'll see.

Tyranid Bastion Foamboard core template part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. | part 7. | 

Wednesday 26 June 2013

MOAR from my mate Liam - kit-bashed Defilers / Brass Scorpions

Liam's kit-bashed Defilers / Brass Scorpions I think won him best 'beast' at Throne of Skulls, he recently sent me through some WiPs which may help folk see how he did it.

Each armoured plate is made from a section of pipe with thin Plasticard reinforced edging strips.

Quite a large use of cables and wires for the back.

Elements from the Forgefiend for the head and Defiler bits for the legs.

Here's the pair.

And then came painting, with non-mteallic metals and battle damage across the model.

Different colours of cables added contrast on the back.

Here's an in progress shot of one Defiler, plenty of work still to do.

Liam's 'White Dwarf' shot. Perhaps the biggest compliment was that despite the size difference between the scratchbuilds and a Forgeworld Brass Scorpion one GW staff member did believe this was the Forgeworld kit!

And the Heldrake to match

Monday 24 June 2013

'nids part 86 - Tyranid Bastion growth pt7.

In some respects I feel disappointed that I'm not sharing the following pictures 'live' so to speak. This is six nights continuous work. I cracked open the white DAS and just thought I'd see what happened. and as time went on I got better at it. Using my trusty sculpting tool I just scored some horizontal 'biomechanical' ridges and although it's not perfection by any stretch the clumsy nature of my sculpting does have a certain 'alien growth' feel to it. Day 1 aw me sculpt the left tower and for fear of ruining what I'd done I left it to dry overnight. Automatically that gives me a timescale of 8 days which is why I dropped all the other projects, although given it took around an hour to do I could easily have swapped to the vault or Tac Squad when this was done but I was a bit drained by the whole procedure. The second tower was Day 2, with an emplaced weapon slit, which I'd foolishly forgotten to add on the first tower, I wonder how difficult that will be.

Anywhere, I'd sanded the grout too much was quite flexible as I tried to sculpt the clay but it was only a minor irritant. Additionally the surface was still quite dusty, although you couldn't tell to touch but the DAS did struggle to stick. I don't know why adding water on the outside makes it stick but it does help. Maybe the clay is ultra-porous and it wicks through to help slick it up and stick to the base. I also found adding in chunks and then working them together helpful. I prepped a whole wall before I sculpted and think given the surface area you would struggle with Milliput to do this. I'm sure it'd start to go off before you got to this stage whereas a quick wipe over with water breathes life into the clay.

Here's where I shave off a day. Given these two inner walls a quite small and fiddly anyway I was prepared to gamble smudging the sculpt by doing two at once. I didn't expect them to be great so I could afford a mistake or two.

Day 4 and I treated the right tower as a single unit also, sculpting both sides of the emplaced weapon in one go. The following night I thought I could do the same on the big tower. 

With all my experience so far and growing confidence but it was a little too much and I left it with some of the elements sculpted hoping I could join them up without too much fuss.

I also filled out some of the inner battlements and Capillary towers just because I'd snagged my rubber gloves on exposed support pins a couple of times and to use up clay that had been out in the air for a bit.

Lastly I added on the forgotten emplaced weapon port - easy peasy and the remaining wall was finished off and I was able to blend it in with few problems. I'm concerned that the emplaced weapon ports are a bit bland, perhaps they could have done with a bit of texture?

I'm pretty much sculpting on the fly here, I'd intended to frame each wall [which will be bonewhite with a red flesh lining and my usual blue/turquoise chitin plate but I seem to have dropped fleshy bits on the walls which leaves the areas intended to take the fleshy bits quite plain. I also need to get my head round the Tervigon belly-esque flesh bits that will be growing out of the base...
I was going to be using some paper craft balls covered in PVA'd tissue paper but my brother reminded me about my lava balls, which are much more organic and I've also got a couple of Termagant bodies I can embed in it to look like the Bastion is gestating bioforms like a Tervigon and explain why it would be defended - so that has to happen as it's cool!

Anyway, I bet that would have been quite exciting to see that happen step-by-step each day, almost live, sorry. Although it does make it a bit easier to follow when I'll only have one post on the tutorial page and we'd be on 'nids part 91 - Tyranid Bastion growth pt13 with still tonnes to do - so much for that micro-blogging concept.
Tyranid Bastion Foamboard core template part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. 

Saturday 22 June 2013

'nids part 85 - Tyranid Bastion growth pt6.

In my head I'm still trying to work out which bits need to be done first, what materials will be used to make them and the best approach to take. It's not quite the tapered structure I was aiming for, although the capillary towers do create that effect although the actual Bastion itself is quite linear. Anyway, its a best guess situation at this stage and the next 'guess' was to sand the grouting down. Whatever pattern/texture/effect I'm going to do on the walls the grout is too rough to guarantee an applicaiton I'm comfortable with. Trust my luck to sculpt through some clay only to hit a spike of grout. So I bought some sponge sanding pads to shave this baby down.

After about 30 seconds, I got bored, picked up the Dremmel and found a sanding attachment and safety goggles [should have worn a filter mask too as I was coughing a bit later on] and then sanded this mother. A lot of care must be taken not to sand through the pop bottle core on the battlements, where the plastic was thinnest, but on the capillary towers it was much more forgiving.

I've been having quite a debate with myself on the issues of this non-imperial bastion and how closely it should follow the template from the standard model. In some respect I've already gone off-piste with an oblong design instead of square/circular. This could be construed as 'modelling for advantage' as I can create a wider LoS blocking piece of terrain. Of course it's really modelling to fit the crater so I can argue the case for that, however I actually read the rules for buildings for the first time properly and discovered a Bastion is classed as a 'medium sized building' which outside of the Bastion rules could be any building measuring up to 9"x9", which is quite a footprint. My Bastion is currently measuring in at roughly 8.5"x4.5", considerably less so again I think I can contend with any debate.

The other issue is weapons and firing ports. Now the standard Bastion has an emplaced Heavy Bolter at each compass point. Much as it pains me with my design I will be following this with a bolter asymetrically placed North and South i.e. North in the left tower and south in the right tower [the one not with the door]. the East and West ones are a bit more ungainly as they will have to but alongside the Capillary tower ends. The only alternative is to this would be to have two facing North and two South but I can't justify this 'broadside' configuration given the advantages this might bring so N, S, E and W it is.

Fire points will also be an issue as they should follow the compass points two with 7 vantage points in total. However there's just no way I can design this thing for them to fit that way so I will will have four on the north facing [in the original design below I was going to have 5 but given the advantages and the fact they just won't fit the design I dropped it to 4] and two on the South facing. Ultimately every list I make that will include the Bastion will also have a 75pt alternative option that I will smiling swap out should my opponent be concerned [at which point I will happily name and shame their a$$e$ on my blog! Ha, ha!] Once again the solution to fitting this all into my head so I have a mental picture of what I'm doing is to do an actual picture:

With the grout sanded down I then marked on the sketch drawing. this gives me exactly where I need to make allowances for fire points and chitin plates for the sculpting.

I also sanded and gouged out areas for the node points to be fire points and used the Dremmel to gut out the slots for the 'heavy bolters'.

Each node point was sanded to try and fit the area and surface it was attaching too, hence why they're all colour coded so I put the correct node on the correct spot.

With the nodes in situ it looks like I have quite the broadside. I may suggest that the top-right node only fires towards the right [western] side that way there are still only 3 fire points on this facing, which is the Imperial standard. In fact I'll probably create a little diagram once it's complete so I can pass it to my opponent before a game so they can be clear what each fire arc is.

Not sure how I'm going to fit the fleshy growth areas around the door, I'm running out of space inside the crater but we'll see where we're at after the sculpting goes on. I think I'll go with DAS air drying clay as I've more of it, it's cheaper and doesn't require me t mix it beforehand like Milliput. It'll be less durable but if anything gets damaged I can always use it as battle damage, I just hope it's as easy to model with as Milliput.

Tyranid Bastion Foamboard core template part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5.