News and random musings from the Sculptdude.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Why We Bought a House and Tore It Down


Because many of you have asked how it's going with the property here is brief overview.

In February of 2017 we began looking at options to move to in order to separate our business from the house. Bombshell Miniatures is five years old now and it has taken over about half of our home. While at first the commute was terrific in a work-at-home situation, as the product lines, production areas, and shipping/receiving areas have grown, we can no longer escape "being at work."

At first we looked at property in the mid-west, like Missouri, having a better proximity to attend shows and conventions, with an ideal climate. Later we determined this wasn't as practical and decided to stay in Texas near to family.

The houses in our area are at in seller's market with the current influx of businesses moving to the region. We have twenty years of equity in our current home and are very close to paying off the mortgage loan amount. This would allow us to buy another property outright and develop it to suit our needs.

LeeAnn Kearney - Realtor
So, in August with the help of our awesome realty agent LeeAnn Kearney, we finally found a suitable site at a price that was about 30% of the current value of our existing home. We purchased that property with the intent of renovating the existing house if it was possible. The property is a corner lot 12 minutes south of Greenville, TX and is a full acre with fantastic neighbors a beautiful open view and lots of space for development.

Throughout the entire month of September, Vicky and I set to task to do the demolition and determine what would need renovating. We knew there were structural issues with the added sunroom as well as some other areas that had flooded at the front of the house after a walk-through and a professional home inspection.


  

After tearing out the sheetrock and carpet to see the extent of the issues, it uncovered a lot more work than just a cosmetic remodel would fix.

  • There was cigarette smoke damage and odor throughout the house
  • There were live termites under the flooring in the sunroom and laundry room
  • There was water damage and rot to most of the studs along the front and side walls
  • No internal plumbing or drainage was properly run
  • Attic piping to the hot water heater had leaked and caused damage
  • Mold was present in all of the outside walls, studs and insulation
  • The foundation had sunk below the grade of the drainage swell at the front
  • The ceiling joists where the sunroom attached were not properly supported
So, after we tore enough of it out to determine the extent of the issues, we decided to complete the demolition and replace the house with a new modular/manufactured home. It would be a completely new building, all built to code, complete with a manufacturers warranty. Vicky and I visited Recreation Resort Cottages in Rockwall, TX to select a suitable floor plan and choose all of the options on the interior/exterior. This is the model we chose.

We hired SML Demolition in Greenville to remove the house structure as well as break up the foundation concrete and remove all of that. They have fantastic guys to work with and have done a terrific job clearing the site for our new home. They managed to deconstruct the structure and salvage/recycle a lot of the materials.

  

We are expecting to receive shipment of the new house the first week of December and will be posting updates to our photo albums on Facebook as we prepare to move in. During this time, construction continues on the 1200 sq ft production facility and studio for Bombshell Miniatures. You can see all of the pics on the progress in the albums here.


--Patrick


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Konflikt 47 Firefly Squad

With the Warlord Games Con coming up Memorial Day weekend in Oklahoma City, I wanted to get my Konflikt 47 models ready to take along in the event I can get some introductory games in.

My initial force list was set up in Army Builder. I decided to make a fast attack, mobile, and versatile force that can claim objectives quickly but still deal with heavy opponents like tanks. To see the force list PDF you can click here.



The first unit I wanted to start with was the Firefly squad. Rather than just settle with the standard boxed set I decided to do a little customization to give them a real dieselpunk/pulp sci-fi vibe.

For this project the following parts were used:



The first thing was to sort out the poses of the figure bodies and select which ones would go on the flight stands. The overall look I was going for was a succession of rocket troops coming in for a landing. Some troops would be already on the ground in a firing position while others were still airborne and coming in for a touchdown.



After cleaning mold lines off the parts, I drilled appropriate mounting holes in the bottom of the figures with a 3mm bit. Once they were dry fit on the flying posts I cut the feet from them and re-attached them using ProCreate sculpting putty. I also added some padded kneepads to their fatigues.



I picked one of the bare heads on the infantry sprue and sculpted a flight cap over it. This will be cast in resin for each of the figures' helmets.


Once the squad is assembled it will be on to priming and painting.

--P

Friday, December 16, 2016

ROGUE ONE


A long time ago in a suburb far, far, away. a great adventure took place.

I can't begin to recount my entire experience of seeing Star Wars for the first time, and you probably wouldn't want to read it anyway. The summer of 1977 was a period of transition for me. It marked the point we moved from Turtle Creek in east downtown Dallas to the suburbs of Pleasant Grove, formerly known as Urbandale. I left Catholic school and would be attending public school for the first time starting fourth grade. During the summer I managed to miss all manner of marketing for the film except one.

The Story of Star Wars - I saw a few commercials on TV for this and ran across a copy in one of the big chain department stores, while shopping for new school clothes. I wouldn't have to be wearing a uniform anymore. After getting the album home I had no idea what to expect but it reminded me of the Disney read-along book and record sets that I had from a few years back. There was a color book inside filled with pictures from the movie. After playing the album over and over I begged my mom to take me to see this.

It was probably September that I saw it the first time and was completely transformed. I was already a "movie buff" at age nine and was a rabid fan of Planet of the Apes and King Kong (the original AND the 1976 remake). I knew who John Chambers was and Rick Baker. So for me the experience happened on many, many, levels. When I left the theater at Northpark General Cinema there was a little table outside with memorabilia from the film. For $2 I took home the Official Souvinir Book and devoured it's contents vowing one day I would create miniatures just like the ones in the movie . . .



THE SPOILER FREE REVIEW (does include stuff seen in the trailers)

I haven't missed a Star Wars opening day since I first saw The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 when I was twelve. For the past 40 years it has all been a great source of inspiration and wonder. When the lights dim, and the logos appear, I feel the same thrill as I did so many years ago. Today was no different.

The Opening was as understated as I expected. It was indicative of the Rebels TV series and fit just fine. I knew it would be different from the numbered film installments because it was outside the regular numbering of the series.

The Direction was superb. Gareth Edwards knows how to work on a big budget effects pic but still gave it an intimate feel when it needed to be. Although the set pieces are huge and spectacular, it all fits as if the characters don't notice any of it at all. That sucks the audience in and makes you feel like you're along for the ride.

The Cast couldn't be better. I was familiar with a handful of the leading cast from other things but that  wasn't distracting. They inhabited the characters and were very convincing. There was no overblown ham-fisted dialogue for them to chew on. It felt direct and urgent.

The Costumes and Set Design were massively detailed. Everything on screen has layers of textures and carries that hallmark Star Wars-ness gritty lived-in look as you would expect. Everything that's on screen is a piece of art because it's all crafted to carefully recreate the aesthetics of the 1977 film. Even the details of Darth Vader's iconic suit are faithful down to the last blinking light.

The Music while subtle is exactly what I wanted. Hints and pieces of previous themes but an all new score. Michael Giacchino has become one of my favorite composers and knows what it's like to follow in the footsteps of other big composers with iconic themes. Mission Impossible and Star Trek both were big shoes to fill. Like with those, he takes this score and sprinkles enough familiar in it that it is not distracting. It is just right.

I will resist going into what the story elements are for the sake of avoiding spoilers but it was what it should be. When stacked up against similar movies like Seven Samurai, Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, and The Guns of Navarone it fits right in. Star Wars has now grown up with the rest of us and has finally delivered what we have deserved as fans all along, something fresh, new, original, but completely familiar.

Thanks Gareth, Kathleen, and crew. You honored the spirit of the setting without kowtowing to a fan-service rehash.





Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lancers crew

Since this is my hobby blog and I rarely have much time for hobby these days, here is a team of rascals I painted up a while back for playing demos at the local game shops. Not only are they painted by me, I also sculpted all of them and the weapons and robots were made in ZBrush.

Counterblast Lancers crew

Counterblast Lancers crew

Commonly seen operating throughout the Outer Reaches and other regions of space are bands of miscreants, fortune hunters, and those merely struggling to survive. Known as 'Lancers', many are privateers or mercenaries seeking honest employment. Hard times can drive some to unlawful activities like smuggling or piracy while others embrace crime freely, tempted by the profits to be made in spite of the risks. 

Lancers hail from many worlds. Many species, such as Humans, Illyrians, Alanti, Shrinaar and even the rare Neiran exile may comprise Lancer crews. Some Lancers are loners, operating alone as bounty hunters, bodyguards, prospectors or other types of free agents. Most Lancers possess highly specialized skills, but all of them boast at least a modicum of martial skill, be it ranged or hand-to-hand. Indeed, some are highly renowned fighters.

Their travels sometimes charted through the gray areas of law, Lancers are viewed as disreputable by many in the Galactic Defense Force and treated accordingly. Even Galactic Recovery Agency security teams will harass Lancers given enough provocation and in the absence of bribes. Needless to say, Lancers avoid these groups whenever possible. Their furtive behavior and the GDF and GRA's habit of shaking down even law abiding Lancer crews has made trust and cooperation between the two factions difficult.

Lancers are found throughout the galaxy, able to thrive in highly populated systems as well as regions of space where law enforcement is weakest. There's always work for a Lancer if one knows where to look. Someone is always needing transportation to somewhere, protection from someone, or goods moved someplace and Lancers can provide these services on the fly. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond



Star Trek: Beyond

*Spoiler-free review*

I’ve seen just about every Star Trek film on opening day since 1979 when I was 12. I can safely say that Star Trek: Beyond was probably the most satisfying Trek experience for me to date. It should have been called Star Trek: Beyond Adventure, because that’s what it’s all about. Although most Trek incarnations can get quite cerebral and heavy-handed as a morality play at times, this doesn’t let itself get bogged down in any of that. This latest installment of the franchise seems to be what TOS wanted to be from the beginning, immersed in it’s pulp sci-fi roots of pure space adventure.

Now, to be honest, I’ve always leaned a little more towards the Star Wars side of the fandom, but still grew up watching The Original Series frequently, and later through all iterations of the subsequent television series. I do not count myself as a dyed-in-the-wool “Trekker” in the purest sense, but I do know quite a bit of lore, etc.

The disdain for the reboot franchise notwithstanding, it’s pretty much what I want out of a Trek film. Simon Pegg certainly has a firm grasp on all of these characters and the script handles all of them in their truest forms. The subtle nod to TOS material is deft and off-handed, exactly the way it should be. My favorite thing about it was each and every member of the crew had a critical role to play in the story which reinforced that overall theme.

Justin Lin (several Fast & Furious flicks) certainly knows how to handle breakneck action,  which rarely lets up. The performances are spot on again and all of the new cast really makes these ingrained characters their own. The only thing I miss is Chris Pine pushing the Shatner-esque delivery a little more. It’s there in a few places, but I can understand it shouldn’t be over the top.

I can’t even begin to start on the visuals which are stunning beyond belief. The production design of the sets, epic vistas of space battles, and alien planets are just as detailed as the new magnificent layered and textured Starfleet mission uniforms. Everywhere you look is something new to discover. The visual style established in J.J. Abrams’  introductory installment is prevalent, but not distracting.

I thoroughly enjoyed it as an action flick and found it much more satisfying as an all new, original tale than the previous derivative installment. See it on the big screen the first chance you get.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ZBrush Work

Here is a sampling of a few things I've sculpted digitally in ZBrush.









Friday, April 17, 2015

New Bot - a practical mini

Due to the buzz this week over a certain movie trailer, I found myself looking at few spare parts on the workbench in a different way. So I decided to kitbash this little guy from some leftover bits.


All he needs now is some basing and a little paint and he's ready to roll!

These are the bits I used here:

36031 - Plastic Dome Sprue

33008 - Counterblast Lancer HLpR Bot