News and random musings from the Sculptdude.

Friday, October 17, 2014

YT-1300 Engine Assembly

A couple of weeks ago I had some down time and snapped a few pics of more progress on my Special Edition YT-1300 mod. The goals for this session were to seal up the openings and attach the finished main engine module.


 Since the cockpit tube had been attached to the fuselage it was time to start chopping out some detailing. This handy gizmo is The Chopper II from North West Shore Line , aptly named to make precise and quick cuts in styrene.


 I then notched the paneling with a square hole punch I acquired at the arts & crafts store from the scrapbooking supply section. They have some other handy shapes I will also need at some point.



This plating was formed and glued around the perimeter of the cockpit tubing.



The area left open by removing the cockpit and corridor from the original position was filled with a piece of sheet styrene and then detailed with assorted bits.



To make greeblies for the engine section I selected a few round and square shaped styrene strips of assorted sizes.



Again, I put these through the Chopper and cut random lengths from all the strips.



After a bout 20 minutes I had a fantastic pile of assorted shapes to use in detailing out the various sections.



Since it will likely be a while before moving on to the detail. I stored all the greeblies in a handy container to keep them organized.


I then attached a strip of styrene across the opening where the original drive housing was located and then glued the upgraded engine module to the back of the hull.


Were I more industrious I would have probably planned ahead more and installed super awesome LED lighting in the engine nacelles. Since I used some of the clear plastic domes that finally arrived from China to fill in the afterburners there would have been plenty of room to install all the stuff. Maybe on the next one.

Up next I will be sorting out all of the greeblies to super-detail out the engine components. The green bits shown here are some wheels off of a Tamiya tank kit. I will make a little press-mold to transfer the detail from the original Falcon model where the engine vent grating is modeled.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sculpts for 2013

Just to consolidate things, here is a selections of some of the figures I sculpted for 2013. Many of them are for Reaper's Numeneria line, Warmachine/Hordes, Dark Sword, and Other World Miniatures.
























Saturday, October 11, 2014

Star Wars REBELS

I freely admit that it took several seasons to warm up to the Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network. It wasn't because I actually watched the series. It was because I saw the trailer for the premier episode movie. Evidently they packaged what were the initial three episodes to the series and released them as a limited engagement presentation theatrically to kick off the series. It is also on Blu-ray now. I have a copy.

I was really put off by the promos and trailers for the series due to the featured storyline of rescuing a baby Hutt slug critter that proceeded to belch and fart his way through every other scene in the promo. I was about as put off by this as I was by JarJar and wrote it off as something not-Star Wars.

However.

Some friends at the time were pitching a Star Wars RPG and we were planning to play in the Clone Wars era. Hence, we decided to watch a couple of episodes for inspiration. I will give anything three episodes to hook me. If I don't get it by then, it's a waste of time.

After a reluctant screening I was hooked. Not only were the episodes more reminiscent of the tone of the original film (ie. Ep IV) but it took it even one step further. The episodes were designed around a three-part story arc pattern that ended with mini-cliffhangers. This was the embodiment of the Saturday morning serials like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon in an updated format. I was totally in and became a huge fan of the series touting it as better than the prequel films (ie, Ep I-III).

Until.

Lucasfilm sold Star Wars to Disney. Clone Wars was cancelled and the new series REBELS was announced. I watched every promo and followed the development closely assured that with the same team as the previous series, REBELS would be just as awesome.


So far the results have been hit and miss. One of the things I miss is the textures on the models. In Clone Wars all of the characters and scenery were mapped with a hand-painted look that showed textures as if the colors were applied with a brush. This is missing in REBELS, all of the characters and setting are slick and clean, which is very unlike a Star Wars aesthetic. The second thing I miss are the three-part stories with the cliffhangers. It's still a bit too early to tell if this will show up or not.

Around 1978, after the original film had been running for a while, I would catch a screening of it at a nearby cinemaplex for only a dollar! This one was big because it had FOUR screens to show movies! Afterwards I would walk a few doors down in the same strip center and peruse the local mom'n'pop bookstore. I would buy stacks of Amazing Stories and Analog and even (gasp!) Heavy Metal!

Imagine how excited I was to get a copy of The Art of Star Wars with all of the cool concept art and photos of the miniature models. I spent hours of my youth pouring over the images in the book until eventually the pages fell out. That book has been a great inspiration and the concept art that Ralph McQuarrie produced for the film expanded the possibilities of what could be seen, way beyond the capabilities of filmmaking at the time.

So over 35 years have passed and the nostalgia is running deep! With the scheduled release of Episode VII next year and this new animated series, I'm starting to get that old-timey feeling again. The show producers have clearly stated they have drawn on McQuarries designs to influence the look of the show and that make it even more exciting for me.


I really dig the assortment and variety of the characters they have chosen for the crew of the Ghost. It certainly is reminiscent of the early character designs from the first drafts of the screenplay for the first movie.

Ralph McQuarrie art
REBELS Characters

I do think the character names could be more original and I am not a fan of the kid, Ezra, who is an Aladdin stand-in, minus the monkey. He seems to be the "audience" character and is continually discovering things during the story that he would know about if he lived in that setting. So I call lame on that.

Also, the action is played for laughs, which worked in Firefly, but only because there was still an edge to the danger. The danger in this series seems really nerfed compared to Clone Wars but I'm hoping that once the Inquisitor character shows up, things will get more serious.

Here's hoping.
Well, here's to a new hope . . . .


Monday, September 15, 2014

X-wing Conversions

As if I have so much free time on my hands, I figured I would dip a little into this community of X-Wing mods. There seems to be a relatively large portion of hobbyists who enjoy converting and/or repainting some of the models from Fantasy Flight's X-Wing Miniatures Game.

The first time I ever saw this image was around 1977 when Topps released the 5th series of Star Wars trading cards with the orange border. Even at that time I wanted a collection of models painted like the original studio set. I got about as far as 3 of them with the original issued MPC 1:48 scale model kits.

It is no secret that the reason I am working as s professional sculptor in the miniatures industry is directly related to seeing Star Wars for the first time when I was 10 years old. Now, 37 years later, I just may be able to complete my project - but in 1:270th scale!

I have started by attempting to strip some of the plastic models of their horrendous factory pre-paint. After tooling around the interwebs and heeding some well intended suggestions, it seems like 93% Isopropyl Alcohol is the clear winner, thanks to Mr. Justin of Secret Weapon Miniatures.


Although the alcohol hasn't removed ALL of the paint, it has stripped it enough that a fresh coat of primer and color will not obscure the fine details.

In a related project I nabbed an extra YT-1300 just to make some "special modifications myself". Never fear, I still have two more in pristine Falcon condition.


This is the large pile of plastic bits I started with to kit-out the modified engine module. Most of it is leftover tank parts from Tamiya and GW kits.  The white cylinders are plastic tubing from Evergreen and Plastruct domes.


Here is the module all blocked out. The next step will be to detail it out with some micro parts using styrene strips and clippings. I still need to make some sort of afterburner insert which may have been easier to do before I assembled all of this.


Now that the modified engine module is assembled I dry-fitted it to make sure the silhouette was what I wanted for the ship. The front fork is filled with another length of plastic tubing where I will later attach the original cockpit.

Next, detailing out the engine module.

COUNTERBLAST™ Illustrations

It has been a LONG time since I've done any 2D art but working on the rulebook for COUNTERBLAST™ necessitated that I fill in a few gaps. I was really inspired by the other artist's clean digital work and tried to emulate the stuff they were also turning in for the book on some of the character designs.























Check out more about COUNTERBLAST™ here.