News and random musings from the Sculptdude.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Sculpts for Shieldwolf and Dark Sword

Shieldwolf Miniatures

Shieldwolf Miniatures

Dark Sword Miniatures

Dark Sword Miniatures

Friday, February 06, 2015

Jupiter Ascending

According to the Tomatometer:

From the streets of Chicago to the far-flung galaxies whirling through space, "Jupiter Ascending" tells the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who was born under a night sky, with signs predicting she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along-her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.
Ordinarily I will go for the jugular on stuff like this and call out tons of stuff about performances, cinematography, editing, and on-and-on. It's totally irrelevant, however, considering the material and the Wachowsis have unlimited resources to deliver the goods, so it's level in that regard. This is not Zero Dark Thirty. Not every thing needs to be. Sometimes things are just fun for the sake of fun. I care for Tatum less than Ron Silver as a actor and I find him completely watchable in this.

This is literally Cinderella meets Dune; with just about every other sci-fi trope thrown into the blender for good measure. The only thing missing (which I really hoped for) was the cliff-hanger ending so common with serials of the ‘30s. Here’s a spoiler for you, Pygar gets his wings back and if you don’t know what that references you will likely not “get” this movie either.

If you are going into this expecting a tromp as cerebral as The Matrix’s reality-within-reality, you’re missing the point. I think that the host of poor reviews for this completely missed the point, as well. The Matrix was a derivative of the Cyberpunk genre fuled by injections of William Gibson. The Wachowskis already did that, this is something else entirely.

This is the galaxy-spanning-empires-of-evil-corporations-threating-to-doom-the-earth with a bit of Flash Gordon thrown in for good measure. This is their take on complete space opera. Jupter Jones is our modern Flash character that is just as two dimensional as our action heroine needs to be at this point. Hell, her name even screams pulp sci-fi! Save her dark brooding reflections of the implication of galaxy-wide genocide for the sequel. A pacing deterrent like character development would only slow down the action and keep us from whizzing from planet to planet to see more interesting things and meet more fascinating characters. Like with all great pulp sci-fi, there is never time to linger too much on any one thing since there is so much at stake. Also be aware, Jupiter get rescued way more than Dejah Thoris ever does.

I would put the tone squarely between The Fifth Element and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The peril is real and the action is what all of the 30’s serials could never even dream to be. But the pacing zips along and never lets you question too much about what’s going on, because who cares really? This is fantastical entertainment at its purest. But it does not descend into the silly like HGG, with a wink towards the audience, because that would spoil the illusion.

So - if you want a dose of Lensman and Leigh Brackett or Poul Ansderson thrown at you at 300 miles per hour on rocket boots, this certainly hits the spot. I recommend screening Barbarella, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers first to get you in the proper frame of mind.

I'm giving it

for effort on the Nostalgia-o-meter.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Avatars of War Swordmaster of Lusia

Avatars of War have posted up the new sculpt I did for their Arena Deathmatch line the Swordmaster of Lusia. I'm very proud of the piece and am honored Felix invited me to contribute to their range.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Shadowscapes on Kickstarter

I wanted to congratulate Dark Sword Miniatures for the success in funding their Kickstarter project to launch the Stephanie Law Masterworks line of miniatures based on her Shadowscapes art. It was both a treat and a challenge to sculpt these pieces and I am pleased the project was so well received by the fans. I have certainly enjoyed the collaboration with Jim Ludwig, Jessica Rich and of course, Stephanie Law in bringing this exceptional line of miniatures to the marketplace.

Here is a collection of the images for the pieces I sculpted on the project well over a the course of a year.


Be on the lookout for more exciting news coming up in the following months.

~The Sculptdude