For the first time in 13 years I entered GDUK this year, and came away with a Silver (does a happy dance). I promised a couple of people I'd make a blog about it, but didn't want to bias any judges beforehand so here it is (now the forum's back up). Sorry in advance for the length of this post...
I started my entry (entitled “Boot to the Head”, or “Hammer of Wrath” if anyone official asked) back in April of this year (2012). Here is a finished picture of it:
I began taking pictures right from the start, and so here is a stage by stage on how I made the Duel…
Note: This is less about the “how” I did it, and more about the “what” and how it looked. Feel free to ask questions afterwards about anything you want to know more on from the “how” point of view…
Stage One: Positioning
The initial idea firm in my head, I needed to have a solid base from which to work. The Dark Eldar Wych would form the part on which all the weight would rest, and which would need to be angled so it would counterbalance the Seraphim and her metal backpack (I really
didn’t want to have to make a new backpack from scratch).
Luckily, she didn’t need much in the way of converting, just careful positioning and welding to the base with wire and superglue, and her major joints secured in the same way. So:
I then got some extra wych parts, assembled them roughly in the pose I wanted the Seraphim to have, and made sure it lined up correctly.
Basing the Wych was easy too, it just took a little time to find the right balance of slate and rock. They were also chosen for their weight to help hold it down and avoid tipping:
The Seraphim’s head was from an Escher ganger (the one with a boltpistol and grenade), and had her hair tied back (rather than in a giant mowhawk or plaits) so it wouldn’t get in the way of the stuff I was going to add. The gauntlet is a resin preproduction casting of the boltpistol hand from the Canoness that I still had from work: I needed as much as possible to be resin or plastic for the model to remain upright when assembled, and the other hand was going to have to be a metal Inferno pistol one…
So, the basic pose sorted I moved onto actually making the Seraphim look like a Seraphim.
Stage Two: The Seraphim
The Seraphim was going to have to be pretty much sculpted from scratch. It was a daunting task, until I realised that so long as I did it a tiny stage at a time, took my time over each step and removed it if it wasn’t right, then it should be fairly straightforward. And by a tiny step at a time, I really do mean some stages were “add the belt pouch flaps” or “add one edge of one greave”. It took almost 4 months to sculpt her, doing a couple of hours work, several nights a week.
To begin with – bulking out the body to a roughly sisterish shape, and adding the base of the gorget.
The body shaped, I started on the leg armour. Right leg first, with the thigh on the left being bulked out too:
The next stage was her left greave (the knee-guard on this took three sittings to get correct. It simply wouldn’t stay upright and in the right place, so I had to build it up a fraction of an inch at a time, til it was about the right height then file and mould it round), and the lined armour on chest, and her right shoulderpad. I also finished the zip on her bodice:
However, the shoulderpad simply didn’t look right, so I made it bigger:
Next, the holes in the greaves were filled with piping, the right leg was bulked, the left shoulderpad added and the right upper arm bulked. Also, the circle that would eventually become the connector for the shoulder tubing was roughed in. The shoulderpads took ages – getting them equal from all angles was awkward to say the least:
Next the neck got bulked out and made to look like a real neck rather than a wire paperclip. Her left shoulderpad acquired the lower layer of feathers on its wing:
The Fleur de Lys on her right shoulderpad took an age
to get right. The bloody things are a nightmare to get equally balanced. The second layer of wing feathers was easy in comparison:
For my birthday I got given a Tubing Tool, and tried it out on the tubes that run from the backpack to the front panel of the Seraphim’s armour. It took a few tries to get right, but I settled for this attempt which would only need a tiny bit of fixing once dry:
The next chunk of work was a bunch of smaller things all lumped in together.
A block for positioning the backpack once it was ready to be glued on:
Fixing th minor faults on the tubing:
Making the join between front panel and tubing work:
Filling in the tubing on all the leg hollows:
And adding an Inquisitorial =I= to the right shoulderpad wings:
Next, on to the legs. Both thighs were padded out and made to look like real legs, the buttocks and knees adjusted so they looked like they would actually work:
And the left thigh thickened again, so she didn’t look like a mutant. I also added the skull on the front of her armour:
The left foot came next (the foot was done in two stages: the first got the segmented shape in there, then the second filed it to sharp edges and added the sole), and starting to build up the gorget. Also, now the legs were appropriately thickened, filling in the hollows with tubing could happen. The backs of both knees were also filled in:
Most of the big things on the body now done, it was a load of small details getting added on each sitting. The gorget got more added each time, the shoulderpad details got finished off, and the belt pouches were added. They needed to come before the cloth went on, because whilst the cloth comes from underneath them, they also serve to hold the cloth down and so needed to be on first.
This lot were the final details before I started on the part I dreaded most – the cloth robes. All the rivets were added – some repeatedly because I kept rubbing them off, but a bit more copydex over them held them in place. They are bits from a Britax water filter refill. Crack one of the open and you have dots, rivets and pustules to last a lifetime.
Here we have the finished pouches, the finished gorget, the studs on the bodice, the finished frag grenade on her belt and the sole on her left foot. The right foot was being left until last so I could mould it to the Wych’s face.
So, now I had no more excuses to put off doing the robes. Starting with the front loincloth, it was done in two steps. Step one – the parts that lay under any folds, then once that was dry the folded over part that lay on top of it:
Same with the back part of the frontal loincloth, it was fiddly and needed to be done in two steps:
The rear loincloth was harder to pull off. It was meant to show movement and be flowing out behind her, yet Green Stuff refuses to do that by itself without drooping annoyingly. So out came the clippers and paperclips, and three pins were inserted into her posterior to support the Green.
Then a rough and overly long layer of Green was applied to give the rough shape to work off of:
This was then smoothed, filed, added to and a fold sculpted in, leaving the end slightly too long and rough:
And the final stage was to clip the end neat and file it to the right shape:
In between the last two stages of rear loincloth, the positioning of her left arm happened. Her right arm was also completed, by bulking out the elbow armour and putting tubing between the gauntlet and elbow, and her gun filed and smoothed so it would sit in her hand correctly. As the only Inferno pistol with a Fleur on it out there is left-handed, it was snipped off one of the preproduction resin ones I had and made to look serviceable with a little Green:
Compared to the loincloth the arm robes were easy and took one sitting, although the left one needed a little touching up afterwards as it was a little thin at the corner. More Britax pellets made good buttons:
The robes done, it was time to do her hair. Three stages made it easier than trying to do spaghetti all at once. Bulk to work on:
The main mass of hair:
And the windswept fringe:
And then I noticed I’d forgotten her knee Fleur. Damn, but I hate doing those things…
Her Holy Symbol was another part of her that was going to help emphasise movement and be away from her body, so it was done separately then stuck on. The beads went straight on her leg though:
The remaining bodice studs were added (somewhere between bodice and beads I stuck on the right inferno pistol):
A final check to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything before I did her other foot:
Then I added the foot. This was in two sittings again, to do the segmented top, then add the sole (which I pressed against the Wych’s face whilst wet so it moulded to the right shape):
And finally we have the finished sculpted Seraphim:
And a final check to see what it would look like once assembled:
And that is the end of the sculpting part. I’ll do the painting part in another thread…