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December has only just begun but this year's ornament is already finished. Unlike previous years I decided to wait until the piece was finished rather than run a WIP thread. With the little one being a lot more involved this year it certainly made things easier. Our daily progress was also lower too as you can only keep a two and a half year olds attention for so long.
Starting out I knew I wanted the little one to be more involved this year. Plus she's certainly been showing more and more interest in what I've been doing at my desk lately. With a bit of thinking and planning (something we all know I usually avoid) I came up with a concept that would give her a lot of "big" areas to paint unlike my other ornaments which were just little figures that require "precision".
That's right I really did plan this build. As you can see I'm no artist but it does show off the concept. My plan was simple enough, I'd build a small rooftop complete with a "Santa" that would fit inside an ornamental bulb.
Using plasticard I made a roof and chimney that fit snugly inside the bottom/lid of the ornament. I added the appearance and texture of bricks to the chimney using thin squares of cardboard. For the figure itself I simply used a GW necron I had leftover from an earlier project and with some greenstuff I sculpted a hat and toy sack. Lastly I covered the lid with masking tape and primed it.
Once it was primed and ready for paint I could finally get the kid involved. With a bit of brush assistance from myself we quickly found our rhythm and started painting together. Unfortunately there are not a lot of progress shots. Most days I just completely forgot to take one and on others the little one was just so excited to keep going. I did get one after we finished the chimney's basecoat however.
After that we painted the roof, the toy bag, the red portion of the hat, and the silver metallic. The white of the hat I did myself at one point while she napped.
So far she had really been enjoying the project and seemed to like painting together but I was not prepared for how much she loved applying the wash. I'm not sure what it was but she really liked splashing the dark wash over everything. I guess dirtying up a model is just satisfying.
After that we applied a little drybrush to the bricks. Everything was nearly finished but the fine details remained, so alone I quickly painted the eyes, chest, and the Christmas lights. After applying a bit of snow flock our ornament was complete.
In retrospect the "lights" were a little too close together on the back, but as it only truly obscured my name it wasn't worth redoing.
We put the bulb back together and hung it on the tree. I think it doesn't look too bad. It's certainly an improvement over the previous years, almost as if my skills have improved.
Happy holidays everyone.
If any of you have looked at the Hero forge interesting creature builds you may recall me posting some pictures of a squad of commandos called Crusader squad. Let’s just say I succumbed to the temptation to get the stls for my printer.
Currently I only have four printed off. I’ll do the rest when I get them supported.
Shadow, I didn’t get his arms supported right so I’ll try to do some repairs to them. If it works I don’t think I’ll print a replacement.
Max Monova. I really didn’t like his original stance so I redid it and gave him two pistols instead of a pistol and gauntlet blade.
Added some black green and some blue to Monova’s pauldron.
Thanks for looking!
This one was for a facebook competition about color. The rules were, basically, don't worry about anything else but color. Do something different with color. I started with the idea of a dress palette of blue, teal, purple, and magenta. Once I had those colors in place, it was a matter of incorporating them in different areas of the model. I went with cotton candy roses and a galaxy print on the wings. The galaxy was a matter of stippling the dress colors (plus a bit of white) back and forth until the effect was convincing. Then I masked the body of the model and flicked a stiff brush at the wings to make star patterns. I then went back to the dress colors and stippling to blend them in a bit. This was a blast to paint, because I've never really done anything like this before.
One Friday evening as we played Batman: Talisman I twisted a tree to life. Formed from 13 strands of wire of approximately 12-inches in length, the tree takes shape by folding them in half and twisting the loop created into the trunk of the tree. The loop created is cut into the roots and the longer tendrils are twisted into limbs and branches to form the crown of the tree.
As you can see in the picture, I used one of my Armstrong sample tiles to make a base for the roots and glued it in place with some Loctite Gel Glue. The idea is to form irregular surfaces to cover and create the illusion of a real trunk, roots and limbs. The crown will kind of solve itself when the canopy is applied later.
The Ground and Bark
Once you have a "skeleton" for the tree, it's time to add the skin. To do this there are a number of ways. You can use liquid latex. You can apply green putty or green stuff. I chose to do the super glue and baking soda method. You've probably seen my work with this insta-cure method before on Frulla Krung and other Frost Giants.
I use super thin, insta-cure cyanoacrylate (super glue) that allows it to run well over the wires and base and then coat that with the baking soda. The squeeze bottle, shown in the background, allows me to apply it as a wind blown sediment or just to dust it over the glue. The opposite can be done where you make a pile of baking soda or fill the crevice you want covered and apply the super glue carefully so you don't get an impact crater. Of course, maybe you want impact craters.
As you can see above, the effect is quite "chilling." Be careful of fumes. It's still super glue. And super-thin super glue runs everywhere so I suggest putting down something you don't care about. I use box lids.
Once you have the coating applied to your liking, it's time to finalize the branches and make the crown. Here's where random is your friend. Twist the strands into limbs and then twist off the limbs into branches. You can create burls and broken limb ends by adding sharp turns with your pliers. In this case, I left the crown relatively open. It's a small, young tree after all.
You can see another much older tree in the works behind it below.
Our specimen is primed as well. I added curlicues at the ends of the branches to eat some excess wire and for extra hook points for the canopy.
The next step after this is to paint the trunk. I used a pair of FolkArt Pickling Washes to achieve this. The first was a dark gray, FolkArt Stormy Sky. To add body to the paint in order to help fill some of the wire gaps, I mixed in some Liquitex Matte Medium. Once the basecoat was applied. I drybrushed the trunk, roots and limbs with FolkArt Cottage White Pickling Wash mixed with some of the Stormy Sky mixture. This gave me a nice light ashen color to the bark.
The canopy is made from Woodland Scenics Tree Canopy Green and Yellow mixed with essentially some static grass I got off of Wish. I mixed them into my Hamilton Beech Grinder and ground them down further. You'll prolly have noted that there are some wires visibly still. This has been noted. I ran out of mixed canopy. I will be making another batch shortly to finish it. I used a spritz bottle of glue from Dollar Tree to apply the canopy. It worked really well. Once it was set, I used my favorite finish coat to solidify the canopy, Testors Dullcote.
That's where it's at as of now. As to next, I will be doing a wash of the canopy to add shading to the tree. That will carry down the trunk and roots. Then I will apply an umber paint to the ground and a mixture of cork and bark, ground down in my grinder, over that.
Stay tuned, Stay Well and Enjoy
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