Sunday, 26 March 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen [Completed]

Cute wasn't what I was actually aiming for ... heck who am I kidding, it totally was. Sugar, spice, unicorns, rainbows, care bears, you name it. If it was cutesy in any way, it was running through my mind as I settled on a colour scheme to weave such thoughts onto a subject matter that's the very antithesis of all that's good - a servant of Slaanesh. I was in the mood for pastels, and after contemplating the usual suspects like chibi minis I decided on a Chaos Chosen instead.  

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen, eyes devoid of compassion

Of all the four chaos gods, only Tzeentch and Slaanesh had the potential for the kind of pastel colour scheme I wanted to create. And of the two, the former is predominantly blue while the latter is dominated by purples. Both are equally appealing so it was just arbitrary that I painted the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen first. Eventually, I'm sure I will do the Tzeentch one in a similar pastel colour scheme.

Of all Slaanesh's attributes, this Chosen personifies pain the most
A daemon is infused into the Chosen's armour, trying desperately wrest 'soul' control
Pristine claws, so much the better to rend with 

One thing nearly all my completed miniature projects have in common is that upon finishing them I always find some key thing I could have done differently to take it to the next level. Needless to say, it was no different with the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen. Here, I could've permeated the armour with flesh pink hues in a pattern suggesting that the daemon within was winning a battle of wills between itself and the Chaos Chosen. But that meant the colour spectrum would shift towards pink from purple. While there is precedent for predominantly pink hues in Slaanesh subjects, it wasn't what I wanted.  

Sweet pastel colours is incongruous with the nature of Slaanesh, yet somehow fitting
More of the daemon is erupting from the Slaanesh Chosen's back
Base comprises a greyish black sandy texture

What I wanted was a Slaanesh Chaos Chosen covered primarily with purplish hues. Hence I abandoned the thought of painting strands of pink flesh crisscrossing the Chosen's armour. This arguably leaves the armour looking a bit flat in places. But it was a trade off I was willing to accept.  

Other than the claws shown here, the Slaanesh Chosen's eyes had the brightest hues
Hues of muted gold, blue and bone help keep the colour scheme varied

And then there were two. Completion of the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen marks the midpoint of my 'visual ode' to the Warhammer 40K chaos gods. With the other two upcoming Chaos Chosens being mainly in reds (Khorne) and blues (Tzeentch) respectively, it also more aesthetically pleasing for me to have the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen covered mostly in purplish hues as opposed to pink.    

Nurgle and Slaanesh now have their chosen while Khorne and Tzeentch await theirs

At this point I'm not sure which of the Chosen Chaos - Tzeentch or Khorne - will be painted next. I'm not even sure if either one will be the next W40K project. For now, please say a warm hello to a My Little Pony version of a Chaos warrior who bears the favour of the Dark Gods, in this case Slaanesh.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen [WIP - Claws & Colours]

I may be a year late but I've finally managed to incorporate the Pantone Color of the Year 2016 - namely Rose Quartz and Serenity - into a miniature painting project. Two years ago saw the start of my fascination with Pantone's annual Color of the Year announcements. It has become a treasured source of inspiration for my art projects especially miniature painting. Last year's was no different.  

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen: work-in-progress on claws and colour scheme

Admittedly though, not even I could have foreseen the miniature I would eventually use the hues on. Pantone officially describes the colours in question in the following way: Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace. So I'm pretty sure they didn't envision them being used to depict a servant of chaos.   

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 - Rose Quartz & Serenity
Slaanesh Chosen's colours run the gamut from Rose Quartz to somewhere in between to Serenity

Another miniature, another first. Here, the Slaanesh Chosen's claws marked the first time I had ever used Vallejo Model Color metallic paints. In this instance, I used Vallejo Gunmetal Blue with Citadel Chainmail and Mithril Silver in varying ratios to achieve a kind of 'pastel metallic hues' for want of a better description. A thin wash of Citadel Asurmen Blue was also applied on parts of both claws. 

Sheen on the Slaanesh Chosen's claws were painted using Vallejo Model Color and Citadel metallic paints
Light blue bordering on violet was used to nudge the colour scheme towards Pantone's Color of the Year 2016

A couple of shots below provide a sneak peak of the Slaanesh Chosen's front end but it's not the finished article yet. Not much remains to be done, yet enough that a complete reveal is still days away. What little that can be seen, however, shows a variety of surfaces from metal to cloth to bone.  

An inadvertent sneak peak of the Slaanesh Chosen's front end during a closeup shot of the claws
Violet blues of the loincloth completes the range of Pantone's Color of the Year 2016

Awash in pastel hues, the existence of any creepiness factor whatsoever is debatable. That said, I'm hoping the dichotomy which exists between the sculpted details and the colour scheme would still instill a sense of unease in anyone who lays eyes on the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen. 

A closeup shot of the Slaanesh Chosen's back to show the piece's predominant colour scheme

All this talk about Pantone's Color of the Year has gotten me all excited about this year's iteration too. But that's a story for another day as I finish painting last year's hues on this W40K miniature.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen [WIP - Armour, Cloth and Demonic Flesh]

Of the four chosen chaos space marines dedicated to Nurgle, Slaanesh, Khorne and Tzeentch, it is Slaneesh's favoured one which fascinates me most, colour-wise that is. That's because Slaanesh subjects have base colours that can be mixed into a light pastel-like scheme. And as I've mentioned before - probably ad nauseam - light pastel colour schemes are firm favourites of mine.  

Slaanesh Chaos Chosen sports a demonic face playing peekaboo from his shoulder armour
Sickly flesh permeates the Slaanesh Chaos Chosen's armour

At this stage of the painting process it's still too early to gauge the overall look I'm going for. Suffice to say I want to infuse it with hues which, to paraphrase the words of the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, reflect a soothing sense of peace and order. Wait a minute! Slaanesh. Peace and order. Sheer humbug? I'll leave it to you to be the judge when I finish painting the last major hue of my Slaanesh colour scheme. But just so you know, I'm going for a creepy My Little Pony look.

Slaanesh chosen, work-in-progress on his armour, cloth and demonic flesh
Demonic face pops out of the chosen's shoulder pads like an unwanted boil
Slaanesh chosen's claws will take on the last major hue in order to complete the colour scheme

For the Slaanesh chosen's organic forms, I wanted to convey ulcerating and necrotising flesh rather than dead or rotting flesh. In other words, molecules in demonic flesh that is trying to regenerate while in its death throes. So that meant flesh with more pinkish/purplish versus greenish hues.

Chosen's violet armour is more or less done with only extreme highlights yet to be painted on bony protrusions
Demonic flesh is prevalent on the chosen's back, more so than in any other part of his body armour
Whereas Nurgle's chosen had rusted metallic parts, Slaanesh's chosen is largerly expected to have shinier metals

Meanwhile, plans are for the base to be kept simple and dull. This is in anticipation of an overall light pastel colour scheme. Anything bright and vivid will likely distract from the miniature itself. To fulfill these conditions, only neutral greyscale colours fit the bill. Sometimes boring is what's needed. 

From this angle, no blues are visible thus showing more traditional Slaanesh hues but too dull in my opinion
Blues of the loin cloth was tempered by a purple wash to ensure a more Slaanesh-like colour scheme

When the claws are finished next, the Slaanesh chosen's colour scheme will then take on a more definite identity. One that will no doubt be confusingly pleasant and disgusting at the same time. Only time, or my next post, will tell if I can pull this off. In the meantime, the weekend is almost here so have a good one until my next update of this project comes along.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Star Wars BB-8 - Bandai 1/12 Scale Plastic Model Kit [Completed]

Unlike in most other fields where artists can start from a blank canvas, we miniature painters and modellers are beholden to the quality and detail of a sculpture or model kit for the end result. That make us more akin to a renderer rather than creator. So it helped that Bandai produced a very well thought out model kit of BB-8 which made life easier for me to achieve a respectable finish.      

Bandai Star Wars BB-8 1/12 scale plastic model kit [Completed]

Let me make one thing clear. I'm not saying in any way, shape or form that I nailed the recreation of a mini-movie version of BB-8. Far from it. Sure I did some repainting, panel lining and weathering but not enough to make this kit as realistic as it can be. What I am saying is Bandai's BB-8 looks disproportionately good (or has the potential to) in relation to the amount of work put into it. Or in simpler terms, Bandai's BB-8 model kit can still look good without doing much work on it.

BB-8, the lovable astromech droid from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Painted parts include the grey/black/metallic sections; red panel indicator lights; and a semi-gloss clear over body panels
Weathering effects on BB-8 were admittedly applied in a too light-handed manner

I had so much fun with this model kit that it is not inconceivable I will build a second one in the future. If I should ever attempt to do so, there are a few things I can do differently. Chief among them to do increase the level of weathering. In addition, I might have to repaint the orange parts or at the very least lay on a thicker layer of semi-gloss clear coat. Now these are things I could redo now but as the missus is happy with the way this version of BB-8 looks - it is after all a gift for the missus - no changes were made to it. That, if it ever gets done, will be for BB-8 two-point-oh.

Panel lining provides more depth to the overall piece
Bandai's BB-8 rests upon a cute little clear, round base
In case you are wondering ... no, Bandai's BB-8 model does not have free rotational movement

This version of BB-8 will eventually be displayed in its new home i.e. the missus's office. To better protect it, I encased the completed model kit in a small plastic display case (see last photo).

If anything, this BB-8 kit can be improved upon white a heavier semi-gloss coat and more weathering
In this version of BB-8, I didn't build and paint up any of its mini-gadgets such as the infamous "thumbs up lighter"
BB-8 all prettied up in a display case for the missus to bring to the office

So that's one droid finished and another to go in the Bandai Star Wars 1/12 scale BB-8 and R2-D2 plastic model kit set. But I think I'm going to take a short break from this kit and do some W40K stuff just to stay in touch with the SciFi universe that got me started in miniature painting in the first place. If I do go down that path, I'll be adding to my Ode to Chaos project and paint up a Chaos Space Marine Chosen in service to one of the four chaos gods (the first was to Nurgle). As to which Chaos god will be the next to bestow its favour, I hope you will stay tuned to find out. Until then, peace out!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Star Wars BB-8 [WIP - Head]

What became clear from the very beginning when working on the Bandai BB-8 plastic model kit was that I wasn't going to use any of the decals provided. Instead I decided to paint the sections for which decals were provided, most notably the coloured sections of the antenna and surrounding areas of the lenses. As for the rest of BB-8's head I either left it alone (e.g. lenses), carried out a complete repaint (e.g. metallic parts), applied a semigloss clear coat followed by some weathering effects (e.g. the white and orange coloured body plates/chassis) or used an enamel wash for panel lining work.

Bandai Star Wars BB-8 plastic model kit - work-in-progress (head)
Area surrounding lenses were painted dark grey while the lenses themselves were left alone

While a complete repaint of the BB-8 entire model kit would presumably result in a more realistic piece, I nonetheless felt that parts of plastic kit (e.g. white and orange coloured pieces) were a good enough base to work from sans a total repaint. Left alone the said parts did admittedly look toy-like and plasticky. But a combination of semi-gloss clear coat and weathering effects has the potential to counter this unwanted feature and increase BB-8's level of realism.   

BB-8's orange and white chassis parts were treated to a semigloss clear coat and weathering effects 
More details were brought to the fore through panel lining with an enamel wash
Black coloured sections of BB-8's antennas were painted on as opposed to having decals applied

If there was something I would do differently up to this point in time it would be to apply a thicker clear semigloss coating before applying weathering effects. That being said, the beauty of mistakes is getting the chance to learn from them. So hopefully things will turn out better with the body.

Plasticky look could be further dampened by applying yet more layers clear coat and weathering
Weathering effects were done using the Tamiya Weathering Master sets A and B
Tinted lenses are arguably the key components of Bandai's BB-8 model kit

I've gone on record singing the praises of BB-8's tinted lenses. It's a key component that allows this model kit to achieve levels of realism which would otherwise elude it. Once BB-8's body is completed and fixed to the head, I'll have to touch up existing weathering effects on the head so as to achieve a consistent overall look. Other than that, the astromech's head is more or less complete.
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