Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting My Paint On!

Thought I would put down the sculpting tool for awhile and get some paint work done! The images below are all works in progress - some needing more work than others, but all nearing that magical moment of completion. The painting of these figures in my opinion is just an extension of the sculpting process because this is where I deliver the depth of the folds, bring out the textures and reveal the expression of the character which before have been nothing but a neutral blank slate. It's awesome to sit back and watch the sculpts I've invested time in come to life one brush stroke at a time. I love it!

Anyway, enough of that - I'm sure many of you will be pleased to see some of these pieces come to fruition - trust me, so am I! I've got some big plans for some upcoming projects and to free up some elbow room on my workbench will be just what the doctor ordered! So let's get to it!

First off we have a teaser shot of three individual figures nearing completion or in the case of one of them, has already reach it. The image is of (from left to right) Del Moomo - Ithorian bounty hunter, one of two brothers as seen in the Dark Horse comic series, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic. Next is one of my favorites, the bounty hunter Furlag from the multimedia release of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. Finally is a close in shot of the Gotal smuggler Lumbra, from the Dark Horse comic series Star Wars: Dark Times...who might I ad, within the past couple months revisited the sculpting table to have articulated ankles added (he's very pleased LOL!).

Below is a close-up shot of Del Moomo's eyes - I think these are some of most entertaining eyes I've done so far. Also noticed as I added the paint that I captured some of the unique illustrative style Brian Ching contributed to the comic...I've noticed that I tend to pick up a little bit of the artists' technique in my sculpting...I just don't create a neutral interpretation of the character (sometimes I do), I try to bring a little of the artist's style into the piece itself.

Below is another close-up of Del's outfit - sorry but didn't have any time to take more detailed shots of the other two. No worries though - you'll get more that your fill for each one of these soon enough :)

Went back and reworked the paint job on Deliah Blue's head sculpt - I wanted bigger eyes and a slight change to the skin tone. Next to her is a work-up of the Morrigan Corde's head sculpt...which is the focus in the next several photos below...

Here is the completed sculpt of Cade Skywalker's mother - Morrigan Corde from the pages of the dark horse comic series Star Wars: Legacy.

The next couple images below show the figure primed and ready for some color. I prime all my figures using a brushable acrylic, not spray paint. I use Floquil Testors acrylic color Undercoat Light Gray. Before you apply your primer, be sure that all joints can move freely and not work against each other, reducing the amount of space between each joint. If you fail to do this, your paint will wear away from critical articulation points like the elbows and knees. I'll post a separate tutorial about this soon.

Below I've started by adding the flesh tones first as well as work on the head sculpt. Morrigan will eventually be a blonde but while I work on the rest of the figure, she'll remain a brunette. I always start by filling in the flesh tones first, working them close to completion, then going back and adding the colors to the clothing and accessories. This isn't some golden rule in painting, just a preference that works for me.

These images show the addition of the jacket and green bustier. The comics show the jacket having a glossy sheen which I will add to it later using a clear gloss coat after the final painted piece has been fixed with matte spray. I'm really happy that some of the mild texturing of the bustier has shown through the paint work :)

I mentioned that Morrigan will eventually be a blonde - the image below is an earlier paint up (about a year old) which includes an additional "wave" of hair that drapes over one of her eyes. I will keep this head sculpt as an alternate, but will attempt to do another version and tighten up the eyes a bit.

Next up are some paint progress images of Starkiller from the Lucasarts game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. Below is an image of the primed figure ready for some color. Tricky to paint around the soft goods but it can be done :)

The following images are close-up shots of the work in the time these photos were taken, I have added color down to the belt. None of the smaller paint details (metal clasps, connectors) have been added yet.

The next few images are of a new figure I've began working on - I've said that one of the versions of Starkiller I would be creating this year would be that of the Sith Apprentice Robes. Below is one of the completed head sculpts...

The hood is just for show and isn't the final accessory for the figure - The skin of Starkiller has grown muted, veiny..gray...while his eyes burn with sith fire. Much more intense that what is seen in the video game but whose to say I won't do another head sculpt that's more similar? :) I will be adding more shades of gray around the cheek bones and chin - it's a bit too flat presently. I want the eyes to be wide open and intense. The head sculpt is the same as the Arena Combat version you see above, no changes to the sculpt.

The next series of shots are that of my first in a series of Yuuzhan Vong warriors - As of yesterday, this figure's paint work has been completed! The armor is both heavy and organic, so I used a thin, watery light coat of Oily Black acrylic over previously painted parts of the figure to give the armor a living, breathing appearance. I took a bunch of inspiration from H.R. Giger and how he painted his biomechanical creations. I have four more Vong lined up and two more frames being built...

The Vong Warrior comes packed with a TON of articulation! More will be shown when final images are taken.

By the way, I'll be creating an alternate head sculpt (suprise) of the Vong Warrior wearing the Gnullith - Which is a biotechnological breathing apparatus used for space flight and on non-atmospheric worlds...

This last shot below is an older image but still represents well of the final piece. Final images coming soon!!!

Next up is Darth Malgus, from the upcoming Bioware game Star Wars: The Old Republic...and his official, FINAL alternate head sculpt. Number 5!!!

This head sculpt is of Malgus as featured in the Hope cinematic trailer, smiling deviously as he runs though a Republic soldier with his lightsaber in true Sith tradition. This is the final alternate head sculpt for this figure - 5 in all - the most I've made for a figure. Now all I need to do is get the body sculpt complete!

All five side by side...

Another completed Sith head sculpt - this time from the Dark Horse comic series Star Wars: Legacy. Darth Stryfe wears the markings of the One Sith - the sith order lead by the Dark Lord Darth Krayt.

I think this is the second "red flesh" sith I've painted with the black tattoos - first one being Darth Talon which by the way is going through a second metamorphosis on the work bench. Stryfe's body sculpt is still being work on but is close to completion! :) The next red skin sith to be created will be Darth Wyyrlok...

My final update has to do with the alternate head sculpt to my non-animated version of Savage Opress. But before I get to that, I completed the horns to the primary head sculpt! I used a dark brown as the base for each horn, then used a light dry brushing of several lighter colors.

If you recall the last time we saw this beast he was leaving on a quest to find his lost brother, Darth Maul. Before that, he had a "Fight Club" moment against two Sith, two Jedi and a boat load of droids...and walked away with a few "scratches" LOL...Brutal! That episode inspired my alternate "Brutality" head sculpt of Savage...

The above image shows the primed head sculpt painted with multiple coats of dark brown.

After allowing the dark brown layer to dry, I apply several coats of yellow to the entire head sculpt...thin layers will allow the brown coat underneath to darken the yellow being placed over don't want the yellow layer to be thick and heavy or it will become flashy like the store bought, animated version...

Allow the yellow layer to dry, then take a fine tipped brush, and apply the tattoo markings. I personally don't try to make them exact...I work to make each side symmetrical but if a point is a little rounded, or if a curve isn't rounded enough...I don't have a problem with it because in my opinion, makes it more real to me. This goes for the Darth Stryfe head sculpt previously mentioned...

Time to accentuate the battle damage! I made the damaged eye to appear wider, bloodshot and bruised. Darkened the flesh around the eye and cheek, and added a darker orange and red to show trama. Then I took a dry, hard brush, dipped it into some red paint, wiped off the excess then ran the tip of my finger across the top of the brush that in turn shot a misting of red spots across the eye, cheek and forehead - blood splatter!!!

Some good news about Savage - His sculpt is almost complete! This shot below was taken yesterday - all that remains is the straps around the arms, some additional buckles on the boots and a lightsaber hilt.

And that's all I got for this update - I'm trying to get more updates pumped out and placed on my blog so I hope August will have more than two entrys. If you want to keep up with daily updates and progress of my work, chaeck out my facebook page - Sith_fire30 Creations
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Still hoping to hit 1000 fans before the end of the year...the way it's going now, looks to be an obtainable goal!

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If any of you guys/gals have questions, suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact me here, my facebook or my e-mail - I made a typo in my email address within my last entry so if you tried to email me and got a bounce back, try again - My fault and I apologize :)

I'm working to complete some tutorials - till then if you have any questions about anything I've worked on, please don't hesitate - happy to help.

Alright ladys and gents - Cheers!


Friday, July 8, 2011

A Fistful Of Works....In Progress!

And that's the truth! Not as big an update as the last but definately some progress being made on several figures which will be finding completion soon. Would like to start out with a little Metal Gear!...

Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

Since the last update I've began building the chest and upper abdomen. You can see the progression below.

...and if you've followed any of my work in progress, you'll notice I have a systematic progression to building my sculpts. First the head sculpt (sometimes to completion), then the neck, shoulders, upper arms, collar bone/chest, abdomen and finally lower abdomen...funny thig is, the back side is completely bare! You wouldn't notice in the images but I haven't built up the back of the figures torso in the's merely a choice and a way of controlling the progression...I also find that working a little at a time I'm able to apply more attention to the details and arrive at a more accurate sculpt when finished. Just one of my wacky ways...

Here I've gone ahead and added the ammo vest and clasps. I know the ammo vest allows more slack that what is seen...looks a bit skin tight with the waist being to small. No worries, I'll be adding some loose folds later before I add the ammo pack attachments.

Next up is my progress on the Cybrog Ninja, Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid.

You can see from the image above and the one to follow that I've made HUGE progress over the past several weeks! This sculpt is base on the sculpt work provided by the crew over at Play Arts for their 12" Metal Gear line - the images I showed you in the last entry. In fact here is a new image showing their progress...

So impressed and excited I am for this piece, I've taken on the challenge of reducing that 12" piece to the 1:18 scale...below are my most recent updates.

This version of Gray Fox derives from the concept art featuring additional cybernetics (as seen in the arms and legs) than what appears in the actual game play render.

The legs and lower arms are tricky - so is the chest! I will thicken them up a bit more once I have the other arm and leg done. With this sculpt, I went outside my usual system of building because of the complexity and the abundance of line.

Head sculpt close to completion - this version will also include an alternate head sculpt of FOX with his human face exposed...hmmm, seems all my figures now have more than one head sculpt..what can I say, I like the extra work...LOL!!!

Already presents the cold, machine like stare with that cycloptic eye..."Neither Enemy Nor Friend. I am Back From A World Where Such Words Are Meaningless".

Back to the galaxy far, far away...Next up is a brief update on the Tonnika Sisters - trying to limit the updates a bit on these two while I continue to sculpt the remains of the clothing on each figure - Just added the neck collars, soon will add additional detail and have them ready to be painted.

Told you it would be worries, more to be seen soon from the sisters.

Let's get on to the Republic Shock Troopers and their new toys..

Not only are these four individially sculpted soldiers going to get unique accessories/gear but all will be issued firepower - these custom blasters I created. What you see are castings I made from a master...the weapon itself is a mashup of existing "store bought" and some sculpting. Tried to make the rifles have the look and feel of the weapons shown through the pages of Dark Horse's comic series Star Wars: Invasion..which artist Colin Wilson so masterfully illustrates...

I have to say that when I chose to sculpt four of these guys, I wasn't sure I could keep my enthusiasm with the project...repeating the same process over and over...and over again can become a labor, and you naturally loose interest. But now that I see these guys together closer than ever to completion, I will never do just one trooper even again - troopers will always come in twos or my Imperial Trooper in the works...hard work but worth it!

I've added additional (but slight) detailing to the helmets. Also acquired the tubing for the back of each to plug into their environmental tanks.

I will possibly go back and cast the rifles in black or smokey gray - first time I've casted my own weapons so didn't even think about coloring till after the fact. May create a smaller side arm for each trooper as well.

As far as where the rifle will be placed when not in use...time for the magnet trick! Will embed a magnet into the side of the rifle and somewhere along the back of each trooper so the rifle can easily be stowed.

Another piece nearing completion (the sculpting part that is) Darth Malgus from the Bioware/Lucasarts game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

While completing the sculpt, I have been testing the "Soft Goods" such as the cape and hood and how it will function with the figure. Below are test images...

Decided to go with a rubbery hood instead of cloth. At this scale the material is too light to lay correctly. The plastic hood comes from a Vintage 2011 Darth Sideous figure, and shortened to fit tighter to the head. I will make a casting of this to be rid of the deam lines and add an extension to the back.

So far I have a total of four completed head sculpts for this figure...why not make another one...I'm crazy right? Well, like I said in my last entry, I wanted to recreate the likeness of Malgus as seen in the Hope trailer where he gently glances over and smiles after executing a republic soldier. So very Sith of him! What can you say - he enjoys his work!

I'll get this sculpt painted up soon!

One final update on Darth Malgus would be his lower leg armor being completed. Still need to sharpen the will be the foot armor and boots.

Alright, onto another figure nearing completion, Savage Opress. I think somewhere back in another entry I spoke of an alternate head sculpt showing battle damage - well, here ya go - The "Brutality" version.

Sporting cut horns, cuts and bruises, this version of Savage will consist of the alternate head sculpt, battle damaged chest armor and shoulder armor. The image above and below lack the side horns that were added later.

And here he is complete - This is not a version that shows a defeated Savage, this one will depict a version that doesn't know when to quit...a merciless brute! You don't want none of this!....

Well after saying how tough he is, I rip off his bad, and I apologise...but that's not the focus of the next two images. I completed his belt (sans the hilt) and his soft goods/plastic tunic.

The design on the front of the tunic will be painted on.

Just yesterday I recieved the Hasbro Clone Wars version of Savage and I must say, not a bad figure...for the exception of not having ball jointed ankles and the yellow and black being WAY TOO YELLOW AND BLACK!

Anyway I had to do a comparision shot to the non-animated version I'm working on..why oh why did they skimp out on the blade!

Again, a nice figure - not knockin' Hasbro's at all. I just think that if it met my version in a dark alley it would scare the tats right off of his ultra yellow body LOL! BOO!

And finally for this entry - the title speaks of a "Fistful of Work"...I've taken on Cold War Espionage and Galactic War, how about I broaden my horizons and take on Bounty Killers south of the boarder?...

That's right, as the announcement says below, I'm going to create 9 - 10 figures (and their horses) based on the Dollars Trilogy: A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

For a Fistful Of Dollars I've chosen three characters - Joe (Clint), Ramón Rojo and his brother Esteban Rojo - just because of that elaborate costume!

For A Few Dollars More will be Monco (Clint), El Indio and Col. Douglas Mortimer

And finally The Good, The Bad and the Ugly will be Blondie (Clint), "Angel Eyes" and Tuco

Now I've already begun sculpting - in fact I have completed two head sculpts. Both versions are of Clint Eastwood. Since he looks similar in all three films for the exception of a small costume change, I will be using thess sculpts throughout the line. The two group images below are that of the same head sculpt, just different settings...

I will have four versions of this headsculpt when completed - One with the hat, one without. Then a second set being the same for the exception of him smoking a small cigar.

The brim of the hat was difficult to sculpt at first but realized that I could add the FIXIT on a little thicker then once cured, reduce it with a dremel tool then sand the brim down. Happy to say, it works!

Alas, once again, we've come to the end of another blog entry - but I'd like to take a moment to put all this aside and ask for your help...

Michael Martinez, owner and artist of Mercury Art Studios, was tragically killed last week by a drunk driver. He leaves behind his fiancé Hollie, his baby daughter and another one that has yet to be born. I met Mike online...never met the man personally...but you couldn't mistaken the enthusiasm he had for the hobbie of customizing action figures. He and I would brainstorm on occasion and his ideas were fantastic. He was just getting confident at incorporating more sculpted work into his figures and breaking away from retooling. He didn't limit himself to just one subject or scale - and was able to make a living selling quality work he created for fans and collectors to purchase on Ebay. He had a lot going his way, not only as an artist, but as a father and future husband. A tragic loss.

If you knew him or Hollie, please send them a message of support and your prayers. You can leave a posting on Mike's facebook page - Michael Martinez or on his Mercury Art Studios page here - Mercury Art Studios

If you would to make a donation to help Hollie and the kids out, you can send it directly to her via paypal at this addresss - Shout out to Tamer for the info - thank you!

RIP Mike - You'll be missed!!

Now - On a lighter note. My facebook fans and followers here on the blogs are suffering my maddness! Over 650 on facebook and over 105 followers here on my blogspot!?! We need a doctor in here! LOL! Seriously I appreciate each one of you and your continued interest in my work! You all inspire me just as much as I hope inspire you - we need each other right?! Wanna join in on this maddness? Stop by my Faceboook page and become a fan! Sith_fire30 Creations

Also be sure to stop by my Flickr photostream for todays images plus many more. I'll be launching these images as soon as this blog entry goes live so please stop by - I will be adding more images which will NOT BE SEEN ON THIS BLOG or on Facebook so bookmark my FLICKR page and check in often.

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If any of you have questions, suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact me here, my facebook or my e-mail -

Talk to ya later - next update coming soon!