I remember at one point saying that I would like to update this page several times a month...I remember saying that. What is it - almost two months since my last update??? I'm really taklin' the talk but not walkin' the walk LOL! Seriously, I try but with so many projects running at the same time it makes it difficult for me to stop on one subject when several others are close to some kind of completion point. I'd rather have a full show, containing many updates than that of one single segment. Still though - I'll try to post more - promise!
Been a busy couple months - I've delved into several popular film genres along with my work in the Star Wars universe. This time last year it was nothing but Star Wars. Now I'm working on projects that involve films such as Alien, Blade Runner, Prometheus, Sucker Punch, The Dark Knight series, The Dollars Trilogy and video games like Metal Gear....a refreshing change of pace. Some people have asked if I may be abandoning my Star Wars work...you kidding??? Not by a long shot! In fact, I have some great characters that are on the workbench coming soon from the Star Wars universe - Characters from several Dark Horse comics such as Legacy: WAR, Dark Times, Agent of the Empire and Invasion. More from The Clone Wars series and original trilogy work - so don't worry. It's fun to venture into other avenues and create from a different perspective.
Speaking of having fun, need to give a special shout out to a couple of podcasts that were kind enough to have me on their shows over the past month or so!
First up is the One-Of-A-Kind Workshop hosted by Richard Whipple of Ratfink Custom Toys and Blake Lowe of BlakeMake.com
One-Of-A-Kind Workshop episode 2
Secondly is the crew of the General Geekery Podcast - Hosted By Brian Hatch and JD - JD was MIA for this show so Dion stepped in!
General Geekery Podcast episode 12 - The Geek Lord of the Sith
All in all a bunch of great guys in love with the hobby of customizing and toy making. Thank you guys for having me on your shows! Be sure to check them out when you have a chance!
Alright! Who wants to see what's been in the works over the past month or so...
First up - Updates to 1:18 scale figures of characters from the 1979 motion picture ALIEN. Beginning with Captain Dallas in Envionmental Suit.
As much time as it takes and challenge it is to get the detail sculpted, the payoff has been wonderful. I think these envionmental suits will be the most detailed pieces I have created in this scale.
The shoulder armor and chest plate are all seperate - working on the lower legs and boots. I have a fellow customizer who is talented in lighting effects helping me work up a lighting system inside the helmets - which is why I haven't sculpted the back packs yet becasue that's where the possible power supply will go. Look for updates on the progress...
Kane's suit has caught up with Dallas' sculpt wise but wasn't photographed for this update because I haven't finished Kane's head sculpt for the suit. Look for updates to be posted on my facebook page and on Flick over the next several weeks.
Updates to my 1:18 scale Ash figure...The clip being probably one of the top five shocking sci-fi moments of all time - and in 1979, was almost as frightening as the chestburster scene. In my opinion, creating an iconic character like Ash at this scale can't be fullfilled with a simple, single figure with a head sculpt of Ian Holm. It's pleasing, no doubt but this character needs to be taken up a notch, to be given special attention to. I consider Ash as being the Alien equivalent to my Darth Malgus figure...for those that have kept up with my updates, you know what I'm talking about.
This brings me to a new, alternate head sculpt of Ash that depicts his malfunctioning rage while choking Ripley with the rolled up magazing. The sculpt was taken from a screen capture in the film which you can see in the above video around the time of 2:26...go ahead and take a look. A "wild" face indeed - something I wanted to capture and recreate for this figure - such an uncommon and frieghtening expression from what was before a calm, non combative member of the crew - very dramatic in my opinion. I think I captured the insane look successfully.
You can see that likke bit of light reflection from the drops of "milk" in the above photo - Gotta love drops of gloss coat. Suttle yet very effective.
So we get to the part where Parker comes up and knocks Ash in the back of the head with an oxygen tank, sending the malfunctioning robot into a violent siezure, spinning about and spitting up "milk" everywhere...fun times! Which brings me to my next alternate head sculpt - the same sculpt as the one abouve, just a different paint scheme...
...and shooting these with the Nostromo galley wall I am working on as a backdrop, made the process much more enjoyable.
Currenly working on an upper torso and removable head that will depict the moment Parker knocks it off his shoulders - you've seen the work I have done in past updates. Anyway, skipping this and going forward to the moment Ash is reactivated, laying beside his body in a sea of tissue, wires, tubes and milk.
The creation of the non-articulated piece was quite simple. First sculpt the likeness of Ian with his mouth open, mold and cast, then sculpt the torn flesh around the head as it would look lying on a table. After that, just the process of painting the head sculpt in flesh tones, clean, then adding thick white paint to portions...then coating with a clear gloss in spots. The debris around the eyes was also intentional - this was not a fun moment for the crew and especially for Ash who beacame half the man he used to be. :)
The second part of this piece - his body - is still being worked on. Simply it will be another upper torso. No need to resculpt the legs for this. The new upper body will be headless with the robots "innards" shown falling out of the neck with tubes and such running to the newly created head sculpt you see here. Will there be a slight lighting effect running through the wires?..Who knows what I may do.
And this is what I mean when I decide to take a custom figure "up a notch"....
Next up on our Alien update adventure is the completed head sculpt of Nostromo's excetuive officer - Kane.
I am a HUGE fan of John Hurt. I think I would have been even if he never participated in the Alien film...but probably no as big a fan. The likeness is very simple and suttle - mostly taken from around the eyes and chin. I usually stop on a likeness at this scale when I can pan back and say - "that's the guy!" Once I'm there, I stop - and in my opinion, I got there with this head sculpt.
The next head sculpt for Kane will be of him screaming while "giving birth"...the chestburster version of Kane will be possibly one of the most challenging 1:18 scale figures I've worked on to this point...the figure will be articulated, as well as the creature. I'm thinking of the torso having a switch out chest piece or "plate" using magnets. One plate with the blood spot under the fabric, another "plate" of the creature driving through the fabric and finally another replaceable "plate" showing the creture exposed in the open chest. This will be a very graphic piece and a very challenging one to pull off. I imagine if it was mass produced it wouldn't be sold at Toys R Us I can assure you!
Next up is my upper body sculpt work on the torso of Ripley. This version of Ripley will have her wearing her flight suit - partially opened exposing her undershirt and t-shirt. The torso will be swiched out and replaced with another torso of Ripley wearing her short sleeved flight shirt with the upper half of her jump suit tied around her waist.
I'm working on a second version of Ripley's head sculpt with her hair up - coming soon.
Finally completed Lambert's head sculpt - very simple, very clean. Veronica Cartwright's complexion in the film was the same...
that is untill she became frightened...
...which will be one of two alternate head sculpt I will be creating for her - the other being the version for the EV Suit.
Finally for the Alien update, a shot of my 1:18 scale Nostromo Galley Diorama in the works.
This is becoming more of a sculptural diorama more than anything being made out of styrene and foam parts. Most of this piece so far has been sculpted using Aves FIXIT sculpt. I hope to replicate the new wing and attached the casting to the other side which is nothing more than a replica (thank goodness - the image of the new wing has been cloned). The parts will be connected by magnets at the back of each panel.
So, pleanty going on with the Alien series! Other characters like Parker (had to rework the head sculpt), Bret and the Alien itself are also in the early works and should make a debut on the next blog update.
Onto the beautiful ladies from the motion picture Sucker Punch...well, at least one lady right now.
Baby Doll..more like Baby Doll's legs. Just completed the legs a couple days ago - they are a bit out of proportion to the bare frame but will all fill in when the hips and lower abdomen are built up.
Hard to see in the image, but I've managed to create a very soft sheer texture seperating her stockings from her bare skin...will be a cool effect when painted. Currently working on her head sculpt which hopefully will be revealed on the next update. Also beginning the work on Sweet Pea (my fave) so hang on guys! - Much more to come.
"The Fire Rises"
The next set of images show the progress I have made with my 1:18 scale ariculated sculpt of Bane from the upcoming motion picture The Dark Knight Rises.
Completed the head sculpt several weeks ago and began working on the upper body build.
The scar that runs from the base of his neck down must play some significance in the film...we shall see.
Began using a very dense sponge to get the texture of skin - you can see the light texture running through his chest, abdomen and back.
Similar to my Savage Opress figure from last year, Bane will have a removable sculpted vest seperated into two pieces - front and back - and held to the torso by magnets embedded into the body sculpt.
Many have asked how I create body armor or molded pieces such as Bane's vest using FIXIT - Difficult to explain without a visual reference but wait! Good News! Working on a video tutorial that may help you all out. Will post it soon on my youtube page when complete! Actually involves the making of what I call the "shell" you see here attached to Bane. Stay tuned!
Honestly I have no idea if we will see Bane bear chested..I took some creative license and made this figure with the option. He will also include a couple additional torsos which I believe I already mentioned in an earlier post - one with his trench coat on and the other wearing long sleeves.
So we come to the moment of truth - I succesfully completed the head sculpt, made a mold and several castings without air bubbles or other defects...and now the payoff. The painted head sculpt. This always sets the tone for me when it comes to how the rest of the sculpt will be built. Of course I'm very happy with the outcome or they wouldn't be posted here right? Enjoy!....
I use testors Floquil acrylics. The layers for flesh tones are a mix of several hues - the images don;t do the tones credit - some appear to be transparent, showing other shading blends underneath.
"No one cared who I was till I put on the mask..."
The Dark Knight himself is next to be worked on - almost have the frame complete. The head sculpt is in it's early build as well - Will continue work on Bane's vest and begin his lower body work that will remain consistent from torso to torso.
We venture into Sir Ridley Scott's motion picture Blade Runner where I have begun work on the first character in the replicant line - Roy Batty. This is the second attempt at sculpting the likeness of Rutger Hauer and I'm close to saying "That's him!"...but not quite.
My first attempt was WAY OFF - nowhere close. This version just needs a bit more meat in the jaw line and I think I'll have him. The next in the line of course will be Deckard, then Rachael, Gaff, Zora, Pris and Leon. So many great characters, you alomst forget about the flying cars! Which brings me to my second work in progress in this line..
I have collected several of the 1:18 scale Medicom Spinner Cars from the Blu Ray box sets sold overseas. I have begun work on resculpting the interior of the vehicle, making the piece more accurate and hopefully install some lighting effects as well. I was inspired by model maker Randy Cooper's work on a 1:12 scale Spinner scratch build - check it out at RandyCoopermodels.com. Amazing work!
So first thing I have resculpted are the seats. The image below is a comparision shot between the Medicom version and my newly sculpted version. As you can see, this is going to be a fun project!!!
Lets get away from the film genre work and get into some video games - Metal Gear and The Old Republic to be more percise!
First lets cover some Metal Gear - starting with updating my Naked Snake from Metal Gear Solid 3 - Snake eater.
*Note - I know the images say MG2 - Sanke Eater. My bad :)
About a month or two ago I decided to return some of my Metal Gear sculpts to the workbench and complete them - first though I have to update the frames for many of these figures. What I thought was great articulated frames at the time have become less than desireable compared to what I have used recently. So starting with Naked Snake, I have totaly axed the body sculpt - reworking the articulaction points and rebuilding from scratch.
The image below shows the improved articulation - much more than it's predecessor. The frame also features a magnet connection for the waist which will allow me to swich out the upper body with a shirtless version of the sculpt - also working on a crocodile head sculpt as an added accessory.
The same adjustments will go for Vamp above - I have some BIG plans for Vamp. This will be possibly the last image taken of the original sculpt before it's scrapped - I hate to do it but want these figures to have the best articulation I can give them without sacrificing the sculpt and a microman body just doesn't work with this figure. The head sculpt will remain and quite possibly the legs. The torso though will be stripped. trust me - you'll forget all about this piece when you see what I have created to take it's place :)
The PMC soldiers are safe! No scrapping of the sculpts here - just adjustments to the elbows by adding ball joint articulation as you can see in the above image.
It's been alomst a year since I announced I will begin sculpting the Beauty and The Beast Unit from Metal Gear Solid 4 and finally below is the first work in progress image of Screaming Beauty - the "stripped" down version of Screaming Mantis.
The "beauty" version of these characters will be more of a challenge to sculpt because the focus, whether intentional or not, is based on their sexual physique.
These sculpts must look attractive as much as a 1:18 scale sculpt can LOL! Sceaming Mantis is also being worked on but at the time of this posting I had not reached a completion point for photography - keep your eye on my facebook and flickr sites for updates.
Good News! The plans for Crying Wolf and Laughing Octopus are also in the works. Planning on taking a three week window for nothing but Metal Gear work, tableing everything else. I have plans to begin work on Foxhound - starting with Vulcan Raven and Sniper Wolf. I have a sculpt of Snake from Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid 2 in the works, as well as a sculpt of Gray Fox - Ninja and Raiden from MGS4 that needs to be worked on. Excited for the updates to come!!
Next up, Star Wars: The Old Republic - and the progress I am making on my sculpted Satele Shan.
Completed the upper body along with the shoulder guards - adding the lace detail to the front and back, then will work down the abdomen to the legs. The head cast is a piece I am prepping to paint - gonna take another shot at the look for Satele. I'm very happy with my last finished paint job which many of you have seen but when I have a chance to practice and improve, why not right?
I have many other Sith and Jedi from The Old Republic cinematic trailers being worked on - you can guess which ones I am talking about. Updates on those will come soon.
Lets journey to a darker place shall we...
As soon as I saw this version of Darth Maul shattered and consumed by the raw power of the dark side I knew I had to get to work on this piece...
First, I had to gather the parts needed to create the spider like articulated frame.
...then bring the parts together to create the skeleton.
Maul has been consumed by the dark side - mentally and physically. His body is withered, his mechanics unsteady and shaken, his eyes enlarged and sunken.
I know the lower abdomen is not exposed in the character render but I wanted to create the sculpt from the upper abdomen down to show continuity without the worry of a cut off line being exposed later. When the layer of wrap is scupted around this waist, I hope to have it loose and partially free moving showing a small glimpse of the sculpt underneath. Difficult to explain - I will have to show you with my next update.
The legs you see here will be shortened to match that of the character - I will sculpt over the legs with a thin base, detailed with seam lines and rivet markings, then wrap with actual wire or sculpt wire around the legs making the piece look biomechanical.
The head sculpt is coming soon - the eyes were being worked on duirng the time of this photoshoot and wasn't ready to be shot.
Along with this version of Maul I will be working on the reborn version of the Dark Lord as well!
Onto the comic books - and no other character is as inspiring to me right now in the Star Wars universe than the rouge jedi Dass Jennir. The work Randy Stradley and Doug Wheatley are doing with the Dark Times series from Dark Horse comics is the best. It looks and reads like the classic Star Wars trilogy. you need to check it out.
Many of you are familiar with my Dass Jennir figure from two years ago - still a favorite piece of mine...
...well I'm back at it with a second version of Dass, this time with his trusty horse...or beast...not sure what the creatures species is but the new comic arc, Out Of The Wilderness, reads like a spaghetti western - and Dass riding in to save the day on the back of this creature has become one of the most awesome moments of Star Wars comics lore in recent years. In my humble opinion of course.
This beast will be sculpted over the frame you see here - The frame was once the horse from a deluxe Indiana Jones set. The beast will have longer legs, a slightly longer neck to match the build seen in the comics. This will be the first time sculpting an animal like a horse so wish me luck - used to draw them all the time so hopefully I will be able to tap into the old habit when scupting :)
Other characters from the Dark Times saga are on tap - as well as characters from the new John Ostrander/Jan Duursema series - Dawn of the Jedi! Also look for a certain action duo to get the 1:18 treatment from the pages of Agent of the Empire!
The video you see here is my interpretation of how the General Greivous character should have remained in the movies and recent animated series. THE SUPER BEAST!!! In my opinion, the film and recent animated series has decimated what would have been a very interesting and iconic character for the Star Wars universe - now the only place where you'll find that original idea is in the early Clone Wars animated shorties.
I don't know what struck me to begin work on the General other than creating a version that had the feel of the characters original purpose - a deadly machine made to seek and destroy Jedi - not a sickly, dim-whitted bag of bolts easliy killed and written off. What a waste. Anyway, I digress - Below is my working head sculpt. The paint work is still a work in progress but the bones and metal will be worn, beaten but at the same time, solid and heavy. He'll look like a machine soldier and not a slumped over coughing hack....uh oh. I digress again!
So plan on seeing much more of Grievous in the future - he's gonna be BIG! Promise!
Finally our journey is at an end - but before I go, a quick update on my Darth Vader sculpt - the Sebastian Shaw head sculpt revealed!!
Getting very close to completing this figure - working on the soft goods cape which has become more difficult to create than I first thought. Still, won't be long till you see him in his meditation chair which by the way is almost complete as well - the chair, not the entire chamber...not yet!
More details will be shown of the head once I have the back complete - just finished the facial paintwork when I took these images so more to come!
LONG UPDATE! WOW! Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoy working on these projects!
If you want to keep up with daily updates and progress of my work, check out my facebook page - href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sith_fire30-Creations/121610277862687">Sith_fire30 Creations
A special THANK YOU to all who have joined my facebook page, twitter, tumblr, flickr and pinterest pages since my last update - you all are awesome! Thanks for you continued interest in my work!
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Questions, suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact me here, my facebook or my e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you! Thank again!
by the way....look for figures from this fime in the next update....
Beginning with the 8th generation Weyland type...