Monday, August 27, 2012

Blood Imps hunting for Giant Skull Scarab

So, here are the pictures of a diorama I just completed for Reaper Miniatures Monsters Contest. A small diorama depicting a fight between three 02197 Blood Imps sculpted by Rene Perez and a 02564 Giant Scarab Beetle sculpted by Bob Olly.

One of the Imps was converted to look like he's been killed by acid burns, dropping one of its swords on the ground. The Scarab shell was cut and repositioned so that they will form open elytra. The bottom part inner body was filled with green stuff and sculpted like a real beetle abdomen. Finally, I slightly modified P02744B Cichastus wings set to create hind wings.

The Giant Scarab is not glued to the tree so it can be positioned facing up or down. That way, it can be displayed as if it's attacking the Imps or fleeing after being fought off by Imp reinforcements. The custom-built pine tree and base were made with wires and green stuff. The paint choice for the Scarab was essentially inspired by the flamboyant striped love beetle colors. I used twenty four different colors and three different syntactic flock.I used twenty four different colors and three different syntactic flock.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. It was a real pleasure to make it.

Here is a detailed WIP I wrote during the making off of my diorama. I like Monsters and since I couldn’t find much painted version of Bob Olley’s 02564 Giant Scarab Beetle on Reaper's forum or the Internet, I decided to not only paint one, but also convert it so it will be very original.

You’ll see on the first photo, I want to make it like it's flying or at least taking off. To do that, I filled the bottom part inner body with green stuff and sculpted the abdomen and metathorax. I cutted the top part shell to form the "elytra" forewings.

As for the hind wings, I first wanted to make them using transparent plastic sheets. But, since the material I found was too thin and very easy to scratch, I choose to use P02744B Cichastuc Wings.

I cleaned the wings and formed them so they will fit right behind the elytra. Then, to get a preview at the final result, I used adhesive putty to hold the wings in place. I’ll paint the four parts separately before assembling them so I’ll be able to reach for all the details.

Here are two pictures of the Scarab with the wings on.

 I've only drawn two sketches of a base that I think could be nice for the Giant Scarab to fly from. A stone platform would also make a nice base, I'm just not sure yet of what I'll end up choosing.

Okay, since the diorama category has to contain more than one figure to enter the Monsters contest, I chose to add some Imps to my project. I had these three 02197, Blood Imps sculpted by Rene Perez who were just ready for Giant Scarab hunting.

To make the story more realistic, one of the Imps has to be killed during battle. So, I modified the one with two swords so that he looks like the casualty. Sound like a possible scenario, no?

The challenge now is to put all this action on a 2 inch (50mm) square aluminum base.

I drilled a hole in the tree trunk to pass a rigid wire through it. In fact, I used a hanger as a pin so the support will be very strong. The scarab is not that heavy, but I want the diorama to be solid. I still need to add some more branches on the tree to accommodate the giant insect legs.

 I added a set of branch to support the back legs of the scarab and I disposed the Imps on the base to see if I’ll have enough room to fit them all in. The two last pictures show the scarab upside down but it won't display like this.

 At that point, I had to rework the Scarab to fill some gaps along the legs and I decided to fix the shell to the bottom part.

I left two holes under the shell to fix the wings later, when they’ll be painted.

Many trees grow with horizontal branches, Pine tree or Cedar tree are good example.
My favourite tree being the Black Pine tree I’ll try to reproduce one on my diorama.

I'm adding some pictures I took recently as I find them very inspiring.

   I used some Milliput to continue the base on which I stamped the Imps base to facilitate their integration.

 I used thinner wires to make some twigs. I also added the scimitar beside the dead Imp, assuming he fell when the demon died.

The next step was to make some thinner twigs that can be used to fix some leaves on the branches ends. To do this, I used the strands of a bare electric wire. I rolled the strands around the wires making sure they will exceed from the tips of the branches.

The first layer of Green Stuff is complete now. I also thickened the trunk at its base because it didn‘t look proportional. I start painting as the green stuff take some time to harden. Coleoptera are captivating insects and I’m fascinated by variety of their coloration.

I painting the base colors on the models. A dark brown wash was then applied on the Imps. The Scarab was given two red and a brown wash over its orange/brown base color.

As you can see I use old paint bottles to fix the models while I'm painting them. These are vintage 1987 Ral Partha paint bottles.

I completed the touch up on the tree, it will be ready for primer as soon as it’s dry.

After priming the tree, I could see many unwanted marks that I had to remove.

Here is the final result. There is still some rough spots, but I hope I'll be able to fix that with paint.

 I basecoated the base with a dark brown color and applied two ash wash on it. And, I applied two ash wash directly on the tree grey primer, followed by a leather brown wash.

Then I worked the tree bark leather brown/grey color and added a grey highlight. I also applied a ochre dry brushing on the ground. As for the other Imps, the dead devil was painted red, then washed with dark brown, and blended red/orange.

As for the wing I applied a pale grey bleu base color on the membranes, followed by a green/yellow blending. I completed by adding some highlights on the membranes and the veins.

 The Scarab is almost complete now. I need to work on the legs claws some more. The metallic green was obtained by mixing green and silver with charcoal and blue for the shading, and ochre and yellow for the highlight.

Before making the clusters of needles at the end of the branches, I proceeded to a test. To make sure I was going in the right direction with my selection of flock.

I built a sample model tree using an electrical wire and primed it.

I then applied a thin layer of water diluted white glue on the twigs and I dipped them in Moss Green flock.

Finally, I tryed Static Field Grass on the last branch and applied some on one of the already flocked branch. Note I didn’t paint the branches for the test, but I pleased to see the results.

I added some highlights on the tree trunk and covered the twigs with static grass.

I still need to finalise some paint touch ups and fix the Imps on the base.
Here’s a sneak peek at the diorama, both the Scarab fighting the Imps and the Scarab fleeing after killing an Imps.

I hope this WIP can help whatever if its for inspiration or technical stuff.