I didn’t get much painting done last week. I couldn’t quite drum up the energy and enthusiasm to settle down and get to it, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when I felt the first signs of a cold coming on last Friday. For the record that’s the third cold I’ve had since starting ‘project Nurgle’. It’s enough to make a person superstitious!
At the weekend I decided not to tempt fate by forcing myself to paint. Gutrot Spume is going well but the paint job takes a lot of effort and concentration and I really didn’t feel up to it. I decided instead to tinker with some ideas for his base. That way I could get something constructive done without risking the mini.
I’ve always been sure that I wanted Gutrot to be on a boat of some kind. His role as master of the plague fleet had inspired me to adopt a nautical theme and a boat just seemed like the most natural choice. But even the best idea in the world is no use if you can’t make it a reality. What I really wasn’t sure about were the details of size, composition and construction. That’s been worrying me quite a bit. I’ve gathered together a collection of reference pictures and spent a lot of time just thinking about what I wanted to do and about how to do it.
I realised that the best solution was to simply stop worrying and start constructing. If things didn’t work out there would be no harm done, and some useful lessons might be learned. I began construction with cardboard and masking tape. The idea was to knock up something rough and ready that would help me sort out my ideas and figure out the practicalities.
My first try at a card dummy of the boat worked out surprisingly well. With a spare Gutrot Spume to hand I was able to figure out both the size and composition very quickly. I think all the time I’d spent worrying had helped me develop my ideas to the point that all I really needed to do was to have the courage of my convictions.
The card dummy was the correct size and shape but it lacked any sort of strength or stability. My initial plan had been to use this dummy as a template for the ‘proper’ construction. I decided to see if I could stabilize and strengthen the dummy with super glue and milliput. The super glue soaked into the card and set the construction rigid while the milliput filled the gaps to give me a solid core over which I could add the surface textures. Before I knew it my cardboard dummy had become the core for the final piece.
At this point I’ll apologise for the lack of work in progress pictures. I had no idea when I started that my experiment would go so well and was simply enjoying a weekend spent tinkering with cardboard and glue.
With a solid core constructed for my boat I turned my attention to the surface detail. I’ve always favoured balsa wood as on option but was unsure about the details of construction with this material. Now that I had a solid and stable core the balsa could simply be used as a surface veneer. Sunday was spent cutting strips and panels of balsa that I then carved and shaved to fit the core. A combination of PVA wood glue and super glue fixed the balsa in place. I’ve begun working on the surface with wire brushes to add some texture and damage to the wood and the boat is beginning to develop a bit of character.
The biggest surprise is that the resulting boat is very close to my initial ideas! There is a lot of work that needs to be done to finish off the detail and add texture but my weekend of experimentation has proven to be far more productive than I ever could have imagined.
It looks like Papa Nurgle knew what he was up to when he gave me this cold!