Monday 25 February 2019

Project P30 – Building a ‘better’ tank.

I first posted this project back in December 2017 and said it would be bubbling away in the background. Never was there a truer word as my updated predator has been constantly on my mind even if it wasn’t on my desk! I’ve been considering what kits to use and how to bring them together into one cohesive entity. This has been tricky because, although I had a concept and ‘feel’ for what I wanted to achieve, my ideas were very amorphous.

I needed to start tinkering with actual models in order to get the new tank out of my head and into physical reality. Once I started arranging the elements with adhesive putty, I’d be able to play with different concepts and compositions. The first step was to build the predator tank.

Although I won't be using this tank as I'd first imagined
it will have a place in the project before all is done.
And there the project stalled! Something felt wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was for some time. When I finally realised what wasn’t ‘doing it’ for me it was a bit of a shocker because I didn’t like the tank I was using!

I’d chosen the old style Predator Tank as a direct homage to my 1990 model. That seemed like an obvious choice but it felt unsuitable for what I wanted to achieve this time around. The old tank has a rigid boxy shape and my instincts were to use something more rounded and organic. For a long time I struggled and eventually realised that if I used the old style tank I would be fighting against it throughout the entire project.

I decided to let go of the old and embrace the new. This project was, after all, an updated version of an old concept and not a recreation. It took me a while, and a fair bit of agonizing, to make this choice but once I did it felt right. The new Tank I decided to use was the Death Guard Plagueburst Crawler. To be honest I’m appalled I ever considered anything else. It’s a Nurgle tank with a rounded form and organic details and if it had been around in 1990 I’d have used it then without hesitation. The new tank will take full advantage of the range of kits now available.

So the first big decision for Project P30 is that the new Predator isn’t a Predator after all!

Things then progressed at a slow but steady pace. I put the core of my tank together and then experimented with an assortment of extra kits. Straightaway I could see that the Plagueburst Crawler lent itself to the concept. It’s organic shape worked well in combination with the various ‘body parts’. I was now able to decide upon which exact parts I would be using for the major elements of the build. I’ve decided to use the torso from the plastic Great Unclean One as the basis for the torso of my demon engine. The arms will come, in part from the Chaos Maulerfiend but what about the head?

This has been one of the big questions I’ve had from the start. On the original tank I sculpted a face onto the Predator’s turret creating a head. With the new model I wanted a more fully emerged demon and that called for a distinct head and torso. I played with the head options from the Great Unclean One and considered having three heads. Three is, after all, a very nurglish number. But, although it had some possibilities, I felt it was a timid solution and not a true reimagining of the original.

This mock-up could hardly be rougher
but it's the first step in what feels like the right direction!

I was pussy footing around the idea of sculpting a head from scratch. It’s been a few years since I’ve done any sculpting and the idea was pushing me way out of my comfort zone. There was only one solution I’d have to man up and break out the green stuff!

Monday 4 February 2019

Sloppity Bilepiper Part 4

Apologies for the lack of regular post on this blog but with all my old routines gone my painting and posting is more than a little erratic. In truth I’ve decided to focus my hobby time on painting with social media and blogging taking a back seat for the time being. This is working out very nicely for me as I’m getting a little more painting time and, most importantly, I’m enjoying myself.

In my last post I had just about finished the Sloppity Bilepiper but I'd yet to paint his base. With the luxury of a little more time I’ve now done that and it feels so good to have completed a project. The process has been fairly intense as there was a lot of going back and forth to tweak some of the details.

As the Bilepipe, his nurgling companion and the base came together many of the tones, hues, textures and finishes were adjusted to balance out the overall composition. It was all a bit fiddly and in some places very subtle but it’s really helped to tie the elements together. It’s been a satisfying experience to finesse a project without any deadline pressure.

The base incorporates my first use of resin water effects for creating the puddle the Bilepiper is stepping in. Admittedly it’s a cautious use of resin but I wanted to start off with something straightforward before getting more adventurous. I can see myself doing more water bases in my future.

I’d initially intended to keep the slime and drips to a minimum but as the project developed I realised this was not the right mini for that approach. He is after all called a SLOPPITY Bilepiper and that suggests more than a little sloppyness. So out came the microbeads, UHU glue and plenty of gloss varnish. My Bilepiper is now appropriately sloppy and is pipes are oozing bile!

In contrast to the slime I wanted to add some rough textures for the mould and corrosion. In the past I would have used my old friend baking powder but I’ve finally found what seems to be a perfect replacement. Chinchilla bathing powder, a mixture of mineral sand and calcium powder, has the right texture and best of all takes and holds colour very well! Fingers crossed it will, unlike baking powder, be stable over the long term.

So there we have it, the finished Sloppity Bilepiper. I started this as a ‘quickie’ after Mark came home from hospital but, as usually happens, the project drew me in and I’ve invested a lot of time into it. But I think it’s been time well spent because I’m very happy with the finished result and painting the Bilepiper has helped me get into the swing of a new painting routine!