For once, I’m updating to post about only one model. It’s not that I’m without other projects at the moment – that would be laughable – but that I’m mildly consumed by the project I’m working on.
I should probably finish up the last ducks for the commission, but they’re a distraction. They’re currently just a couple of undercoated figures and a blob of magic sculpt on a plinth, so not much to talk about, either.
Anyway, the project I’m finding so engrossing – which you might have seen on Facebook or Instagram – is an android soldier from Mr Lee’s Minis, sculpted by Christoph Eichhorn (perhaps better known as Trovarion). Several years back, I painted the other android Christoph has in his range on Mr Lee’s Minis, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m not sure what put me off getting this one, but I’m quite pleased I did, because I can now apply all the stuff I’ve learned since then.
This piece is also a good example of showing how sometimes my ideas evolve as I’m working on a piece.
To start with: the inspiration. I bought the model with only a vague idea. I wanted to make it almost an anti-war model, taking the clearly military gear from the front and subverting it. The gear on the back is a little less uniform, which ties into that. Running with this idea, I thought it would be neat to take some of Joker’s motifs from Full Metal Jacket and apply them to the figure.
As you can see from this early shot, that didn’t really work out:
For those who haven’t seen the film, Joker is a soldier assigned to the journalism corps in Vietnam, and he enjoys displaying things like ‘Born to kill’ on his helmet right next to a badge with the peace symbol. I attempted to put the slogan over a shiny face plate initially, thinking that this would provide enough contrast to be readable, but it unfortunately just highlights how artificial the text is. Back to the drawing board for me.
So, with that failure out the way, I re-evaluated what I was aiming for and – crucially – the model I was actually painting. While a shiny face plate is a cool idea – it makes it look more like a visor, which is an interesting take on the model – it doesn’t actually work terribly well because the surface itself isn’t smooth enough. I had a hell of a time trying to get the shiny effect because the way light actually interacts with it doesn’t support the illusion.
I also realised that the model has already done part of the work for me with regard to subversion. As noted previously, the back of the model already has extra gear that doesn’t entirely gel with the idea of a dedicated soldier. I suppose you could make them work, but the badges and patches beg for something more – and something that stands out a little.
So, with this in mind, I decided to stick with the general Vietnam theme for the military stuff and have ended up with possibly the greenest model I’ve ever done.
I think the pair of pouches are the only parts so far that don’t have any green in them, other than the splash of orange on his antenna, and they still have that green strap.
It’s been a fun exercise trying to differentiate the really green parts, especially as they’re all based on different mixes of the same few paints (old GW Dark Angels Green, VMC Military Green and VMC US Dark Green).
I still don’t quite know how he’ll evolve, but I’m enjoying the journey a lot. In the end, how green will he be?