POP

Since the last update, Lady Gaga has been finished up, and she looks FABULOUS. The scene is based on the actual show she attended in the meat dress, which was usefully quite heavy on black instead of red. If she’d been on the red carpet, I would have had to do something to make sure she stood out. Perhaps put a strong shadow around her or something. Anyway, the main challenge of the setting was doing all the tiny MTV logos, which, I suppose, are at least mercifully simple.

What you might note is that the logos actually become a little larger as they go up the backdrop. Rather than being an error, this was a deliberate choice to elongate the scene. I’m not sure it works incredibly well, but I do like the effect.

Since completing her, I’ve started on two more figures, both of which require quite a lot of sculpting. My nemesis.

Thematically, they’re all linked: pop stars. As you may know, I enjoy being a bit confrontational with my models. Not in the “here’s Hitler with tits and a massive strap-on” vein of confrontational, but more trying to push the envelope of what people might think of when they think about historical categories at model shows. In this case, I’m doing a series of characters who are dressed in a fantastical style. In many ways, this is really just an extension of painting Vikings and gladiators: they’re an approachable visual for fantasy painters.

So, with that in mind for this project, the sculpting on the first of the two figures is now done: Michelangelo’s David Bowie. I had first thought about doing Bowie in the style of Virgin Mary of the Sacred Heart or similar, but that felt like I’d be going too far away from historical and really just creating a fictional piece. Instead, I thought I’d just combine Davids for a double dose of history.

It’s worth noting that Bowie and David have quite different anatomies. Aside from the obvious, Michelangelo’s version is clearly more muscular. A judge at a show might take issue with that. My immediate response would probably be to point out that a significant proportion of other, acceptable models are also based on works of art, and that it’s quite unlikely some of the people depicted really were as flawless as the portraits (and thus the models based on them) depict. I’d quite like to see a version of Napoleon with acne scarring, for instance. (Note: I have no idea whether Napoleon had acne scarring. I don’t particularly care.) At that stage, we’re really arguing over how accurately a model should depict the subject.

I suppose I could also get around by just saying that it’s a Bowie impersonator.

Anyway, back on topic.

I started with a 3D print of David, using a scan created by a group called Scan the World, which goes around making 3D scans of famous artefacts and offering them for free online. Brilliant stuff. Kyle over at Mr Lee’s Minis recently started a print on demand service, so I asked if he could rescale the model to about 54mm, which he obliged three times to make sure the size was right, so now I have David in a range of sizes. The largest was pretty much spot on, so I have two backups for smaller scenes if I want. Here’s how he started (I actually forgot to take a picture, so this is the next one down in size):

(Those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram will note that this is an uncensored picture – this is my website, with my rules! Free nudes for all! I look forward to a spike in my hits from Google.)

I obviously had to grind away the tree stump and base, then build up the costume I wanted Bowie to wear.

As I fear crushing details I’ve already sculpted with my ungainly fingers, I tend to only work on small sections at a time, which was a little frustrating, but the work went pretty quickly:

I have since applied an undercoat, which I find helps me spot rough areas, details that need work, and so on. It gets rid of the contrast between different putty mixes, the base model, etc. I was very pleased to see that everything seems to have come out properly. One of the parts of sculpting I often struggle with is getting a new bit of work to blend into the existing putty – that slight line between different parts really, really annoys me. I spent a lot of time (and probably several litres of my saliva on my sculpting tools) smoothing those joins out, and it’s paid off. Thank goodness.

Now I’m torn between getting started on the painting or cracking on and doing the sculpt work for the next one so I can get all of the sculpting out of the way. Having said that, it’s quite likely I’ll do at least one more pop star, and I have a few candidates, although some probably aren’t well known enough to sneak into the historical category without a note explaining who they are, and I’m not terribly keen on that.

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