Time for a break

Aladdin Sane is now ready to take the stage, and I’m pretty happy with how he came out (from the front, anyway):

The paint is a bit rough in places, and the light is frankly all over the place, but he’s on stage and the impact is good, so I’m happy to call him done. One of the best parts of this model was discovering that my sculpting was actually pretty good. I enjoyed getting to grips with the various folds, and there weren’t too many parts of the model that annoyed me. The guitar strap is a bit rubbish, and his collar should have been neater and more even, but otherwise job’s a good ‘un.

While Bowie is technically not yet finished, I don’t have a suitable plinth and need to wait for Martin to machine some for me. Rather than leaping straight into Kate, however, I thought I’d take a break from 54mm scale, if only for the sake of my eyes.

As is my usual habit, I thought I’d do a fantasy piece. I’ve found that I don’t actually have a fantasy ‘project’ lined up for some time (need to either hire someone to engrave some flats for me or learn to do it myself), so it’s sensible to have a go at one.

Mr Lee’s Minis recently released a few new busts – technically, not actually new, but existing busts at a slightly smaller scale. I took the opportunity to order a Neutrino (the other Operation Knox bust I was interested in) and the Pharaoh’s Curse bust. I’d been very keen on the Pharaoh’s Curse since it came out, but it was just too big. At 75% the size, however, it’s just right.

Way back, about twenty years ago, I had a Tomb Kings army for Warhammer. This was before there was a proper army book, just a list printed in White Dwarf, and obviously almost no models available. Having been fascinated with the Ancient Egyptians as a kid, I of course jumped at the opportunity and promptly converted a whole army of them, largely from a combination of the classic Citadel Skeleton Army models and toilet paper soaked in PVA. By the standards of the time, they looked shit hot.* By today’s standards, they probably look terrible. I have no idea where the army is now. I think I sold them for a profit at some point.

* The army was actually the subject of some scandal at one point in my tournament-going days. The first year I took them to SouthCon (the main Warhammer/40K tournament in New Zealand’s South Island back in the day), I won Best Painted Army, which I’d made a bit of a habit of by then. The following year, I took my new Vampire Counts army, which was considerably cooler, more striking, etc., while a friend borrowed the Tomb Kings and brought them along. The guys who judged the painting side, however, must have been sick of me dominating the painting prize for the last few years and awarded the Best Painted prize to my friend. Even though they obviously knew who painted it. Moral of the story: painting well doesn’t always make you friends.

Anyway, because I’ve always loved Ancient Egyptian stuff, this bust ended up next on the work bench. I also wanted to use it to try out a few things and to take advantage of the larger scale to really refine things much more than I’m able to on a 54mm model.

I’d watched a few videos about doing more with my airbrush, and thought I’d give it a go doing some NMM – setting up the main lights and colour bands, etc. This didn’t really work at all, and I’ve come to conclusion that my current brush (Iwata Neo) just isn’t suited to that level of detail. It’s perfectly good for base colours, general lighting, and all that, but it doesn’t quite have the control for doing more detailed work (or maybe I’m just incompetent). That’s fine – I expected to have to go in with the hairy brush anyway.

So, this is where he’s at so far:

I’ve mostly been working on the bands around his chest and the collar from below his chin up to his right shoulder, and a few spots still need some more glazing to bring the gold back. Next, I’ll do the rest of the collar, then the headpiece, then the armbands. At some point there are another couple of bits of jewellery to add, too, not to mention his comically massive sword.

While the airbrush wasn’t much use for actually picking out all the light bands, it did speed things up a bit, so I’ll give it credit there.

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