Friday, April 27, 2012

Tyran Table Interview with

I got lost in the woods with the Norn Queen this week, which has meant that it has been a slower week when it comes to modeling projects, so I thought I'd post the following blast from the past. Back in 2009, when I tried to coordinate the first, full-scale Warpshadow table build while entertaining Germans, wrapping up my full-time job, and preparing to head to Japan for two years, we took on the task of recreating the battle at Tyran (it was for this project that Tom Box and I took a run at modernizing the Screamer Killer).

Tyran was the first official encounter between the Imperium and the eponymously named "Tyranids". It is the oldest of bits of Tyranid fluff, and it was the kind of thing a board full of Tyranid players wanted to do right when it came to creating a table to portray it. However, I was the project manager, and with all the aforementioned distractions going on, I feel like I never really managed to do the table build justice. I was stressed right up until the day, and though I'm sure folks had a good time and the table went alright, I was left focusing on what we missed out on, rather than what we accomplished.

Anyway. The Infestation of Casavant Prime it wasn't, but I guess I should revel in the fact that we did manage to coordinate Tyranid modelers from all over the globe to get it done. At Games Day Toronto 2009, the Canadian dudes rolled on by to film the table and to interview me, and here's how it came out.

NOTE: In the caption below the video, it identifies the Nids in the video as belonging to my army. This is very much not the case (particularly since some of Moloch's Lictors and Hormagaunts were in there), and once the project was over, I wound up shipping the majority of the nids back to their respective creators. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Sculpt Miniatures 1: Best tools for sculpting miniatures

This How to Sculpt Miniatures series is my attempt to demystify the idea of sculpting your own miniatures. It seems that more and more people are taking cracks at it these days as the means of production are getting so very cheap. Whether you take it on the old fashioned way, with rubber and resin and lots of painstaking sculpting, or via the Quick N Dirty route of 3D CAD/Printing, the Internet has offered the instructions and made cheap the tools required to make your own models. This has lead to third-party miniature companies growing like mushrooms, increasing the diversity of 28mm scale models out there to a degree that was never previously imagined.

Still, no matter how many head-swap bits are retailed, there is going to come a time when you have an awesome idea for a miniature, and there might not be a compatible, ready-made bit. You're going to have to make it yourself. I speak from experience when I say this is a daunting prospect. I am not a Sculptor. I was not professionally trained, and I dropped out of Art after the tenth grade on the belief that I wasn't talented enough to continue. Anything I know about sculpting, I learned by doing, and I learned it trying to make better models. All I can tell you is what I have learned, but it is my hope that through some simple articles, I might be able to impart all the basic knowledge you need to get started at sculpting. After  that, it's all up to how much you practice :)

I wasn't sure whether to start this series with Tools or Materials, but I've elected to go with Tools. In this article, I'm going to give examples of the kinds of tools I use along with photos of each one.

UPDATE: I've just polished off the video versions of these tutorials, and you'll find the first video, all about tools, below. The video is best consumed as an illustration to this article, so I'd still recommend reviewing both. ENJOY!

Sculpting miniatures becomes much easier once you have some proper tools to work with, but that isn't to say that you should head out to your local art shop and buy up every sculpting tool they have on hand. I have been rather disappointed to find that the majority of the tools in my local art shops are for sculpting clay, and they are nowhere near fine enough for the kind of work you want to do when sculpting miniatures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Return of Moloch: Hive Fleet Ouroboros

UPDATE: Marco Schulze/Hive Fleet Moloch lives again! You can not follow his work on his Hive Fleet Moloch Instagram profile!

As the recent White Dwarf featuring the new Tyranid releases may have caused some confusion, I thought it be best if I set the record straight about where "Hive Fleet Ouroboros" originated. You may have previously seen these kicking around the ol' bloggerino:

They are all projects that Moloch and I have collaborated on over the years. However, compared to the photos from my slew of Hive Fleet Moloch posts, you may wonder about the shift in colour scheme from the Moloch reds and blacks. Well, these were certainly all painted by Moloch, and they mark a shift in his Tyranid evolution that took place shortly after the release of the fourth edition Tyranid codex. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Coven Wracks Update

The Wracks are the next unit from Bob's Big Bad Haemonculus Coven that are nearing completion.
As a couple of them have been pretty much done for a while, I focused more on the ones who have come a long way of late for this update.

First up, Sir Inspired by 300!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Art of Mark Wood

The concept series is my schizophrenic attempt to shine light on the art that inspires me. I always do some of my best work when working from concept sketches. I find the hard lines and white space conducive to creation as they give you just enough definition to get you going, while still leaving space to do your own thing. Here's hoping you find these sketches as helpful and inspiring as I do.

It's been a FREAKING long time since I posted any concept sketches, so I thought I'd return to my "Art of" idea with a Warpshadow artist who I missed in my initial run. This week we'll be looking at the art of Mark Wood.

Mark is a prodigiously productive artist. It often seems that any time someone has a unique idea on the board, Mark, or "Wormwood" as he goes by online, is ready to take a run at drawing it. Thus, thought I've collected only a few of my favourite Wormwood sketches below, you can find far more in Mark's Warpshadow gallery.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Not particularly interesting, but as you may be able to see if you've been 'round these parts before, I've done a bit of Sexification on the ol' bloggerino. I'd always been intending to apply some design savvy to this place, but it took a generous and very beautiful gift to get me going––a wonderful piece of art from a woman who I wouldn't know from a hole in the wall were it not for the wonder of The Internet.

She and I had arranged to do a Tyranid bits swap by mail, but then I realized that me and Hyrda and The Norn Queen would be heading through Sforementioned Internet Personality's neck of the woods here in Ontario anyway on our road trip, so we made a stop, all met each other IRL, and it was lovely. She gave us a tour of her workspace and her woMAN cave (it put every other man cave I've seen to shame), and in addition to the bits we'd arranged to trade, she gave me this:
Which is, of course, Hel: one of my oldest and dearest conversions, re-imagined as a bad-ass cartoon version of herself. I thought it would be a pretty good anchor for a new header for the site, and while I was working on that, I thought I should finally whip up that greenstuff "Y" that I'd envisioned a while back for the Modern Synthesist name, and before I knew it I was in the advanced Blogger settings, tweaking this and that.

And all of it was thanks to that one sketch. One day I'll get around to writing the post I've been intending to do for a while now about how everything I know about sculpting I learned from friends I met online, but until then, here's photographic proof of the wonders of the interweb:

Also, here is the artistic wonder that is Krewl Rain:

Saturday, April 07, 2012

MORE PAIN.....counters

Hydra's been visiting here for the last week or so, and on Thursday we put in a solid day of modeling together on various projects. Call me a dork, but it's fantastic to work like that with a good friend. Anyway, it's late, and we've got a game of space hulk to play, so I'll cut to the chase. While working on the Wracks squad, I started in on the squad's pain counters, and then, surprisingly, they were near done in just a few hours. I blame Hydra, entirely, and his magnificent tools.

It got to the point where I was feeling a little sick/disgusted at making them, and I figure that's a good indication. Just like the last pain counters, these are meant to be a progression on a single victim. Rather than ranking up 2 or 3 separate counters beside a squad, you replace the "1" counter with the "2" one as the squad accrues more counters, and then replace the "2" with the "3" one. Though they don't have numbers on them, I think they're pretty obvious >:)