Monday, March 27, 2017

Genestealer Patriarch Conversion - MonsterMarch Week 4

So way back at the beginning of March, I cheekily committed to finish the above converted Genestealer Patriarch model for MonsterMarch, a hobby pledge event being hosted by Path Of An Outcast. However, to do that, I needed to make him look like this guy, who is The Master from Guillermo Del Toro's modern vampire TV series The Strain:
That meant sculpting some kind of cloak, which, honestly, terrified me. But I bit the bullet, took it on, and in the end I think it worked out.

I spent most of March sculpting said cloak and creating the creepy parasite thing that's sticking out of the Master's mouth. I tend to document a lot of my in-progress modeling work on my Instagram and Tumblr, so if you're on either of those platforms, be sure to give me a follow so you're kept up to date.

Were you already following, you saw The Master Patriarch come together over the last few weeks.

To review, this is where the Patriarch started, all white tacked together:

Then I cleaned him up a bit, and the real concept for him started to take shape. You'll notice I used a Crypt Fiend head, and not the massively bulbous head from the stock Patriarch model. This decision was made partly to tie him more closely to the concept of The Master from The Strain, but also because Farseers, Librarians, Chaos Sorcerors, and Hive Tyrants have all shown us that YOU DON'T NEED A MASSIVE HEAD TO BE A PSYKER. In the photo below, you'll see I've already started work on his gross, opening throat/jaws to accommodate the parasite tongue:

To make up for the absence of the awkward, bulbous head, I instead elected to give him a kind of focusing array around his head. Yes, this looks like sexy bone spurs, but I like to think of these growths as being the things that help him focus the power of his brood telepathy. This idea is a hold over from the "psychic cradle" I modelled on my Tyranid Dominatrix from a Hierodule conversion, where the armour plates around the Tyrant-like creature embedded on the back were not only supposed to protect it but also meant to act as a kind of antenna or focusing array for the hive mind.

Here's what the Patriarch's focusing array looked like when it was all greenstuffed in. It doesn't hurt that these bony growths are also good stand-ins for a collar/mantle for the Patriarch's cloak:

I'm hoping to pick up a little more of this psychic focusing array vibe if and when I get to working on the Patriarch's Osseous Throne. Here's the beginnings of what that will be based on:

Once I had the focusing array roughed in, it was time to start in on the part I'd been agonizing over: the cloak :P
I didn't want to be huge an billowy as that would obliterate the shape of the model. However, I did want it to have some motion to it, as if it were stirring and flapping in some ethereal wind created by the Patriarch's potent psychic energies!

You can see in the above picture one common sculpting trick: whenever you need to fill a space that will be sculpted over, one of the cheapest and lightest ways to do so is with balled-up aluminum foil.

For all my worries over messing up the cloak, though, It wound up coming out rather well in the end. Another trick I used to get the swirly-out bits was to sculpt them over a shaped plasticard / sheet styrene armature, which was pined into the model:

To get the nice bends in them, I heated them with a heat gun, but careful use of boiling water and tweezers can accomplish the same goal.

With these armature's I was able to sculpt the greenstuff over the rough shapes to make them look more flowy and cloaky. I still worry that the final effect is a bit too chunky for fabric, but oh well. My goal with these bits was part to capture aforementioned ethereal psychic breeze coming off the patriarch and part to harken to Spawn and his fantastic cloak. In the distant future, I hope one day to do a "shrouded" version of my Patriarch where his cloak would be a lot more Spawn-like, like in this super creepy gif from the first episode of the Strain TV series.

Here's what the Sculpting on the Patriarch looked like in the end:

In that last photo you can see that I sculpted in a different spine to mesh the psychic array into the body a bit more. This was also to cover over the Patriarch's existing spine, which is VERY square and inorganic looking, particularly when you remove his buzzsaw of back spikes, as I did. Here's another angle on it:

Finally, here are some views on the tongue parasite, which I think I could have made nastier, but based on reactions I've gotten, it's probably nasty enough.

When it came time to painting the Genestealer Patriarch, I primed him grey and began by airbrushing the red of his cloak. I then went in and blacked out all the chitin bits of his exoskeleton. My marathon painting sessions have lead me to realize how annoying it is to paint Genestealer exoskeletons, so I was relieved that I'd succeeded in obscuring so much of his using the cloak :D

I did all of the painting over 2-3 days, rushing to get him done in time for an Inner Circle painting competition event at GW last Saturday. Thus, I didn't get that many progress photos of the painting. Here's one, where I've gotten the chitin started and went in to paint the skin parts grey so that the green of his skin would go on easier.

Fortunately, I made some time to snap some quality pictures of the finished model. I sealed him with Vallejo satin sealant, and it came out slightly glossier than I would have liked, but oh well. I've also gone in and given his tongue/parasite and his claws a gloss coat using Vallejo Stillwater as I find it way less finicky than GW 'Ard Coat.

He's currently pinned (but not glued) and magnetized to his base so that he can easily be swapped out to be based on the eventual Osseous Throne model I want to whip up.

Finally, because no self-respecting Patriarch should ever go into battle without a bunch of Genestealers to have his back, here he is leading his minions to war!

What do you think of the finished item?


  1. Great sculptng and solid painting. It looks ace leading its children into battle.

    1. Yeah. I was about 98% sold on him until I ranked him up with the shrouded genestealers. That put me over the last 2%, and then some!

      Glad you like it, Rory :)

  2. Honestly, you are so damn talented when it comes to green stuff. The cloak looks absolutely glorious

    1. Dude. It takes WORK. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I tried. It was very much sculpted in sections, and at the end I had to sculpt in a lot of filler for the gaps I'd left.

  3. I did not know that you were inspired by the Master, but the first time I had seen your wips, I thought that your monster were very similar to him.
    Great green stuff work, and also the painting is beautiful.

    1. Every time someone A)Knows about The Strain and B)Recognizes The Master in my Patriarch, I do a little happy dance.

      So thank you so very much for the happy feels!

  4. Wow, that was a lot of work! It's creepy, love it.

    1. Thanks buddy! I'm glad the creepiness came through.

  5. That turned out really well. Love the extra effort put in with the throne and the whole spinal column.

    1. Cheers! If you're on Instagram, the throne has actually progressed a bit, and I've posted WIP shots on there. I'm hoping for it to be quite the centrepiece when done.

  6. Wow, Looks amazing, especially the cloak. Damn nice work!

    1. Thanks man! And thanks for your patience on the commission as I hammer through my Cult army for the upcoming tourney.