Sunday, May 1, 2011

Special Project: Wedding Cake Topper

This has been a crazy month. Unfortunately nothing new or inspiring for the wargaming tables this month, but certainly lots of creativity. Between Blood Angels and Grey Knights flying or teleporting all over the place, a certain special project managed to disrupt all of that.

    After the first week of April, I received a huge request from a friend and previous client. So pleased was he with the Dark Angels characters I painted up for him that he had decided to give me the chance to make a mess of his wedding. Or at least, put him in a pinch. He was looking for something different, something unique that spoke to just he and his now wife. However, as interesting as his wedding story is, it is not my story to tell, I'm just here to talk about the model.

   So I am sure you can understand the trepidation I felt being the bearer of such a responsibility. They were having wedding cupcakes, which seem to be surprisingly popular as of late, and he planned on presenting the finished piece on top of a cupcake. This made things a lot more possible for me, as 28 mm pieces would be sufficient. With that in mind and the two week deadline, I boldly accepted the challenge.

   He already had in mind that he wanted to make use of the Space Marine kneeling legs. No problem for me, I had more than a sufficient supply of unused kneeling legs. As a Dark Angels player himself, I felt it more than appropriate to make use of the piles of spare Dark Angels items I had laying around. Taking the cut-off back part from the Dark Angels Veterans that you'll see used in my Honour Guard squad, I glued it to the front of the best Dark Angel plastron I could find. The idea was to use that little bit of robe as a sort of tux. It was also requested to add a cheesy bow tie, because a tux is simply incomplete without a bow tie. I started with two triangles of greystuff, glued them to the collar of the plastron, then added the middle piece on top of the triangles. I then indented the drying greystuff triangles to make it appear as though it was really tied together fabric. Being a stickler for detail as I am, I also specifically chose to keep with a full suit of Corvus pattern armour with an identifiably veteran feel.

   The idea was to have him appear to be nobly asking the bride to a dance, flower in hand. The hand part was easy. I simply took a leftover bolt pistol arm that had been hacked apart for a previous conversion, added some greystuff to clean it up and then attached a space open hand from the Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard kits. The other hand I had to cut off a chainsword. I wanted the sword hand because it would result in a more accurate clenched fist look that would fit the flower better. Some careful cuts with my chisel blade and a little filing later and a hand was ready.

   The rose was a little more interesting to put together. I didn't mind not having it perfectly correct, as it would be too small for anyone to see were I to keep it to scale. I needed to achieve the best effect with as little effort as possible, so I took some of the thinnest brass rod I had and wrapped small rectangles of greystuff around it, one layer at a time. I then smoothed the sides and touched up the tops to give the rose a more natural and realistic feel. I was really pleased with the end result. But it was simply too small to photograph. Because the pin drill for the brass rod is too small for the pin vice it came with, I take out my knife blade and put the pin drill in to use as my pin vice. This made drilling the hand out for the flower that much easier.

   Well, all the building is essentially done. But there's still a need for the bride. Thankfully Reaper has a wide selection of female miniatures to choose from, even if their "priority mail" is a tad slow. I hunted for the best choices and left it to the groom to pick the one he felt was the best. Queen Ileosa of Korvosa was the winner in that one, a personal favourite of my own. I have to say, she is a fantastic miniature, of all the images I've seen of her none of them do her justice. If any of you do purchase her, you'll see first hand that what you get is so much better than any picture online, and the pictures aren't anywhere near bad to begin with.

   At this point only painting the flesh tones and hair was left. A nightmare for me as I'm really not very good at either. Worse still, I had to direct order Queen Ileosa from Reaper and it arrived two days before I needed them done. So sadly I didn't have the amount of time I had hoped for to properly work on Ileosa, but I still practiced making up flesh tones as I waited. I already knew I had to paint the dress white, so I decided on Codex Grey for the base colour and Mithril Silver for the trim.

   But wait, that's all the easy stuff. You want to hear about the nightmarish skin tones. Okay, I'll admit it wasn't all that bad, I just had to mix up some paint. I found I could get a really nice range of skin tones by mixing in Kommando Khaki with Elf Flesh. However, it needed to still be more pale so I added some Skull White as the tint. This worked out wonderfully. I then did spot glazing with Kommando Khaki to shade the flesh at certain shadowy areas on the miniatures to finish it off.

   For the hair, I had to try to make up dirty blonde hair. It didn't turn out quite as nicely as I was hoping for, but from what I've heard it was very well received despite my reservations. I mixed some Iyanden Darksun with Graveyard Earth and added Golden Yellow as needed. I added some Bleached Bone to lighten it in places, and added more Graveyard Earth for the shading. To finish it all off, I used Enchanted Blue for the eyes, and mixed Red Gore with Elf Flesh to achieve a nice lipstick colour.
   Well that's everything of interest on this piece that really pushed me to a new area of painting and sculpting. If there's anything you see on the model that you'd wish to know more about, feel free to ask in the comments section below. That's all for now.

Signing out,


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