Thursday, December 4, 2014

Archibald Worthington, Butterfly Hunter

I have traveled across the Iron Kingdoms, seeking to learn all I can about that most colourful of arthropods; the majestic butterfly. I have endured much hardship in my quest, for few in these war-torn lands are friendly to outsiders. In order to survive I had to study the people themselves.

The inhabitants of Western Immoren are varied in species, culture, and language. Though I have not spent long enough learning any single tongue to be truly proficient, I have learned enough to get by. Disparate though the people I have encountered may be, there are some shared gestures and expressions that seems to transcend geography.

One term in particular has stood out: an expression that I have come to believe means "honored guest", it is almost universally pronounced as "sigh-liss weesh-na-leer". Whenever I am greeted thus, I know I am among friends.

So long have I been amassing knowledge in my chosen field that I have come to be known as the foremost expert on butterflies; and as it turns out my expertise is in high demand. In fact I have been able to fund my studies by hiring out my services to a diverse and far-reaching network of enlightened individuals who appreciate these beautiful creatures.

I confess I have never understood why they so often save their questions on butterfly genealogy and mating habits for the heat of battle, but I take pride in knowing that they always seem to take satisfaction from my answers.
-Archibald Worthington

My first attempt at an animated GIF of a model.

So I picked up Sylys a while back for the free upkeep, but the model is just such a mess that when it came time to assemble it, I just had to do something to make it less stupid. The first and most important job was to do something about that stupid hip plate thing. I mean, the only piece of armour on his whole body was on his left hip? What, is his spleen his most vital organ or something?

Anyway, inspired by a then-recent No Quarter hobby article, I tried to sculpt a satchel to cover it. I think it turned out quite well, especially considering it was the first time I'd tried such a thing. Once I saw it in place, it brought to mind some sort of old Victorian college professor running through open fields chasing butterflies. For some reason. So that's what I went with, because humor and stuff.

I deliberately painted him in rather boring colours to try to make the butterflies stand out more. I was going for a light khaki colour on the jacket; I used Bleached Bone and a wash of equal parts Gryphonne Sepia and 'Ardcoat. I tried to differentiate the leathers and ground textures slightly by using different browns before washing with Devlan Mud (actually I think I used Ogryn Flesh for some of the leathers).

The basing was done with Citadel Technical paint, a bit of twig, and Army Painter's Battlefields: Meadow Flowers. I found the "flowers" tended to fall off so I added some very thinned down Jot Sealant (a waterproof PVA) to try to glue them down.

After a bit of searching for a suitable net material, I came upon the idea of cutting it out of a tea sieve - or perhaps it was suggested to me? Mind like a, well, sieve these days. The rod is made from a bent paperclip, I also greenstuffed some hair (do Iosians have hair?) to fit the "look" I wanted.

I started off by cutting butterfly shapes from coloured transparency sheets, but after some testing it turned out that painted plasticard came out much brighter most of the time. So I cut out wings from very thin, folded plasticard, sanded the profile smooth, and carefully painted them before gluing them to small blobs of greenstuff. I found "reverse action tweezers" to be extremely useful during the painting process.

I was originally planning to glue the big butterfly inside the net, but decided to position it as if he had missed with a swing. Because more humor and stuff. To try to exaggerate the effect I wanted to stick more butterflies all over him (the idea being that, you know, he's so useless that even butterflies aren't scared of him); this would have had the added advantage of making the position of his left arm actually make sense, like he's beset by the little blighters and trying to wave them off. Unfortunately because the butterflies are only glued on, I tried to put them in places where they wouldn't get knocked off or interfere with my ability to handle the model. That limited me somewhat, and I ended up putting the nicest one I managed to make (the small orange one) in the least visible position. It just kinda had to happen that way for balance. Still, they are the stars of the show, and I enjoyed making them.

Fingers included to give a sense of scale.

Overall I'm quite happy with how he's turned out even if I'm not happy about how long he took to do. While I don't really want to make a habit out of buying models I don't like and then spending holy-good-God-forever just to make them tolerable, I suppose it does lead to some more unique conversions. Silver linings and all that.

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