Thursday, August 20, 2015

Casey Jones, The Warjack Of All Trades

Alternate title: OHMYGODWHYDIDTHISTAKESOLONG? I think I started painting this guy some four or five months ago. I was pretty busy this year so I couldn't always put much time in to him, but still, he took so much longer than I expected. For example, it only took me a few weeks (three or four I think?) to paint both of my first two warjacks. But then, this guy currently has some 26 pieces, many of which are fairly complex; I reckon he took around as much effort to paint as a full unit would.

 Obviously he's very heavily magnetized to allow him to be played as a number of different warjacks. I called him Casey Jones because he wears a hockey mask and uses lots of different weapons... get it?
"I'm Juggernaut!" (It's supposed to be a reference to an old X-Men videogame... nevermind.)
"They call me Destroyer. No reason why..."
The Decimator has something of an inferiority complex.
The Marauder. Like the car (no relation).
Ugh, Black Ivan's claw is just too big. And too heavy; the magnets can't keep it off the floor.
I hate to say it, but... Torch looks kinda stupid. Maybe he would look better in black?

I put steel ball bearings in the shoulders and magnets at the end of the arms, to make the arms swappable and poseable. While fun, I worry that it makes the arms more likely to get knocked around and have their paint damaged. The shoulders themselves are magnetized and can rotate. This gives the arms a wider range of movement (so he can e.g. actually lift an axe above his head). There's also magnets hidden in the upper torso, for Torch's medal and smoke bombs, and for Black Ivan's spikes.

I also gave him a pair of arms that don't represent any in-game configuration, but were inspired by  Chicken_Slayer on the PP forums. And I quote: "It has something cool and shiny the other casters want, like an Orgoth Murder Flail or Sword Chucks made of Fellblades". What I can I say, I loved 8-Bit Theater.

But Casey has one other trick up his red-painted steel sleeves: he can transform! From a typical PP style hunch-backed warjack to... an upright warjack! I wanted him to be convertible between the two forms, so I magnetized the shoulder pieces to be able to rotate and the head to sit on a smaller BB, allowing it to rotate as needed. I think he looks OK, but there's a lot of room for improvement; If I was to build a new warjack in this pose (which I am tempted to do), I would probably move the boiler to where the smoke stacks are and the smoke stacks to what would become the upper back, then sculpt some sort of armour over the chest instead of moving the boiler there.

The basic paint scheme was pretty much the same as what I've been using for the rest of my Khador, but there was a bit of experimentation involved in the glows and the base. For the head I was trying to imitate a glow effect that I first saw used by "GuitaRasmus":
I stopped short of bringing it up to pure white except for two eye-like dots.
The inner sides are left dark blue to delineate the outer glow from the inner light source.

For the ice axe, I was going for an effect like what you get on red-hot metals, where the centers of the forms have the brightest glows and the edges have cooled and darkened. That kind of morphed into making it look like the glow was coming from the axe machinery. I the same technique as I did on my Koldun Lord, where I would apply a lighter layer above a darker one then drybrush over the boundry with both colours in order to blend them together. I was planning on highlighting up to white, but when I reached my brightest blue I decided that I liked it there and I stopped short of actual white. I'm not sure if it would have looked better or worse if I went up to pure white; I think it looks nice like this, if not as dramatic as it might have been.

For the Fellblades I tried a number of test paint schemes before settling on the "inverse glow" that I ended up with. Even though I think that the face details aren't as obvious as in some of the test schemes, I thought the overall effect was more visually pleasing from a distance, with a nicer predominant shade of light blue and a good contrast; by leaving untouched white basecoat showing then drybrushing with Ice Blue and finally very lightly drybrushing with Enchanted Blue, I got a brighter white than I would have gotten by starting with the blues and trying to drybrush up to white, thus aiding in the overall contrast. It's a bit strange, but I got the impression that the varnish actually ended up reducing the "blend" effect from the drybrush; that might somehow have something to do with the fact that I applied the gloss varnish so heavily (mainly from laziness, though I thought at the time it would be easier to avoid air bubbles that way).
Test models
Between varnishes and a lighter hand when drybrushing (and different lighting), the final blades came out much lighter.

I was also trying something new with the base. I picked up some "Distress crackle paint: clear rock candy" to try to make ice crystals with. The stuff works pretty well, but my idea to select large pieces and glue them over a light blue base then drybrush them white and fill the gaps with modelling snow did not work as well as I had hoped. To be honest, right now I'm thinking that I prefer my usual plain snow bases to this messy hybrid. Perhaps with more time I'll figure out a better way to use this stuff.

I made the fell-chucks using Doomreaver fellblades. I took a pair of warjack axe-hands (the Juggernaut and Destroyer hands) and cut off the axe bits, leaving just the handles. I wrapped greenstuff around a plastic tube and used a tube-tool to roll them into textured handles that more-or-less matched the axe handles.

The handles were capped by "rims" on each side, but the Destroyer axe's rims are much smaller than the Juggernaut axe's rims, so I took one of the Juggernaut rims and replaced the one on the Destroyer axe, forming the sword pommels. I sculpted matching pommels on the other two swords, and sculpted larger guards for all four.

The sword handles were pinned together with strong pins, leaving a roughly equal length of exposed pin for each pair.

I then bent the pins to the desired shape and sculpted chains over them. Well, tried to; this was my first attempt at sculpting chain, and I didn't do a very good job. Well, it's clear what they are supposed to be, so I guess that's good enough.

As part of the "transformation" to a more upright configuration, I had to cut the boiler off the back so the hips could attach there. The original boiler was modified to fit in the new chest area, where the hips used to go. However it turned out that it couldn't be made to fit both areas, so I had to sculpt a second boiler piece to fit where the old one used to go.

I painted the pieces in batches, but found that painting large batches got very boring, so I ended up painting about three to five pieces to completion at a time. I ended up keeping most of the larger pieces stuck to a biscuit tin so I could pick up the whole batch and put them away in a cupboard (to protect them from dust) when I didn't have time to paint.

I used Quickshade Strong Tone, but it didn't exactly behave the way I expected, and I ended up with unexpected pooling in a couple of spot (for example behind the knuckle spikes on the hands). I didn't have this problem with previous warjacks; either I was careless or the temperature is an issue. The pooling isn't too obvious, I think it's possible to see it as just battlefield dirt or something, but I would have preferred if it hadn't happened. Anyway, between the shade and the matt varnish the colours darkened a fair deal. I was trying "Mr Hobby Mr Super Clear UV Cut" matt spray varnish. It seems to be about the same as Purity Seal to me, but I feel as if it might actually darken the colours a tiny bit, which I haven't noticed with other matt varnishes. It could just be my imagination; matt varnish always dulls colours after all. Here's a photo with one unvarnished piece, one piece after the Quickshade had dried, and one after the matt coat had dried (over the Quickshade obviously). You can see how much darker than the pure paint the final product is.

I had a lot of trouble with varnish this time around. As mentioned the Quickshade didn't do what I expected. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep using it for my Khador jacks, but if so I might look into thinning it a bit. I'm not sure with what though. I also had trouble with the new GW Gloss Varnish (that replaces the old 'Ardcoat). It seems to be much thinner, but the problem is that it seemed to take bubbles more easily. When I first used it (luckily to varnish something unimportant), I brushed it on right after shaking the bottle and it was full of air bubbles that wouldn't go away. When it dried they were still there. I ended up sanding them off and applying another layer, this time waiting a long time after shaking to let the bubbles settle, but that didn't completely fix the problem. Luckily it wasn't a visible part of the model so the final blemishes didn't matter, but I'll need to be very careful in the future.

Overall I'm... just glad he's done really. In the future I might give him some new arms as a convenient way of adding warjacks to my stable; it should be possible to turn him into a passable Beast 09 or Kodiak, or even Ruin or a Grolar (there's magnets on the back of the left arm for Torch's flamethrower that could be used for a shield or guns). I really should take a break from warjacks now and start painting some units, but the truth is I have several warjack projects queued up that I would love to finish if I could only find the time. Sigh.

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