Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The Ragged Stranger - an Ian Miller Inspired Scavvy



Back at the start of June, 28 Magazine launched an exciting painting and modelling challenge - to create a model inspired by the artwork of Ian Miller. I'm a huge fan of Ian Miller's artwork - as anyone who has ever opened a copy of Rogue Trader, Slaves to Darkness or Ratspike inevitably is! If you're not familiar with Ian's work, I urge you to check out his website www.ian-miller.org.


++THE IAN MILLER 28 MAG CHALLENGE++
It is with great pleasure that we announce the first ever 28 Mag Challenge open!
The challenge is to create anything inspired by the artwork of Ian Miller. It could be Dark Age of Sigmar, INQ28, a single miniature, a unit, trees, fish, weird buildings – anything you want to make, as long as it is clearly influenced by the artwork of Ian Miller.



I immediately knew that I wanted to attempt to create a Confrontation / Necromunda scavvy in the style of the concept sketches that Ian drew back in 1989. If you've not see these before, you can see images of the full set, plus some of Ian's thoughts in this blog post from 2014. I'm lucky enough to own one of the sketch sheets (show below), and it would be a challenge to translate these uncomfortable, spikey characters into a 28mm gaming piece.



There's a strong family resemblance to the scavvy sketches and Ian's later work on James Herbert's The Stranger. The images below are all from The Art of Ian Miller published in 2014. You can see that the posing, gas masks, robotic dogs, helmet and gun shapes are common to both the scavvies and The Stranger.





So armed with these influences, I set about establishing the criteria for my Ian Miller-inspired scavvy. He should have the following features:

  1. Miller-esque helmet. The distinctive helmet shape is not only used in the images above, but appears across a huge swathe of Ian Miller's sci-fi and fantasy art.
  2. Gas mask. Specifically a chest-mounted unit with hosing to the face-mask.
  3. Slung gun - preferably with a cylindrical casing.
  4. Robot dog. Because robot dogs are cool.
  5. Prosthetic claw - a feature on several of the scavvy sketches, particularly a small 'atrophied' style limb.
In addition to those modelling features, I also wanted to make sure that the figure would fit in with period Confrontation scavvies stylistically - too far down the route of spikes and protrusions and the figure wouldn't stand up to tabletop play and would likely look strange in with a gang of 'standard' scavvies.

Converting the Scavvy

My first step was to assemble some likely looking components to play around with how they looked together. I picked out a suitable base figure (a Jes Goodwin Confrontation scavvy) and dug out a spare Enforcers cyber hound to accompany him. I found a pre-slotta half orc with a pretty good helmet shape, and an old Rogue Trader gun which also fit the bill.


For my first mock-up I blue-tacked some elements just to see how they looked. At this stage I was considering slinging the gun across the chest and having my scavvy hold a trophy pole or similar. I hadn't yet worked out how the prosthetic claw would be mounted either.


After making some decisions, I worked out that the gun would look better slung to his right-hand side, with his arm resting on it. I also did the only surgery involved - removing the helmet from the half-orc and slicing the top of the scavvy's head off!


From this point onwards, the basic configuration of the model was set, and I started covering the damage and adding layers of detail, including:
  • Adding a strap to the rifle with some thin card and shaped some buckled with greenstuff.
  • Sculpting glove and sleeve details on the right arm, and later adding a shoulder pad.
  • Adding a gas-mask made from (I think) a piece cut from a meltagun and some flexible hosing from Zinge Industries.


On his left side and rear, more details:
  • Sculpted the amputated arm stump, then the ragged sleeve later.
  • Added a shoulder pad and mounted the prosthetic claw (I think the claw comes from an Adeptus Mechanicus kit).
  • Added an old Gorkamorka mutie backpack.

Painting the Scavvy

Deciding on a colour scheme was perhaps the biggest challenge. Ian's concept pieces are monochrome, and I wasn't able to find a directly comparable colour piece. Not only that, Ian's use of colour is very distinctive. I wasn't at all confident that I'd be able to both evoke his artwork and produce a figure that wouldn't look out of place amongst the rest of my collection.

After some thought, I selected the two pieces of artwork below to inform my colour choices - in particular the use of oranges and yellows.



Here's the resulting figure:




I attempted to paint using different techniques to my usual approach, by starting with a zenithal spray of grey over a black undercoat. After a drybrush with white, I then painted very thin layers of colour, followed by washes and drybrushes for the highlights.




I'm not sure I completely nailed the way Ian uses colour - I suspect I should have included more blue (or possibly green!), but I'm happy enough that he channels a little of the vibe, whilst not looking out of place on the table. I'm pretty keen to look at painting up more scavvies to accompany him with similar schemes.

The ragged stranger walks the underhive, seeking out a bounty.

I am however really pleased that the #28magchallenge has prompted me to make a figure I hadn't even conceived of a month ago! Looking forward to seeing all the entries finished up and submitted - some of the WIP figures I've seen have been astonishing!

44 comments:

  1. Jon, quite honestly, this is one of the best creations I've ever seen you make. It's THAT good!

    It's as close to an Ian Miller illustration as you can get IMHO.

    Well done mate :)

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    1. Thanks Shane! Really great to hear you think it hit the mark. Before I attempted the figure, I'd pretty much decided that it was impossible to replicate Ian Miller's artwork in 28mm miniature form. It's not perfect, but it's as close as I think I can push it!

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  2. My friend you have just taken things to another level!!

    It's like the art work has stepped out of the page!

    LOVE IT!

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    1. Thanks very much!! There's some other fantastic figures I've seen in the works too. It's going to be great to see what the final submissions are like.

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  3. So grim and malicious! Ace job!

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  4. Great work and evokes Ian's illustrations beautifully. Is the hook/halberd from a dark eldar source?

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the bladed pole is from one of the Dark Eldar vehicle kits. I think it matches Ian's illustrations pretty closely - there's lots of examples of nasty spiked poles!

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  5. Lovely conversion. Great job on bringing him to life.

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    1. Thanks! The Jes Goodwin sculpt did the bulk of the heavy lifting really - it was just a case of adding the relevant details :)

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  7. Love it man! I knew I recognized those Scavvy legs but couldn't place them. Top stuff.

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    1. Thanks! It's funny how much a new head can change the look of a figure, right?

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    2. I wouldn't know - I get nervous cutting the tabs off!

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    3. It's difficult to stop once you start ;)

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  8. Agreed, tho I love your previous conversion projects. This is another level as Shane said. You sir are pushing the limits into unknown realms. I think he is a good contender for the challenge. ;)

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    1. I'm interested to understand what makes this figure different to previous ones - to my mind the process has been the same, with the exception that I've tried to pick specific themes from Ian Miller's artwork. I wonder if there's something in the neutral pose, or suggestion of the wider environment??

      Cheers Tom!

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    2. I think it comes down to the specific themes. And yes he just evokes a wider environment as well. Also you have brought an artist style to life. My 2 cents anyway.

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    3. Either way, glad you like him :)

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  9. Man, you nailed it. It's impressive and inspired, I can totally see the Miller vibe here. Hard to tell what exactly defines it, kind of a general feel, but I have to say this looks great.

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    1. Thanks Suber! I think it's a combination of the physical elements, and hopefully some of the colour choices. If you like it, then it's cool anyway!

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  10. This is breathtakingly awesome. I think the term old school has been created exclusively for this.

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    1. Haha! Is this peak old school? Downhill from here?! :)

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  11. Just superb! And certainly catches the spirit of Miller.

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    1. Excellent! Sounds like I hit the mark :)

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  12. I'll join the chorus; super, super cool. This is simply spot on!

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    1. Thanks Martin, glad you think it worked out!

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  13. Beautiful! I particularly love the (darker) orange, could I bother you for the recipe? Thanks!

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    1. Thanks! The orange (painted over a black undercoat, grey zenithal spray and white drybrush) was 3 or 4 very thin coats of Macharius solar orange (the old GW foundation paint), then highlighted with the old Kommado Khaki. I then gave it a couple of glazes with Bloodletter glaze to avoid it looking too washed out. Finally I washed the bottom of the tunic with Agrax earthshade to add some grime!

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  14. Very nice, instantly recognisable as Miller. I love the robo-dog too :)

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    1. That's great, glad it works as a Miller reference :)

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  15. Looks like you had a blast researching and planning this mini project. Well executed too! :)

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    1. I do love a good bit of research!! Thanks :)

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  16. As always mate absoulutely superb work, such vision, can I ask you where you got that complete RT and before era gun from, they appear on JD, fishmen, etc I have always though they were cast on mass for the sculptors and have been toying with the idea of cannibalising a couple of miniatures of them and then tidy up and cast them myself.
    J

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    1. Thanks very much Jason! You've got keen eyes to spot the RT gun - it's a sculptor's aid / dolly that I am lucky enough to have a small stash of!

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  17. Airborne said what I thought. You've done a great job of getting the spirit of Ian's art into a miniature form. Bravo mate.

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    1. Thanks Dai, really pleased that you think so!

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  18. Exceptional work. I really like how you take us through your build process and the choices you made. Very inspiring.

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  19. Wonderful project! Had some thoughts on color theory, specifically with the artwork you used as color references. The colors in the horn player pic are straight up secondary colors; green (grass, pants, jackets), orange (main character jacket, shoes and socks, riding vehicles, details on the twins and the moon) and violet/purple (sky, trees, pedestal, pig wings and beastie).

    Color scheme in the other one is a bit more complex, more of a split complementary scheme with the violet/purple being complemented directly by the yellow, with the spilt complementaries being yellow green, orange and red.

    What they have in common is that almost everything is a color, with very little pure black, gray or white.

    Your color scheme is essentially monochromatic, being shades and tints of yellow, being set off by the dark grays and silvers of the metallics.

    So where is he going with all of this color theory nonsense, you ask? Had I been painting this fig I would have tried to use Miller's complementary colors ideas by adding yellow's complimentary color: violet/purple. Adding some subtle violet/purple glazes and shades to the metallic parts would really make the yellows pop.

    I have added subtle violet/purple glazes to many of the guns in my Escher gang, although my color scheme is more analogous (blue, blue violet, violet, and red violet). Some pics: https://yaktribe.games/community/media/albums/black-banshees.872/

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    1. Really interesting thoughts Tim, definitely areas for improvement for future consideration. It's not really apparent in the pics, but I did add purple notes in the skin, but I suspect they're lost because there's so little on show.

      Thanks for the thoughts!

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