Monday, 29 June 2020

Taking a Rest as the World Burns

Six weeks ago a new challenge was launched over at the Oldhammer Facebook group, celebrating the brilliant illustrations of Tony Hough. Tony's artwork was ever present in GW's output of the late 1980s, gracing the pages of Rogue Trader, Realm of Chaos books and White Dwarf. He also single-handedly drew most of the claustrophobic illustrations for Space Fleet. I'm lucky enough to own a couple of Tony's originals, and he ranks as one of my favourite GW artists. 

Here are the rules of the challenge:

The aim will be to recreate one of Tony Hough's incredible and evocative scenes into miniature form, sculpting, painting or even better, both, and this time you have 6 weeks to complete the task so right until the 30the of June on midnight!

I knew instantly that I wanted to evoke the brilliant illustration that features as a two-page spread on p126-127 of the Rogue Trader rulebook. The artwork shows a mercenary, or perhaps an Imperial Guardsman relaxing on an access ramp, tending to his weapon. In the back ground, a second character is guiding in an insectoid spaceship. The whole scene is set in a cavernous hangar of some kind.



My starting point was to try and source some figures that had similar details to the artwork. The seated figure is very close to one of the Rogue Trader pirates, whilst the helmet is identical to that worn by Worldburner from the Mercenaries range.


With the two key models sourced, I started thinking about the wider scene. Initially I planned to create the whole scene, with both characters and the spacecraft.


However, doing this placed the seated mercenary (we'll call him Worldburner from now on) on the fringes of the scene rather than being the focal point. I decided to lose the hangar, the second mercenary and the ship. Worldburner taking a break would be the focus of my model.

I constructed a small diorama base from a floor from a GW tank and a piece of landing gear.


Then I started generating the parts for my model. Most of the space pirate was used, with the right leg and head removed for repositioning. I had to remove the pirate's eye-patch too! The gun is built from a range of Rogue Trader gun bits, plus a part from a Tau pulse rifle.

Here Worldburner is largely positioned, but lacks forearms and hands. You can see I've removed the helmet from the actual Worldburner miniature.


Resculpting the head.

At this point, the head is pretty much sorted, and I made a first attempt on sculpting new hands. They were massive and frog-like, so had to go!

Better hands second time round!

I took a break of a week or so to make sure I was happy with the conversion. It's not a 100% match to the illustration, but hopefully it looks like it could be another frame in the same scene!

Painting-wise, I decided to go for a weathered white and grey on the diorama base, and bright orange and flesh to stand out (orange seemed fitting for someone named Worldburner). I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!








All in all, I'm pretty happy with how he turned out. He even works nicely if you try and fill in the scene around him!






24 comments:

  1. Great model. You have captured the vibe nicely. Nice work.

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  2. Really nice work! Got the feel of the original illustration and the details such as gloves are a great touch too

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    1. Thanks Dai. There was a good deal of compromise with the pose and details, glad you think it's got the right feel. I had to include those gloves, right?!

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  3. Kind of disappointed you didn't build the insectoid space ship... Great diorama however captures the essence of the painting perfectly.

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    1. I was hoping nobody would mention the missing insectoid spaceship! I REALLY wanted to do it, but time and practicality stood in the way.

      At least the vibe's right :)

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  4. That's very cool - you've really caught the look of him, even down to his grimace. I always found the Rogue Trader artwork mysterious and evocative. I like the scratched and battered machinery as well. And you've got one of those Mantic spaceships!

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    1. I'm totally with you, the RT artwork was a series of snapshots into a bizarre, unknowable and uncomfortable place! The Mantic ship is a nice thing - a decent size and nice shape.

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  5. Thats really good, come out really well. Nice one

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  6. Wow Jon! That looks pretty cool man :)

    I like the tattoo's you managed to get onto his bicep....not an easy thing to do. The posing is pretty close to the original illo too, something that is rarely possible to match in physical form 100% imho, but you've managed to capture the scene really well!

    Going by the in-process pic at the beginning, it looks like you were on the right track with the spaceship, it looked quite similar to what was in the illo. What model to you use to test it with?

    From a modelling perspective there’s a few issues that leapt out at me from the original illustration. One, there’s a lot of empty space between the foreground figure, and two, the surrounding building/structure is quite sparsely detailed. I think you did the right thing choosing to focus solely on the figure in the foreground, the guy fondling his firearm, phallic joke deliberately inserted (inserted teh :P).

    p.s. The last pic with the spaceship in the background has me a little worried. IIRC that ship has a tendency to fall out of the sky without warning and crush as many innocent bystanders underneath it as it can.

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    1. Thanks Shane! The tattoos were hard - even with my smallest brush and steadiest hand, they don't stand up to too much scrutiny. They give the right impression though I guess!

      The planned spaceship is a Star Wars expanded universe Action Fleet toy - Prince Xizor's ship. It definitely had the right feel, but would have created a much bigger, broad brush diorama. The seated character would have been lost as a result.

      And yes, that particular model of spacecraft is notoriously prone to poor handling in atmosphere ;)

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  7. This is remarkable...great work.

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  8. You have captured the figure very well indeed.

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  9. Really nailed the look. I'm extra impressed with those tattoos. You elided over them a bit, but they've come out so well. Tattoos are bloody hard, too.

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    1. The tattoos were a bit of a pain, but I think the key is to go for an impression, rather than exact replica! I tend to paint in a dark blue and then put a thin flesh glaze over the top, which helps with that transparency look.

      Thanks!

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  10. This is outstanding by any measure. It's not only the choice of the illustration (which, btw, was a win), it's the way you portrayed it all. The first take was ambitious, right, but I think that focusing on the main character was the right way to approach this project. The vignette looks more intimate, the attention is drawn to the guy cleaning the weapon, with the whole ship scene not distracting the eye of the spectator, which would inevitably had happened had you taken the other path. Really superb work.

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    1. Thanks very much Suber! The reality is that there were a host of Tony Hough illustrations I could have chosen, but this one has that 'quiet moment' that I like so much. I'm really glad that you think the tight focus was the right way to go :)

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  11. What Suber said for sure. The choices you made have resulted in a truly captivating vignette. All the great ones, as yours is, tell a story that's both intriguing and interesting. Moreover the paint job is excellent!

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    1. Thanks very much! It was a lot of fun to hone into the character and see if I could come close to capturing the artwork.

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