Friday, August 23, 2013

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpture WIP #1

As you know, I am doing a private commission on an amazing Hulk vs Wolverine cover.  It is an exciting commission and one that I am having a lot of fun doing.

Since I promised to show you work in progress, I thought I would start today with an interview I did with Eric, the fan who wants the piece. And, of course, I can’t write a post about this piece without wanting to share a few pictures of the work in process.  During this whole process, questions and comments are welcome.

Here is the Hulk in the armature stage. The wolverine figure is one I did a LONNGG time ago for the Ultimate Heroclix set. I am using this as a proxy right now to get the scale right. I will be sculpting a new Wolverine for this piece when I get to that stage. The other Hulk in the photo is my hulk from the Avengers’ set. I included that just to give Eric an idea of the size. This is the first step in the process;  the armature will set the pose and give me a foundation to work on. I will have to Bulk up this quite a lot to get the size, and I will also need to make adjustments at the next stage.

Here is the interview...

JVS: How long have you been playing heroclix?

Eric: On and off since the beginning, so about 11 years now!  I originally started with Mage Knight and when Wizkids started making Heroclix, I couldn’t resist the allure of playing my favorite comic book heroes and villains.  I actually quit the game for a while but came back with Web of Spider-man.  I was hanging out at the comic book store and randomly bought a booster which contained Red Hulk!  I picked up the game again and have been playing ever since.

JVS: How long have you been interested in comics?

Eric: Even longer than I’ve been playing Heroclix!  I’ve been actively following and reading comics since the early 90’s, starting off with the X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Batman.  I later got into the Vertigo stuff like Sandman, Preacher, etc. while looking for something that was a bit more mature.  These days I read anything and everything, and I think Marvel and DC have gotten really good at producing engaging stories that cater to a more adult demographic than they’ve traditionally targeted, so that makes it easy for me to stay interested.

JVS: What made you want your own unique, one-of - a-kind figure?

Eric: One part nostalgia, one part realizing that Wizkids would likely never do something that I’ve been hoping they would do, and three parts being a fan of your work.

JVS: Why did you choose to have me do the piece?

Eric: I thought it would be fitting that the sculptor of the figure that drew me back into the game brought to life one of my dream figures.  I knew from your past work that you could do this piece justice so it was an easy choice J

JVS: How and why did you choose the figure you wanted?

Eric: I knew I wanted something big with a strong visual impact.  If I’m going to show off a custom figure, I want it to be noticed!  I’m a fan of the Hulk though and always hoped that Wizkids would make something based on the dynamic art of Leinil Francis Yu’s Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine.  When I realized that probably wasn’t happening, especially portraying something as visceral as Wolverine getting ripped in half, I decided to go ahead and commission what I’d like to see in the game.

JVS: Where there other choices you were looking at? If so how did you choose between that and the Hulk figure?

Also excellent choice.
One of my all time favourite books.
Eric: I briefly considered a Batman figure based on my favorite comic of all time, The Dark Knight Returns, but decided that it was likelier that Wizkids would make something like than a Hulk that was a) of the appropriate size and b) brutally tearing Wolverine to pieces J

JVS: What is your favorite comic character?

Eric: My favorite character is probably Batman, but that’s followed closely by Hulk, Thor, Wolverine, Morpheus of the Endless, John Constantine, Loki, Thanos, Dr. Doom, and Sinestro.  I could actually go on but those are the ones that I thought of off the top of my head.

JVS: What is your opinion on the new digitally sculpted figures vs the traditional, hand sculpted figures?

Eric: I think the digital sculpts are okay but in general, they haven’t really hit the heights that the really great hand sculpted figures reached.  None of them really have the detail that some of the older figures had, and I guess that was part of the impetus in me commissioning a hand sculpted figure.  In the end, I think the digital vs hand sculpted debate is similar to the digital vs film debate for movies.  There are certain things that you can do in digital that are really neat and it can result in a very clean product of consistent quality, but there’s a certain life that non-digital mediums possess.  Film has a grain to it and its imperfections give it character in the same way that hand sculpted figures have a personality that digital figures don’t.  That’s just my opinion though and I’m sure others would beg to differ.

JVS: Which do you prefer?

Eric: Hand sculpted all the way!

JVS: Do you have a favorite heroclix miniature? If so, what is it?

Eric: My favorite keeps changing all the time.  Mostly it’s figures that give me options and allow me to make choices during a game in a way that it’s not necessarily the same from one game to the next how I would play them.  Figures like Nico Minoru, Xavin, and Stranger are great examples of this.  I also like fielding a Hulk every once in a while and just SMASH EVERYTHINGGGGG!!!  That's fun too.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Do You Want to Learn?

As I mentioned earlier, I want to find out what you want to learn.  I am actually in the middle of writing some tutorials and decided that while I know what I would like to cover, what I don't know is what you want to learn.

So I have come on here to ask you that very question.  Please answer so I can make sure that I am providing you with content that helps you as a sculptor, painter, modeler or simply as a hobbyist who wants to add a few things to an already existing figure.

It can be anything from diorama designs to basing to how to sculpt a face; whatever you want. To get started, I was thinking of things such as adding hair, adding a cloak, creating a shoulder pad.  creating rivets on a figure and so on.  But now that I have given you a few ideas, time to get the ball rolling and find out from you.

Please comment below and watch over the next few days as I may have a few treats for those who submit a suggestion.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Social Media and a New Figure

If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably know that I am not up on social media.  I rarely post on facebook, I don't have a twitter account and I seem to avoid social media like it is some zombie inducing plague.  I am trying to change that and connect with fans of my work as well as anyone who enjoys a good game, either on a tabletop or on a gaming console.

So with that, I decided to start updating my social media and learning a bit more on how to use it.  If you didn't know already, I am on facebook and I welcome anyone to connect there.  I will try to get on more but sometimes the demands of sculpting keeps me on radio silence a bit.

In addition, I started a twitter account.  Follow it for quick announcements and I might even take a twitpic (I don't know where they come up with these terms, when I heard it, I thought it was just pictures of twits) or two of my desk and what I am working on.

So a short post today, just wanted to give you the links to my various social media pages.  To make it a bit longer, I will leave you with a fairly current figure.  I did this for RAFM Miniatures for their new Call of Cthulhu range. I really loved the way this one turned out and the likeness...well...let me know if you can see who it is.  Hint: it is inspired by one of my favorite movies.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Greens from the Past: Dark Solar

Thought I would start showing off some of the greens (or browns, or greys) that I have worked on over the years.  Some have been released, some were never released and some were greens that I did for my own personal shelf.  Today, I am going to showcase the Dark Solar that I did for Pulp City.

I really enjoyed sculpting this piece...partly because I love sculpting superheroes, which I rarely get to do now, and partly because I loved the movement that this figure has.  Very iconic pose and it has a real "not-superman" feel to it.  In addition, it is a one piece model.

If you are interested in seeing the painted version of the figure, you can here.

For the greens, just scroll through the many pictures below.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wolverine Disappointment

Spoiler Alert for anyone who hasn't seen it.

So I have been waiting for a long time to see the new Wolverine movie, being my favorite character and all, and last night I had the chance to see it. This movie is based off the X-men issues where Wolverine and the X-men go to Japan.  The comic series were written by the one of the greatest X-men writers of all time Chris Clairmont. These issues were actually my first real exposure to comics back when I was a lad, and what started my comic obsession so I have a real attachment to them and was anticipating the movie.

The uncanny X-men #173 was the very 1st comic I read and got me hooked. Featuring Wolverine and Rogue kicking butt in Japan, trying to track down the Silver Samurai while Storm and Yukio must protect Wolverines bride to be,  Mariko, from assassins.

Suffice it to say, I had great expectations for the movie, which was probably my  biggest problem. I thought the fist 3/4 of the movie was great. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine and embodies the character to a tee, Yukio was great as well, however a little too subdued, but it was close enough to the character. The Viper character was the biggest departure from the comics and I was disappointed by her character, but I could overlook that.  The plot, while differing from the comic, captures the themes and feelings present in the original comic.

The kicker for me is at the end. This is the point where I can see either the director or some corporate schmuck at Fox say "I know, cats are cute, they are the most downloaded files on youtube. Let's see what happens if we declaw Wolverine.  I think his claws are just too pointy for the general public." Now, if this was a Marvel Studios movie, it would have been at that point where Joss Whedon would have slapped him upside the head and told said executive to go back to his cubicle. But no, this is Fox and of course they dropped the ball again.

Yes, the end of the film features Wolverine having his claws sliced off by the Silver Samurai. Ok, I know I am starting to sound like a disgruntled fanboy here but come on. Someone at Fox needs to look up the word 'unbreakable' in a dictionary, which is what adamantium is! You can`t take Wolvies claws! Its what makes him who he is!

So if you go see it, exit the theater about 1:45 minutes in! Marvel studios need to buy out Fox, as Days of Future Past looks to be going down the same path, which is too bad. Guess I will just have to wait for Avengers 2, Thor and Captain America: Winter's Soldier to see a comic movie done right.

Anyway that's just my 2 cents, what  do you guys think?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Exciting Private Commission

I am happy to announce that I have a private commission for a heroclix fan, which is really great because I don't get to do superheroes anymore.  It is a commission for one of the most iconic covers out there and done by one of my favorite comic artists, Leinil Francis Yu.

So there it is.  The figure is going to be massive.  To get the proper scale (Wolverine is a 32mm figure), it tops off at a whopping 3 inches tall.  I'm going to be doing a series of posts on it, including an interview with the person who commissioned the piece and regular work in progress posts so you can see it develop from start to finish.

By the way, for those of you who haven't read the series, to answer your question, yes, he gets put back together again. Just thought I would answer before the questions because that is the first question I am asked whenever I show this piece.  If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend it as it was a great series.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Best Intentions...

If you haven't noticed, I had posted that I would be posting more often...unfortunately, you know the rules about best intentions and Murphy's Law.  Yeah, they often work against you.  Case in point is me.  Shortly after my last post, I threw out my back.

Yep, you heard me right.  I want to say that I did it doing something really awesome.  I was was climbing was protecting my loved ones from 20 thugs, fighting left, right and in one act of cowardice, after I had beaten them to a pulp, I took a crowbar to the back as the thugs ran away.

Unfortunately, none of those things happened and I threw out my back chasing my kids in a game of tag...Can I say that I have never felt older than I did at that moment.  So with doctor's appointments, x-rays, bone scans and a host of other medical assessments, which I am positive are strictly used for torture, I was unable to write my blog posts.  In fact, I had a hard time picking up the sculpting tools and sitting for more than an hour at a time.  They were positive that I would need back surgery but after my last assessment, they have decided to wait and see. It may reoccur, but it may not so back surgery is put on hold for now.

So, after a few months of recovery, I now feel as back to normal as I can.  Still suffer from back pain occasionally but I can exercise again and I can sit for a full day at my desk. Even better, I can get back to writing this blog.

In addition, over the next few months, I will have some exciting things happening here.  I have a private commission that I will be showcasing, trust me, you will be as excited as I am about it.  I will also be going over a few more things with sculpting and will be announcing a few meet and greets.  I also want advice from everyone on what they want to see in the future - tutorials wise.

And that is what has been going on with me.  Before I do sign off, however, I want to leave you with a few photos of the sculpt that I had previewed. Here it is, the Lolth that I did for Gale Force Nine.