Saturday, July 28, 2012

"The Rumors of History" - Art Girona 54mm Nero

My next 54mm historical project is going to be based around the 54mm Art Girona "Nero" figure sculpted by Laruccia. It is going to be another exercise in forced lighting and the second in my "Roman Emperors and Columns" series (just joking - Remember Marcus Aurelius?). Believe it or not I also have a column set aside for Hadrian and one of the other emperors.

Nero (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - 37 to 68 AD) was the chosen of Claudius and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His short reign was noted for trade, diplomacy and improving the cultural life of Rome. During his reign the great fire of Rome occured (64 AD) which many blamed on Nero as a way of clearing space for his architectural plans. Over the years a rumor began that while Rome burned Nero "fiddled" or played his harp. This rumor has been discredited as such but still remains as a lasting memory to many when his name is mentioned. It is to this story that I have decided to base my project.

My plan is to depict Nero playing his harp while being side lit by the fires of Rome. A warm red glow will bath his left side and cool blue shadow from the night and a bit of illumination from palace candles will light his right. In order to start my visualization I primed both the figure and the Pegaso base with Gray automotive primer and then shot a directional spray of White primer to indicate the lighting effect. The base coat will not only assist my vision of how shadows and highlights are modified by the forced lighting but the deep Gray will also effect the brightness of my oils to tone down the colors initially. This should be fun and I can't wait to start after I finish the current vignette.

Alfred von Tirpitz - Ulrich Puchala Bust

I had recently completed prep work on the latest box art for Ulrich Puchala. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz in his blue Naval Uniform and distinctive forked beard. Painting has begun but I wanted to give a bit of background and show the raw kit primed.

Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (born March 19, 1849 - died March 6, 1930) was a German Admiral and Secretary of State for the Imperial German Naval Office. His greatest claim to fame is taking a relatively weak German Navy and begining in the 1890's began developing it into one that could possibly stand against the British Royal Navy. The closest he came was a draw with Britain at the Battle of Jutland. He did however begin the German U-boat force that would become the thorn in the side of shipping from WWI right through WWII.

Detail is very nice throughout and the likeness has been captured to a tee. The kit consists of six pieces: Head, Torso, Left forearm with binoculars. binocular case and two part base column with iron cross motif. There were some areas that needed refining and a few air bubbles that needed filling. Ulrich's masters are quite nice and are occasionally let down by casting quality. None of these are issues that should ever stop someone from buying these kits as they are singularly distinct subjects that are a wonderful project once completed. I chose to assemble only two pieces (torso and binocular case), leaving the the remaining items to be painted seperately and assembled later.

Heavy Roman Infantry Vignette - Update 10

Posts have been few and far between lately. This matches my output as summer has been in full swing. Work, my daughter's annual summer visit and HEAT have been the number one culprits but taking step by step photos of the shields as they progressed was the order of the month to get us to this point. I have completed the basic artwork of the three shields with weathering, damage and application of a few arrows saved for last.

Both shield designs are from the Dura Europas find and depict a war god motif. A different technique of building the design was used on each shield to see what would work best for future shields. All work is done in oil paints as always.

A base of Deep Cadmium Red with Mars Black stippled into the bottom half as a shadow tone. This provides the basic color canvas to begin the design. The outer edge is stitched leather and will be saved for last.

Mars Brown and Titanium White mixture used to create the figure's outline.

Yellow Ochre and Titanium White to create the cape outline. A lighter tone was used for hair.

Titanium White was applied for the horse. Note that every tone is applied with a tiny separation between colors to indicate an outline but with less contrast than a pure black outline.

Titanium White added to earlier mix was used to highlight the cape. Burnt Sienna was used to flesh out the muscle tone and create a more traditional period artwork appearance to the figure.

The horse was fleshed out a bit more and details added all around. Final highlights and shadows added, now on to the second shield that was painted at the same time.

The same idea for the base, Chrome Green Deep base color with a bit of Yellow Ochre up top and Mars Black below to create highlight and shadow tones. This was all done wet on wet with a stippled effect to create random patching of color.

Mars Brown was used to create a base outline for the entire figure.

Mars Brown and Titanium White mixture used to create base tone for flesh areas.

Medium Cadmium Yellow, Titanium White and a touch of Yellow Ochre used for shield, tunic and halo. Golden Ochre used for cloak.

Orange was used on the trim, Medium Cad. Red for the stripes and shield designs, Chrome Green for the sleeve and tunic edge. Burnt Sienna was used for legs. This artwork was simpler than the previous in technique. A final outline in Black to pull it all together.

These shields were painted in the field and were not intended as fine art pieces. They were good but they still needed to be used for their intended purpose. Weathering and battle damage will pull everything together. I'm getting close to completion.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fort Duquesne Samurai Busts Reborn!!

Many of you that have known me for longer than just the last ten years or so may remember the good old days of Fort Duquesne Military Miniatures. These were some of the happiest, proudest days of my life. Many of you around the world became my friends during this time. Most of the line has disappeared off the face of the earth except for occasional hits on Ebay. I thought it was about time to share some good news that I have been sitting on for some time now.

Steve Kirtley at SK Miniatures has released this weekend the first of my old Samurai line sculpted by Augie Rodriguez. He has the rights to 8 bust masters as well as 2 foot and 1 mounted figure that will be released back onto the market over time. Steve and I have been friends for many years and I am excited to have someone like him behind the line coming back on the market.

These masters were originally sold to a company in Japan who never released them. When I was finally able to get them back they had suffered various levels of damage. I have been meticulously repairing them and have forwarded the first batch with a second group to follow. As they are repaired they will be released by Steve. Judging from the requests I have received over the years as well as the price they sell for on auction I am sure you all will enjoy seeing these made available again.