Scientificmodels Plague Doctor, part two

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Kimmo, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Having completed two of the three commission pieces on my bench from Scientificmodels, it's time to wrap things up with the second version of the Plague Doctor. This one is a bit different from the Venetian scene I did, and just as challenging, albeit for different reasons. The scene is fairly self explanatory, and had started out as an idea involving moss that sort of evolved into a larger piece. A ton of scratch building went into it using foam, styrene strip and sheet and plaster. My bench was a complete mess so no in progress pics I'm afraid. The fence/rail isn't perfect, but I'm happy with how it turned out considering everything was cut using Mk.1 Eyeball or rudimentary jigs. A small chopper would have been a godsend for this. The ornamental sphere on the pillar is a hand carved piece of plaster. I will break tradition and dispense with modesty here, I pretty much nailed the damn thing. I checked it by rotating it through a circle template from various angles and it was about as close as you could get by hand. The shrubbery is a tree that wasn't working for me as a tree and had the trunk cut off, it still needs a bit of puffing out. The carvings on the crypt are made with Super Sculpey, a perfect project to test this stuff out on.













    I need to do a couple of minor things, then get some primer down, and experiment with mosses. The moss idea stuck and should add some extra interest.

    Oda, Scott Sheltz, Paco and 4 others like this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    That fence looks great as does the tomb , like the details on the top that based on a original ?

    Hand carving at its best here IMO

    Looking forward to this version

    Following with interest

    Happy benchtime

  3. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Nap! The fence is kind of sort of based on real examples. I had originally wanted to do something with leaves on the spikes but the punch I have wasn't quite what I was looking for so went with diamond shaped spiky bits. The next time I do something like this I'll have to plan things out a little better and make sure I have plenty of strip on hand. I ended up having to glue a bunch of thinner strips to make up the right thickness for some of my diamond inlays.

    And in case anyone is wondering, twisting square strip to make wrought iron is fairly easy. These are from 30 thou (.75mm) and I used my fingers, 40 thou (1mm) would probably be doable using your fingers as well. Any thicker and you'll need to clamp one end in a vice or similar. I had to redo a couple and chucked one end in a pin vise to make things a little easier, and you get a much more controlled twist. The only thing to watch for is that they will tend to unwind, so you need to twist, hold, and re-twist. If the strip is cracking or snapping, use less force or heat it in hot water for a bit before twisting. The trickiest aspect is making sure they run straight once you're done twisting, a bit of rolling and bending will be in order. Using a length of tubing that is a little larger than the strip helps keep things straight, but also makes it difficult to see what's going on with the twists. With something this scale (and the softness of the material), it's really hard to keep track of how many twists per cm/inch you are making so be prepared to spend a lot of time if you want something duplicated exactly. Once you're happy, let them sit for a few hours or overnight to see if the twist holds, if not repeat. Once satisfied they won't unravel, run some liquid cement through the length to lock it place. You could try this with brass strip, in theory this would yield a more consistent twist but would require a lot more planning and testing. I may have to pick up some ABS strip to see if that is any easier to work with than styrene as I really like the idea of being able to make decorative fencing and rails, so many potential uses and a lot more realistic than photo etch or laser cut sheets, not to mention cheaper.

    Nap likes this.
  4. MCPWilk A Fixture

  5. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Great explanation ref the fence ...thank you

  6. fogie A Fixture

    Thoroughly enjoyed your previous 'Venetian' version of this figure - your modelling skills and antics with both linear and
    aerial perspective, plus all the volumetric stuff were a masterclass. The client must have been well pleased for it showed
    the product to it's finest fact I believe your treatment produced a silk purse from a proverbial sow's ear.
    There's no doubt in my mind that this version will be the same - another highly useful piece for them, but one where the
    quality of the scenery is better than that of the figure. I would dearly love to see you turn your attention , however, towards
    something more worthy of your magic.


    PS We spoke about Artis Opus brushes last time....I bought a couple and they're first rate, so thanks for the tip .
    Nap likes this.
  7. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Mike, Nap and Mike! Sounds like a troupe, the MNMs...

    Fogie Mike (for clarity's sake), the figure is sort of what it is. I wouldn't exactly call it a sow's ear, but a true reflection of what it represents. It could be a little more dynamic I suppose, but it is a good historical likeness and provides the painter a lot of leeway to get creative. I do thank you for the kind words, and I'm glad you're happy with the Artis Opus brushes. Too bad I don't get any kickbacks ;)

    Nap likes this.
  8. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Having gotten things primed, it's time to sort out the lighting. As with the other project, a quick light study was in order. Problem is, I can't decide which angle is more suitable, or whether a zenithal approach might be more appropriate. I suppose part of the problem is that things are very dark at the moment.

    With the light behind and to the right





    And to the left





    The lantern needs to be in deep shadow which means the light has to be behind or above. Either angle looks interesting but also places some detail in deep shadow. A zenithal approach would maximize light hitting details, but may not be as dramatic. Decisions, decisions... Speaking of, I decided to leave the stick out of his hands because it doesn't really fit the mood. The doctor appears to be checking in on his wards and a stick looks like he's about to deliver some whoop ass. Another choice I have to make is whether to go with white marble or bronze, which would in actuality be mainly verdigris. The gravel will be white to provide some illumination and contrast.

    Oda, fogie and Nap like this.
  9. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Even just prime it looks great !!

    So many decisions eh !

    I reckon you should go for marble for the tomb and a bronzed skull etc

    Good decision ref stick

    Thanks for updates

    Happy benchtime


    Don't forget we are running a Vignettes & Diorama comp till end of September
  10. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    That's why I get paid the big bucks Nap, to make hard choices ;)

    Been a wee bit tired, to put it mildly, the last few months so getting stuff done seems to take forever. Finally got some paint on, just rough base coats to sketch out values and go over the choice for the statue. I used a flat brush with a heavy dry brush technique, I wanted to try and get the primer to work for me as well. The verdigris looks quite nice with barely one coat and bits of black peeking through. I had made quick and dirty half casts of the torso when the moss idea was being bounced around, good thing I did. This way I can see what might work better without having to guess too much. I think the verdigris will have the most impact.



    Hopefully I'll get a proper session in tomorrow.

    Nap likes this.
  11. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Even with"rough" basecoats it's a direction for the piece ...agree about verdigris

    Thanks for sharing

    Happy benchtime

    Rest my friend ...your worth all the big bucks

  12. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Nap!

    Finally got enough energy to get some work done. Most of the blocking in and a bit of shading has been done. I started off by giving the concrete and flagstone a bit of texture and depth. Basically some really rough scratching with an almost dry brush, then stippling with a Vallejo pony hair brush that I had recently picked up. I was curious to see what they were like, and for less than 1 euro, not a huge investment. An interesting brush to be sure. Very coarse and the hairs are all over the place in terms of thickness and cross section and won't really hold a point at all, but, interesting. I'll probably pick up a few more and try to cut them back as stipplers and dry brushes as they work really well for messy stuff like this.







    I'm making the most out of the Nocturna (Vallejo) Mallefic Flesh set again, it has a bunch of lovely desaturated colours. The verdigris is a base of Panzer Aces USMC Tankcrew with a touch of Light Turquoise and Pale Bluegrey. Highlights with Italian Tankcrew and shading with black, green and grey to taste. I'm not going crazy with the definition and highlighting just yet, I need to figure out how mossy we're going to get, apply that, and then work on what's visible. Next up I'll do some more work on the concrete areas, they needs some splatter effects to simulate lichen/moss and then a bit of edging.

    Nap likes this.
  13. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Very nice indeed ..glad the energy is back !!!

    Bit dissapointed there's no actual corpse in the tomb ???

    Not sure if you've see pin the review by Julian Conde on a drybrushing brush ...interesting

    Thanks for sharing

    Happy benchtime


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    Enter our VIGNETTES & DIORAMA comp ending 30/9/20 go to here:
  14. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Saw the dry brush thread Nap, it got me searching for similar types of brushes, might have to pick one up.

    Managed a session again today after a short one the other day, I realised I have to get a move on to get this out of the way to get three more things out of the way...

    I added some splatter with greys, greens and purples to simulate moss/lichen staining, got the railing painted, edged and give it a light wash of rust, looks nice but can't really make it out in the photos. I played around with all my basing materials to find a suitable mossy texture. It's basically a mix of everything I had that would sift through a really fine sieve with PVA, Celluclay (cellulose fibres) dust and a dollop of paint. It's much too green at the moment but gives me an idea of how it's progressing. Precision Ice and Snow's coarser snow was mixed up for the darker moss in the stone seams and here and there on the tomb. Texture is more important than colour at the moment.






    I'll have to wait for the client's opinion on whether more moss is wanted or not, personally I'm happy with how it's looking and only needs a bit more for the base of the statue and some dark fine strips around the tomb when it gets glued in place. I may need to add another layer as the mix shrinks a bit when it dries.


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