Completed Scientificmodels Plague Doctor

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Kimmo, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Been a while since I've done a blog here, so time to rectify that with a timely release by Scientificmodels, a plague doctor in 75mm. It's a nice figure, it certainly looks authentic and has possibility written all over it. It comes in a nice sturdy cardboard box with the main body loose and the smaller items in two small bags. Casting quality is excellent, with only some minor mould seams and a bit of flash around the ring of the lantern to clean up. Casting lugs are also kept to a minimum and should not be too difficult to deal with except for the one on the brim of the hat, care will be needed here. I'll go over the parts later on, but for now, here's an overview of what you get in the box.


    I got to give Scientificmodels a few props off the bat, they are very friendly to deal with and the order got here about as quickly as you can possibly expect considering the challenges going on globally. Shipping costs were very reasonable, as was the price of the piece itself. I actually ordered two, and a third item as I got lucky with some commissions, and with that, let's see what we're going to get up to.

    My initial idea was to use a smallish oval base and have our doctor standing at the foot of steps at a landing waiting for his gondola. I had to modify the original idea a bit as the pose didn't lend itself too well to him just standing around. His left leg is just a touch too high so I decided to have him coming down the steps. After some careful measuring and playing around I got this mock up


    After showing the idea, I was asked if I could do a gondola. Um, sure, why not? So the idea got expanded somewhat.



    Happy with this layout and idea, I got busy making a framework for the foam to sit on, and boxed in the back and side. I also roughly filled in the gondola with Milliput and things are looking good so far.




    Some tweaking needs to be done with positioning, and the gondola still needs a fair bit of work. I also need to add the steps stretching across the back/side. I'm going to make them from a different foam, the blue stuff is fine for embossing/scribing stones and brick, but I will probably need to do some fine tuning to get the doctors feet to be touching properly and securely.

    Plenty more to come.

    peedee, Borek, MattMcK. and 11 others like this.
  2. Zim PlanetFigure Supporter

    Nice start Kimmo and good idea for a very unusual figure
  3. fogie A Fixture

    I don't add scenic bases to my figures, Kimmo - I prefer to show them as they are
    without additional complicated and distracting groundwork. This is probably why
    I've had some doubts about this particular 'plague doctor' - the composition never
    seemed strong enough on it's own to really work. So placing him in a context, and
    avoiding the all too obvious London 'dead carts' full of cadavers, choosing instead
    the much more interesting moody and murky canals of Venice - is a particularly
    clever idea, and will make all the difference. Good stuff.....looking forward....

    NeilW and Nap like this.
  4. arj A Fixture

    I like the concept and look forward to seeing it develop.

  5. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Great to have you doing a SBS on this project and I like others think it's good to have the piece in a different situation

    The gondola is a nice addition bringing Venice into the composition

    Following this with interest

    Happy benchtime

  6. Chris Oldfield Well-Known Member

    Nice figure & a great backdrop you've created there, Kimmo - topical too with the gondola, because of the island in the Venetian lagoon where all the plague victims were quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease.
    gpldsl likes this.
  7. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers one and all!

    Mike, I actually prefer to add something as often as possible to give figures some context and add interest. It's also an area I have been wanting to work on and test out materials. I build a lot of 1/35 vehicles and figures, and plain bases look pretty plain in that scale TBH. With larger scale figures, it isn't always as noticeable. The scene here is pretty ambitious for me because the painting will play a big part in how evocative all this will look. I really want to go outside my comfort zone on this one.

    Nap, as always, I like to show what I'm up to and to also show that working with different materials and building something simple yet effective isn't terribly difficult, things may get complex in a hurry, but if you stick to basic techniques and think things through, you'll do fine. It helps to have a good imagination. Laying things out and planning ahead are the trickiest parts. I don't have a workshop or fancy tools (my mini drill and etch bending tool are the only exceptions) but I do have patience and the curiosity to try and figure out how to make things with what I have to work with. Skill sets will of course differ from person to person, but to improve, you need to practice and make mistakes.

    On to the latest progress. I got the gondola more or less ship shape (pun intended) and cut to size to fit the base. A fair bit of Milliput and Perfect Putty has been used. Since I had the Milliput handy, I also decided to turn a bollard on my mini drill. It went a lot more smoothly than I expected, made a hell of a mess though. I bunged some putty onto a brass rod that had been scored and roughed up, I should have paid more attention to how even and centred the block was, the used various blades and sanding foam to shape things.






    The gondola has a slight list to it, to imply a turn to the right. I'm not sure if I need to raise the bow up a bit or not, I suppose it could go either way. I might add a couple more bollards if I can make a decent enough mold and then add some chains to mark off the danger areas as it were. Now that most of the dirty work has been done and the layout more or less finalised, I can get going on the other details.

    Borek, MattMcK., Nap and 2 others like this.
  8. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    The littoral lunacy has almost been dealt with. The final touches have been made to the gondola with several different sizes and types of strip and styrene cut to shape, it just awaits a coat of primer to check for gaps.





    Despite seeming to take forever, it was a good bit of fun and a chance to practice old school modeling techniques. Still a few things to work out before I can get to scribing in the stonework.

    Borek and Nap like this.
  9. Sergei Active Member

    Great project, I am following it with great interest. If I may, I think the bollard distorts the composition: it is higher than the figure and distracts the viewer's attention from the doctor. I liked the original composition where the doctor was the only vertical dominant, as it was dramatic and simple. Vain ajatus.
  10. clrsgt A Fixture

    Placing the figure in Venice is a masterstroke. Never would have thought of it myself. Creating a proper atmosphere for the scene will be the key for this one I think. Good luck.
  11. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Sergei and clrsgt!

    Sergei, you make a good point, the heights aren't quite locked in yet so it's hard to see how much the bollard will affect the layout. Bear in mind the blutack is lifting it higher than it will be and the doctor is going to be slightly higher when the feet get added.

    Things are starting to come together now. I glued up the doctor, worked on a couple of small details and made water from toilet paper and PVA on a separate sheet of styrene. If you haven't herd of this technique, have a look at the video below, it explains everything nicely. This is perfect for our needs as the water doesn't need to be clear or translucent.

    On to the updates, the ripples and bow waves aren't really showing up, but it does look rather nice to my eye.







    The figure went together without too much hassle, although there are a few gaps to be filled. I'm not sure if the left arm was user error or not as there was a noticeable gap at the back end. I'll have to keep an eye on that with the next project. The only tricky bit is getting the lantern and ring in place, I think the ring should have been moulded in place to make life easier. There's something a little weird with how it attaches to the hand, I'll go over this and some of the details better in an upcoming update. Next up I'll tackle the stonework and get some primer down.

    Borek and Nap like this.
  12. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    I've finally gotten the stonework done. I used a couple of different pencils, a sculpting tool, a bit of cork bark as a texturing tool and a sanding sponge for smoothing things out. You can see I used balsa foam for the steps, I find this material better for fine tuning with, plus I didn't have much in the way of 6mm foam left. The steps had to be 6mm high to accommodate the feet. After I got everything looking good, I sealed everything with Future, an acrylic floor wax. Both foams are very absorbent and soft, so this seals and gives them a hard shell. A bit of filling and smoothing the walls of the base, a quick primer coat for the water and this what we now have.




    I primed the gondola and put it in place. The water is really looking good at this stage.



    And with our good doctor in place. In the previous update I was playing with the idea of him leaving his bag at the edge of the landing so he wouldn't have to carry it down, but realised his walking stick could easily be wedged in on top of the bag. Speaking of walking stick, I'm working on a handle for it, a sort of bird head shape.




    Here's a shot to show the feet, I can actually place him anywhere along the steps so a bit of fiddling about will be done to see where the optimum impact will be. I think one step up might be the ticket.


    I can now prime the base and get the final touches done to the figure.

  13. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Thanks a lot for sharing the updates

    The gondala work is excellent , the way you explain is good as well

    A fascinating subject

    Following with much interest

    Happy benchtime

    Borek likes this.
  14. MCPWilk A Fixture

    That is a superb dock and gondola. A boat approaching a landing stage would/should be going very slowly so would have a minimal bow wave anyway.

    Borek and Nap like this.
  15. arj A Fixture

    I really like the way this is coming together.

  16. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Nap, Mike and Andrew!

    I think I have the final layout sussed. I moved the doctor up one step and am working out the finer details of getting the bag secured to his hand. It's not quite as straightforward as I would have liked. The bollard adds a bit of interest, unfortunately I couldn't get a decent mould made so it'll be there on its lonesome. I think I could have fit two more in with chains, but, not this time. I apologise for the messy bench pics, I couldn't be bothered to clean things off.









    Very close to final priming.

    gpldsl, Borek, Nap and 1 other person like this.
  17. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Final layout check. I managed to get everything glued in place, although I left the lantern loose for the time being. It has a very tiny pin to give it some badly needed strength and also gives me flexibility for painting. The bag was also pinned with a bit of styrene rod, and then mostly hidden by another rod to represent an old fashioned purse type clasp. The handles were made from lead wire, I had a bugger of a time trying to figure out what to use. I sliced into the end of the wire, then sanded the gap wider and crimped that over the hoops, then bent and trimmed to fit into the openings of the hand. Then I flattened the wire slightly to give it a padded leather handle look. If nothing else, the bag is now pretty securely attached. The gaps around my water were filled in, and the bollard glued down.








    Before I completely forget, here's some close ups of the doctor. I did some minor sharpening of detail, mainly the purse strap, it was a bit shallow up towards the shoulder. The tears in the frock were filled in as i don't think they'd show up well enough with the dark scheme I have in mind, they look fine otherwise. I also removed the cross and chain as the client isn't religious and didn't really want it there. We discussed replacing it with a small pouch or keys but in the end just left it off. And hopefully nobody takes offense, these days you can never tell. It certainly wasn't meant in any disrespectful way. Moving along, you get to see some of the details a little better in the shots below. I'd say the level of detail is more than adequate, these outfits were quite simple to begin with. The lantern has some really fine engraved detail that probably won't show up on camera, even after paint. Speaking of, I mentioned I got a pin into the lantern and drilled out a small hole in the handle. I also bunged some putty into his palm to help keep the handle in place. This is really the only area of the piece that gets a slight minus. The way the handle is supposed to fit means that he would be gripping it by his fingertips, not terribly practical. The bag was cobbled together with styrene and the foil lid from some dairy product or other, you can see the neat pattern quite clearly. It's not very pronounced, but should give some interest and texture. The walking stick could have also benefitted from a head/handle of some sort, it just looks too plain as is. My attempt at a birdlike doodad seems to have worked out well enough.






    Now to prime everything and sort out the lighting angles.

  18. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo
    What is happening ? ...a dirty bench ......can't see it should see mine

    Nice work on the bollard

    As always very good explanation of the work you've done , the positioning looks really good and the reworking of details has certainly paid off

    Looking forward to seeing how this is going to be painted particularly the lighting effects

    Thanks for sharing

    Happy benchtime

  19. Steve Brodie Well-Known Member

    Thats some stunning work going on there.
  20. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Nap and Steve! Nap, my blogs are a double edged learning experience; if it goes well, do the same. If it goes poorly, do the opposite.

    Having never done anything quite like what I'm about to attempt, I thought it prudent to get the lighting angle sorted out. I simply played around with my desk lamp until I had something that looked promising, and refined. It became a process of elimination as everything other than this option took away too much shadow from the areas where the lantern might hit.











    Now the real fun starts.

    Borek and Nap like this.

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