Semper Fidelis They Came By The Sea

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Kimmo, May 7, 2019.

  1. Kimmo Well-Known Member


    It's been a while since I've done anything purely figure related, time to correct that with an interesting set of figures from Semper Fidelis on the bench. This is a bit of a new area for me, first off we have two Normans in chain mail and other period garb, and my first attempt at a proper cliff face. The figures are well sculpted and cast and the poses are natural and do convey a sense of emotion. The base that comes with the kit is nicely done, but I wanted to give the scene some depth and presence so I went about building up a cliff face from layers of bark.

    Here you can see my initial layout, checking sit and so on.


    I realized the frame was too large and I needed more height to the cliff, but otherwise, I was happy with how things were shaping up at this stage. The figures were just blu-tacked in place to help get a good feel for the balance of the scene. I was toying with the idea of adding water to fill the front area but decided that might be a little too ambitious and might not look as dramatic.

    After adding another layer and chipping away at the bark, I made an open cube mold and encased the cliff in plaster and made a lot of minor adjustments and filled in gaps. Rather messy, but easy enough. I then gave everything a coat of Future (acrylic floor wax) to seal the bark and plaster and primed it to see how things were looking. The frame was also cut back and a simple strip ledge was added to hide the curved portion of the frame.



    After some refinements, blending and smoothing out, I added some loose rock with chips of bark.




    I primed again, and decided to add a little more loose rock to the small outcrop at the top and here we are now.





    I'm really happy with how things are shaping up, the next step will be to paint the rock and then make a decision on how much groundwork will be added to the back. I'm picturing a path, grass and maybe a bunch of vine type shrubbery on the outside of the small outcrop.

  2. Redcap A Fixture

    I think the base is fabulous and it really adds presence to the piece.

    I wasn't too impressed with the figures themselves however as the ones I looked at and despite the CAD images suggesting differently, IMHO the heads on this pairing are way under scale. These are the ones in my kit compared to a Tommys War and Alexandros Mins head in the same scale and with scale consistency in body size.


    Attached Files:

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  3. Babelfish A Fixture

    +1 to what Gary says. The heads of my "They Came ..." figures are similarly undersized, suggesting that this is a common issue with this set and that the manufacturer got a very important element of the kit wrong. Impossible to rectify in fact, short of either sculpting or sourcing from elsewhere completely new heads.

    On a more positive note, that base & groundwork is looking very impressive.

    - Steve
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  4. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    That is one really nice base.
    Jed likes this.
  5. TERRYSOMME1916 A Fixture

    Great base and its a pity if the heads are under scale as this looked like an excellent kit, now you'll have to put this out of your mind so that your enthusiasm doesn't dwindle as you continue with the project but I think it will be stunning when finished.
    Jed likes this.
  6. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers one and all! I wasn't aware of the potential issue with the heads and will do a bit of investigating. I'm not unduly concerned with size (people do come in all sizes after all), as long as the proportions are close enough. I was actually impressed with the detail of the sculpt, particularly the chain mail. At this scale (whatever the actual scale is) it is a rather delicate texture and tricky to get to look good. My only gripe so far is the flag, which is much too thick, however, not a difficult item to replace and very minor in the grand scheme of things. I won't comment on the accuracy of the outfits and whatnot as I know absolutely nothing about the period in question. I'll be treating this the same as any other project, concentrating on techniques and having fun.

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  7. Redcap A Fixture


    My comments are in no way reflective of what you have done and as I said, the base and presentation work you have done so far is superb. I just found the figures heads to be a massive let down and I can't believe no one in the production chain (or the sculptor /3D designer's mates who saw the work whilst in production) commented and were constructive enough to say - "Don't you think those heads are too small for the bodies?" On the figures they look like the cartoon character 'Bluto' in Popeye with the tiny head resting on the shoulders. Bear in mind as well, that a Norman nasal helm was quite a bulky item whereas these look like Lycra swimming caps as they are so 'tight' to the head. As I said, the pictures I suggest tell their own story.

    If I were SF, I would seriously consider re-sculpting some proper sized heads that are more proportionate to the torsos but ultimately, that's for SF and their buyers to decide between them.

    Jed, Oda and harrytheheid like this.
  8. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Gary, your points are well taken and didn't mean to pooh-pooh anything you said. I haven't had a chance to do a proportional check yet and will post my findings and thoughts when I can. To be honest, at first glance nothing appeared to be terribly amiss, although I was more concerned with fit and sit than anything else. As you say, ultimately each of us decides what's acceptable and what isn't, whether painter or sculptor or manufacturer. I am glad the subject has been brought up though, I probably wouldn't have bothered to do any checking and at least others will be aware of any possible shortcomings, providing they read the blog ;) So we'll let the matter rest for the time being and revisit when I've had a chance to do some measuring.

    Jed, Oda, harrytheheid and 2 others like this.
  9. Redcap A Fixture

    Kimmo. No offence or interpretation of 'pooh-poohing' was taken I assure you. Ultimately, it is for each and his/her own to decide and whatever happens, I am sure you will do a great job. The base itself is quite inspired and a perfect compliment to the subject.
    Jed, Oda, harrytheheid and 1 other person like this.
  10. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Kimmo

    Another great SBS here thank you , can't comment on figures but the groundwork looks great

    Some great posts from members here as well

    Thanks for sharing

    Following with interest

    Jed and Oda like this.
  11. Zastrow.cuirassier PlanetFigure Supporter

    Great base !
    Unfortunately for me, I do not want to hear about this brand anymore!
    Apart from a first aspect more than pleasant, defects molding, figurine not so top that for sculpture.
    But above all a really shabby service ....
    You pay .... You wait and then you wait .... And after month you receive.
    No answers to messages ... the void
    As the figures look beautiful as the brand is really serious.
    One of the rare brands that I banned from my purchasing register, like some other in Great Britain that produced a skit on the War of 1870!
    Jed likes this.
  12. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    No worries Gary, healthy discussion is always welcome. And thanks for the kind words from you lot on the base. As I've said before, sharing is caring and if someone finds some inspiration, useful information or a helpful tip, all the better.

    Jed likes this.
  13. MCPWilk A Fixture

    Should they be standing on one of Dover's white cliffs?

    Jed likes this.
  14. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    The cliffs of the Pas-de-Calais would be more appropos Mike, seeing as they are Normans.

    Got a good couple of sessions in on the cliff, first a few base shades were added from Dark Sea Grey, Basalt Grey with a touch of purple, and then a dry brush of Medium Grey (which is actually tan) and Deck Tan for some edge work. I needed to see how things looked so wasn't being too neat or careful with things at this stage.




    The I went back at it with a bit more care, adding shadow to the underhangs with Dark Sea Grey, picking out some loose stones with grey/tan and adding horizontal lines here and there to accentuate the strata. A final wash of pure black helped to bring up the contrast.




    I'll see what things look like when everything has a chance to dry overnight. I think another round of dark washes will be needed. I didn't do much to the top yet, the figures need to be dry fit after they get painted to see how the contrast and tones work, and of course the vegetation still needs to be added. Otherwise, I'm liking it a lot.

    Jed, Oda, Martin64 and 3 others like this.
  15. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    I'm liking it a lot too Kimmo.
    Plenty of learning opportunities for me on how you're developing the realism of the base.
    I can't comment on the figures as I don't own any of these particular examples, but I do think it's helpful when other people care enough to remark on possible shortcomings in the proportions of their heads/helmets.
    Just a suggestion, but if you find they really are that bad, perhaps you could use aftermarket replacements?
    Jed, Oda and Redcap like this.
  16. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Cheers Harry! I'm all for people chiming in with observations and critique(s), information and opinions are always welcome. I haven't done a thorough exam of the figures yet, but I did do a quick measurement on the flag bearing chap and the proportions at least seem fine. I'll go into that when I get further along as the figures are broken down and pinned for painting. In any event, I'll be going with what's in the box with the exception of a set of decals which I'm still waiting on.

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  17. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    The very first thought to cross my mind when I saw these two figures was, "I wonder how they'd look if I were to replace the heads with these two 54mm aftermarket examples from Andrea Miniatures?"

    Too late now as they seem to be sold out, but having a couple of Sean Connery and Charlton Heston characters standing at the edge of a cliff face was just another of those ideas of mine that had some fleeting appeal.
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  18. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    Those would give the figures a little extra something for sure Harry. There are a lot of neat hings from days gone by that would be nice to see again.

    On to our chaps, I got the figures primed and started the base coats. I forgot to mention this is a project for a friend and they wanted the palette to go something like this:


    I didn't have the shades I wanted out of the bottle and mixed up my own. The light blue really needs to be desaturated, but a good base to work with. The shields and flag will eventually get yellow lions once my decals arrive. The metal bits have not been touched yet, save for primer.



    This is going to be a tricky do. There isn't much room to wield a brush in some places, and there is a fair amount of detail to hit as well. The biggest challenge will be keeping areas clean as I add more paint. Speaking of hitting, I snapped off the pointy thingy on the flag pole while getting the paint down. I knew the instant I had glued it on that this was a mistake and should have left it off until the painting was basically done. Now for a think as to what order the painting should be done in.

    Jed, harrytheheid and Redcap like this.
  19. Kimmo Well-Known Member

    After a few sessions I got the greens and blues blocked in nicely and started to refine the shading. The blue was still a bit too intense and the green was starting to get too earthy because of the highlight colour (Dead Flesh), that will be fixed with glazes.



    Some more refinements with the shading and a few glazes were added by mixing in a touch of colour with my clear coat. This brought out the green a bit more and toned down the blue, and also blended the transitions together. The flag got a quick shading while I had the blues out.





    Things are coming along nicely, I'll do the quilt padding on our flag bearer and then get started on the mail.

  20. harrytheheid PlanetFigure Supporter

    I like the way this is coming on.
    Jed and Oda like this.

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