Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Iron Sleet Invitational: Naval Officer WIP

A mind without purpose will wander in dark places.

Having finished the Inquisitor for the Invitational, I started working on a Imperial Guardsmen to accompany him. I wanted the guardsmen to have a similar reserved tone like the inquisitor, fitting a scene where both are part of a tense audience with a rival inquisitor, one that had just turned towards confrontation.  To accomplish this sentiment, I knew that I needed the model to be drawing a weapon, preferably with a tranquil confidence.  Interestingly, like the inquisitor, I ended up finding just the model that I was searching for in the Death Korp line of models, as well.  The Quartermaster, with his skeletal vistage, calmly drawing a las pistol to perform his grim task fit all my criteria for the model.  And since it too was designed by Simon Egan, it was scaled appropriately to the inquisitor.

The first thing I wanted to do was replace his boots/ankles with something a bit more armored, to go along with his breastplate.  I ended up using the lower portion of a set of Death Korp Grenadier legs for this purpose.  To distance the model from the quartermaster, I wanted to remove all the skeleton elements from the model.  Towards this end, used green stuff to smooth out his breastplate so that it would not look like a ribcage.  In the same vein, I resculpted the skull clasps for his cloak, as well as his belt buckle.  Without the skulls, the model looks a bit less like Death-incarnate, ha ha.

In addition to changing his legs, I smoothed out his breastplate and remodeled the clasps holding his cape in place.

One of the most important elements that I wanted to get right for the model was his sidearm, after all, I chose the model due to his pose drawing a pistol.  My initial thought was to give him a revolver, and I started to convert one from plasticard and an archaeotech pistol, but despite my best efforts, it still ended up being too large for my tastes, so I went back to the drawing board.  Being a fan of HK firearms, I decided I wanted to try to convert an autopistol that looked more like a modern polymer pistol.  Due to the large size of the model’s holster, I ended up choosing the HK MK 23 (one of the largest pistols on the market, and also the favored sidearm of Solid Snake…).  The Death Korp las/hell pistols are not overly large, so I decided to use it as a base for the conversion.  The first step was to cut off extending portion of the barrel, as well as carve away some of the metal casing that partially covered  the pistol’s las cartridge.  Since the pistol was going to have its ammunition housed in the weapon’s grip, I wanted to turn the las magazine into a flashlight.  So that the ammunition would feed properly, I needed to extend the slide and frame back a little, using a small piece of resin from a las pistol.  I carved out a little of the side to create the base of the barrel/ejection port.  I used small pieces of plasticard to add a front and rear sight, as well as the hammer and an extended barrel (so that it could accept a suppressor).  I also added some details to the light with plasticard as well.  I used green stuff to smooth out and build up the slide, as well as add a slide release.  Importantly, I sculpted the floorplate of a magazine on the grip of the pistol (so that it would actually have ammunition!).  Lastly, I sculpted his trigger finger such that it was not touching the trigger (safely first in the grim darkness of the far future!).

Although I was happy with how the revolver came out, it is similarly too massive for the model.

I spent more time on this little pistol than the rest of the model combined, but I think it was worth it!
A size comparison between the revolver, FW las pistol, and the Mk 23 I converted. 

I have been having a little trouble determining a proper head for the model. Many of my initial candidates turned out to be too large to fit with the Quartermaster (pretty much all space marine heads). At the moment, I am leaning towards two different heads, one from an Elysian Drop Troops and the second a repurposing of Karl Franz’ head. Karl Franz’ head has proven to be quite tricky because I wanted to remove his helmet and replace it with a Naval security hat (in retrospect it might have been easier to just modify the helmet). With the helmet carved away, I have been busy sculpting on his ears and the back of his head. What does everyone think of the two heads? Do you have a clear favorite, or even another suggestion entirely? I am open for any thoughts on the matter.

The model with an Elysian Drop Troop head.

The model with converted version of Karl Franz' head, with his helmet scraped away to be replace with a hat.

Besides the choice of head, the large aspects of the model are primarily complete. At this point I am considering small details that could be added. I have been entertaining the possibility of adding a knife to his belt, for example, but am not sure if it is necessary.  Now I am focusing my attention on the third model in the series, a rival Thorian Inquisitor!  He will likely be in a suit of heavily modified power armor.  I cannot wait to get him to a stage that I can share a few pictures!

-Adam Wier


  1. Wow wow wow. You guys keep blowing me away.

    The work you did on the pistols is simply fantastically elaborate - do you use tweezers to help manipulate the small pieces - some of the new components look like nothing more than very thin slivers of plasticard!

    I just hope when (if) you ever get around to painting this chap, the fine details aren't lost to the paint. The floor plate seam looks especially light and I'd be worried that after a prime and a base coat, aside from an edge highlight it may be hard to distinguish it is there.

    On heads, both have there own appeal. The Elyssian screams police to me - Arbites in the 41st millennium. I keep imagining police from all the scifi movies that move around in trenchers/cloaks with integrated HUD built into their helmets. Its not saying soldier as much as police.

    The hat leans more towards soldier, but I'm still not sold. The gaunt features are fantastic, and the hard plastic is selling a dead eyed/zombie vibe at the moment in its bare state.

    I'd almost be tempted to suggest a bare/grizzeled glowering head if you had one. The Arbites Enforcer model FW did as an even model a few years back is sticking out in my mind, or else one of the FW Cadian Veteran heads that are sculpted in that gaunter way when compared to the rounder GW heads. You used a bare head on the Inquisitor though so two bare heads might not differentiate the models from each other.

    If you kept the Visored head I'd think about adding some cabling down his back suggesting he has some tech/equipment on his backplate that integrates his kit.

    I'm sure whatever you decide will suit - I've not seen much from you guys that looks particularly off in the past.

    1. Thanks for the impressive comment!

      Currently I am not using tweezers to manipulate all the little pieces on the pistol. I have used some of those clay color shapers to re-position some of the small plasticcard components while the plastic glue is setting.

      I am certainly going to paint this guy in the coming weeks (the Inquisitor is already painted up and waiting a blog post)! Finally back to painting. I am a little worried about some of the details showing up too on the pistol when painted. I am now using an airbrush to prime models and heavily thinned paints so hopefully it will not be a problem.

      Thanks for all the thoughts on the heads. I like your idea to add some cabling to the helmet for the Elysian Drop Troop head. Thinking on it now I think if using such a head I would rather have one in which his visor is raised so you can see his eyes (giving him a more human element).

      The more I look at the head with the hat the more I come to like it. Currently I am leaning more towards that. It is certainly an interesting look for the model.

      Initially coming into the model I envisioned a bare/grizzled head. But currently I do not have anything that is suitably scaled. I have considered the FW Cadian veterans but will need to place another order with FW to get them (and that will be another 1-2 weeks before I get them...). The time frame for the Invitational is troubling, ha ha. I work so slowly...

      Thanks again for your interest and suggestions!

  2. As impressive as always - your greenstuff-fu is strong! I must say I´m partial to the elysian head - it creates a very unique look - Muppets cable idea sounds like the perfect final touch.

    Will every member of the retuine be reaching for their weapons?

    1. Thanks for the kinds words!

      I like the Elysian head too. As I said above to Frothing Muppet, I think I would like the head better if the visor was up showing more of his face.

      At this point I am not sure if I will have all of the members of the Inquisitor's retinue to be drawing their weapons. It would be neat to continue to add models to the little scene I am creating. I think some of the Scions I converted will eventually make it into the Inquisitor's group.

      The 2nd Inquisitor being confronted is going to be in a suit of power armor. At this point I have not decided completely on his pose, but I want it to be a little more aggressive and threatening.

      I hope to have a post up about him pretty soon.

  3. Karl Franz head is much better, imho. Suits the style of the overall model much better. The Elysian head looks a tad incongruous.

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of the bunch.

    1. Thanks!

      I really like The Karl Franz head too. It has an interesting military/ security officer vibe. I am also really pleased with how the ears came out on him (first time sculpting ears).

  4. Wow, that is a great conversion, with some very smooth GS work.

    The Pistol is also very good work, and it really shows how small a real pistol is compared to the various monstrosities we are saddled with from GW... (and it might be interesting to have the rival to go the "full GW" route and have a space marine plasma pistol)

    As for heads, I favor the KF, which has a more "human" look. However, it would be interesting to have a more ornate helmet to go with the cloak and breast plate, something like a dragoon helmet... Perry heads should fit nicely on the FW bodies.

    1. Thanks, I was really pleased with how the pistol came out. I have been wanting GW to make an autopistol that was more like a modern handgun for years now, and decided that I should just make it myself! Yeah, the Space Marine plasma pistol is incredibly large, to the point that they never look nice on anything other then a marine (and even that is questionable, ha ha). It would be an interesting exploration of scale if the other inquisitor used stock GW weapons (because they are pretty absurd).

      A dragoon helmet would be neat, and it certainly would fit with the armor. I do really like the modified Franz head the more I work with it.

  5. It's the type of work, and attention to detail, that really take a model from being good, to being absolutely phenomenal and an inspiration to everyone who sees it. That pistol work is exemplary.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, they really mean a lot. I was a but unsure how the pistol would turn out, but figured I would never know if I did not try, and I am glad I went through with it. I cannot wait to finish the model, and show everyone him in all his painted glory!

  6. Not particularly keen on the Karl Franz head. I would suggest you add some cabling to the Elysian head and perhaps even a crest to make him more dragoon-like. Also, the blend of the more ancient-looking helmet crest with a hi-tech helmet would look suitably 40k-ish.

    That issue aside, that pistol that you built is excellent. The amount of detail you've managed to add is insane. I highly approve.

    1. I am glad you like the pistol; it turned out leagues better than I thought it would!

      I ultimately decided to keep the Franz head, but I do really like the Elysian heads, and plan to make some additional naval shock troops to go along with him that use them. They will be based on the Death Korp Grenadier models, so that they hold a visual similarity to the officer with the hat. I would likely add some cables snaking from the Elysian helmets.

  7. Love what you've done. I had a similar idea shelved somewhere in my long list of things I may never actually get round to, but I hadn't imagined anything as good as this. I prefer the Elysian head. I'm not sure the cap on the other goes with how ornate the rest of his uniform is.

    1. Thanks! I am glad you like the model. I know what you are saying about the hat not being quite as ornate as the rest of his armor. I still like how the hat sets him quite far apart from most other models. I am thinking of making some additional soldiers to go along side him that have the Elysian helmets. Making this guy their commanding officer. I hope to be able to show some pictures of them soon!