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Monday, February 7, 2011

We're back and catching up!

Sorry it's been a while since I was able to blog last - things have been crazy with me being out of town for a month, catching an illness, and taking care of other things in life!  Anyway, Rather than blog about each figure I created, I will spend some time on the concepts I have been working on.

As might have been noticed, I like to make groups of minifigures.  I did a series of Aliens inspired Colonial Marines, Tron figures, The Outliers, Post-Apoc Orcs, The Underground Corporation, The Corporation, The Wanders, and others.  I do this as I do like to play with the minifigures I create (and am happy to say, for the most part, that all my figures retain the Lego moveablility and poseability), and want to have at least squads of four (although my newest group that I have been working on already has 16 members!).  So, here are some of the thoughts behind the recent figure groups I have been working on:

The most recent figures feature my exploration of "power" weapons, specifically within a fantasy context, although these weapons could very easily work as crossover items for a Warhammer themed figure, or alternate realities with modern weapons and "powered" swords.  Here are a few examples of what I have been working on:

Fire and Ice Ranger:
Wandering Orc Ranger:

Elven Warrior with StarSword:

Star Wars Pre Vizsla

Each of these figures was largely created with the primary focus on the figure being the weapon.  The Mandalorian is a figure I have been wanting to create for sometime, but didn't have the pieces.  I recently made an order at Unknown Artist Studio - (Unknown Artist Studio ), and one of the items he has is the above vibrosword.  I find his cloth items to be very professional and well done - the resin-cast items, such as the vibrosword, are done well but due to the resin, are obviously not as high quality as others who work in the ABS realm.  I did find that this sword was a little delicate - I was doing a little work on the sword and it broke in half.  Obviously I managed to fix it with a little super glue, but just know to treat them a little more delicately. 

The three fantasy era figures were created focusing upon blending colors for various effects.  I particularly like the Elven sword for some reason.  The biggest thing I have learned as I am continually attempting to refine my technique, is that taking time is important and don't be afraid to layer paint gradually.  The top three fantasy era figures all have at least 4 layers (not counting the black basecoat).


I have also been spending more time with decals lately.  When I first started doing my figures, I focused largely on decals.  However, upon finding the work of JasBrick and others, I started shifting to painting my figures entirely.  Well, I've come full circle and am now doing both hand-painting and decaling on my figures.  I have started selling Lego arm "tattoo's" on my website - Family Bricks Website -and these are some of what I have been working on.

Blacktron Cyborg:

As I have mentioned before, I really love the Lego Collectible Figures.  Of Series 3, I really love the Cyborg Blacktron figure, but I felt he needed a little beefing up.  Add a little battle damage to the arms and torso using paperclips and paint, and then arming him with a BrickArms JFSR and laser-staff.  I had already done the modification to the JFSR, otherwise I would have used a trans-neon yellow tip rather than trans-orange. 

Winter Hunters:

I created this figure for a friend, and was surprised at how well it came out.  I used a feathering technique on this figure, similar to how I did the Post-Apoc orcs before, but I think it is really effective with the white/black color scheme. 

Tron Figures:

I recently saw the new Tron: Legacy, and was really happy with both the graphics, special effects, and story line.  I hadn't intended on jumping on the bandwagon of Tron figures, but after the movie I decided to bring my own version.  Obviously a lot of work on these figures depended on me drawing straight lines - and that is what took so long on these figures.  Although a decal might have been less time consuming, I also feel that it wouldn't look as good - I wanted a more 3-dimensional feel on the figure.  I used BrickArms prototype chakram discs, and and Arealight curved female torso (for Quorra), and I used an Unknown Artist trenchcoat for Flynn (with the opposite side painted by me).  I'm really happy with how these figures turned out!

The Outliers

I decided to do some playing around with post-apocalyptic figures again (I find I spend a lot of time in this theme, although many of these figures could also be sci-fi figs very easily).  I wanted to do some playing around with rust designs, and I have to say these came out really well.  I am keeping this technique to myself for the time being, but the coloring is simple enough:  As I have mentioned many times before - layering the paints is essential - don't rush through it.  Let each layer dry, and really plan.  Start with your darker colors, and then work your way up using less paint each time.

For the most part, this should catch me up.  I've got some really neat projects coming up (a female based group should be appearing on my Flickr soon), and I've got some really neat fantasy figures who combine what I have been doing on the "power" weapons.  As always, thanks for looking at my figures!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 84, 85, 86, and 87: Decaled Clone Troopers

I have been playing around lately with some waterslide decals on Clone Troopers, and I'm pretty happy with how they have come out.  There's a lot of tutorials out there on decal application, so I won't go into that.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out, and I am really happy with how my clone trooper army is looking.  It adds a nice amount of diversity, while still maintaining conformity.  Hope you like the figures!

Day 83 - Lego Elf Upgrade

Today was just a light customization - I really like the new Lego Elves from the Collectible Minifigure Series.  However, while I like the new longbow, I felt that this elf needed a little more of an upgrade.  So I did a little painting of a BrickForge Elven Blade and one of the new bows that they offer, as well as one of the vambrances.  I'll be doing some more upgrading to this figure, but this was just something I wanted to play with. 

Day 82 - Stormtrooper X

As I have stated before, I really love the work of Jason, more commonly known as JasBrick.  A while ago, Jason created his version of Stormtrooper X -

I wanted to replicate some of the techniques that JasBrick used in his figure - as I was analyzing the figure I saw several things he did that I wanted to replicate.  First of all I realized that he used a Tuscan Raider torso as the base, and painted everything else over that.  I also loved the gunbelt that he painted on the legs, and I loved the BrickArms Blaster Pistol proto. 

When I decided to replicate this figure, I decided to do some research.  The original image I used for Stormtrooper X comes from this source image:

While I loved JasBricks version of this figure, I did set out to intentionally do ours slightly different, as I think each figure should be a representation of the artist, and I don't want to just copy something ;)  One of the primary differences between our two figures are the colors we both chose - I used a darker brown for the base of my figure, whereas Jason used a lighter brown (which is more true to the source material).  My figures coat is a very close color to the same brown used in the Indiana Jones jacket.  I also used a more tan color for the shirt verses white.  I do still need to add the maroon shoulder pads, but aside from that I'm pretty happy.

Basically I achieved this by painting everything in layers - starting with the darker colors.  I then layered on lighter colors one at a time.  I chose to not hand-paint the legs like JasBrick because I was happy with the Lego Indiana Jones legs.

Overall, I think this figure came together very well and looks pretty good in comparison to the source material.  I have added a MMCB dark brown trenchcoat to him since this picture :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 82 - Post-Apoc Orc with Podgun

This is a continuation of my Post-Apoc Orc theme I've been working on - this figure uses a BrickArms prototype Podgun (which has been painted to match the color scheme of the armor), a BrickForge Commander Crest as a Mohawk, and an Amazing Armory GOW armor base.  As with the other figures, this one has been a continuation of learning various techniques.  I also used one of the skulls as an "earring" on the figure - this image doesn't show it as well, but it looks pretty cool in person ;)


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 81 - Post-Apoc Orc with Shield

The figure for today is a Post-Apoc Orc with shield.  I'm sure most of you will remember my figure from the Creations for Charity event - I really loved how that figure turned out, and I decided to keep going with the theme.  I had some Post-Apoc orcs that I had created quite a while ago - here are some of my favorites:

This figure is one of my favorites that I have made - I love the acid damage, especially that done on the face and arms.  Anyway, I figure these new Post-Apoc orcs with the horns on the armor are a branch off of the group I formerly called The Collective. 

With the figures, I was still interested in working on a feathering technique on the horns as well as playing with washes.  I think they turned out very well, and I'm really happy to have them in my army ;)

Day 80 - Creations for Charity - Weird War Spetsnaz Heavy Gunner

With this figure, I wanted to achieve a few things - first of all, I wanted to use my last BrickArms proto rust swirl M1919 to make a really cool figure.  I also wanted to create a figure in a new genre, and as I had already created quite a bit of post-apoc and steampunk figures, I wanted to venture into new territory (at least for myself).  As I started thinking about it, I thought I might try something for World War II, and actually make a historical figure, however the rust color of the weapon made me hesitant to do that.  I then decided, well, what about the Weird War theme - and I started playing around with some extra pieces.  For some reason, this color scheme jumped out at me to create a camo design, and it just looked like a Weird War Spetsnaz trooper to me.  I decided to add in a rust swirl BrickArms Tac Sword as well, as I thought it went well with the figure.

In terms of figure composition and creation, I obviously was playing with a technique of camouflage designs (this one turned out best of my various figures in my opinion, but the others look pretty good too ;).  Basically this was achieved by layering colors on top of one another (I used about 5 different layers), and as I did several designs I learned that it is better to do smaller designs with each subsequent layer.  If you make each subsequent layer too large, it makes the whole thing look too unorganized, and looses a lot of details.  I also used a few well placed dots of white and black to help further offset the camo pattern, which in my opinion gave it the final amount of detail that made the camo really stick out.  Hope you liked this figure as much as I did!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 77, 78, and 79

So, I've been a little busy with auditions and work!  Anyway, I now am able to catch up on posting information on my figures:

Day 79:  Creations for Charity Gravity Jumper

I had a lot of fun with this figure - as with the other Creations for Charity figures, I was playing with new ideas for the BrickArms prototypes - in this case a Podgun and E11 Blaster Rifle.  I started playing with armor options for my figure, and saw one of these jetpacks, and thought it would work well with the colors I chose.  I then started working on the buttons and the energy orb as well as the helmet.  I love using the u-clips on a figures hand to attach rockets, as it really adds firepower to a figure.  In this case, I was particularly happy with the way it turned out, because the tan podgun sits over the U-clip and it looks like the two weapons are joined together.  I almost didn't include this figure in the event because I loved how that turned out so much! 

The helmet took a little time to get right, because the curvature of the helmet messes with where the eyes of the minifigure head line up.  I think it turned out well!

Day 78:  Post-Apoc Orc with Energy Sword

This figure follows some of the same techniques developed on the Creations for Charity figure which I blogged about before - I have a few other figures that I am working on in this genre as well - I think you'll love the leader that I developed.  This figure was primarily more playing with washes, and the feathering technique used on the bony claws on the armor - it mixes it down.  Sometimes I get it really well, and other times my hand shakes :)  It has gotten much better, and I'm really happy that I did several of these figures, because I have some other ideas for this technique!

Day 77: Weird West Cowboy:

I was working on some figures, and trying to think of a neat way to include the rust/swirl BrickArms prototype chakram disc and Lever-Action rifle.  Well, as mentioned on Flickr, I'm just really jumping on the bandwagon of creating a new theme by adding "weird" to it ;) Actually, I was playing with it and thought - it doesn't fit in the western theme, nor really post-apoc, but sort of a fusion of the two, so I decided weird west worked well. I'm not sure what the differences between steampunk will be (b/c steampunk could sometimes be considered "weird" west, but oh well - I'll let the world decide that - I'm just the ... genius/crazy person... behind the idea ;)

Anyway, the point of this figure was to see how I do painting torso elements (as well as arm and leg) which represent torn clothes.  Basically this was achieved by layering one color over another (starting with the darkest and moving to the lightest).  It was also nice to have a yellow that matched the Lego figure color.  The brush I used was a standard brush, with it barely touching the figure.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 76 - Creations for Charity - Steampunk Sniper

As mentioned in previous posts, all of the Creations for Charity figures have been designed around a specific BrickArms prototype (for their regular weapons visit BrickArms website) - in this case rust swirl Sten prototype with U-clip ammo attachment.  I was going to replicate my Wierd War Paratrooper - Black Legion Falcon:

The issues with replicating this figure were a few (okay, more excuses, but still) - 1) The torso choice was much more expensive to use (Cad Bane Torso), and this figure uses a LARGE amount of BrickArms protos (some of which were permanently modded for this figure - i.e. the re-breather, the panzerfaust, and to an extent the viewfinder).  Regardless, I decided to make a new figure for the other rust swirl Sten that I received, and following in line with the Steampunk Clone Trooper, I thought a more traditional steampunk figure might be enjoyed.

So, what to do with a steampunk trooper - well, my typical thought is to give them lots of dials and pressure gauges - which this figure has plenty of  -3 pressure gauges, and 1 modded Arealight jetpack warhead (available at Arealight Customs) which functions as a dial.  More noticeable in this picture:

My largest goal with this figure however, was that I wanted to add as many playability features as possible.  Where should I start with playability?  Well, the weapon of course!  However, I come to a brick wall at this point - how do I take a BrickArms prototype and mod it in a way that allows for the steampunk theme, playability, and at the same time not permanently altering the weapon (many BrickArms fans do not approve of their BAPs being permanently modded)?  Well, the answer was to create a mod that was removable.  In this case I used a piece of Lego tubing/hosing that had a fairly decent amount of surface tension that allowed the tube to remain on the tip of the Sten while at the same time allowing me to use some trans-neon pieces for the scope and rifle barrel.  This mod is completely removable and actually usable on other BrickArms that have the thin tip rifle barrel.  I also included a bayonette from my collection to create a walking stick that allows the bayonette to be removed and used as a weapon should this steampunk scientist find the need.  The final piece of built-in playability with this figure is found in the lever on his back - I was playing around and thought it would be neat to have a "working" power switch on the armor - the lever actually moves up and down and can be played with to "power" the armor or turn it off (although, it doesn't do him much good in the back where he can't reach it...). 

In finalizing the figure - put on some coats of varying shades of bronze, add a little blue for the oxidation spots, and seal the figure.  Overall, I'm happy with how the figure came out, although I don't think he'll make my top list of favorite minifigures. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 75 - Creations for Charity Steampunk Clone Trooper

My figure for today is a Steampunk themed Clone Trooper - I know several customizers have delved into the theme of Star Wars and Steampunk - one of my most favorite Star Wars Steampunk custom minifigure creators is Jasbrick, illustrated with his Steamtrooper (also using a BrickArms Blaster Rifle prototype):

I have also done a few other steampunk Star Wars themed figures, like my Steampunk Mandalorian -

As with all my Creations for Charity figures, I have been designing them around specific BrickArms prototypes (Brickarms website), and in this figures case this was a pair of rust-swirl color Star Wars Blaster Rifle/Pistol. I had thought about creating another Post-Apoc figure, but I felt it would be nice to have a different focus (and, in my opinion, is there a huge difference between Steampunk and Post-Apoc?).  I decided a steampunk figure would go great with the two BAPS (brickarms prototype).  I also decided to focus on a clone trooper (partially because I have a much larger proportion of clones rather than stormtroopers) but also because I haven't seen many steampunk clone troopers done either!

How to achieve a steampunk clone trooper?  I started with the helmet - and for a clone trooper they have the distinctive T-visor helmet.  I didn't want to have a regular T-visor, as it wouldn't set the figure apart, but then I thought - what if I give him a goggle system?  I started playing with a few different ideas, and what ended up working best was a pair of modded binoculars with trans-neon yellow bars/antennas.  I think it looked great as a steampunk figure!

The other element that really establishes this figure as a steampunk trooper is the power generator on the back:

I used a bionicle piece that I love using for steampunk figures, which I then enhanced using a technique of painting lighting/energy bolts running through it.  This is attached to the BrickForge Space Marine armor (BrickForge website) through the tab on the back of the armor and a whole on the Lego piece.

Overall, I think this figure was very effective, and the choice of the brown Indiana Jones jacket and tan Indiana Jones legs work really well with this figure!  I think it is unified very well, and in the end looks like a great Steampunk trooper, at least in my opinion!