Sunday, 31 July 2016

The PHR makes an entrance...

So, it has really been a while since I posted a blog that is concerned with the actual modelling that I seem to be spend all hours of the day doing and there are those uneducated inbred Goodmorning Britain lovers out there who would draw the conclusion that I have stopped modelling...

But no!

This couldn't actually be further from the truth. I have been juggling three different projects at the same time (so forward movement with them has been somewhat retarded) and this is combined with a modicum of travelling, having passports stolen, starting a new job and general filling in of the corners with cutting back (read: butchering) hedgerows and attempting to keep 'she who must be obeyed' happy.

So the first modelling blog that I'm happy to present since my enforced hiatus is my Post Human Republic (PHR) task force for the 10mm Sci Fi game Dropzone Commander. (There you go Joe, I told you would get them over the line eventually!) Now, ironically the PHR are the one army for DZC that I had decided not to get because so many other people had them BUT anybody who knows me will be able to tell you that I am a MASSIVE fan of Tron: Legacy and the PHR are begging to be painted in a Tron-esque fashion. Ive been keeping my eye on what the DZC gamers out there have been able to offer by way of Tron and finally decided to throw my cap into the ring.

I decided to do a lengthy research process on how to paint these minis to get the overall effect as authentic as possible to that which is displayed in the film and pounced on just about every single Concept Art image I could find of the film to use as inspiration.

One of the first things that I noticed was that everybody was routinely back lighting the panel lines on their vehicles and on studying the concept art these panel lines are super dark black. These amazing green/blue lighting glows come from the flat patterns that are pasted on top of the vehicles themselves.

The second thing I noticed was that whilst these vehicles are undoubtedly black (which everybody is painting theirs as) the 3d renders in the film and in the concept art are all portrayed as being super reflective and having chrome light effects covering the vehicles so I decided that this was a route I would also need to go down in order to get the effect I want.

Now the majority of my aims with these  miniatures was relatively easily achieved with a bit of practise and adjustment. The airbrush pattern masks were a ball ache to make because of the size of the vehicle but these were as nothing compared to my misfiring attempts to do object source lighting using glazes built up... no matter how hard I tried I just could not get rid of the layered tide marks which kept resulting in pigment rings! I tried to use different dilutions, I used Glaze mediums and straight up glazes, flow retardent and the list goes on... I then shelved them for about 6 weeks until I had the moral fortitude (yup!) to dive back in and risk screwing up all the work with just painting and wet blending the glow that I wanted. It isnt by any means perfect BUT with the final addition of the gloss varnish it is good enough to carry its own weight on the vehicle.

and there we have it. So on that note let me present (finally) some of my air assets for the PHR task force. 3 Neptune Dropships!

They arent perfect, to be sure but Im happy enough with them to make me think that expanding up to a decent size army is a must... and of course now, my poor wallet is crying out in pain!

Next I'll fill you all in on some of the PHR infantry that Ive painted...and done something a little different with the bases...


  1. Well, what can I say - I love 'em! :)

    These flyers could be coming straight out of the movie. I especially like the different markings and the overall design of the lighting effects.

    You did a very brave thing - ignoring the given lines and depressions. The advent of washes and inks mademany of us "good" painters - since it is easy enough to let washes run into the depressions and wipe away the excess.
    You actually left the easy path and created new areas for the eyes to focus on - this could have just as easily screwed up the project, since the PHR are already pretty sleek (If you get what I mean - difficult to describe)

    Well let's say - the longer I look at the pictures the more "holy shit - how did he do that" moments I have...

    + the bases are ace!

    I'll be back - I have an idea- Maybe Photoshop can tell me if it could work


    1. Thanks Joe. I wouldn't claim any pretension to bravery to be honest. I just tried to copy the concept art as closely as possible. I was actually a bit disappointed when I realised that those panel lines were all a deep black. I've also realised that to be really effective the glowing designs need to much finer detailed... Let's see how that works eh? Lol

  2. I’ve been thinking (& Photoshopping) –

    First off I think you should publish your WiP pictures – the subtle glowing lines are kind of difficult to see on the finished model – and they are pretty awesome!

    Idea: At the moment the subtle glowing lines often run in opposing directions than the natural lines / depressions of the Neptune. This breaks up the natural lines and somehow gives the impression of a camouflage effect – I haven’t seen in the Tron concept art either.It is still awesome but it is somewhat lost on the model.

    How about: keeping the lines and depressions black as before – but giving them the subtle shine on the outside – or letting the airbrushed lines follow the natural form of the Neptune instead of breaking it up?

    What do you think?

    1. I see what you are saying Joe, I think you may be mis interpreting what I've set out to do (which would be my fault as the artist obviously). The highly reflective nature of these vehicles means that they are covered in a reflective chrome type effect AND very shiny to boot. I agonised for a couple of months on how to do this but sadly couldn't quite nail it. Those subtle lines that go across the lines of the vehicle are the result of my attempt at this 'chroming' and I purposely left them quite dark overall so that a viewer is left with the impression that is is a black vehicle reflecting things... which of course the final super varnish layer assists with.

      Where the flowing panel lines are concerned, if I am honest I'm not really sold on their attractiveness anyway and if you Google Tron: Legacy concept art you'll see that the only 'flowing' lines on the vehicles are on the Light Cycles. I really bought into the fact that almost all the other lines (glowing or otherwise) are straight edged with slightly serifed corners used on most but not all. You'll see some good examples of what I mean by this on the next two PHR vehicles I post.

      You're also bang on saying that the details are kind of getting lost in the photo, it's mainly to do with the varnish layer and the RAW editing I've done. When I start another large(ish) vehicle I'll make sure I do a Tron tutorial :)