Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Thing That Ate Nino

This was my Rotten Harvest entry in the "Things That Go Bump In The Night" category. Since the contest I have added a few rocks to the base, just to break up the sand texture a little.

The inspiration for this piece came from playing a game of Malifaux against a guild player using Nino Ortega. We put far too little terrain on the board, but as a new player I didn't know any better. All I remember was thinking, "Something had better eat him before he kills all my models." Behold that something.

The model is scratch built, sculpted initially from Fimo polymer clay around an aluminum foil core.

The Fimo / Sculpey version
After the Fimo was baked I used epoxy putty (green and gray) to sculpt on the features. To give the mouth some depth, teeth were sculpted on the model, and the lips were sculpted over them. Lots of watered down Milliput was used to get the body as smooth as possible but it still took a ton of sanding to get it even close to where I wanted. The little legs are based on an illustration I saw years and years ago from a book of Arthurian legend depicting a battle with a Wyrm with many short, taloned legs in a very centipede-like layout. I figure everything in Malifaux has to be at least obliquely referential to something else, right? I had intended them to lay more flat against the body, which probably would have looked better.

The original plan was to put him on a 50mm base, since that's the largest base used in Malifaux, and to have the hat sitting on the ground in front of him to suggest who the victim is. My hobby group convinced me to use a larger base to get my narrative across, which I appreciated. My stubborn insistence on using game appropriate bases limited my Space Marine vs. Howling Banshee diorama to 40mm, and for the life of me I don't know what I was thinking. After switching to the larger base size, my daughter saw the sculpted hat and declared that he should wear it. I resisted the idea for about 10 seconds until I saw the genius of it. "I ate you, and now I'm going to wear your hat." It reminded me of the very old Far Side cartoon of vultures eating some carrion, and one of them has a cowboy hat on doing his cowboy impersonation.

The translucent image of the victim was always part of the plan, but it didn't go quite as well as hoped. I'm not entirely sure what I should have done differently, but it could just as easily be an image on the outside of the stomach as the inside. Some people in the comments obviously got it, others did not.
Getting closer. Just needs his lunch painted in.
The cactus was an interesting challenge. Each lobe was sculpted separately, and the whole thing glued together with the tiniest of contact points. Touch the thing and it falls apart.

So there it is. My first fully sculpted and painted miniature. I'm pleased with it despite the flaws and lessons learned.


  1. Nice one but I'd rather give those translucent hands and face a bit of 3D effect.

    As easy as making quick 1 part molds and stamping them into the belly, then painting using a "wet cloth" painting effect... IMHO that would break the flat feel it has (unless you want it to look like a cartoon wich does pretty well indeed.

  2. I LOVE this! This turned out very nicely, i'm very impressed.


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