This series is mainly focused on Orgoth styled conversions, so it was pretty much a given that I would eventually convert the only jack in the game that actually wields Fell artifacts from the past tyrannical empire: Ruin!
Ruin is pretty much the epitome of PP’s sculpting quality advancements trough the years, making it (and its other character jack contemporaries) the best looking jack model(s) to come out, ever. That being said, I am primarily a converter and want all my models to be somewhat unique, so what can we change on this model? Well there are a couple details that come to mind (if we want to be really nitpick-y): the funny looking ‘duck shaped face plate’ and the oddly proportioned Warpwolf pelt with a ‘rat-like tail’ don’t satisfy my taste, so lets put those on the ‘to do’ list…
Minor detail changes:
Lets not get ahead of ourselves, so let us start with the base: In general, if I am planning on having a ‘snow base’ that isn’t just flat ground, I will prepare the base before any other sculpting work on other parts of the model, since I tend to use the leftovers from each sculpting session to make the ‘sculpted’ snow on the rocks; that just involves visualizing the pose I desire, chopping up some cork to get a rocky texture and gluing it on the base with super glue. Then in each of my subsequent hobby sessions, when the green stuff starts becoming too rubbery to sculpt details properly (around the 2 hours mark) or my eyes get tired, I just plop down on the cork the remaining sculpting putty and use some silicone tipped sculpting tools to round down it shape. At some point in the conversion process I also assemble the legs of the model intended for the snow base, drill the holes in its ‘soles’ to pin it to the base and press the feet into the ‘fresh green stuff snow’ to leave the imprints with the precise pin hole locations on the base matching the holes under the model (so that I don’t mess up the alignment of the brass rods later on).While the base is getting done from session to session, I assembled the torso and head and added small bands of ‘extra armor’ to Ruin’s ‘jaw line’ to break up the ‘duck beak impression’ and beef up the model’s head. This was done simply by rolling up a very thin rope of green stuff (0.5-0.6 mm in diameter) and flattening it to the edge of the jack’s ‘chin’ (I applied some traces of superglue along that edge to anchor the fresh putty to the spot) and using the ‘knife-like tip’ of the classic metal sculpting tool to cut away excess putty and straiten the lines of my added detail. To get the clean smooth finish I (as always) retouched it with soft silicone tipped color shapers, to remove dents and scratches caused by hard edged tools.Now, as I mentioned, I did not like the look of the Warpwolf pelt over Ruin’s left shoulder and decided not to use those bits, but that left me without one spike and a rather plain looking armor pad (when compared to the right shoulder pad), so I chose to add a rune inscribed plate there, mimicking the details over the jack’s head. I first sculpted a rectangular smooth plate of the desired size, pressed down the middle of the area with a size 0 silicone sculpting tool to create the raised edges around the plate and finally used some ghetto custom tools (a small ‘Straight splitter’) to press in the evil runes and then left that to cure. Afterwards I added some plates with bolts on the sides of the rune-plate, to give it a bit more ‘complexity’. After some observation and pondering, the models appeared to have all the hanging skulls and trinkets on the right side of its torso, so I added one more hanging skull tied to the replacement spike over the left shoulder, to balance out the composition (I pinned a plastic skull under the spike and then used some more thin tubes of green stuff to sculpt the rope ‘tying up’ the macabre trophy).
With all the minor modifications taken care of, let us get down to the juicier part of this project:As you can see in the pictures, I started by carefully cutting the outline of the individual ‘blades’ of the mace out of 0.5 mm thick plasticard (admittedly I made it a little bit bigger than the original, to give me a larger area to sculpt on), applied my screaming souls pattern to the flat sides of the blade, let it dry and then carefully shaped up the borders using soft silicone color shapers, to get nice smooth curves and sloped edges. Once that green was hardened completely I made a silicone mold of it and cast 6 resin copies of my custom blade.This might be just another of my pet-peeves, but in general I am not a great fan of ‘4-bladed maces’, since they make me think of 2 battleaxes spliced together by a freak forging accident (see GW Khorne Bloodsacrator (= BSB) from the Age of Sigmar starter box as an example of what I mean…), rather than seeing it as an intimidating weapon. On the other hand I don’t have any such reaction when observing 6-8 bladed bludgeoning weapons (like for example King Leoric in Heroes of the Storm), so I decided to ‘upgrade’ Ruin’s weapon with extra blades. Now, in order to pin my resin cast bits neatly to the shaft of the weapon, I first sawed off the top of the original mace, pinned on a small section of a hexagonal polystyrene stick (from the same model trains shop, where I buy my sheets of plasticard), to give me some more mass to drill into and also to properly align the axis of the 3 pairs of blades (if you don’t do them properly at this stage, it will be a jarringly evident later on). When doing this kind of pinning, keep in mind to place your pin holes alternately at different heights, so that the pins of adjacent blades won’t ‘bump into each other’ within the polystyrene hexagonal prism. In the picture you can see how my slightly converted Ruin looked once I dry-fit all the pieces together. There isn’t as much green stuff coverage as other conversions I’ve done, but as I mentioned at the start, there isn’t much you can add without quickly getting into ‘silly territory’ (I did consider giving Ruin a huge rugged mantle with furs and hanging skulls just like Butcher3, but I realized that was going a bit overboard for the sake of ‘being special’, so I reined myself back a little…).
In order to paint the model more easily and efficiently I did not glue the forearms to the body and left the upper torso detachable from the legs (mainly so that I could reach into tight spots with my brushes and Q-tips, without having to work around the arms and the enlarged mace).In the picture you can see Ruin with my typical 3-sprays-undercoat zenith technique (black over the entire model, coloring out cracks and other non-coated areas by brush, then gray sprayed at a 45-50 degrees angle and a little white spray from the top of the model, to create a rough gray-scale light-to-dark gradient), since it gives the surfaces of the model a bit more grit, allowing me to use slightly thinner paints for my base color coats (the paint sticks better).For me the first layer of base colors is the most annoying step of the entire process, since at this stage I have to patiently and neatly cover all the surfaces of the model with paint, resulting in a lot of small mistakes, smudges and spilling onto nearby areas of different color, meaning I always have to make a second pass to correct all these imperfections and also to add a second coat of thinned paint on areas where the color came out blotchy or uneven (this step is the leftmost picture of all three coloring ‘montages’).
The next parts are maybe even more time consuming, but here things get a lot more enjoyable (at least for me), since it is for the most part a lot of feathering to generate a nice transition from my red mid-tones to the brighter and more saturated Blood red of my highlights. Besides that, at this point I usually also brighten up my Gun metals and Bronze, but I do not highlight any of the green-glow areas, since the oil washes in the next step would just tone them back down.The third step starts by using a satin spray varnish to seal the acrylics applied so far and protect them from the much more aggressive paint thinner in my oil paint washes. As usual for my warm tones (red, bone, brawn and bronze) I use Burnt umber fine oil paint, while I use Lamp black paint to shade the metal and black areas (the greens will all be glowing, so there is no point in darkening them here). In general I first apply the oil wash to the recessed areas, leave it to ‘dry’ for 10-20 minutes (so that most of the paint thinner evaporates) and then use a dry brush (for this use synthetic bristles, because the thinner will quickly ruin natural brushes) to feather and drag out the now thickened oil paints into smoother gradients, let it rest for another 5-10 minutes and then use some cotton Q-tips or sponge make-up appliers to scrub off the excess oil paints from raised areas and clean up zones that got accidentally splotched in the process. I usually do this in the evening and leave the shaded model to dry overnight, so that I can seal it again with spray varnish in the morning.With the shading done, all that is left are the final highlights and accents on all the colors and especially the brighter or ‘glowing’ tones (the greens). At this stage I usually do another round of bright red feathered accents, re-touch the metals (the multiple coats of varnish and oil washes tend to dull down the shine of metals quite a bit), pick out all the rivets with Silver and do 3-4 layers of increasingly brighter greens to give the impression they’re glowing…… After adding some model snow flock to the base and one last coat of protective spray varnish, here’s my fully colored Ruin!!!To close out the article as usual, here is a group shot of the constantly growing Red Army of Doom; hope you like it:)
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments, follow the link to this series’ thread on the Muse on minis forums ( Red Army of Doom!!! ).