Posts Tagged ‘Aliens’

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From the painting desk #29 – Old lead

January 19, 2015
Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As you can see, I finished my second miniature of 2015, the facehugger attack from Leading Edge’s old Colonists’ Last Stand. I freshened up my layering work, and the end result is a little less drybrush heavy than my previous effort. I painted the base to match the rest of my Alien-inspired scenery, and to make the egg and the colonist the focal points of the scene. I painted some of the tendrils on the base the same colour as the egg to better tie them together, and I’m fairly happy with how it turned out. I picked the fleshy colour of Aliens instead of the more yellow one of Alien for the facehugger.

I’m really happy that I finally finished the model. Not only is it a great sculpt, brilliantly capturing an iconic event in the Alien franchise, but it’s also a miniature from 1992. Just think about that for a while. When this model was popped out of its mould, I was ten years old. It was the year the Cold War officially ended, the European Union was founded, Yugoslavia fell apart, Denmark won the football European Championship and Bill Clinton was elected president. Neymar was born, Isaac Asimov died.

It’s now 23 years later, the world’s a different place, I’m all grown up and that miniature is finally painted. There’s something really cool about that.

 

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Off the back burner

January 4, 2015

New year, newfound enthusiasm! I can already feel myself getting interested in miniatures again – spending several hours today working on them is a sure enough sign. I figured I’d write a few words on the subject of getting back in the saddle after a half year long break, based on what I’ve been doing today.

For me the important thing is to get going, to actually do something. I need to put water in that dried-out pot and give my paints a good shake if I ever actually want to paint something after a break. It doesn’t matter what I paint or whether I have a huge project planned, the crucial bit is getting things done.

I noticed today that budding inspiration needs to be carefully nurtured. I started thinking about my projects: which one should I work on? It started to feel overwhelming, so I changed my approach. Instead of focusing on results and progress, I decided to do something fun and inspiring and to not be too self-critical. I actually ended up with two things:

The first one is a piece from Leading Edge’s old Colonists’ Last Stand set. It’s a great mini, showing the fateful moment a facehugger latches on to an unsuspecting victim. As you can see from the photo, this one was in a half finished state. To make it fit in with the rest of my minis, I had glued it onto a circular base and added some xenomorph-y tendrils with greenstuff. I’d even undercoated it and given the victim’s coveralls their first layer of paint. The mini had then sat on my desk collecting dust before getting returned to the cupboard housing my un- and semi-painted miniatures.

Why did I pick this one to finish? I’m on a bit of an Alien franchise kick again, after watching blu-ray versions of the first three films and reading two books: Alien – the Archive and The Art of Alien: Isolation. On top of this, the miniature was well on its way to being finished and I’ve always loved it. Not to mention that it doesn’t have a lot of fiddly detail, making it a pleasure to paint. It doesn’t have any real use as a gaming piece other than as an objective marker or something, but that’s okay. Actually, it just might be what makes it appealing right now.

hugtime

Click for a larger version

I took some ProCreate putty and added some more tendrils to cover the base up a bit more. I wasn’t too careful, as the base will get a hefty dose of glue and gloss varnish to make it look nasty and wet. I’m pretty happy with it at the moment!

Another thing that I’ve recently been interested in is the Witcher franchise. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a grim and gritty fantasy world created by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, focusing on a witcher – a monster hunter – named Geralt of Rivia. There are books, games, comics and even a cheapish tv series (which has also been cut into a poor movie) available. I bought the PC games years ago in a Steam sale, and they’ve been sitting unplayed ever since. I finally decided to tackle them, and it was a great call. Altogether I spent some 60+ hours on The Witcher and The Witcher 2 and read three of the four published books.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

While the idea of a small project based on the franchise isn’t a far-fetched idea, I decided to start small – with a single miniature. Naturally it was Geralt himself, the White Wolf of Rivia. I went for a quick plastic and putty type of thing, and knocked him together from a bunch of old WHFB Empire plastic pieces. I roughly shaved a bearded plastic head, resculpted the mouth area and turned his fancy leggings into boots. All in all, it’s rough with mould lines, uneven putty and the like, but hey, it should look decent once painted. Again I went in more with inspiration than self-criticism, which seems to be a good choice! I haven’t done fantasy miniatures in ages, so this was a fun diversion. Who knows!

I’ll leave you with the intro cinematic to Witcher 2. If this doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what does…

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Big spender me

November 10, 2013

I haven’t bought a lot of miniatures recently, but I have pledged to a few Kickstarters. A short recap:

Reaper Miniatures Bones 2

This was actually a joint pledge with people from our D&D group. The game has been going on for years, and we’re using a varied collection of miniatures and Descent board game pieces. We figured that a selection of generic fantasy stuff wouldn’t do any harm, although it’ll take ages before we actually get the minis. All the more reasons to keep the game going! Bones 2 was of course massively funded, making over $3M with almost 15000 people joining in. While most of the minis will find use in role-playing games, there are a few lovely weird creatures in the Numenera range that’ll find their way into scifi games as well. Mashaaf the Great Old One is a nice example.

mashaaf

Prodos Games Alien vs Predator The Miniatures Game

To any reader of this blog it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I got in on this one. I was a bit hesitant at first – at £75+£10 for shipping it’s not pocket change. However, it looks like it’s taking off quite nicely, so there should be plenty of lovely free add-ons and the like on the way. I didn’t go for the bigger pledges, since I already have more Aliens, Predators and Colonial Marines than I have time to paint them. Still, I can’t really miss it, can I? It’s about time someone picked up the licence! From what I hear, Prodos Games has done a nice job on bringing back Warzone, so my hopes are reasonably high.

avp_prodos

Anvil Industry AFTERLIFE

Anvil Industry is a small UK company mostly known for their 40K conversion parts and such. AFTERLIFE is a game of their own, which I mainly chose to back since I liked the look of the minis and because Anvil Industry seem like a nice, small company. Joel, one of the directors, basically sold me on the Kickstarter over on LAF simply by being a nice guy and being very open about their policies regarding their project. Not a bad job! Free shipping is a lovely, added bonus. There’s still six days left in the Kickstarter, so do consider joining in – £21 gets you six resin minis and a bunch of artwork and background material. I went in for £45, which gets me 19 minis, the background material and possible stretch goals.

afterlife_assault

That’s my Kickstarter world for now. Any other interesting ones out there?

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Prometheus and the Alien canon

July 12, 2012

 

Warning, spoilers here if you haven’t seen Prometheus!

tldr: Is Prometheus part of the Alien canon? Not really, although it might be an Alien prequel.

I finally went to see Prometheus. Surprisingly late for a franchise fanboy, but nevertheless. This won’t be a review, as there are plenty of those around. This won’t even be a rumination on Prometheus‘ themes, as there are plenty of those around too. This will simply be an account of my thoughts on how Prometheus relates to the Alien canon.

I you’re one of those people who can’t really be bothered to read through a whole bunch of text for a simple conclusion, but the tldr (too long, didn’t read) is too short for you, I’ll just quote a piece of Wikipedia for you.

Lindelof suggested that the other parts of the script were strong enough to survive without the Alien hallmarks, such as the Alien creature which he believed had been “diluted” by the exposure it had received since, and the burden of “all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters”. He offered that the film could instead run parallel to those films, such that a sequel would be Prometheus 2 and not Alien[…]

That’s basically it.

While I enjoyed Prometheus despite its many shortcomings, I don’t really see it connecting with the canon established in AlienAliensAlien³ and even the much maligned Alien: Resurrection. For me, it’s somewhat similar to the AvP films in that regard, although obviously superior (and remarkably similar to the first one).

Why? Simply put, Prometheus doesn’t feel like it. The whole concept of giant, god-like creatures creating human life in their own image…it’s a bit too space opera, a bit too…just a “no”. For me, the concept of Alien lies in the name. It’s literally something alien, very much different from us. While interesting similarities can be seen (the mother theme being the most prominent), at the end of the day it is not us. The Space Jockey is also something different – a massive humanoid with an elephant-like head – of which nothing is revealed. It hints at something far beyond our knowledge. It’s strange, alien.

Prometheus bypasses this theme, actually reversing it. In a very literal sense, the Space Jockey is us. By extension, the proto-Aliens, created by the Engineers, are created by us. The Aliens are no longer alien, simply our own creation. This pretty much flattens the Alien canon. While it doesn’t of course destroy it logically, it does so thematically. The whole Alien saga becomes something not about the Alien, but humans. Even the Space Jockey is revealed to be basically a giant human in a suit. AvP made the same basic mistake in a very similar way, having the Predators worshipped as gods and so on.

The internet is full of Alien fans doing their best to tie Prometheus smoothly into the Alien saga. While this can obviously be done (“Oh but it was probably a different ship and maybe there are two different groups of Engineers and the proto-Alien was simply a different version!”) I find it easiest to simply accept that it isn’t necessary. Prometheus simply doesn’t fit the established Alien canon, no more than the graphic novels and the like.

What about the obvious similarities then? As the creators themselves said, Prometheus is set in the same world as Alien. It provides a lot of fan service, enough references to make a fanboy froth at the mouth and things like that. It’s definitely something of an Alien movie. Ridley Scott has said that Prometheus needs at least two sequels to reach Alien. This sounds reasonable. It would also make for a new canon: Prometheus, Prometheus 2/3, Alien. With the sequels not existing, it’s very difficult to say whether it would work. The leap from Prometheus to Aliens is simply too big, that’s for sure. As it is, Prometheus is a fairly interesting what if -scenario set in the Alien universe.

Parallels can be found, one being the new Star Wars trilogy. The original trilogy was about Luke Skywalker, with Darth Vader being an interesting antagonist, dramatically revealed to be Luke’s father. Then along comes the new trilogy, and suddenly the whole Star Wars saga is actually the tale of Darth Vader – even if he only plays a fairly minor role (in terms of screen time) in the original films. Like it or not, if there’s a Prometheus trilogy and it’s linked with the Alien canon, then all of a sudden the whole series of seven movies becomes a story of giant god-like beings and humans as their creation. All because of a very minor character/plot element, the Space Jockey, being shown. It’s no longer the Alien saga.

I don’t know about you, but in my opinion Alien – the Eighth Passenger is a hell of a lot more interesting than Humans – the Seven Other Passengers.

That’s why, dear readers, Prometheus just might be an Alien prequel, but for me it’s not part of the Alien canon. For me the Alien saga will be about the Alien, and Space Jockeys will probably always remain a mystery. I’ll keep my Xenomorphs and Space Jesus separate, thank you very much.

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All together now

May 14, 2012

Time to get back on the posting horse again, after my trip to Malaysia. I’ve been a bit busy lately, so really needed to stop for a moment and put a post together in order to keep this blog from going dormant.

I was recently asked to do a group shot of the terrain pieces I’ve finished for the Aliens board game, so I quickly rounded up the nine finished pieces and added some Colonial Marines and Aliens for style and scale. Below you can see the set piece of a valiant CM last stand.

Click for a larger version

Personally I think the miniatures and terrain pieces go together very nicely. What’s most important to me is that they capture that Aliens feel. Then again, I might just be blind to my own work, what do you think?

Also, I have to mention that I just got a new job as a project expert, working on a project focusing on preventing video gaming and gambling addiction in adolescents. So happy about this, as I actually get to combine my degree (MA in Education) with my interests and get paid to do it!

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Bursting with joy – Aliens game board update #5

April 21, 2012

Work continues on my Aliens game board pieces. This post showcases one of the larger pieces on the board, a large vent with a hapless colonist who has been used for Xenomorph breeding. He still grasps a pistol, but his arm has been secured into the wall to prevent him from ending his miseries prematurely.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The item is another case of trash bashing. It consists of a deodorant spray bottle cap, some bug screen, a gadget piece from an old Ral Partha Shadowrun mini, a few decorative beads, electrical conduit tubing and a hefty amound of silicone paste. I gave it my normal paintjob for this project. The metal parts were drybrushed first with Vallejo Oily Steel and then Vallejo Natural Steel. The Alien goo was given a drybrush first with Citadel Codex Grey and then Citadel Fortress Grey. It was then washed over with Citadel Badab Black and given a gloss varnish. The OSL from the red warning lights was simply drybrushed on with Citadel Blood Red. It gave me quite a headache, as I had to repaint it from the start once – you know, the “I’ll just add a little..ARGH! Well, I’ll fix it up with some more…ARGHHH! Just a little more then..ARRRGHG it looks horrible!” syndrome.

The colonist is a chopped up pre-painted plastic mini from the Horrorclix Aliens set. Too large to use with most 28mm miniatures, I’ve been trying to find a use for him as I have several. Here I chopped off his feet, crudely repositioned his arms (the paste handily covers the rough cuts on the shoulders), drilled a hole in his chest and then added some detailing with Procreate putty. The model has a suitably horrified expression as the original model is fittingly enough about the get attacked by a Xenomorph. I gave him Bishop-style blue-grey coveralls as they immediately remind me of Aliens. I think he turned out pretty nice, I guess all that zombie painting has helped with the dead look.

I’m very happy with how the piece turned out. The different parts fit together to form a nice whole. In my opinion, it’s the nicest yet on the board! I really liked constructing this, as it was kind of like a mini diorama. I might add an Alien egg on a separate terrain piece in front of the colonist to complement this one. Comments welcome, as always.

I’m leaving for Malaysia for two weeks tomorrow for some kung fu training, so the blog will be quiet for a while. Fear not, I’ll get back to updating once I’m back here in sweet Finland.

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More hive accessories – Aliens game board update #4

March 20, 2012

Work on the board is progressing steadily. Since the last post I’ve managed to complete five more obstacle pieces for the board. Shown below are four normal, one square filling obstacles.

Click for a larger version

The first one is a collection of beads and hardware store goods. The second one is a hollow wall anchor (as shown in the previous post). The third one is a container from Ainsty. It has been heavily alienized with conduit tubing and insulation paste. The fourth one is a small container from Ainsty. It has been left clean, as some parts of the reactor room will be relatively free of infestation.

The fifth piece I’ve completed is a large obstacle covering four squares.

Click for a larger version

I have no idea what it is. It’s built out of a toilet bowl cleaner bottle cap, two wooden IKEA furniture pegs and two small beads. It looks scifi-ish enough I think. I was even adventurous enough to try some OSL when painting it. I tried to convey the look of emergency/alarm lights, and I think it came out ok.

Comments, criticism, new ideas? Hit me!

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