Monday, 13 February 2017

Land of Hope and Glory? Not in Wisconsin...

Dangerous Minds has just posted an excellent piece on the infamous Black River Falls in Wisconsin. The bleak history of this mining town was profiled in a 1973 book Wisconsin Death Trip and then, later in 1999, an excellent documentary of the same name. Being an avid film buff at university at the time of release, I remember the piece as being quite a landmark. It's shot almost entirely in gorgeous black and white and features a haunting soundtrack.

Someone has uploaded the whole thing to YouTube and I've embedded it below. I'm not sure how long it'll be around so I'd recommend watching it sooner rather than later.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Heavens above! An interview with Makoto Kobayashi

I've mentioned mecha designer Makoto Kobayashi before on this blog but haven't written about him in great detail. His work is utterly stunning and up there with the great Kow Yokoyama. Indeed, there's a lot of commonality between their styles. They both represent the best of that 80s niche vogue for organic mecha and tech design.

I've only just found that Forbes published an excellent interview with Kobayashi last year. It's a wonderful read. Amusingly, it reveals that some of his most iconic work was done under pressure when commercial plans went wrong and he was asked to provide solutions.

Kobayashi is perhaps best known for his anime Dragon's Heaven. With its unique design and live-action title sequence it's remembered fondly. He has also been featured in numerous editions of high-end Japanese modelling magazines, including Hyperweapon. In the interview he describes how many of his models were kitbashes he made when asked to pitch to large anime studios. Alas, these magazines are almost impossible to find in hard copy in the West, and one has to make do with the odd scan that pops up online.

I'll leave you with a small selection of his work.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Blood Angel Scout squad

Due to life being a little busy it's taken me rather a while to complete these guys. They are the second iteration of Space Marine Scouts and are some of my favourite ever miniatures. They come from that wonderful period when Games Workshop was pushing into really weird, baroque territory. These guys are a bonkers-crazy mash-up of Landschneckt sleeves, Adam Ant makeup and mohawk hair cuts.

They were actually really tricky to paint for two reasons. These old casts lack some detail along the axis where the two halves of the mould meet. I found myself having to paint in the detail around the bits of armour that cross this axis. I'm so used to the amazing detailing on GW's current plastics that I'm not very practised at this. Second, the wide variety of colours means you can't 'spray and pray' as I've done with most of my other Marines. I opted to zenith spray these guys white over a black base, and then block in the other colours. I didn't do too well with the recess washes so spent a lot of time tidying things up. I got so fed up of this I baulked at painting the slashes on the sleeves black, which in hind sight, I'm disappointed about.

I took inspiration for the colour placement from Fangorn's amazing Advanced Space Crusade cover and some reference shots of the original plastic minis in Bryan Ansell's collection. I thought about adding more contrast to things like the knees, but ended up keeping them mono. I also changed the red shoes and knives because they seem too toy-like.

Photo borrowed from Eldritch Epistles

I've got one of the Made to Order Assassin casts on the go at the moment. The guy's a dream to paint and I'll soon have some polymorphine-fuelled help for the Scouts.