Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Blob - Basics of modding heroclix - part 1

heres something a little more leftfield. not so much from the dungeon but banished into the dungeon

ok firstly I don't play this game anymore. I have hundreds if not thousands of figures I blew my money on now all sitting in a huge box up in the attic. but a few years back I put together a step by step guide on how I created a mod from scratch from a average joes point of view.

so here it goes

Hi there.
I’m a long time heroclix fan and have been into figures and games since I was a little kid.
I would like to have a little run through of the basics of modding.
This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and I hope it can be informative as well as in basic terms explain what I use to make mods.
I do not claim to be an expert of modding or sculpting but I think that I am not that bad at painting. I am patient enough, I think, to make at least a worthwhile mod. I am most certainly not an expert in the English language plus my keyboard is on its last legs! I apologize beforehand if my grammar is not the best. That is because I am not the best at writing anything worth publishing. I am also from the UK so any terminology that does not cross over I am sorry for.
This also is the first mod I have made since the Avengers set came out!
So that is my disclaimer to cover the fact this may actually turn out to be a big pile of ####

Alas I find myself looking to make a few after being away for a while.
So here goes.
I have always been a fan of the X-men and especially more a fan of the bad guys from most comic books.
Right now I am looking at making the brotherhood, to my liking!
My first mod of choice is BLOB

I never really liked the original sculpt. That is not how I see him. All 3 of the old dials are awful but for today I am looking at the sculpt. I thought the old sculpt was not big enough in height or bulk. Whenever I have seen this guy in comics he has been about the size of 4 people, so that is what I decided I would gun for.
A huge bulk of fat!

I used this image as my "rough" inspiration
and hoped I could get as far close to that sort of build as possible

First I will show you what tools I will use for a general mod.

From left to right:

* 1. My trusty scalpel :
(which doesn’t seem to trust me as much! as I’ve cut my hands to ribbons making mods)I like to use surgical scalpels ahead of normal craft knives, as they tend to be much sharper. The blades don’t tend to last that long and go blunt pretty quickly but still, even when blunt they are as good as most budget blades around. Replacement blades do not cost that much. Luckily for me my old job was about to throw a box full of blades out, which I duly re-homed.

* 2.Superglue :
Loctite is the best over here that I use (in the UK) but any medium to fast bonding superglue will do the trick. It’s all about trial and testing really until you find the best.

* 3. Hand mini drill/Pin Vice :
Many people use a Dremel. I have only ever used high powered Dremels and so I can not really imagine using a electric powered tool on something so fiddly and dainty like a small model, I would end up drilling right through to Australia. Therefore, I stick with a simple hand drill. It will go through metal and plastic at the exact speed you want it to.

* 4. Paper clips : I use them for pinning but any fine wire will do. Florists wire I dunno, anything that is thin and sturdy will work. I go with paper clips because I again nabbed a load from my old job (by the way. I’m not a thief hehe)

* 5. Green stuff/Kneadite : Purchased from games workshop. Now there are many different types of putty to use most commonly is green stuff for general modeling and brown stuff for more rigid and detailed parts. Now as I’ve said I’m no sculptor. If anything I am basic at best. I do not know any techniques other than what I have used in trials and tested myself. I hope to explain those as I go later.


I want a big bulky BLOB mod
what models do I use??
In truth I don’t see anything in my mod fodder collection that would be of any massive help. So, I vie to use the parts I want to use as a buffer to save putty in the bulking up process. Really, from my choices the only parts which will end up being viewable are the face and the hands.

I have decided to use CT blob and MM hulk (which happens to be one of my fave pieces to use for mods due to its relative neutralness)

All that I am using from the Blob figure is his head and his torso
the rest of the limbs will be from the Hulk figure.

When cutting figures (especially older figures which use tougher plastic) I tend to heat my scalpel slightly to allow a smoother and sweeter cut. In this case it didn’t really matter, as I wasn’t going to be fusing parts together directly, as I wanted to make this mod larger than the original blob figure. As mentioned, the case with older figures they used much tougher plastic and the blob was a right pain to cut.
(Yes, I slipped and stabbed my finger before remembering I normally heat my blade first) So I say that so the rest of you don’t end up with fingers like mine!
After cutting these are the parts I have decided I want to use.
(Note - the only part i have taken care in cutting is the head, cutting it just underneath his blubber. after all parts are cut using either a fine file or your blade just carefully trim all the edges of cut parts so that no little fiddly parts protrude from the cuts. If you don’t do this, they will only get in the way when you start adding the putty.)

Now we have our parts, lets start putting him together.
Using the small hand drill I first start on the lower leg sections. Carefully drilling a hole into the first leg. Depending on the size of the figure and being careful not to drill a hole directly through the leg.
In this case I’ve drilled into the lower leg about 5mm.

Getting the drilled hole central to the limb is pivotal to assembling a mod, as it can end up looking disjointed and rather odd if a limb ends up sticking out the wrong way.
Once the hole has been drilled, I then insert a paper clip with some super glue on the tip.
Hold this in place until dry. Then snip the paper clip leaving sufficient enough metal to be inserted into the next limb.

I tend to snip the paper clip leaving as much of the straight length as possible. (It’s better to have more in this situation than less) so I’ve put a red mark on the image above to show where I make my cut.
Once this is done proceed to do the same to the next leg.
Then using the same method attach each limb together, roughly shaping the figure into the pose required.
Once this is done I like to make a size comparison to another figure. Here I’ve used Colossus as these two have squared up I’m sure on more than one occasion (they must have!!)
Well, I see Blob as being slightly taller than Colossus and much, much bulkier.

So from this comparison I am happy with the height of the figure.
If he was too short I would pull the pins from his legs and neck on this model and make them longer so to give more height. If he was too tall I’d just simply insert smaller pins instead.

After a little bending and cleaning up I’m happy I have the figure at the correct height and pose, ready to start adding putty.

(Note - in this image you will see that I have not yet trimmed bur from the edges of the model. This is the last point in which you must clean up those edges or they will cause problems when you start adding the putty)

When using green stuff always make sure its fresh. In this case I haven’t modded for a long while and you will find that before mixing the two yellow and blue components together that you will most likely need to just get rid of the section where the 2 colours join as these will harden over time and make the mixing a royal pain in the ###.

Now, I cannot stress enough that this is where you need to be patient in applying putty in small doses. Then allowing it to dry before adding more.
If you try to do it all in one foul swoop you will just find you have fingerprints all over the model. And in general it just wont look very good.
So, the importance here is patience and applying in small doses.

Firstly I apply putty to fill out his joints then allow it to dry for a few hours.
I then start building up his tummy area.
I do so first with his tummy allowing drying but not completely, then applying the lower abdomen.
It is important to keep your fingers wet when applying putty to prevent it from sticking to your fingers.
Once I have the putty in place I then wet my fingers and smooth it over to give a nice smooth texture.
Once I am happy with his gut I then add a small detail of his belly button.
The reason I said to allow the top half of his tummy to dry a little is because the putty has dried a little it will make it easier to shape slightly and you wont end up stabbing him right through the gut.
I only use modeling tools for finer details as noted. In this case I use a modeling tool to shape out where the blobs belt will sit on that big fat gut

(Note that I haven’t actually sculpted his belt. I have merely just left a groove in his tummy to apply the belt.)

After allowing it to dry. I then proceed slowly bulking up his muscle structure piece by piece always allowing it to dry before adding more.

This is down to your own judgment but remain patient and it will get there eventually.
Each time remembering to smooth over that putty so that you cant see any joins between the dry putty and the newly applied putty.
In this case it was more a case of bulking him up. So in some cases I just roughly applied the putty and only concentrated on smoothing out what would eventually be visible.
Once I have reached the point where I’m happy with his bulk, I then start applying small amounts of putty between the muscle structure to make it look smooth and more presentable and then shaping slightly with a tool when the putty is half dry.

TIP - what do you do with that putty that’s left over each time you find you’ve mixed too much?
Well, what I do and in this very case the Blob still needs a belt!!
I get 2 pieces of plastic with a little grease on them. I roll out the left over putty into a very flat almost wafer thin section (like rolling out dough to make pastry)
roll this and flatten it between the 2 sheets of plastic. Then I allow to dry.
The grease will stop the putty from sticking to the sheets of plastic.
Once dry, just peel it away from the plastic and you will be left with a nice shiny strip of putty that can be saved and used at any point for chopping up and making small details.
In this case I needed to make enough to wrap around that fat gut, so using a straight edge and knife I cut out a belt for Blob!
Simple and effective.
Using fine dabs of super glue I wrap that belt around his gut and once it is applied, use a little putty to tidy up any edges or fill in any joints or gaps.

Now remember as this model draws closer to being completed that if you want to add any fine details then you should allow the putty to dry a little. On this model there are very little details and this is why I chose it to cover this post and the only fine details are the blubber around his face, his belt (covered above) and the seams of his suit.
Now, before applying the seams of his suit you want to make sure your putty is half dried. Then slowly and carefully score along the putty very gently to leave a groove to show where his suit meets his flesh.

IF you attempt to do this on still wet putty. all it will do is drag and make a mess of that putty you’ve already smoothed over. So once again be patient and take your time.
Having done this you should find yourself drawing toward the end of the model. Applying and smoothing small amounts of putty each time until you’ve reached your desired look.
(I apologize for the lack of detailed photos during the building up of putty)

This is the point where I have reached my desired look!
(Note I have painted the model all green purely for presentation. As a side note I do not consider myself a good modeler but do consider myself a better painter. So in this case I applied enough paint to smooth over anything I wasn’t happy with. So basically I leave myself with a big green clean slate for the paint job!

This is the end of my little guide for now.
I hope it has been informative and covers many simple and basic ways to make a model
from selection to pinning to putty and a few shortcuts thrown in for good measure
Please if there are any questions don’t hesitate to ask and I will add to the guide in the hope this will aid anyone looking to start making their very own mods

Also, if people have enjoyed this. I will use the very same model to cover the basics of painting at a later date

part 2 coming when I can be arsed to follow up :)