Burn The Witch – Part 1

So where to begin? This has been a super exciting project that snuck in right at the end of the year. Having spent most of the year focusing on Blood Bowl I was in a little bit of a hobby lull when I spied a post on Facebook from Alfonso ‘Banshee’ Giraldes. Having just released his new Anonimous 2.0 bust he is running a sweet little competition to run alongside the launch.

Two categories, one based solely on the painting, and one based on converting the newly released bust. I was instantly drawn to the conversion category. I’ve been itching to bust out the green stuff and this was the ideal opportunity. So I was straight onto his web store to put my order in.

The rules of this category were pretty simple. Covert the bust in any way you like. Modify the bust itself, sculpt over it, whatever, go nuts. Now given the postal delays from Spain to New Zealand I had a few weeks to consider what I was going to do. First thoughts leaned towards a Dia de los Muertos inspired piece. The bust arrived and I just stared at it. Nothing seemed to inspire me. The models features just didn’t seem appropriate for anything that came to mind. He had that stern, gaunt look to him and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then one afternoon it just twigged, he needs to be a Witch Hunter.

And that was it, I was well away. I googled a heap of reference pics and built up a picture in my head of how I wanted him to look. I penciled down the outline and cracked open the green stuff. Very quickly he started to take shape. Starting with the torso I built him up, generally in two sittings a day. Coming home from work in my lunch breaks to do smaller sections and then a longer session in the evening. I’d say the majority of the work was completed in the first week. I couldn’t tell you how long the sculpting took, over 20 hours and perhaps even up to 30.

Then after another week or so of tweaking I had him all converted up and ready for paint work. Not going to lie, I was pretty damn happy with the project at this point. It’s been a year or two since I’ve done any serious work with green stuff and bar a few small hiccups everything pretty much went to plan with this one.

You’ll also notice a couple of other materials in the mix. His hat brim and part of his sword are made from plasticard. This was an obvious choice for the hat as it was much easier to shape and is generally a whole lot more rigid. I used brass rod for the buckles though I later crafted a more square-like buckle for his hat from plasticard following a friend’s feedback. The feather was an interesting sculpt for me. Pretty fiddly but achieved by sculpting it in two halves.

Then it was onwards to the painting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous starting this. It’s always a sketchy moment putting paint to putty knowing it’s a little harder to strip back with risk of damaging the sculpt. I didn’t take any WIP shots of the early stages but it proved to be a lot of back and forth.

I started with the flesh, shirt and bandanna as these were tucked away and harder to reach. I eventually hit a lull as the rest of the model was sat in grey primer I found it hard to see the bigger picture. So from there I got the basic colours down and it all started to make more sense. Then on in I just kept building up each area and going back to previous ones until the point you see it at now.

And although a lot of the work is seemingly done I have a lot more to tackle yet. Obviously things like his sword, buckles and feather haven’t had a lot of attention yet but there’s a whole bunch of general refining I need to do. And my model handling leaves a little something to be desired. Whilst assembling this and getting him to this point I’ve been a greasy fingered buffoon and damaged him in places.

But despite his battle damage I’m super happy with this piece so far. I’ve never been able to do eyes and I was moderately surprised with the detail when I zoomed in. Never really painted leather before either and so far I’m pleased with how that’s turned out. The flesh has been fun as it normally is but I definitely need to neaten it up in places.

And another thing this project has forced me to approach is plinths. Having not really tackled busts before I faced the dilemma of how to present this fella. Were I in the UK I’d be hitting up Dark Messiah but being out here in little old New Zealand I thought I’d get creative and try creating my own. I got an image in my head of mounting him on a burnt chunk of wood. After failed attempts with locally sourced driftwood I decided I’d simply sculpt my own version.

This was actually my second attempt as the first was too big in the end but both were made the same way. I started by building a plasticard frame and then added thin walls of miliput all the way around. I then used small driftwood pieces to texture the outsides. Once the first layers were dry I added addition lumps to the sides using green stuff. Then to create a burnt wood texture I green stuffed on details to the top panel. I finished the whole thing off with a piece of scroll/parchment made from miliput and refined with green stuff.

And that’s the point I’m going to leave this update. I’m so pleased Mr Giraldes decided to run this comp. Whatever the end result may be this project has sparked up my hobby passion again after a slightly quiet year. I’m so eager to get cracking on but chuffed to be ending the year on a hobby high. The deadline is quickly looming though with all entries due in by Jan 15th. Cannot wait to finish this piece off and kick-start 2019 with my first ever finished bust!

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