When Aleph cast its digital gaze upon NeoCanada, it saw a Space Nation in crisis. Ingratitude, discourtesy, and poutine shortages had gripped its people, leaving the Human Sphere’s politest neighbour in chaos.
However, Aleph did not despair. It knew that the good people of NeoCanada could return to the straight and snowy path, if only they had a inspirational figure to lead them there. And so the AI dug through the annals of NeoCanadian history to find exactly what USAriadna’s Hat was missing:
Firm abs and sexy eyes.
For my Aleph recreation of the Honourable Mr. Dimplesmirk, which I would be using as a Deva Functionary in my NeoCanada army, I opted to use the body of the Aleph HVT. However, the stock head for this model is far too dour, and would need to be rebuilt to capture Dear Leader’s untameable pulchritude.
Yep, looks like him already.
The wire loop was sunk into the model’s shoulders, and then wrapped with putty.
Clay was then wrapped around the still-soft putty and formed into the basic areas of the head– neck, skull, and chiseled jaw.
Next up, I added bones and meat. When I sculpt a head, I follow a two-stage overall process– first I sculpt “anybody’s head”, and then I shift things around to make it look like the specific face I’m trying to render. Here I’m building out what will eventually be a smirking mouth.
More vague forms were added for the brow, cheese, and the bridge of the nose.
Clay wads went over the eye sockets, where the actual eyes would be dug out in a moment.
I usually follow a slightly different process for heads, wherein I create the eyeballs with hardened putty before proceeding to the clay stage, and then leave the putty eyes poking through the later putty layers as I sculpt. This technique is fantastic for sculpting with putty, as it keeps everything lined up during your limited working time, but I’ve begun to suspect that it isn’t as necessary for clay sculpting. So for this model, I decided to try sculpting the entire face, eyes included, out of clay alone, and see if I had any trouble keeping things straight and symmetrical.
I smoothed everything up before cutting the eyes.
I pressed the open eyes into the skull with the edge of an Angle Chisel clayshaper, leaving them wide for now– I would come back later and add eyelids to create the specific expression I wanted.
I also etched in the vague shape of the mouth that I wanted; this wouldn’t show up once all the clay was laid on, but gave me a guide to use when placing everything.
A clay snake was laid over the upper lip and smoothed in.
I checked back against my reference at this point and decided that my mouth was a bit too wide, as Lord Smirkson tends to purse the corners of his lips a bit: While I wasn’t worrying yet about fine-tuning the likeness, I did want to make sure to add enough material for his dimples before moving on.
As with everything else, these were build by blending small putty snakes into the head.
It wasn’t the right smirk yet, but it would be enough clay to work with later.
This photo is redundant to the one above, but I liked it, so I’m leaving it in. 😛
Next I moved up the head and started working on the brow. I did what I could with the existing mass, but more mass was needed to give the nose I was about to add something to anchor onto.
Mr. Trudeau has a fairly wide nose all the way down, so I laid down a relatively thick clay bridge between the brow and mouth as a foundation for the rest of the nose.
Several thin clay snakes were stacked up and blended together to form the bridge of the nose, with tiny wads laid down at the bottom for the nostrils.
I jumped back to reference again to get the exact shape I needed for the silhouette of his nose.
I made slight adjustments with clayshapers until it looked right. I needed to come back and do more smoothing later, but this was a pretty good shape for now.
With the face coming together, I got to work adding his luscious, wavy hair. Lord Smirksby has fairly poofy hair, so I added quite a bit of extra clay around his hairline.
More was added on the top and back, and then everything was smoothed together.
Obviously too smooth and monolithic, but the basic volume looked about right.
With that set, I started etching in the waves of his locks. These were again done with the edge of an Angle Chisel clayshaper.
My reference photos showed that he combs his hair outward from the right-side part, with the angle pulling up over his ears and dropping down again toward the back. There are also frequently little “wings” that pick up in front of, behind, and above his ears, because Space Minister O’Handsomeson is genetically engineered for maximum casual tousledness at all times.
Everything was pulled in toward the back of the head. Everything was a bit too straight on this pass, so I would come back in a bit to fray things up a bit.
Turning the model around to check different angles, I could see that Justin didn’t yet have quite enough Hockey Hair on the back of his head.
At this point I started worrying that people would assume I had sculpted a Tom Cruise mini. Justin Trudeau and Tom Cruise don’t look much alike, but Cartoon Tom Cruise and Cartoon Justin Trudeau are practically twins.
More noise was added on the back. Looking pretty good. 🙂
And with that, I baked the model and got to painting!
I’ve had an airbrush for three years, and from the start I’ve been really puzzled about why people like them. They just never seem to cooperate for me, taking lots of extra time for an effect I could do with normal brushes. However, my previous airbrush was a siphon feed with a huge paint tank, and I was told a lot of my frustration was likely rooted in the brush I was using. I decided to do the science on that theory, and bought a Badger Sotar with a small gravity-feed cup on top, and this project was the first time I had an opportunity to use it.
First I painted his legs black (highlighted up through P3 Coal Black and Trollkin Base), then masked them out with painter’s tape to protect them during the next layer.
The torso was airbrushed in layers of P3 Trollkin -> P3 Frostbite -> Vallejo Air White. I didn’t want him to just have a plain white shirt, so I masked off most of it to let medo a second colour down one arm and part of the torso.
This used P3 Umbral Umber -> P3 Sanguine Base -> P3 Khador Red Base.
The result was… okay? The white was certainly easier than it would have been with brushes, but I feel like I could have done a better job on the red and black if I hadn’t bothered with the airbrush. And since the masking lifted slightly during the paint process, I still needed to go back with a brush anyway to clean everything up.
So, yeah– I remain a non-convert to the Airbrush Cult, but further testing is planned before I draw any harsh conclusions– specifically, in the form of my work-in-progress Bakunin army, which will have the bulk of its paint applied with an airbrush when I get to it later this year.
Anyway, enough of that. Let’s all just prop our chins up in our palms and sigh at all of the majesty.
The crisis of leadership is over, friends.
Space Canada is in good hands.