Meat-Clad and Flanked By Artichoke

datetime April 3, 2018 11:30 PM

I get a lot of free Infinity models. More than once, people have just handed me dozens of models for factions I was starting, which was certainly appreciated each time as a booster to my developing forces. I have two competing theories about why this keeps happening: either people recognize my self-evident greatness and want to shower me with gifts to express their awe, or the people in my community make bad purchasing decisions and end up with closets full of junk they eventually get tired of looking at.

It’s hard to say which of those two is a likelier explanation, but I know which one I’ll be subscribing to.

When I first started the game by picking up Military Orders, a buddyย named (more or less) Bork handed me the entire collection of 20-odd PanO models that he had picked up when he tried the game out a few years before. This early bequest– which included MO and Acontecimento starters, a box of Magisters, and a handful of odd singleton models for both sectorials– was instrumental in getting my army off the ground, as any models that I couldn’t directly play provided bodies and weapons for conversions.

Last summer I bought a bunch of Bakunin models with plans for a heavily converted theme army (still in progress!), and my friend, former store owner, and current Pathfinder DM Rich handed me a box of N2-era Bakunin models that he bought when he was trying to launch the game at our store. The game never really caught his fancy, but I happily absorbed his social misfits– consisting of an old Bakunin starter, some Zeros and Prowlers, and a Lizard TAG– into my ranks. More on this project in the coming months decades.

And somewhere in between those two, right after CB previewed the hoodie-wearing badassness of the Kotail, I picked up my first Tohaa models. I built this army much more slowly than I had my others– starting with max AVA of Kotails and basically no concrete plans for where I wanted to go from there– so it was quite a large jump in my stock when another local (and amazing painter) named Kyle passed me the remnants of his own brief dalliance with the Space Asparagus. Kyle is much more drawn to the painting aspects of the hobby than the gaming part, so he tends to collect odd bits and bobs from multiple games and paint whatever suits his fancy at a leisurely pace. A… very leisurely pace, at times. ๐Ÿ˜› As a result, he often ends up with a very large backlog of models that he thought he might want to paint someday that subsequently faded from his favour, which he’ll generally sell off cheap or just give away to the noblest and most deserving people he knows (*cough*). This is how I came to own a Tohaa starter box and a Gorgos TAG, which literally formed the playable core of my army when I was still waffling over which space vegetables I wanted to play, and the latter of which is the focus of today’s article further down the page.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Infinity was always bound to “click” with me and become my primary gaming focus. However, the early boosts of free models I was handed (from different sources, and under different circumstances) every time I started an army helped to transform mere enthusiasm into actual game-playing capacity, which accelerated the rate at which I was able to experience and grow to love the game.

Whatever their reasoning, those who dumped their Space Garbage upon my head are all wonderful people who gave me the tools to fully engage with the best minis game I have ever played, and also learned the subtle thrill in being an accessory to Spud Greatness.

May everyone else I know come to share in that same sublime joy, by also giving me free stuff for no discernible reason.

Seriously, just look at how happy Bork, Rich, and Kyle are.

YOU CAN HAVE THAT TOO!

<3

*looks around shiftily*

Nice Try Spud

Damnit. I was so sure that would work. ๐Ÿ™

Bah, whatever. As mentioned a moment ago, all of that preamble was to explain how I came to own a Gorgos, a model whose reputation for mediocrity would certainly have prevented me from buying it if left to my own devices. Which would then, in turn, have robbed me of the experience of dropping it onto the tables for the first time at Adepticon 2018 two weeks ago, and nearly tabling 4 of the 6 opponents who lined up against it. Seriously, the combination of the upgrades it got in HSN3 (bumping its Spitfire to an AP Spitfire, among other things), the game-wide bonus of +1 DMG to all TAG guns in ITS Season 9, and general everyday Tohaa cheating (Symbiomates SO BALANCED) have so far made the Gorgos into an unstoppable lawnmower.

THANKS KYLE. ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh, and it’s also, as it turns out, a fairly gorgeous model in my scheme:

I decided that the Gorgos deserved to be an army centerpiece, so I lavished a lot of extra attention on the brown armour blends and all of the freehand, which I generally rush on my smaller models. And I frankly couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ซ IT’S RAAAAAIIININ’ MEAT โ™ช

Speaking of rushed models, let’s jump over now to the Gorgos’s slightly more vulnerable living core. Unlike a normal TAG, whose pilot only sees the table when it voluntarily dismounts to push buttons, or is forcibly ejected by hackers, the Gorgos’ pilot is a pretty regular fixture in my games since it’s actually just the Gorgos’ extra “naked wound” once it’s taken three damage in TAG form. When that occurs, you pull the gigantic TAG model off the board and replace it with a standard Light Infantry model, which can either run to safety or try to keep mowing models down with its Spitfire.

I got attached to a particular mental image for this pilot model. A standard Tohaa soldier who puts on a symbiote suit is still only wearing enough meat to make them a bit taller and bulkier than they started, so when they’re forced to disrobe mid-battle, this is likely not much more dramatic than unzipping and discarding a particularly tight coat. However, the Gorgos’ pilot is wearing easily twenty times her mass of fake meat and armour, so when that gets blown apart, it’s going to cause a rain of meat chunks like the falling marshmallows at the end of Ghostbusters.

With that picture bouncing ceaselessly around my head, it was a short trip to… well…

…this.

If I had had more time, I would have liked to resculpt her face in a look of clear disgust at the disgusting sheet of gore she’s wading through. Sadly though, I had other– and awesomer– demands on my sculpting time as the days to Adepticon dwindled…

Obligatory Adorable Vegetable Monster

Those rare few souls who have actually seen a Gorgos on the board before may by now be musing to themselves, “Wait a sec, the Gorgos is supposed to have a Chaksa buddy who runs around with her and puts templates on things. Where the heck is Spud’s Chaksa?!”

Sadly, the answer to that question is: still in the box I received it in. This is because, dear reader, Spud must confess to being fiercely racist against Chaksa. While there are few bipedal creatures 175 years in the future that draw more disdain from me than the stupid and smelly Garbage People of Dawn, the Chaksa have boldly stepped up to that challenge with a campaign to be declared Ugliest (And Also Probably Dumbest) Species by the only authority qualified to make the declaration: me.

I mean… just look at them!

Look at their dumb featureless faces! Look at their gross feet! Look at their stupid boxy vests! Chaksa are dumb and also stupid and I hate them for totally rational and defensible reasons. There was absolutely zero chance that I would not substitute the ugly Chaksa model that Kyle inflicted upon me (BOOO KYLE! BOOOO!) for something else.

And because I am Spud, that Something Else turned out to be, “just, like, more of those cute hedgehog things or whatever.”

Quick recap: last year, when I needed civilians for my army to rescue, I spent about two hours sculpting tiny little clay beans into super cute Asparagus Hedgehog models, which are objectively the cutest thing you have seen today, even if your day job is teaching week-old puppies to play soccer.

Needing a protective model to escort my Gorgos around the field, I decided that my replacement Chaksa model would be a grown-up Mama Hedgehog:

Beyond the simple design note of “like the little ones, but bigger” which was admittedly 60% of the forethought that went into this, I was also inspired by pictures I had seen of artichoke flowers, which are simultaneously beautiful and mildly hazardous-looking:

I decided that Mama Hedgehog’s body leaves would open up to reveal the same sort of colourful and spiky flower, but in her case, these Butt Spikes would be launched at her foes in a withering hail of death.

Seriously folks, don’t mess around with Mama Hedgehog.

The entire process of sculpting Mama Hedgehog took about three hours on the night before I drove down to Chicago. I started by sinking a wire into a champagne cork, and then twisting it vaguely into the bean-like shape of Mama’s body.

This was filled with a large wad of Green Stuff putty…

…which was in turn wrapped with Fimo while the putty was still fresh.

More clay was added all around the frame…

…and then the whole thing was smoothed together with metal sculpting tools.

Additional clay wads were added to form her legs. To simplify the sculpting process, I kept all four legs tightly pulled under her body– this way, no metal supports were needed for the legs, as they would be adequately held up by the rest of the model.

I used a metal hoe tool to press in the basic forms of the face, and then switched to a flat clayshaper to smooth everything out.

I thought that the visible tapering between the head and torso made her look a bit too much like a dinosaur, so I added additional clay to blend her head more smoothly into her body.

There we go, much adorabler. <3

Once the basic forms were in place, I started the roughly hour-long process of arraying leaves around her body.

To ensure symmetry in the leaves on both sides of her body, the material for all leaves was pulled out by cutting a clay ball in half; if these turned out to be too big or too small, I returned both halves to the main clay wad and started over with a bigger or smaller bisected ball.

The sculpting process for leaves was very quick– apply a triangle of clay, squish it flat in front, and then give it an angular ridge down the center.

Rinse, repeat.

(Random note: I opted for very simple paws, absent of claws, to keep the hedgehog looking as cartoony as possible.)

The layered leaves were brought just past the hind legs, at which point I splayed them open to make room for the Butt Flower Spikes.

To mimic the artichoke flower’s multitude of round spiky bits, I went around with a knife and pressed long triangles all around the exposed butt cone.

I then used a metal oar tool to push lower tiers of spikes downward into the cone, leaving the top level sitting above them.

Repeat for subsequent layers, and eventually I enved up with a pretty serviceable Butt Flower. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did some cleanup on the face, firming up ridges around her eyebrow and mouth, and adding lower eyelids to narrow her eyes into a vengeful squint.

The last bit of detailing to add was a pattern of shallow ridges along the artichoke leaves, for no particular reason other than “it seemed right”. These were lightly pressed in with an Angle Chisel clayshaper.

Paint was applied in the very dim light of our hotel room in Schaumburg the night before the 300pt ITS tournament. I’m pretty happy with the result, given the extreme rush with which it all done. ๐Ÿ˜€

Hey Look, More Pictures

…plus one 360 turnaround video with absurdly epic editing. ๐Ÿ˜›

Mama Hedgehog And Her Tall Friend had a really superb first outing at Adepticon, and I look forward to continuing to tear a swathe through all who would threaten vegetablekind in the months ahead.

And, okay, yeah… maybe that’s enough hedgehogs for this army. ๐Ÿ˜›

-Spud

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