My next article will be very good. This one, less so.
I recently ran a Randomizer Tournament where all participants were required to play lists generated by the glorious Infinity Random List Generator. I played NeoCanada at the event, and one of my random lists included a Garuda. I’ve proxied the Garuda DropBot once or twice, but never added one to my army because I couldn’t think of a funny Canadian conversion for “air drop robot”. However, time pressure is a uniquely helpful inspirational catalyst for me, and when I sat down to think about how to approach it, the idea hit me almost immediately: I just made hundreds of patches featuring a Space Mountie and her irritable bird companion.
I’ve already made the mounties, but I was at that moment shamefully birdless.
Wellp… guess we’re doing this.
Step 1 was to figure out what a goose looks like. A large amount of terrifying photographic and historical evidence was collected; turns out, there are weirdly lumpy and have very twisted spines. Also, they are powered by hatred and kill only for sport.
Among my research yield was an illustration of a goose skeleton. A true-scale goose would only come up to a 35mm model’s knee, but sculpting at that scale would be very difficult and hard to see. So, I made mine about double normal scale, coming up to a model’s waist.
Given the small scale of the model, I used very thin 24 gauge wire to form the bird’s skeleton, which was assembled from several pieces of wire. Here I’ve twisted one piece to form the bird’s spine and tail. I sunk the spine lower than it would be on the diagram so that I had space to wrap the next pieces around it without having wires protrude out of the final model.
Next, I wired up the wing bones. I actually kind of screwed this part up– I was thinking about the bird’s actual bones rather than the model’s structural needs, and would end up needing to come back later and awkwardly add a lot of further structuraI support for the flappy parts of the wings. D’oh. :/
Finally, a third piece of wire was added for the legs.
NEW TOY: After almost 20 years of awkwardly trying to transfer measurements from skeleton references to wire using rulers, I finally bought myself a pair of cheap hardware store calipers. Comparing tiny measurements is much easier now. ^_^
Now, of course, a Garuda isn’t merely an unarmed noncombatant– once my honkbird falls from the sky, it will need to be able to rain ballistic death down upon my foes, like any self-respecting goose. However, this was pretty easily solved.
A spare CSU model donated her shotgun, into which I drilled a small hole at the approximate center of mass.
Satisfied with the skeleton, I applied Green Stuff around the wires to provide an adhesion layer for the clay.
Around that, I applied Fimo.
I finally realized at this point that it was going to be impossible to build the wings without further support, which led me to retrofit an extra pair of wires onto the existing structure. This was incredibly weird to try to get attached through the clay. >_<
Once the putty that held the new wires in was attached, I stretched a very thin film of new putty between the top and bottom wing wires and let it completely solidify overnight before proceeding any further.
With adequate support now in place, I applied another super-thin adhesion layer of Green Stuff around it, and then applied clay over the top.
And then, the final detailing began. Bird wings follow a pretty specific pattern of feather distribution and angling, with discrete rows of feathers that vary in length along the run of the wing. I used an angle chisel clayshaper to press the zigag of the feathertips into the clay.
Next, I used the flat edge of the tool to break the rows up into individual pressed feathers.
A similar pattern was pressed into the bottom, though I did not try as hard for this side since it would rarely be seen. 😛
Similar etching was pressed into the body. The ragged row at the edges of the wings was a lot harder to do since I ran out of understructure to work against; mostly I just let a bit of clay overhang the edge, and then used nail scissors to clip bits out of it to delineate the individual feathers.
In an ideal world, I would have spent some time cleaning up the details on the feathers. However, I had only allocated myself two nights to do the entire project before the tournament, so I had to call this “good enough” and bake it.
I really like painting animals. I find it very fun to look at their skin/scales/plumage and find repeating patterns that I can then reproduce onto my models. In the case of the mighty Canadian Honkbird, the feathers (due more to optical tricks than actual pigment) appear to be lightly coloured around the edges and darker toward the center, with the darkest feathers existing toward the bottom row of the wing.
To mimic this, I applied an off-white coat over the whole model, and then started picking out individual feathers in medium grey/brown.
I then spent about thirty minutes glazing in additional layers of darker and richer browns to give a multi-tonal effect.
And… that’s about it. I think painting took less than an hour. This was not intended to be a showcase model. 😛
Look, not everything I make can be a masterpiece. Sometimes I spend months lovingly crafting space motorcycles, and other times I spend six hours knocking out a Horrible Garuda. I am allowed to contain multitudes, y’all.
I do think you’ll like my next article, though. Look for it in early April. It’s… I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty spicy. ^_^