Monday 11 November 2013

Moving into Middle Management

Hi, All!

Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile: A lonely observer wanders the skeleton of the beast...
I know these posts have become somewhat infrequent recently, but rest assured that I'm still here and things are still happening...

Engine room and core room laid out relative to each other, as the shape of the mid-section is drawn on foamcore.

There are still some details to add to the engine room, but this week I decided to start work on the mid-section of my gigantic walker, as I realised I was getting bogged down and a little uninspired, so it was time for a new bit.

This part houses Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's mansion, the main level of which will be accessible for gaming via a removable barrel-vault roof even bigger than that of the engine room.

The underbelly is cut. Note that it sits at an angle to the engine-room...

Even the basic framework for this has presented me with challenges. As you can see, I decided that the walker should be flexible, which posed the question of how the various decks should slide against each other. It occurred to me some time ago that a rigid two-hundred and forty feet long walker would need a huge open space just to turn around, so flexibility would be a necessary part of the design.

So this is what happens when a walking Bendy Bus gets kinky with the Titanic...

The main deck is designed around the core room. The two-deck mansion will sit on top of this, with the core room visible through the floor.

Obviously, there is a huge amount of work to do on this. Followers of this blog will appreciate what has gone into the engine section already - and this part is much bigger...

A set of ribs is designed to form the shape of the hull. This enables me to keep the model very light, and keeps it open enough that I can run cables for lighting and add counter-sunk detailing if I choose to.

A rib. What more need be said?

Please bear with me - I promise to keep you entertained!

The core-room in place, and the main deck set at its level. The join between engine section and mid section will be designed to look like interlocking iron plates.
The mansion level is sketched out in foam core. As you can see, it is rather large. The big open square at the rear corner has been left for a three-storey countersunk stairwell with lighting and portholes...

So: not very pretty, but it's progress. And I hope it gives you all a better idea of where I am going with this.

Meanwhile, inevitably, I was a little distracted by a hideous plastic dragon. It happens, doesn't it?

Exhibit A: Hideous Plastic Dragon...
This terrible piece of cheap crap turned out to be yet another example of hidden gold... And so, my friends, let me present to you the Giant Carnivorous Grark!

Ripping the blighter's wings off didn't do much for its appearance.  But at least it's big and scaly.
Horrible peg-and-socket arms and legs. Shudder!

As with other accidental bits of fun, this little gem cried out to me from the shelves of  one of Wellington's many Crap R Us stores; "I'm only $2.50! Save me! Please!"

Having decided to forego the front limbs, I brought the rear legs closer-in to the hips and started to sculpt the joints with green stuff. I also fixed up the join between body and tail.

Well, I'd had a couple of beers in the sun (yes: we had some. I was there. I will cherish the memory.) so I was persuaded, although upon getting home and unwrapping my prize, I feared I may have wasted the price of a quarter of a pint!

Stumpy remnants of wings are sculpted with green stuff, completing the 'flightless bird' impression.

I pulled off the wings, removed the front limbs and cried, "Chicken!" And so it began...

The whole model is undercoated with white paint, then washed with brown ink.

When the ink is dry, the model is heavily highlighted with white, then green and red inks are used to wash all parts.

This beastie didn't take very long really, but I honestly had no idea it would transform into one of my favourite small projects so far. As the inks went on, the monster evolved and I fell in love...

The whole model is highlighted with flesh, and the belly is highlighted further, up to white. Then a yellow wash is applied everywhere but the belly, bringing out the green beautifully.

Claws, teeth and eyes are picked out, having carefully enriched touches of red here and there.

The great thing about cheap toys is the element of surprise: If you look really closely, many have pretty good detail, obscured under awful paint jobs. This is where ink washes are great - they don't obscure the detail further, no matter how many coats you use.

The finished head in close-up. Note the tiny touch of white paint in the eye to make it gleam.

Why did the Grark cross the road?

Et, Voila! A seriously nasty beastie from the depths of the Lost Continent!

A Giant Carnivorous Grark decides that Scagworm is on the menu.

Coming next: more work on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile, and more Nefarious Machinations of the Nefarious Doktor Nefarious.

A fearless adventurer stumbles upon something that could ruin his day...

All the Best!


  1. Nice cheap plastic beastie, amazing how these turn out when a bit of care and attention is lavished upon them... a bit like kids I guess! ;-)
    Keep up the good work that man!

    1. I don't know about you, Scott, but my kids have resented me ever since I applied that coat of varnish and glued static grass to their feet...

  2. I was just thinking the other day that we had not heard from you in a while. Tremendous on both counts, but the cheap and cheerful to stunning model is a real eye opener!

    1. Thanks Michael -

      Yes, I have been somewhat unproductive of late, but I'm still here.

      Glad you like the Grark - it turned out better than I had hoped.

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  4. Your engineering ambition knows no bounds, Colonel - and why should it? You deliver something superb every time.

    I do like that Grark. It's a work of art. I'm now looking at the cheapo plastic dinosaurs I bought a couple years ago with fresh ideas.

    1. AJ!

      A little over-ambitious, perhaps? Only time will tell. I now have most of the vehicle in my head, but making it a reality will be a huge undertaking. I'll be relying on the readers of this blog to keep me going!

      The Grark is a definite favourite of mine. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

  5. Bravo Sir!
    Another entirely worthwhile distraction !

    1. I thank you, Sir!

      I have a new distraction in mind as we speak...

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Grigork. I like great ideas. They're great.