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From Intimacy Male to Crystal Skin

From Intimacy Male to Crystal Skin

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Project Blog by baronvonuppercase

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About the Project

I've never really liked the Kingdom Death Intimacy Couple: their minis have no role in gameplay, the Female in particular is difficult to build, and they're holding swords despite being 'intimate'. During this project, I'm going to kitbash the Intimacy Male into a Crystal Skin survivor, obtained in-game by [spoilers].

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Gloss Skin

Tutoring 4
Skill 3
Idea 3
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Gloss Skin

The gloss both went as expected and did not go as expected.  Rather than waiting patiently until I could buy some gloss varnish, I used PVA glue.  This will be bad in a couple years, when it might start to yellow, but I decided to leave it up to luck.

The PVA dried clear, as expected.  However, when I tried to glaze a blue over the top, it reactivated the PVA and went mushy and white again.  I’m at a quandary because varnishing it will remove the shine but allow me to glaze blue.

Gloss Skin

I’ve decided to move on to his clothing, hair, and accoutrements, varnish using my normal can of matte, then attempt the layer of blue glaze.  After that, I can re-apply a layer of PVA.

Crystals

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 3
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The crystals were started using a 40/60 mix of Citadel’s Kantor Blue (my favourite blue) and Reaper’s Royal Purple.  I then added Citadel’s Altdorf Guard Blue, then Citadel’s Lothern Blue and Windsor & Newton’s Titanium White.

It was at this point I stopped and looked for reference pictures, as the crystals weren’t quite reading as ‘gems’.  In the end I settled on pictures of ‘uncut sapphire gems’, which gave me these photos:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/454300681149709006/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/95701560815794896/

What I noticed is the gems went all the way down to black, though a rich blue.  You can see where I started adding the rich blue in the 4th picture in each gallery above, but below I started adding actual black, then white highlights.

After seeing the photos, the white highlights definitely need some toning down, as I’m hoping the gloss layer will do some of that work for me.

 

Also, I’ve just realised what this colour combination is reminding me of.  Pop Tarts, anyone?

http://poptarts.wikia.com/wiki/Frosted_Wild!_Berry

(Did anyone else know Pop Tarts had their own wiki?)

Arms and Face Muscle Progress

Tutoring 3
Skill 6
Idea 4
1 Comment
Arms and Face Muscle Progress

I started on the hands and worked my way up the hands, using the same light blue and white mix as in the previous steps.  You can also see where I started work on the face.  Ignore how weird it looks – it gets weirder.

Arms and Face Muscle Progress

Again, I used the same reference photo for musculature.  My process is to pick one spot (such as the nose) and work my way outwards.  I may go back and smooth the face out some more in future.

Arms and Face Muscle Progress

A Little More Muscle Progress

Tutoring 3
Skill 4
Idea 4
1 Comment
A Little More Muscle Progress

I’ve done a little adjusting of the blends on the legs, and worked on the abs.  The darker line work around each muscle structure is done using a mix of Reaper’s Regal Purple and Reaper’s Violet Shadow.

A Little More Muscle Progress

Not much happening on the back, apart from some of the light blue mix to indicate the tendons and ligaments of the back.  I learnt from the previous attempt that most work there will be overshadowed by the crystal-work.

Muscles 2.0

Tutoring 5
Skill 6
Idea 6
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Muscles 2.0

The plan is to try the same muscle structure as in the previous attempt, but in tones of purple and blue rather than red and white.  I’m not certain how it’s turning out; I only know that I’m a lot happier with how it’s looking.  Having seen a version of the translucent blue skin over muscles (albeit only a layer glaze), I think this is going to mesh a lot better, visually.

Some portions will need to be blended more smoothly – I’ve never tried blending purple to pink to light blue to white.  It’s a bit of spectrum for such small panels.

The above muscles were basecoated with Reaper’s Royal Purpleto which stripes of Reaper’s Old West Rose were added while the basecoat was still wet.  On top of that I added smaller streaks of a 40/60 mix of Reaper’s Polished Bone/Reaper’s Denim Blue.  Finally, very small touches of Windsor & Newton’s Titanium White.

I also used the 40/60 mix of Polished Bone and Denim Blue for the tendon sections on the back and front of the knees.  Still a little weird – the blue muscle tendons might not translate well, but I’m going to let it stand for now.

For anyone interested, this is the main reference photo I’m using:

https://www.123rf.com/photo_17714630_male-anatomy-and-muscles.html

Fresh Basecoat

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 6
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Fresh Basecoat

For my new attempt, I’m going to work on the ‘translucent, blue skin’ effect ahead of time by giving the musculature a purple-ish tint.  To that end, I basecoated the miniature in a 60/40 – 70/30 mix of Reaper’s Royal Purple and Reaper’s Old Rose.  On his palms and face, where the skin would be thinner, the mix leans heavily toward Old Rose, while the crystal protrusions are almost entirely Royal Purple.

I might turn the crystals blue-er, later in the process, but for not my focus remains on the musculature.

Fresh Basecoat

Starting Over

Tutoring 5
Skill 4
Idea 4
1 Comment

The stripping went well, with the only damage being that the third crystalline texture – the dirt – peeled away with the paint and primer.

Starting Over
Starting Over

Easy enough to re-apply the dirt and wait for the PVA to dry.

 

Since I don’t have any amazing progress to show, I thought I’d lay out the plan for this second attempt.  My main problem with the first paintjob was its failure to convey apparent depth between the miniature’s muscles and its skin.  With that in mind, I’m going to make a few changes:

One: Paint the musculature using reddish purples rather than reds and pinks.
Aim: To increase the sense of looking through something blue at something that will (hopefully) be recognisably red.

Two: Build up a perceptible layer of gloss varnish over the skin portions of the miniature.
Aim: To increase the sense of depth using physical gloss as well as painting techniques.

Three: Glaze over the varnish using blues.
Aim: To further increase the sense of looking through a layer of something blue.

 

These changes will probably still produce something extremely weird (as anything with translucent skin will be) but hopefully less hectic on the eye.

Trying to Reconcile the Paint Job

Tutoring 6
Skill 4
Idea 5
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The problem, I decided, was the gulf between red muscle and blue crystal.  I decided to try glazing over the muscles using blue, in an attempt to give the effect of skin even over the portions without crystal texture.

Trying to Reconcile the Paint Job

This helped, a little.  I decided to add reflective ‘spots’ on the highest parts, such as the miniature’s forehead, knee, heel, and the crystals.

Trying to Reconcile the Paint Job

While the miniature is interesting, its current paintjob fails to convey the sense of depth and dimension that translucent skin would give.  In my mind as I imagined Collux, the reflective spots would hover above the layer of the muscle very slightly.

As it stands, I’m trying to decide whether to strip the mini and try again using a different technique.

He’s being stripped.  I’ll leave him in the Dettol for a couple days, then scrub him and see how much damage has been done to the Milliput.  I used plastic cement in most of the key areas (neck being the obvious exception), so it shouldn’t be too bad?

I got some last-minute advice that soaking in Dettol would ruin some of the work done with Milliput and Greenstuff.  Instead, I soaked him for 10 minutes, then scrubbed using a toothbrush.  As expected, the pickaxe hand came off, but nothing else seems to have detached and I haven’t lost any pieces.  Onwards!

Beginning a Paint Job

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 5
2 Comments
Beginning a Paint Job

As my friend is running Collux, I asked her what colour she imagined his crystal skin being.  She said blue, and so the struggle to create something un-Smurf-like commenced.  I base-coated him in Citadel’s Kantor Blue and was immediately unhappy.

I realised what I’d been imagining was semi-translucent skin, which would in turn mean that Collux’s muscles, bones and organs would be partially visible.  The thought was so overwhelming that I dropped the project over Christmas.  When I came back to it, I produced the above replica of a male muscle anatomy over the miniature.

When I began detailing the crystals, this turned into…

Beginning a Paint Job
Beginning a Paint Job

An extremely weird effect, which I couldn’t decide whether or not I liked.  The back of the miniature was satisfactory, but the front of the miniature draws the eye in too many directions: from the eyes, to the crystalline structures, to the stomach muscles.  I decided I would have to do more work to try to pull him together, visually.

Constructing Crystal Formations, Part Two (and Three)

Tutoring 6
Skill 5
Idea 5
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Constructing Crystal Formations, Part Two (and Three)

Between the last step and this one, I used Milliput to fill gaps between the different sprue formations and the main body of the miniature.  This created a much more bulked-out silhouette.

After the Milliput cured, I went back in and started making smaller, flatter formations.  This involved sticking small lumps of Greenstuff to the mini, then sealing it off one edge at a time with the dull edge of a utility knife.  As a final step, I used the flat of the knife to compress the top.

Constructing Crystal Formations, Part Two (and Three)

The idea behind this step is to taper the crystalline portions down into a more human shape, generally following the same lines as body hair.

The hand holding the pickaxe was attached only after all the Greenstuff had been applied and cured.  Not only would it have got in the way of the utility knife used to ‘sculpt’ the formations, but it would have been too easy to break, especially as I carved away the leather bracers that would have provided extra surface area for the plastic cement to bond with.

 

Either I lost the pictures of the third step or never took them.  As the final stage of creating a crystalline survivor, I applied thin layers of slightly watered-down PVA glue to the miniature’s back, chest, and arms (again, trying to follow the same lines that body hair would in those regions).  I sprinkled dirt onto these areas, waited for the glue to dry, and sealed the miniature with varnish.

 

Originally I applied dirt onto the miniature’s legs as well, but because I chose not to make structures there with sprue or Greenstuff, the single texture looked extremely out of place.  I wiped off the dirt before any glue could dry.

Constructing Crystal Formations, Part One

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
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Constructing Crystal Formations, Part One

I decided to create the illusion of crystal formations growing from a survivor’s skin using three stages, the first of which involved clipping and carving spare pieces of sprue.  I did this using an utility knife, going through about two blades in the process.

Constructing Crystal Formations, Part One

Throughout, I concentrated on two things: the first was creating an interesting silhouette from various angles, while the second was varying the size and shape of the crystalline outcroppings.  I didn’t want to create anything too uniform, as the photos I found during research emphasised how jagged and uneven crystals tend to be.

Constructing Crystal Formations, Part One

A cheeky outcropping pointing forward rather than back, added both to hide some of my Milliput work and also to bring the larger, jagged crystal-work around to the front.

Start, Part Two

Tutoring 6
Skill 4
Idea 4
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Start, Part Two

I didn’t see until I’d already started that the Intimacy Male has several mould lines in his chest, intended to fit his odd neck cape.  I filled these using Millput, as well creating more natural lines over his shoulders.

A hand (the one that will indicate his use of Acid Palms) was attached.  This took a long time to get right, as the angle was rather more acute than the miniature piece intended.  Plastic cement melted the two pieces together and more Milliput was used to smooth and strengthen the join.

I spent a lot of time looking at crystal formations in order to figure out how to represent ‘crystal skin’.

https://www.tripadvisor.ie/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g298303-d12231792-i249152265-My_Crystal_Museum-George_Town_Penang_Island_Penang.html

https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-is-a-geode

http://neelchooksi.com/spiritual-jewellery-2/rose-quartz-crystal-formation/

On his back in this photo, you can see the first crystal outcropping being glued on.

Start

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 6
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This project began because my friend and I run a pair of twins in Kingdom Death: Monster named Pastor and Collux (see what we did there?).  At first they were identical in every way, including both managing to get Acid Palms without dying.  Then, Pastor got a metal jaw.  Shortly after Collux became a Crystal Skinned survivor and could no longer wear armour.

They’ve survived the entire campaign together, but neither have miniatures to represent them in-game.  I decided to change that.

Start

The first step was to make a pair of twins.  This was easy with Pastor, as he could be built using the KD:M armour pieces.  Collux was a lot harder as I’ve already used most of the unarmoured survivor pieces.  Also, I wanted him to be extremely distinct from other game miniatures – as close to no armour as possible.

I remember looking around, seeing the Intimacy Couple and thinking, I am never going to build those.  So, off with his limbs!

I chopped off the original arm nubs and head.  I also chopped off the ‘neck’ of the newly-chosen twin head.  I then drilled two holes: one into the neck and the other into the base of the head.  Using a piece of paper clip, I attached the two an appropriate distance apart and filled the gap using Milliput.  This step took two applications – one to get the bulk of the neck, the second to create a smooth surface.

The arms were easier: I chopped off the shoulder joins, scraped off the leather bracers, and pre-prepared which hands I was going to apply later.  Before I glued the arms on using plastic cement, I dry-fit and perfected the fit of the hands.