Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Project: Helmsdeep

I started miniature helmsdeep right after the Two Towers movie, cause I liked it so much. It's dark, gloomy and moody setting was an exciting scenario for me. It all began when I purchased the Uruk-Hai warriors 28mm boxed set from Games workshop. Back then it was $29 dollars now it is almost twice that price. Anyway soon after I got the inspiration to build part of Helm's deep keep. It's too big anyway to build the whole thing(got no space to showcase it.)

For the project, I used plenty of cheap left over materials like mounting boards from old school project(finally I used up all the junk from my room) . I bought some foams boards and tile grout to fill in the gaps. I took some fine sand and rocks near East Coast beach after jogging one day(got to start jogging soon). The only costly things are the acrylic paints for the whole keep.

I got the plan from someone from the web who actually build the whole helm's deep by using casting resin!(Thanks to the Grandmaster! sorry I lost the link again). Mine is a cheaper version, time consuming but much much cheaper.
The whole process took quite a long time cause I was like on and off it many times and return to completing it when I got free time. I bought the warriors of Rohan to complement the whole Helm's Deep diorama.

And yes, also during the long process of building this project, I learned to sculpt additional figures from scratch after I got some epoxy putty or green stuff to play with. I scratch build five Rohan warriors (1 archer and 4 spearmen )and 7 additional Urukhai warriors( 2 berserkers, 2 archers, 2 warriors climbing ladder and 1 Urukhai captain) to add more variety to the forces. Playing with plasticine was one of my childhood pastimes so go figure.

I also moulded the Urukhai holding spears using miliput and cast ten additional Urukhai using epoxy putty to increase the number(Remember to add talcum powder to prevent the cast from sticking to the mould). It actually works but the finished models were slightly bigger than the master.

I still havent painted all the characters and some Rohan warriors but in due time all will be done and added and posted. My Helms Deep now reside in a fishtank that someone dispose b4 Chinese New Year 2007 so most of the materials were cheap or have no cost at all. I guess that was the reason why this project took so long. Lots of looking out for cheap or free things to use.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Saying I learned from a friend:
"What things are good things? Cheap things are good things.
What things are the best things? Free things are the best things."

Project: Iraqi mosque

Well this project was inspired by a video from youtube or google, an interview of an American veteran Jesse Mac Beth from the war from Iraq. Still could not find back the video.(will link when I find it.) Anyway in the interview the American airborne ranger, claims that he and guys from his unit used to raid mosque filled with worshippers at night and opening fire on them. He claims the civilian lost in iraq were higher than reported in the media. He also claims that he alone shot and killed about 200 Iraqis and they were unarmed civilians. The Abu Ghaib prison incident is just one incident that was caught and shown all over world. Countless ones go unreported. Okay found the video on google :

After this video was released then some videos by bloggers began appearing claiming Jesse Mac Beth was a fake Iraq war veteran and that there were no proof to his claims. Was I hoodwinked and was I bamboozled? A few months later I found on youtube, a video shot obviously by an American soldier on the bombing of a mosque. Do you think this is a fake?

There are now a couple more videos on youtube on mosque raids and firefights to prove that this things happen. There is a war of propaganda going on and off the web in parallel to the actual Iraq war on the ground.

Pretty grim accounts really. Anyway I'm here just to create a diorama that reminds me and express to others that we should be grateful that mosques and other places of worship in our countries are safe to be in.

No soldiers with weapons are preparing to storm us and begin shooting at us. Be grateful there is peace for us cause there is no peace for others in countries like Iraq, Afganistan and Palestine. Does'nt mean it does not happen to us today that it will not happen to us in the future.

Okay I hope I don't scare people away with the research. Clearly this is the real deal happening and history in the making. This is the only point in history that we get a clearer insight to what's really happening in our world today without media censorship or having to wait for Hollywood to tell us the story.

Okay let's get back to the project on hand. For the design of the mosque I did not replicate a real mosque but took the basic design of many different mosques I could find in Iraq and simplified them. I finally settled down on the size and planned to place the mosque on a wooden base I got from Spotlight.

This time for materials to build the mini mosque, I purchased a cylindrical and spherical styrofoam to use as the 2 minarets and top dome of the mosque. For the tilework and and cement around the mosque, I used paperclay. The tricky part was cutting the V-Shaped pattern on the walls of the mosque which was made of layers of foamboard glue togethet by using PVA glue. I'm glad I chose this design since it was neither too simple looking or overly complicated to build.
Since it is Iraq, the ground colour have to be desert looking. So I used mostly real fine sand and added pieces of dried clay to simulate debris.
The door was made out of thin balsa wood.
The whole external colour from the building to the ground I used different mixtures of desert and sand colours(experiment the different colour combinations. After airbrushing the base colours I did lots of drybrushing to make it look more weathered.

The internal floor tiling was pretty daunting to paint. The random dotted pattern however worked I think. I also build some shoes out of paperclay and foam to be placed outside the mosque, since Muslims leave their footwear outside the doorway always.

The humvee is an old purchase I got(at least 6 years ago) Just to make it interesting I left it in the picture. Anyway this not finished yet. A couple more additions to this diorama coming up soon. Well till my next update, adios and peace to all.