Friday, 23 June 2017

FORGOTTEN HEROES: WIPS, START TO FINISH

Strange & Darke

From a role playing point of view, Brit-Cit is a fascinating place to discover and explore. The UK`s answer to Mega City One, infused delightfully with British sensibilities: where the Judges serve in a role almost akin to `The Avengers` (the old school British ones, not the ones with the green angry guy) slink in and out of the shadows, in a sort of... right proper `Blighty` version of Judge Dredd meets Dirty Harry.

Original comic book characters are often tough to sell to an already over critical American saturated audience, particularly in a universe as idiosyncratic as 2000AD’s Judge Dredd driven world-verse. One can either spend time on an origin story which, if not the subject of a whole comic, takes up valuable pages that could be reserved for the story proper: or you can just dive into your story and have your characters reveal their natures through their actions. reacting to whatever crazy situation it is that you’ve chucked them into.

The authors of our Brit Noir duo tended to opt for the latter, introducing us to Psi-Judge Becky Darke.. just at the very moment in the story where she in turn is being introduced to Detective Inspector Jericho Strange of the Endangered Species Squad. Becky has a psychic tumour that voices both her normal mind and a disturbingly (and uncontrollable) abnormal  almost paranormal inner monologue. Making her seem at times to suffer from Tourette Syndrome. While Detective Inspector Jericho Strange is a pretty average guy... with a horse’s skull for a head, due to having been cursed after looking into an ancient occult book of dark magic.  

All very British, right?

Whilst there is an argument to say that reading DI Strange’s previous adventures first, might be more rewarding: it’s almost more fun to go into this story completely blind - as the author does a terrific job of capitalising on the particular mystery surrounding our male hero`s horse’s skull; blending a slow reveal with the unravelling main story rather beautifully.

There’s also a lovely lilt to the dialogue, with no two characters sounding the same as their voices sound in your head. The story is a tad on the ‘absolutely insane’ side, but it’s easy enough to follow... and come the end, reaches a conclusion that’s satisfying, and leaves the reader closing the book with a wide contented smile on his or her face.

The art is pretty decently top notch. Gloomy church scenes, smoky offices, blasted waste-lands (including some weirdly dangerous looking sheep) each is given a particular and precise tone that euphorically sets the mood of each. There are some great one page spreads distributed evenly through the story, and whilst the artwork is never exactly flashy, there is a terrific consistency to these cool renderings.

We decided to create this strangely iconic comic book hero and heroine for one simple reason. We wanted to include them in our Judge Dredd games, and no one was making the miniatures we needed (and I suspect never will, due to their limited `very British` appeal), so we simply decided to make them ourselves.

Strange and Darke: don't the two names just roll naturally off the tongue? They belong together as a team. Starskey and Hutch: Dempsey and Makepiece: Bodie and Doyle.... Strange and Darke! Mr Joe Average except for a frickin` horse`s white skull sitting between his shoulders where a normal human head should be, and a hot sexy Gothic chick, with an embarrassing handicap, which makes her sound like a disturbed medical patient, rather than a trained Psi Judge. 

This delicious team are simply too good a deal for any self respecting 2000AD lover to miss up on, either in their table top skirmishes, or their rpg paper and pencil games.

Hils decided to star
t from scratch, rather than convert an existing miniature. She didnt have any proper modelling clay, so she decided to do the impossible task of working from an old (years out of date) package of Green Stuff. She wasn't sure how the results would work out, so she decided to make two figures at the same time.


Thus began the slow, painstaking process of building up the wire frame, and then plopping the blobs of sticky clay onto each effigy.




But of course, it all starts with her own initial sketches.


For which she used the Brit Noir Graphic Novel itself to glean ideas from, to create some original art of her own.

Brit Cit Noir Graphic Novel Cover.


The fun bit next..... the painting.

Psi Judge Becky Darke with her legendary Soul Drinking `Doom Blade`, and two versions of Brit-Cit Judge PI Jethro Stange. Version one is him slouched, hands in pockets... looking decidedly Columbo like. With the other version he is more on the ball, Carbo Blast Gun in hand: digging deeply into his pocket with the other hand... no doubt looking for his infernal foul smelling pipe and tobacco. 


Hils don`t like using pre-made bases for her models (she says its seems lazy, after spending good time preparing a good miniature: why not go the whole hog, lol. So yeah. she always makes and bakes her own bases out of Polymer Clay).

Hils said from the start: "I wanted to get that comic book sketch like quality to the the models, `cos you don`t often see that style done with table top miniatures"



Finished... Da daaaaa!!!



)o(



Now onto meeeeee:



Stevie`s Becky Darke


I took an entirely different approach with my efforts. Starting with an old Indy Clix mini (Aphrodite I think it was), I chopped her in two and added a lower elf torso (from an old... god knows what it once was... mini), added on suitably posed arms and body accoutrements, from at least three other minis (a real Frankenstein Monster by this stage).

in her original state before being cut up lol


And then I did a total painted job on her.... and voila!  I had me a unique red head Becky Darke (complete with Doom Blade) to go with Hiller`s two different cool versions of Jethro Strange.

Old Tramp and leggy.. weird Goth, what a pair


This version sees Jethro Strange looking decidedly more sinister here, with his gun out and ready for action. Becky looks like shes saying: " you really want to mess with moi?"



Article by Steve & Hilary Gilbert


41 comments:

  1. I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT. REALLY one of the most enjoyable posts in a long time. I like how you have blended hobby, new campaign, lots of cool ideas, and then infused practical DIY to create not only a workable uniqueness, but a deliciousness in how you caught various stages of the project from conception, WIP, to finished product in such cool cataloguing, for us all to enjoy after the event. 10 out of 10 guys.

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    1. Awwwww thank you so much T hun. I really only know the little you kindly and patiently taught me about sculpting, so I am a total amateur (making terrain and painting on canvas is really my forte, as you know hehe).

      But most importantly, we now have two of the characters for our JD/Gotham crossover campaign which we really, REALLY wanted: so this gave us the incentive push we needed to get down to it and make them ourselves.

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    2. Bless you T, thank you little darling.

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  2. V--e--r--y tasty lads. Very nice indeed. You`ve come on leaps and bounds with your sculpting Hillers, fair play to you. Wow I`m still shaking my head and smiling at the idea of the subject matter you guys chose to use for this FH thing. I mean NO one would think of doing Strange and Darke, and yet if the main focus is to make usable characters in miniature (as you indeed are) and plan on using them primarily in your future games, then of course - these two are iconic additions to ANY game table and rpg. Id say you have succeeded beautifully.

    Two new unique Judge Dredd heroes. How cool is that.

    I love the Goth chick Steve. Becky D is a badly defined character in the Cursed Earth JD-verse, I think, and its good to see her get a decent airing. Plenty of scope too - to `invent` her background a bit, as she was never truly fleshed out properly by the comic book writers and artists. She comes across slightly as a bit of an Elizabeth Sherman (from Hellboy), only with a lot more personal attitude LOL. She sure looks cool (or maybe hot would suit better).

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    1. Hi Sweetie, We miss you. When you next down and able to come visit (and play some games). Thanks for the cool and positive feedback Dave xxx

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    2. Can be there in a few weeks Hillers, especially if some of that fine cooking is in the offering, mmmmmmmmmmm. I swear I go home each time, a stone heavier.

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    3. Ooo I`ll get my baking apron on then, Apples, and gooseberries and raspberries from the garden are plump and ripe, and badly NEED picking *hint hint*


      Hey, you might run into Tar in that case. She`s due to visit and stay then too. Woooot!!! Looks like some maga all night rpg sessions ahead of us then.

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    4. Truthfully Dave, I can hardly WAIT to get this duo in our games. Both table top and rpg.

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  3. Creative and beautiful job, very nicely done I must say...et voilà!

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  4. Thank you Phil. Not even close to the excellence YOU achieve, but we do strive, driven by your example of skill.

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  5. Thanks guy I have re-posted this to the Forgotten Heroes site, Have edited it slightly into two posts, one for Hil and one for Steve (didn't known Steve was entering as well) so have added you both to the participants roster.

    Really nice work on all the fig's Haven't sculpted anything from scratch for a while, but it takes me days to turn out a finished fig (even a conversion) so kudos to you Hil.

    You may get comments on the FH site as well so here's a link...

    https://forgottenheroessite.wordpress.com/

    And if you comment on the blog I will probably have to approve the first ones, then you'll be free to comment till your hearts are content.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Hi Roger, thank you so much for taking the time to do that. Sorry we didn`t mention the two of us doing this. But at the end of the day, it just seemed a nice way of sharing (as we tend to share everything). Next time I will have the proper stuff to sculpt with instead of that impossible sticky green stuff normally meant only for filling. Milliput would have worked much better. But still, it sort of worked out in the end.

      I will be sure to watch for comments on the FH site :)

      Thanks again Roger and good luck (lovely site btw).

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    2. Many thanks Hils, I'm actually allergic to Milliput so I have to use Greenstuff (though I prefer it anyway, personal choice), do you store your greenstuff I the freezer? I do and just break off an inch at a time then when I've used all of that (can be a couple of months) break off another inch and so on, I believe it's stays fresh better that way, might be an old wives tale, but it seems to work for me.

      P.S. not a problem both of you taking part, the more the merrier.

      Cheers Roger.

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    3. Cheers Roger, and thank you for all your help mate :-)

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    4. {{do you store your greenstuff I the freezer? I do and just break off an inch at a time}}

      Oh wow no I didnt know that. I will try it for sure. This was only a small blister pack (Games Workshop, years old) we had lying around. Must be over ten years old I think. But I will try your advice out next time for SURE. This has inspired me now, and I have a mind to making all the Doctor Who team "LINDA" next time hehe.

      uugh, sorry to hear you are allergic to Milliput: what a shame :( but still, if you are happy wt green stuff, its not such a problem for you.

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  6. Awesome stuff!! Absolutely awesome!! What a corking couple of additions (three if you count both Jethro Stranges). you should be rightly pleased of such additions to your impressive collections and doubtless they'll have pride of place on your shelving :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Simon. Its sweet of you to say. Dont know about pride of place hehe, but they certainly will be used a lot in our games.

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    2. Cheers Simon, yeah they will be used a lot in forthcoming games, that`s for sure.

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  7. What a great subject for your forgotten heros project. Love the sculpt hils both of them and the painting adds to the mood.
    Steve great conversion and painting, you've both brought such life and atmosphere to these characters

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    1. Awwwww thank you Dave. I`m really glad you liked them. Arthritis in my fingers makes it hard to do intense work like I used to (not the spring chick I was lol), but it is fun and nice to know I`m not yet completely useless hehehe. Life in the old bird yet *grins*

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    2. I would say plenty of life there, with a lifetime of experience to call on

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    3. That`s very kind of you to say Dave :))

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    4. {{I would say plenty of life there, with a lifetime of experience to call on}}

      **smiles happily**

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  8. Oh wow! Just so goooood. Well done guys, hats off Hils your sculpts just marginally pip Steves conversion to the post but it's a close run thing. Kudos guys, kudos :-)

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    1. Bless you Simon, that`s very sweet of you. I`m so glad you like them. I do think they complement each other well, and will be a blast to use and play with in our upcoming games (just wait, we have LOTS of JD planned. Simon`s Metamorphosis Alpha Barrier Peaks campaign has inspired us and propelled us on to new heights of motivation).

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    2. UUuuugh I mean Andy. Sorry sorry sorry lol *hides*

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    3. Good to see you here Andy. I hope the exams are going well. You have our fingers crossed for you mate: though I just know you`ll do great.

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    4. Thanks Steve, I staggered through the exams which were all practical and I'm on track, just a verbal presentation and final submissions of work and I'm done!

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    5. >>> Thanks Steve, I staggered through the exams which were all practical and I'm on track, just a verbal presentation and final submissions of work and I'm done!<<<<

      Well DONE mate, I deeply respect anyone who struggles to achieve academically, and you obviously put looking after your family top of the list (better education, better work prospects), and so my respect is massive. Well done mate, well done.

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  9. Wow...Those are exquisite. Hils - your Jericho Strange figures are awesome and the fact that they were sculpted from scratch (although your armature does look a little bit like 'The Saimt' sans halo...lol) makes them all the more inctedible.
    Steve - When I first saw your Becky Darke, I honestly thought it was a mimimal conversion of a GW battle sister or a WarMachine figure. The fact that it was kit-bashed from various donor figures just goes to show that if you have a unified vision of what your figure should look like and a modicum of talent, you can create wonders.

    So glad you were able to take part this year and hope you'll be joining in again next year. Obviously, I'll have to up my game...hmmm...a 28mm scale Mazinger Z? That might be pushing it a bit...lol

    And I did spot your scratch-built K-9 at the periphery of the group shot. Is there no end to your talents?

    Exceptional work all round.

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    1. {{>> (although your armature does look a little bit like 'The Saimt' sans halo...lol) <}}

      **Blush** I know its a bit wonky isnt it hehe. But hey Jez, I`m really glad you like them and I didnt end up making a fool of myself for even entering.

      Ooooh K9, THERE he is, I was looking for him so I could finish him. LOL. I misplaced him a few days ago (honestly, you wouldn't believe just how many projects we have on the go right now, spread over three tables in two separate rooms).

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    2. Hey Jez, good to see you (missed you yesterday and was about to send out the posse to find you). I`m glad you liked the minis mate, and delighted (on a personal level) just how usable they will now be for our games. Meh, maybe they`re not perfect, but you know what Jez, They`re OUR kinda not perfect, and it will feel soooo good using them in our games.

      You now, at times - God I love this silly old hobby of ours.

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    3. Looks fine to me. I had considered using bare armatures as 'stick men', painted black, but wasn't sure if it would work. Seeing this, I may reconsider. Certainly it would be an easy paint job, with maybe paper faces with expressions drawn on and a few plastic weapons and shields...sort of 'Order of the Stick'

      And I did spot your other 'guest' this time too...

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    4. Yes, its something T showed me, how to use a L.S. Lowry matchstick men approach to the frame. She pointed out how you really don`t need more than the `bare bones` for the `flesh` to hang on.

      Well spotted btw *grins*

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    5. Oh yeah I never noticed K9, that is sooo cool!!

      Roger.

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  10. Oh my goodness me, what a wonderful post! I have nothing but the deepest of admiration for anyone that can tame the ubiquitous Green Stuff, moreover turn it into something recognisable! You have both managed to draw out the various character traits in your chosen subjects, but the brooding Strange with his hands thrust deeply in his pockets is sublime - jolly well done!

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    1. *holds up a hand* you should have heard her cursing as she used that green stuff Michael. Sticky as hell, wont do what she wants it to do, and impossible, she described it hahahaha.

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    2. Oh I know that feeling, wretched stuff, but now even more impressed.

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  11. {{but the brooding Strange with his hands thrust deeply in his pockets is sublime}}

    Thank you SOOOOoooo much for your kind and lovely words. You encourage me to get back to sculpting more. I honestly didn't think my efforts were good enough, and was reticent to submit even one piece (but Stevie sort of pushed me to hehe). I so nearly pulled out, as I was sure,among such amazing gentlemen out there, anything I ddi would be sadly under-par.

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    1. I am so pleased that Steve persuaded you to submit these. I think they celebrate all that is great about Forgotten Heroes month, that pure joy and satisfaction that comes from creating something truly unique; I for one can't thank Jez and Roger enough for dreaming up the hair brained scheme to begin with - it has been the perfect tonic in a decidedly difficult month.

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  12. **smiles softly at him**


    Bless you x

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