Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Ping Pong" The steamjack of crushing might!

Blast from my past, I did this guy sometime back in '03 I think and was one of several Iron Kingdom themed figures I made to show off to Privateer in hopes of getting a job as a sculptor. Funny thing is is that I was already sculpting steampunk themed figures before I knew about Warmachine as I was in a D&D game that had that element in it. Steam and fantasy was a concept who's time had come but there wasn't much in the way of figures available in that genre. I think Mage Knight was the closest but I wasn't a fan of their figure production so I started to make my own. When I found out that there was going to be a new game that had all the things I was trying to do myself I got excited and started to make figures inspired by the Iron Kingdoms.
At one point I was invited over to Mike and Ali McVey's place and in his work room he had the masters for Magnus the Traitor's jacks there. After taking about techniques for sculpting armor and mecha I got inspired to give it a shot. I really liked the idea behind the mercenary mecha and I knew I wanted to make a utilitarian jack turned into a make shift war engine. I came up with the idea of a mining machine with a drill for digging and a massive claw for moving rubble. With that rough idea I went to work and just sorta free form built it.  Ping Pong is primarily made from Plastruct, brass rod and screws, acrylic spheres, brown stuff, some guitar wire and... A ping pong ball, (Which is how he got his nickname.) The head is the only part I didn't entirely sculpt and is an old Khador Destroyer head modified as I was still leaning about sculpting and wasn't comfortable just doing one from scratch. All the spikes and studs were done using a process I had never considered at the time; press molds! God, I wanted to smack myself silly after learning that and just how simple it was and how many problems it fixed. I remember the drill being an odd, spur of the moment inspiration where I glued varying sizes of plastic tub inside each other to make it solid, carving and sanding it down to a cone then heating a strip of triangular shaped Plastruct with a heat gun and wrapping it around the cone in a spiral. Don't know where I got the idea from now but at the time it was so obvious how to do it that it was spooky. I think I made him over the course of a week during the down time I had working graveyard in a porn shop, which there was a lot of. He stands just shy of a whopping 90mm which is even taller then the extreme Juggernaut I think. But, he does fit on a standard large base, so, he's got that going for him at least.
Soon after I had a meeting with the head honchos at Privateer's production site. Mike introduced me to Matt Wilson and Brian Snoddy and I showed off my stuff, Matt was kinda surprised by Ping Pong as he said he was working on something similar, some kind of warjack for the dwarven faction. Funny but it's not the first time my work has paralleled Matt's. Kelly Yeager who is head of casting joined the meeting and Mike wanted to know if the jack could be reproduced but it was a definite "No" as he was made from plastic and wouldn't have withstood the molding process, (Privateer had yet to make he push into resin so everything was metal cast.) But this guy, a new necrotech figure and a couple of concept pieces of what an Ios-ian soldier and Scorn warbeast  would look like was enough to pique Matt's interest in hiring me on at PP.
Every once in a while I look at this guy and want to do touch-ups on him. Fill in gaps, add detail or just refine him but I always stop myself since it's an example of my early work and to mess with it would ruin a reference point of my life so he stays as-is. I do get cravings to paint him too but something always comes up, who knows, maybe he will get a makeover some day.