Friday, December 04, 2015

Lord Gaundinzor, the hunter part 2

So last time I talked about the prototype version of Lord Gaundinzor. With the prototype I used the normal Chaos Marine legs and a Raptor Torso for the body. While this provides a solid base for the model it doesn't provide the dynamic range of motion I really want the character to convey. So I went back to the drawing board and worked to plan out the model some more. I knew I wanted to have the model showing a fair amount of motion. I also wasn't thrilled with using the multi-melta back pack. It looks less like it houses a cogitator array and more like it;s carrying a supply of promethium. So I wanted to change that as well.

The backpack actually turned out to be simpler to deal with then I first though. Just a power plant back pack from a lascannon devastator marine. I had to cut off the power feed that would normally go to the lascannon, but even this actually helps with the character of the model. The entire thing about Gaundinzor is his 'inhumanity' and 'unreal' visuals. He's a space marine so he's around the 8 feet tall mark. He's faceless, yet he can see. In fact he can see better then someone with eyes. He wear this heavy armor, yet he's a master swords man as if the armor isn't a problem at all. He's got this massive backpack, yet he doesn't fall over and pulls off moves a circus acrobat. Everything about him physically is challenged by his actions, and now he's hunting you. He is supposed to be terrifying. So I wanted to make him terrifying.

The first thing was the head. With humanoid characters the head, and more specifically the face, is a focal point for the model. It's really a human instinct, we look to the face for expressions of emotion and intent. How do you tell if someone is being hostile? Or if they're being serious? Or really any other range of human emotions for that matter? You look at the face. The face is the 'human' aspect of a model. It conveys emotion, or conveys the lack of it in the case of helmets. So there are the two options right? a face or a helmet? Well, sort of. There is one other option though in reality it's the absence of other options. This what I wanted to go with for Gaundinzor, the absence of a face. See, we're conditioned to see 'human' in even abstract objects. Don't believe me? Look at this:

It's an electrical outlet. But can't you see a face too?  The ground port is the mouth and the positive and negative ports are the eyes. Now look at the shapes of each part. The negative slot is larger then the positive while the ground port is shaped like a tunnel opening. Looking at all three elements combined produce a visual suggestion of a face making the 0.o look. This is why the helmets on space marines draw so much attention from painters. Ever tried to paint the lenses on a space marine helmet red and accidentally over paint winding up with what looks like the space marine is bleeding out of his eye sockets? Suddenly your trans-human super-solder in futuristic power armor looks like they're trying to perform a bad kabuki theater production.

But like I said, I've elected to go with a 'faceless' design with Gaundizor. That is I want to completely remove any semblance of a humanity from the face... well head. Why? Because it looks freaking creepy! What? Don't believe me? Ever see Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? Remember when Will Smith turned the sailor over who had his face sucked off by the Kraken? Admit it, you were shocked too. Why? Because it's so far removed from 'human' we have no basis of comparison to it. No eyes, no mouth, no eye brows, eye sockets, nose, cheek bones, nothing. There is just no face what so ever for us to relate to. This is why that kind of thing is so freaking creepy. Now take that image and combine it with someone who stands 8 feet tall, has armor comparable to a small tank, moves faster then any human let alone one that is 8 feet tall should be able to move, and is hunting you. You have no means to see if any thing is effecting him. Did that shot to the chest even hurt him? Will that door even remotely slow him down? Think about it this way. Imagine you are playing a video game, and you come to a big boss fight. And the boss has no health bar and makes no reaction to your attacks. You land hundreds of hits with every gun in your arsenal only for the boss to continue attacking until finally you're dead. How close to beating him were you? Were your attacks even having an effect at all? Is there another trick to beating him? You can't tell. You may have been completely wasting your ammo firing at him or you may have been exactly 1 hit point away from beating him. That's the sort of inhuman terror I want to have this model make. So what did I do to get this?

Chaos space marine Lord Gaundinzor's head, made by shaving down the front of a Tau helmet and attaching cables to the sides.
I took a Tau helmet and removed all the detail from it leaving it smooth. There are no optical components on it. No camera, no lenses, no scanners nothing to indicate where he could actually be looking. To help carry the idea that Gaundinzor doesn't actually use eyes, but rather is fed a digital manifestation of the environment, I drilled out a series of holes along the edge of the helmet mounting and inserted a series of small cables, again from  Dragon Forge. These cables will be attached to the back pack.

So next thing, showing more motion. How can I do that? Well change the model position. What space marine models typically show the most motion? Models with running legs. So assault marines and Raptor legs were what I looked at first. But the assault Marines and Raptor models didn't have the... what's the word.... the right detail level for what I wanted. So I did some more looking and finally settled on the body from the Dark Vengeance aspiring Champion.

Here's a shot of the version 2.0 along side the original prototype. Please excuse the 'cyber whiskers'. The head is attached to the back pack and effectively free-floating at the neck. I have some green stuff in there and until that dries I don't want to try and move the other cables to attach them to the backpack. So that's going to wrap things up for today.


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