By Jason C. Gares
Social media without a doubt has brought the world together, bringing people closer like never before. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful and talented people through social media networks; one of those people is the very talented sculptor Jason “Spyda” Adams. Haven’t heard of or know who Jason “Spyda” Adams is? Son of famed comic book artist Neil Adams, Jason went in a different direction with art and paved his own way by becoming a sculptor. While Jason is also a very established pencil and ink artist in his own right, his real talents are in his sculptures and garage kit creations. His artist profile on his website further describes who he is very well; “Jason Spyda Adams is a self-taught sculptor from NYC. His work has spanned from fine art to special effects makeup, toy sculpture, and just about any field where 3D modeling applies. His anatomy studies and lessons have been acclaimed by the best in the business. Recently, his own book “Spyda Creations, A Study of Sculptural Method” was published, offering a way of studying sculpting that was never offered in schools. While he continues to work in the licensed sculpture industry, his real passion is the time he spends on his own creations. With these sculptures, he can apply his strongest theories of sculpture. Jason shares his passion on sculpting; “Strong anatomy and to make a piece that holds its composition from any angle you look at. In fact, a sculpture may reveal more of the story as you turn it around, or walk around it. Anything else may just be done as a drawing or painting where you are forced to view it from one angle. A sculpture has the greatest ability to draw you in, and tell you a story and to make you feel movement and action. The pleasure of doing the work comes from delivering these things, not in just making a statue that looks like something recognizable.”
Getting back to social media, Jason and I became friends through Facebook and decided that I should do a build and paint-up of his new kit Tournament Challenge. Here’s some background on the model kit from his website; “Tournament Challenge is the third addition to the Tournament Series. What started off as a singular conceptual sculpture has grown into a storyline of its own and will be part of a series of characters in a comic series by Spyda Creations. These dino riding babes will have a story to go with them. Not that they need a story. Each is designed with a composition of its own and as a model kit; there are lots of details and room for your own imagination while painting them up. Tournament Challenge is in the same scale as the other Tournament kits. 1/10 scale with 13 resin parts and 2 lengths of chain. A brass rod is cast inside the spear pole for assured sturdiness”.
After Jason and I talked for a while on Facebook Instant Messenger, he decided to send me a copy of his Tournament Challenge resin model kit, as he wanted to see what I could do with it. I was up for the challenge and had an idea of what I wanted to do. I had a very unconventional way on how I wanted to approach this subject. So sit back, grab your favorite beverage and cozy up to this tale of how thinking outside the box and having fun with model kit building and painting can get you results that you never thought were possible.
I waited for about a week to receive the model kit and when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed. It came with four-color artwork on the outside of the box and was very well packed. The large pieces were protected by bubble wrap, while the smaller parts were in small zip-lock plastic bags. It also came with an instruction sheet (mostly unheard of with a garage kit) and a signed card by Jason “Spyda” Adams that can also be signed by the artist that builds and paints the model kit. I happen to notice that the card was just the right size to fit on the underside of the base, but more on that later, as it’s time to get building.
The entire model kit is cast in a light gray resin and is very detailed. As usual with almost any garage kit, there are a few air bubbles. Two lengths of small chain are also included that will be glued to the reigns, a very nice touch. So first things first, I wash all the parts in warm soapy water and let air dry overnight. The next day I work on getting rid of seam lines and extra flash that are on several pieces, some of them are in very hard to reach areas. So I will have to use a combination of my motor tool, sandpaper, emery boards and files to get rid of them. This will be sort of a long and tedious process that has to be done carefully, especially in very detailed areas, like over the creature’s textured skin to underneath the warrior’s arms and around her clothes. The base also had a couple of issues, mostly with flash on the bottom edges, along with making sure the bottom was flat. To smooth the bottom of the base I used an electric sander, it’s quick and easy. Remember, work smarter, not harder.
I start with working on the beast. He’s very detailed, so extra care needs to be taken when sanding and filing. I have to make sure that I don’t sand any area flat unless it calls for it. I also may need to dig into areas to redefine them if the seam line goes into them. That I can achieve with either a pointed file or a hobby blade. I also noticed there looks to be some areas where the rubber mold had torn, so those areas will have to be filled in and resculpted to blend in. I test fit the lower right leg over the upper leg peg and find that it doesn’t seed properly. So I sand the peg down and grind out some resin to make it fit. I use super glue to attach the bottom leg to the top portion. Next, I glue the saddle grip to the rest of the saddle and spay some kicker on it to speed up the hardening time. Prepping the beast is now done.
Next, up is prepping the lovely (and dangerous) lady “Challenger”. I sand a little bit more in areas I thought I either missed or I thought needed more detail engraved. Once all the parts are finished to my liking, I prep areas and glue them together using super glue and kicker. This includes her right hand holding a sword, a shield for her left arm and flowing hair to be connected to the back of her head. The “Challenger” is finished.
So now I’m at a crossroad, for painting purposes do I keep the “Challenger” separate from the beast or glue her into the saddle? There will be pros and cons to both, so I really have to figure out what will be the correct choice for me. I decide that it will most likely be easier to paint her while in the saddle, so I glue her in. I made this decision because I think it would be easier to hold the beast so I can hopefully get into hard to reach areas on her easier with my airbrush. Also, it’s way easier and smarter to glue resin to resin. If I had paint on the rider, I would have to sand some of it off to glue her in, not fun. Also, by gluing her in now I can fill seams and sand them easier, not having to worry about messing up the paint job.
I move on to prepping the base so that the beast and rider can be placed on it. But first, because I think it’s not strong enough, I break off the supplied “key” tab that goes into the base and sand the area smooth. Now that the tab is off, I have to make my own “key” to make sure both the beast and rider will be secured to the base. I use a drill bit that’s slightly larger than the circumference of a wire coat hanger and drill holes through the base where both feet are planted. I hold the beast tightly into the areas where his feet seed into, take a section of a wire hanger and slide it into each hole, touching the bottom of its feet; this will give me a “guesstimate” on how long I want the wire to be. I cut two lengths of wire with my motor tool and slide each piece of wire back through the holes to check placement. I add a generous amount of black acrylic paint to the top of the wires and gently place the feet of the beast on them. The black paint on the bottom of the feet will show me where I need to drill holes so I can glue the wire into them. Once drilled, I double check the placement of both wires and when I’m happy where I think they should be, I glue the wires into both feet. I place the beast back on the base, sliding both wires through the holes past the bottom of the base. I purposely cut extra lengths of both wires, as it’s always good to have more than less. In my opinion, it’s easier to take away than add to. The extra amount of wire shows through the bottom of each hole. I paint each wire up to the bottom of the base so I know where to cut them. I use the cutting wheel on my motor tool and cut the excess away and a little extra for good measure. Lastly, I test fit the placement of the wire and viola, both wires stop just short of each hole. But it’s not yet time to glue the beast and rider into place, as I’m at a point that painting needs to start.
To make sure both the rider and beast are set in place while painting, I bring out my trusty paint board and drill two holes through it so the wires can seed into them, giving me a sturdy platform to work on. I place the board on a homemade “lazy Susan” I built and proceed to spray on Badger Airbrush Stynylrez gray Primer all over. I’m not yet ready to paint them any further, so I put them off to the side. I turn my attention to the base, which represents a sandy terrain with a muddy cracked Earth look. But if you might imagine, I have different plans for the base. I prime the base, with the same primer as used on the rider and beast, then airbrush Wicked Colors Wicked White over the primer in areas I wish to highlight and glow. Glow, but why you may ask? Because, instead of a barren wasteland of sand, I’m going to recreate lava flow that’s cooling as it’s moving. In between the cracks will be hot glowing lava, as-well-as between the layers of sand. To achieve the lava glow, I use ComArt Opaque Dinitrile Orange & Opaque Deep Yellow in between the cracks and layers of lava flow. I then highlight areas with ComArt Transparent Bright Red. Next, I drybrush and airbrush Ceramcoat Black all over the base to give the look of black charcoal. To achieve the look of lava that’s cooled into black glass, I drybrush AK Interactive Xtreme Metal Dark Aluminum all over the black paint. The look I wanted has been achieved, the base is now complete.
Moving on to the “Challenger” and the beast, I decide to begin painting the beast first. This is pretty much a run of the mill paint job using several different types of paint brands and green colors to get the look I wanted. Using an airbrush for the beast’s skin colors, and brushing on a transparent black wash over that, more details pop out. I continue by airbrushing ComArt Black on areas I plan to have pre-shaded or metallic. I then clean up all the black wash with both a brush and cotton swab dipped in plain water. Lastly, I drybrush different green hues randomly all over the beast’s body and head to give the appearance of varied skin tone and texture.
I continue the painting process by airbrushing copper on the beast’s helmet and weathering it slightly. Next up, is to give the bags and saddle a basecoat of light brown and the teeth, tusks, belly and nails a couple light coats of ivory. ComArt Bone Flesh and Opaque Raw Umber are lightly airbrushed over each other on the beast’s nails, teeth and tusks to achieve a warn dirty look. Black is also lightly airbrushed on the bottom of its feet and around the edges of its toenails so that it looks like it’s been running on the cooled lava glass. I color in the eyes with ivory and paint in the pupils. All the leather receives several light layers of black acrylic dry brushed over the basecoat of light brown to make it look more warn and used. The beast’s belly gets a light yellow color added along with a black wash to bring out more detail. I mask off both shields using painters tape, airbrush on a AK Interactive Xtreme Metal Black Base and follow that up with Xtreme Metal Duraluminium. To make the shields look warn, I add a couple washes of Ak Interactive Brown Enamel Truck Wash and wipe away. ComArt Dark Rust is lightly airbrushed on to complete the desired effect.
I move to the “challenger” rider and apply several thin base coats of Xtreme Metal Aluminium all over areas where there naturally would be skin, as I’m going for more of a robotic look than humanoid. Then I continue with what she has on for clothing with dry brushing on both Ceramcoat Ivory and Autumn Brown, and then add Ceramcoat Dark Brown over that. Moving to her hair, I drybrush on a base of Ivory and add light purple over that. Getting into more detail painting, her headband gets painted gold as well as the hilt of her sword. Her shield and sword get painted silver with transparent blue highlights. Eyebrows, eyelashes and eyeliner are painted flat black, her lips dark red and her eyes ivory with no pupils. All accessories are primed and are colored matched with the rest of her gear. Lastly, I airbrush on light coats of ComArt Transparent Blue and Purple all over her body to make her silver skin look more weathered and robotic in appearance. To finish off this piece I airbrush on light spurts of ComArt Transparent Black all over the beast to dirty him up a little more. I sign the card supplied that was already signed by Jason “Spyda” Adams and glue it on the underside of the base. I’m done!
From the very beginning I had decided that I wanted to paint this piece outside of the norm, taking inspiration from Heavy Metal Magazine and other science fiction subjects. Never be afraid of what others may think of your creations, make yourself happy and enjoy all aspects this hobby has to offer. Be inspired and create something great! Thank you for reading and subscribing, MODEL ON my friends!
This build will be entered in the figures greater than 75 mm category.
-Jason C Gares, owner of Video Workbench Productions