Monday, July 28, 2014

The Drawing Board: Concepts for Conversions and How I Approach a Project Initially

TJ here and you are all either going to love or hate this post because it is filled with a bunch of crappy doodle I have been making in my notebooks during the less productive moments of meetings. Now normally, I would never post anything like this, but I did get an e-mail recently that asked me how I come up with my conversions and if I just endlessly peice plastic parts together until I find the right look or if I am some kind of natural ... I don't really do either. In order to come to an idea like the angry robot above, I first hit the drawing board and see what comes out of it. Let's take a look at the process.

So it all usually starts with an idea and some kind of bored doodles. At this stage I am only slightly familiar with the models and the idea to do a conversion has just struck me. I prefer to get the doodles out before I take a real look because I want to have pure ideas about posing and positioning that I really want, without worrying or being influences by the model's design. As you can see, the drawings are absolutely terrible at this point, hahaha! At this point though, I am considering the feasibility of using the Imperial Knight kit and the Lord of Skulls to make two models by doing some kit bashing. If I decide I like it, I will research and continue.

And I did a little research between meetings one day, just looking at the kits and came back to doodle this pic above ...

Which led to a severe interest as the idea officially became "cool" in my mind. So, I wrote a blog article and got some good inspiration from my talented friend Kraut Scientist. Armed with a better idea of the conversions already done and the way the kits can be connected, I drew a basic concept. This concept is not posed and simply is designed to give me a sense of overall look. Essentially this is more like the blanks people use to make color schemes for their Space Marines online. I also outlined where I want certain filigree that I will have to create with plasticard and green stuff. I also get an idea of where I want chevrons and freehand work.

After that, I got excited and played with poses, I want a running-ish pose (as much as a titan can do so). I want the model to look like a giant berzerker having just swung that huge ax, ready to deliver a couple of shots to the next target before taking more skulls. This is basically the final I will use when I start posing the actual bits together. At this point, I am committed to making this model a reality. The last drawing I made was the one at the top of this post, which is motivation. I want to now see this model on the field with my Khorne Thunderwolves I made back in 2010.

But that leaves me with the other sketches of what to do with the remaining bits. A half titan and a half LOS leaves me with a convincing Kaban Machine as KS suggested. It also gives me a chance to make a Nurgle LOS conversion, which could be pretty awesome. The final doodle makes me pretty happy for now. With it made though, I started doodling the possibilities that could be realized with the kits.

The first doodle was this terrible Night Lords idea with defiler claw legs. I put this up here to demonstrate that for every good doodle I have, there are like 10 or more terrible ideas, which is why the process exists; to make better models the first time I touch plastic.

Next I made a more practical profile of how the legs should scale with the model and what it could look like. It can work, but I am not at all convinced or exited about doing this right now. It will take better ideas to make this a reality. So ... back to the drawing board here.

Next I thouht about the tanks bottom of the LOS and what I would do with it if I used the titan half for another titan ... I started laying down ideas to make two battle wagons out of the bottom using some ork bits I know I have. I think I could also make a pretty sick land raider with the bits. Hell, if I wanted to resurrect the Khorne counts as wolves, I could probably jury rig a flyer or two out of the bits! This idea has much more development to come.

The latest doodle revolves around using the Maulerfiend body, titan legs and some assortment of crafted arms to make a Slaaneshi themed Noise Knight of some sort. I would create a ton of extra filigree, add a lot of flair and maybe even a huge Eldar sword from the Wraith Knight. Who knows, this may be the start of a Knight army themed on Chaos concepts, but I am not sold on the idea ... just interested.

That is it for now. Hopefully it was somewhat interesting to see inside how I make models from the concept behind the actual purchase and creation. Maybe I just entertained you with my terrible doodles. In any case, I now turn the pen and pad to you; how do you create a concept? Do you just go from idea to plastic and hobby knife? Do you ever doodle out ideas? How do you go from concepts to reality?


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing -- those sketches are far from terrible, in fact: They really give us an idea of your creative process, which is very interesting!

    Most of the options you explore in your sketches seem rather sound and interesting to consider -- with one notable exception: In all cases I have seen online, the Lord of Skulls head combined with an Imperial Knight torso always looked exceptionally terrible -- trust me on this ;)

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing where this project is headed! :)

  2. Thanks KS. I agree on the LoS head on the Knight body. I think this is going to be a great project. I am still going through the back and forth of what to do with the rest of the model, wut we will see.

  3. Am I the odd one? I never plan/sketch anything out. I just sorta see what happens when I put this here, that there, and smash some green stuff around here, etc.