Step by Step: The Last Light, part 1

by Roman aka jar

Hello Miniature friends,

a lot of things happened after I returned home from Cologne, from the Games Day Germany 2013, where I have won the Slayer Sword and Diorama Gold with my entry called "The Last Light".
Well I was surprised, happy and shocked and I again want to say my biggest thanks to everybody who took his/her time to say congratulations in my direction.

First and most important: I have been on holidays after the 3 month "extreme painting session" on this project and regained some energy to sit here again, typing and throwing words and thoughts into the jungle. Honestly I feel a little scared now diving back in this pool of Alien slime, claws, chainswords and Marine poo, but some things have to be done :)

"Sic parris magna"
Sir Francis Drake

1. General Preposition
2. Personal Preposition
3. Step by Step - the Introduction
4. Material Organisiation
5. Building up the scene

end of part 1

1. General Preposition
From the early beginning on this project - let's say it: so far my biggest, most time consuming, most money consuming, most sanity consuming project ever - I planned to write a big article about it. Right now I am sitting here in front of my computer, looking at the whole project with a distance that feels healthy I try to write down how this idea grew from the start and I want to invite you on this journey with you if you really want to follow deep down into the valley of my soul ... where insanity found me, wrestled me down and left me whining, grinding and fighting ...

Right now I am looking at 694 photos I have done during the project time for this article. Holy shit!
Seems like I have to work on this project all over again ... ahhh no!!! :D
Ok, seeing the facts I can tell you this will come in several parts (collected in the end), will take its time and has to run beside my daily life. Please remember, writing such a big article is a lot of work and I don't do this for me, I do it for you, for our readers and all those figure lovers around the globe.
So please remember:

If you like what you can find in the jungle
and appreciate the time and effort we put in
you can support the jungle via the donation button,
 big thanks to those who did in the past. 

2. Personal Preposition
Games Day. My thoughts behind these two words. This was my fourth visit to a Games Day so far in my life. I have been to a german one somewhere around the year 2000 as a visitor while I started to paint some gaming miniatures. Memories. In 2011 I was taking part in the Golden Demon Competition for the first time with a comissioned diorama I had to take to Cologne to hand it to the comissioner and was happy to be awared with a bronze demon. In 2012 I entered the competition again with a diorama and was awarded bronze. So far so good. Somehow I knew so far I did not yet give all I can and I also knew that someday I want to give all I can.

I am somehow not the biggest fan of the Golden Demon competition when it comes to the painting competition itself. There are many other events outthere which I have visited before and enjoyed them all much more because of the free judging system (everybody who deserves a medal gets one) and the more relaxed overall situation between the painters. You really can feel that during other events, like Monte San Savino Show, Painting Crusade, Duke of Bavaria, etc.

The Games Day itself is one day full of friends, people, miniatures, action and way too less time to really enjoy it all deeply. Sure I did enjoy every Games Day I have been to so far, but I prefer the events that are held in 2~3 days where you can really spent the time together more intens with friends,  a cold bee and time.

This year I told myself: Give all you can and push as far as you never been to, but not with the goal to win something. That is my golden rule. Why you might ask? I can tell you. Everytime in the past when I started a project planned to take part in a competition I somewhere got stuck in my own demands. I lost motivation already when having great ideas in the past when it comes to preparations for Golden Demon. I have no idea why. Maybe I just love to paint with freedom and less pressure. This time I set my own goal like that:

I want to create a project where people who look at it will say:  
You are mad!

Sure, I had to finish it in time to present it at the Games Day, but I did not set myself a goal of winning a trophy as this can lead to really bad characteristic misbehavior if you are not rewarded as you wished and aimed for. So my goal was simple. Going crazy. Making people say I am mad. I knew I could do that and found my idea in an old wooden root piece that stood in the studio for ages. Great crossover to start the step by step now, isn't it?

One thing: You might wonder why there are photos of sunsets in between the article. During the time of the project I saw many sunsets during work and most of them were truely beautiful so I took a photo of them and somehow they are a part of this project. Kong Fu stuff I guess. Just don't mind about them ...

3. Step by Step - The Introduction
I can promise one thing for sure: I will forget one or the other step in this step by step as 3 months of around 400+ hours took their toll. Please don't see this article as a step by step where I explain how I did paint the teeth of Tyranid numero 23 as this kind of article is quite impossible with a project where 127 Figures are used. This article is more a sum up on my thoughts before, during and after the project and shows the work I have done in a chronologic order. For sure it will look detailed on different things, but that I will also have to find out while sorting those photos ...

Ok, I was talking about an old wooden root piece ... let's find a decent photo of it:

I only found this one, gna! You can see the wood piece already glued to the socket. Just look at the wood piece now to be able to follow my thoughts.

Some said to me that they truely can see that I was inspired by the movie "Day Z" with this diorama. Guess I will never be able to put these thoughts out of the people's head as I did the project during the time while that movie was playing in theatres, but I wasn't ...

I had many ideas with that wood piece during the two years it was standing around in the studio and I was sure never to cut it in pieces. While my thoughts wandered to the plans of a Games Day Projects I really had not in mind to use this piece. I was more up to do as many entries I could finish but then Raffa said to me why not do one entry with all the energies you can come up with. I was thinking about that and pretty quick the wood piece came back in mind. My first idea for the wood piece were a thousand dark souls fighting eachother to reach some kind of magic light on top ... now I switched that idea to the universe of Warhammer 40K and came up with a big fight between Blood Angels and Tyranids. The one on top had to be an angle as I am pretty connected to the angel-topic as I did many, many, many Angel drawings in the past of my life - they all are connected to my girlfriend, my love and hard times we had to get through together:

Angels, cool. So far so good with that idea, but where to start now.
I had to make some sketches about my idea and write down what material I might need. So I did:

4. Material Organisation
So the first goal was to buy some material. I knew I might need many Tyranid models so I checked ebay first and bought many via bids, some already painted. Additional to that I had to buy a Cybot, a box of the Blood Angel Death Company, one box of the Sanguinuis Guard and in the end came up with buying additional 4 boxes of Tyranids. I was lucky to find some cheap Marine parts from a friend, a Liktor was given to me as a donation by my friend Peter and some Nids from Bene which he still had at home. I collected the rest from my limited Space Hulk Box and I thought: Oh shit! This is some kind of expensive project and already felt that I am in too deep to decide for something else. Organising all that took me several weeks and I still had to order more Tyranids during the work on the project.

I sorted the pieces somehow and made ready for preparing the scene, while friends told me I should already start with removing mould lines on the models, haha ... yes I was really looking forward to that, but I knew I would work totally different on this project like others would start with. With glueing the project together I would do a sketch of a big paintwork that has to come, so removing mouldlines would make more sense during the process as many of the Figures would not be easy to spot maybe in the end. That is what I thought and did ...

I also had to get hold of a socket that would fit into the Games Day rules. I had 30 centimeters in every direction and I was thinking about doing a round socket. The only thing that made me sad was the height limitation. I knew the socket had to be pretty small in height and I would love to have a bigger one, a massive one for this project. Thanks to a friend I was able to get hold of a round socket, but thought round is too boring for me and took a saw to make the wood piece stand out more when it was seen with the shape of the socket. And it was glued with PVC glue ... at this point I still had no idea where this will lead me in the end but I knew I would do it ...

5. Building up the Scene
In this part I want to show you how the overall picture grew and grew. I hope everybody can follow this. I am not sure. It is not very common I guess by glueing so many figures together and I already started to lose my sanity as my fingers glue together from way too much superglue. As said before I removed mould lines and cleaned the figures while I was glueing them together to not lose too much time in preparing an area which won't be visible in th end.

I used some structure paste and started very shy to place one alien after the other. Still no idea where this will lead me. Just had my vision in my head and heart. It really felt like making a sketch in real for a painting canvas.

a shy start...
Shyness was gone soon and I had my fun with more and more Aliens. My fingers already had a second skin at their fingertips, an armour from superglue :D

Above: Brother "Air" Aurrellius - master in the technique of standing on top of air

 Got to break ya neck!!!

During the build up already first connections between different characters started to grow. This alien was looking at this Marine, ready to charge. Another sees its pray and shouts, while Marines stood their ground no matter how bad they have been wounded. It grew and grew and the days went by. 

+++ Incoming Vox Message: // "Seargent Beliarus here, Sir!  Looks like we got a problem, alien scum is overrunning our position in masses but I got one of these suckers!!" // cchhzzzzz ... brrrbbb ... end of Vox Message +++

Even last years exclusive Games Miniature was used in here, but slightly converted to a member of the Death Company, isn't that ironic seeing those grim brothers in this situation?

The monstrum on the table, screaming for more time consuming work ... and superglue on my fingers! 

Soon I realized those many colours will make me mad and I thought about priming it in between, but knew this is stupid. I went on and realized quick in needed more and more Tyranids. These were ordered right away to have them at hand when needed. Mass Production ... my brain already a mess.

Believe me, when I say that beside Demonettes I know Tyranid models now by heart ...

Even the smallest Aliens have the right to be in the project ... more superglue needed!!

I really enjoyed exploring those little stories between several models by myself and added more detail here and there when it was needed, but I knew I had to take care of not losing the overall picture. While friends were saying that they can not imagine how I will paint this in the end I already decided for myself: I will paint most of it as one big canvas. All glued together, but decided to take out several Marines for individual painting. Everything around their legs still looks pretty rough but I knew that they won't be visible well enough in the end to see this madness.

I was still not finished with glueing figures to their spots but decided I need to start with adding some additional alien slime material in the areas that were close to finish. I did put PVC glue on a wood piece and added drops of superglue to it. After a little while you will recieve a slime effect with the mixture of these two sorts of glue, which I did put on areas to make them more slimy. Still no idea where this might lead me, but I went on.

I also cleaned up one area at the socket which had to look good and clean in the end. I used plastic card and filled the gaps with cork pieces.

I already made first sketches of the figure of the Angel on top. It was important to me to see where he would be placed and it helped to plan the Tyranids better. I had to this for the dynamic movement of the pieces to not lose the overall composition:

I planned to use the wings of on old Tzeentch model for the angel and knew there will be a lot of conversion work to be done. I was just happy that I found them in all this plastic mess my table has turned to ...

So far, this is it from part one of the article - I hope you enjoyed it so far.
Stay tuned for part two, which is already in preparation where I take a closer look at the challenge in painting up the whole plastic chaos.

Let me know what you think and let me know your questions if you got some. I would be happy to answer your thoughts ...

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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