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LPS2 Round 2 - Report from Adrian Gideon

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Saladin writes:

"the figure is upside down, [falling headfirst towards the viewer] back arched, right arm outstretched, left arm out and bent at the elbow, right leg bent forward, left leg shadowed off into the distance."

The very first picture of it in progress is pretty clear.

Revision Log
30 May 2006page first published

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Adrian Gideon writes:

Norris Knutson's Annihilator "Icarus"

Norris Knutson has seen over six decades of warfare. He fought for honor in the distant worlds of the Clans. With Wolf's Dragoons, he entered the Inner Sphere and battled for and against every major power known to us. Life in the Inner Sphere was in stark contrast to the way of life of the Clans as Norris and the Dragoons had known it. The Dragoons reevaluated their mission, and remained in the Inner Sphere to protect it from predation.

Norris Knudson has victory after victory, from Halloran V to New Aragorn. But in all his victories, his proudest moment is the day his grandson Issac Knudson succeeded in his trial to become a warrior an aerospace pilot in Wolf's Dragoons. As a warrior, Norris has also seen much loss friends, family, the near-destruction of his unit Zeta Battalion on Misery. But the greatest loss Norris suffered was the loss of his grandson Issac, who died fighting the fanatical cult the Word of Blake on Epsilon Eridani.

The cold war between the Word of Blake and Wolf's Dragoons escalated over the past year, and Norris successfully competed in Trails of Position to be reinstated into active service. He claimed an updated variant of his old Annihilator and painted on it a grim mural to remind him how personal this new conflict has become.

Norris Knudson was last seen with Zeta Battalion dropping onto Mars Word of Blake stronghold on December 7th, 3067.


When we were given this assignment, the first thing I did was look through the cache of miniatures available for the contest to plan out what I was going to do. What happened next was rather weird. I experienced something that writers sometimes describe (and a "writer" is the last thing I am) the story of the Norris Knutson popped into my head as if it were being dictated to me. And at that point, there was very little else I could do. I looked over all the miniatures and played with different ideas that would work well as nose art (considering that the idea with the Annihilator would not simply be a challenge, it would be damn difficult), but in the end I could not shake off the story behind the Annihilator. I knew I had to take on that challenge, sink or swim.

The miniature comes in four parts: legs and waist, torso, and two arms.

Four parts

Although it's a decent number of parts, the default pose looks somewhere between Frankenstein's monster and the Mummy. Granted, this is one of the heavier and slower designs, but I needed something more dynamic for this miniature. I felt this would require reposing the left arm to bend at the elbow, and reposing of the right leg to put the miniature in a running pose. I did all the requisite flash trimming and filing, and then moved on to the heavy work.

The arm was simple enough. I simply allowed it to warm with my touch and bent it to the desired angle. I had to use a little bit of greenstuff to create the cowling at the elbow.

The running pose would require more work. I used a Dremel to cut the foot-plate down the middle between the feet. Then I used a hobby saw to carefully separate the right leg from the waist at the hip. Then I used the Dremel to completely separate the foot from the foot-plate and to shape the foot. Once I was satisfied with that, I cut the same leg at the knee with a hobby saw. I then drilled both pieces and pinned them together at an angle. I used greenstuff to create a cowling at the knee, and treads at the bottom of the raised foot. I pinned and glued all the pieces together.

The reworking of the miniature was extensive enough that I waited until this point to wash the miniature with warm water and dishwashing liquid. I glued the miniature to the base, and filled the base with sand, ballast, and greenstuff.

The miniature is ready to paint

Since the majority of the figure would be black, I decided to prime it black.

The first thing I did was focus on the nose art. I used Vallejo Black, Black-Red, Beasty Brown, Cobra Leather, Sunblast Yellow, Bald Moon Yellow, and White to create the background, blending from dark to light on the center of the chest.

Next, I started on the Icarus element of the mural. The colors used were Vallejo Beasty Brown, Dwarf Skin, Elf Skin, and Pale Flesh. I roughed out a sketch using Beasty Brown the figure is upside down, back arched, right arm outstretched, left arm out and bent at the elbow, right leg bent forward, left leg shadowed off into the distance.

Once I had the shape, I began to layer on the other colors until I was happy with the form. At this point, I did a rough loincloth out of Vallejo Regal Blue and Electric Blue. I painted in some hair with Black-Red, and filled in with Gold Brown and Bone.

For the wings, I wanted to follow one of the references I saw that I really liked, where the wings were a translucent orange in the face of the sun. So I stippled on feathers using Games Workshop Fiery Orange. However, I found that the effect would not work at this scale. So I painted on a framework of wings with Games Workshop Red Gore, and then stippled on feathers using Games Workshop Blood Red and Fiery Orange, and went past the framework to show loose feathers falling off into the distance. I went a step further and showed some of the feathers as if on fire; I randomly stippled on some Vallejo Lemon Yellow and White. I gave the whole section an overall yellow glaze.

Nose art

The next hurdle was to tackle the black areas. I decided on two layers of highlighting. For the first layer, I applied a mix of Vallejo Black, Dwarf Skin, and Games Workshop Shadow Grey in a 3:1:1 ratio. I set down the color pretty thick along all the edges and panel lines. I didn't need to be too careful at this stage, as I could come back later and blend back as needed.

I also took the opportunity to block in some of the red areas, using GW Red Gore: A couple bands along the arms, and a couple bands along the legs. I also filled in all cowlings, vents, and exposed machinery with Apple Barrel Pewter Gray. This gave it a distinct greenish gray, as opposed to the neutral blue gray of the black highlighting. I blacked out the weapons ports in the mural area.

Time to dull-coat the figure...

At this point, I dull-coated the miniature. I am usually careful in handling miniatures while I paint them, and any problems I encounter I can touch-up. But with this miniature, I didn't want to take any chances - so I sealed it, before moving on to the next step.