Monday, 5 June 2017

Smurf Soccer! Some test pieces

Now, aside from all the other smurf goodness, I had been tempted for some time to get enough of the various soccer smurfs that were put out over the years by Schleich, perhaps the McDonald's ones if they were of a similar scale and some of my old Kinder ones, with some Schleich headswaps.

I gave up on that idea when I saw there was a complete soccer team with management and supporters put out by Edeka as a promotional item and that I could get them fairly cheap (15 figures posted to my door for under £10 seemed like a bargain compared to the Schleich ones). They are about 4cm tall, which is smaller than the schleich ones, but should work out better to make them look more like miniatures and less like toys.

Downside: they are of the smurf movie variety and I hate that look. So I set about trying to convert two of them to the classic, more cartoony smurfs, as a test. The first steps were to resculpt the eyes and eyebrows and fill out the brows for a more rounded head. The one with the open handpalms also had soms greenstuff applied to the fingers to make them more cartoony. The back of the heads had some lettering ("CE" and "(c) Peyo") that I also had to get rid of.

It's then that I noticed that these smurfs aren't in fact sculpted to be soccer smurfs, but rather repaints of regular smurfs. Since I already converted the heads, I decided to go a step further. I sculpted the edges of the shorts legs and added socks on one of them. I decided to leave the other one without socks to see if this step is really needed, as if this project goes forward, I'll be doing at least 22 + bench sitters and extras.  I got lazy and decided not to do the sleeves and just paint those on as they would be rather tight anyway. Finally, I went crazy and added the metal spikes to the sole of the raised foot, something I'm sure I'll regret when I do the others. 

That left me with these:

They looked ok, but only a lick of paint would reveal whether the conversion worked. I decided to go for players from two different teams (which also allows me to do half of them in socks if I'm so enclined, instead of all of them). Generally soccer smurfs tend to be depicted with a little shield on their breast, so I reproduced that here. I initially did them without any blacklining, but towards the end I felt they needed it to make them pop a bit more. The blue I used is darker than the original blue they came in, but pretty close to the Schleich blue, so, I don't know if it's good or bad. Also, the "10" on the back of the red one is seriously off-center, so I'll have to redo that lest it will drive me crazy. Overall though, I think the conversion worked, they no longer look like the movie version and aside from the fact they are smaller, they could pass for Schleich smurfs I think.

 A side by side of the originals and painted conversions:

Now this leaves me with a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand they ended up looking pretty good I think, but there was a lot of conversion work, so I could have stuck with my smaller metal versions and converted those instead.

They have the advantage of being rather cheap (for £20 to £25 I could probably get 3 teams worth and some extras) and being plastic, they are easier to cut up and create different poses. I also don't feel I have to be as neat or use highlights and shades on these, which is a timesaver. My metal ones would be harder to convert, but would open the option to do one team, cast them and use different heads, including perhaps a black smurf team. The smaller size would mean the field could look bigger too. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, 15 May 2017

Smurf Wars: Smurf Racers... A Lucky Find?

It's purely by accident I wandered into one of the local toystores and noticed a couple tiny smurf diecast cars to the side, which seemed about just right for my Smurf Wars project. Naturally I had to buy them and research the range when I returned home. Apparently these were a 2013 release (no doubt dusted off with the release of the new movie) and as such no longer in production. I still managed to find a place online that had a few sets left, so I snapped them up. They are called "Die Cast Racers", not to be confused with larger scale equivalents that go by other labels.

There are 5 variants. One is a seriously underscaled Gargamel with Azrael, but I figured it would convert nicely with some of my smurf heads and some greenstuff to get rid of the "evil" look. Or I could add a black smurf as the driver and leave the car as is.

Here are a few examples with a size comparison to my metal smurfs:

And a comparison of the heads. They are very close in size, though the plastic heads aren't looking to good from the front.

Since I had spares, I decided to have a go at beheading a couple to see how they would look with some of my metal heads. I think they look good (note that Smurfette's head isn't sitting well currently because I didn't remove some excess hair volume for a better fit yet.

Not sure what to use these for. As extra smurf civilians perhaps, driving some of Handy Smurf's inventions. Or maybe add a new "racing" minigame to the project called "Smurfy Kart". That could be fun...

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Smurf Wars: Black Smurf and Uninfected Mastercastings

Some more mastercastings, this time of some uninfected smurfs to fight back against the black/smurf purple smurf plague with the antidote that Papa Smurf came up with.

Here we have a male smurf body and a smurfette body with the antidote. Some of the heads to be used with these were shown here.

The recent, angry heads destined to be used for Grey Smurfs can also double up as black/purple smurf variants:

Here is an example of the "grey" Papa Smurf head on a new black smurf body variant, which will work just fine with the right paintjob.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Smurf Wars: Fighting Smurfs

Some more metal mastercastings for some fighting smurfs with makeshift weapons. These can serve as rebel smurfs in the Smurf King conflict or as "good" (regular) smurfs in the Grey Smurf menace. These are armed with a wooden sword and shield, a wooden hammer and a broom.

They are to be used with the shouting heads from the bottom row here, though of course, some of the other heads (sad head, surprised head) might also work:

No proper (spear and shield armed) grey smurf bodies in this batch yet, but we do have the first few "angry smurf" heads that will work for them (and for Grouchy of course):

Monday, 6 February 2017

Smurf Wars: Smurf Villager Mastercastings

No new paintjobs but here are some picturesof mastercastings of some more smurf villager bit.

Smurf heads. 
The top row are a sad smurf, a surprised smurf, a laughing smurf and a Papa Smurf character head.
The bottom row are shouting smurfs. These should work well as "good" fighting smurfs too (as in opposed to "evil" grey or black/purple smurfs, which will get more angry expressions).

The Smurfette. One body, five headvariants (you can tell the sculptor has a soft spot for her). From left to right, they are smiling, sad, angry (grey Smurfette), laughing and surprised/shouting.

Then a Jokey Smurf or Greedy Smurf body with accessories (jack in the box, packed present or smurf cake). The head is the laughing head from higher up, just loosely stuck on for the picture.

Some assorted bits and weapons to be used with other Smurf figures:

Monday, 2 January 2017

Lucky Luke: Daisy Belle (work in progress)

The next addition to the Lucky Luke project was quite unplanned. I accidentally found the Lemax christmas ornament "River Belle" and thought it could work with the project,
As an added bonus, it has a passing resemblance to the Daysy Belle from the "Boat race on the Mississippi" album. Not quite the same, but close enough.

Here it is straight out of the box with the christmas lights still attached and a couple (to be stripped) Atlas Lucky Luke figures for scale. As can be seen, the ship has the same undersized but with exagerated details thing going as the vehicles and houses in the Lucky Luke range, which gives it the right cartoony feel.

The main downside of these Lemax pieces is the material. The body is made from a type of ceramic that holds reasonable detail, but can't really be modified much and weighs a bit more than your average resin piece.

I went to town on it and started stripping the christmas lights (and the inside batteries ans stuff). I also noticed that the plastic railings and resin details were glued on with heavy handed doses of hot glue, so those had to come off too, to be cleaned and reattached after painting. I couldn't get the steering cabin loose from the main body, despite using liberal doses of Aceton on the glue, so had to pry out the pilot and will have to make sure the replacement I make for him is not too big can be put back in.

The detail bits. I'll leave off the benches and passengers. These are actually perfect 28mm scale for once (most of the time, the Lemax figures are 40mm and up), so they will be put away for later use in IHMN/EOTD Victorian games.

So here's where we are now. Another look of the stripped down Belle with some Atlas Lucky Luke figures. Next step will be to do something about those christmas wreaths attached to the sides (although the material being so hard to work with, I may just paint them as they aren't too conspicuous) and fill in the gaps in the upper deck planking where I removed the benches. Also need to remove the moulded "River" and replace with "Daisy" for the name.

I'll also need to convert me a Captain Barrows to go with it too. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Smurf Wars: Black Smurf n° 1

Meanwhile, my sculptor buddy converted a first black smurf from a casting of the original smurf, which was promptly moulded and a casting was stolen diverted to be painted. Here he is in all his glory:

Seen here next to the original smurf:

And a small, comic book style, preview of the attack of the black smurfs!
Dun dun duuuun....!