Jun 102012

My first Doc Savage on the left; new one on the right

Finally finished my 120mm Doc Savage  resin model.  Haven’t mentioned it yet, but this model is listed online as “Doc Savage The Bronze Peril”.  When he first arrived, I opened the box, looked at the pieces, and my heart sank.  Never saw a model with so much trimming and fixing needed. Lots of pinholes, several large holes.  The face looked too long;  I was tremendously depressed.

But then…  after the standard cleanup, he got his base coat.  Just gray, but it really made a difference.  With shadows now visible, the sculpt was already looking better.  So I went ahead and painted the base, then the tiki, then started on Doc.  Boots and pants first, because they’re pretty basic.  If any overlap from the other parts gets on them, easy to fix. For the boots, I used a combination of brown and black, both glossy and not.  Blended and dry brushed until I had a dark brown slightly glossy boot showing signs of wear.  The pants were black, with a pretty thorough dark brown (but lighter than the boots).  Dry brushed with a mix of brown, and territorial beige.

This is my first model to actually paint with glossy colors.  Usually, any gloss I need (like eyes) gets brushed on after varnishing the whole kit.  In this case, I was looking for a wet, swampy feel, so the snake, base, and tiki all have varying amounts of glossy paints blended in.

Wasn’t sure where to go from there.  Eventually went with the snake, because I wasn’t sure what to do with him.  Painting the snake first allowed a certain ‘sloppiness’ while experimenting with colors.  Thought he might look good as a bronze-ish python, and he turned out pretty well in bronze hues.  Then Monique pointed out the sameness of colors, and suggested the snake be green.  This sounded interesting.  First, she’s right about the colors on Doc all looking alike.  Secondly, green works on a number of levels.  In a green swampy environment, it’s believable as camouflage for the snake.  It balances well with the colors on the base.  For another first, I used a metallic green paint, and simply dry-brushed over the bronze.  Varying weights of green, with some glossy black and brown thrown in, made a very cool look.

The snake is probably where I first realized this model is far better than I gave it credit for.  The sculpt is dead-on.  It’s got that heavy-bodied snake look, where the biggest part seems to flatten out against the bottom.  The curves, spirals, how it drapes and wraps around…  all really well sculpted.  I know, the base and tiki look good too; but those were ‘background’.  It wasn’t until working on Doc that the quality of the sculpt started winning me over.

Next up, I base coated most of Doc’s upper torso in Territorial Beige.  (Yes, that color got a lot of use on this model!)  It’s a great base for the khaki shirt, but also went well as a starting point for the flesh.  Over that, the shirt got a coating of khaki.  Kind of cool, finding an actual color named ‘khaki’!  Then very lightly dry-brushed with Antique White.

The flesh is a mixture I’d made up previously, consisting of equal parts Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, and Raw Sienna.  Since Doc is tanned (Man of Bronze, you know?)  I added a bit of Burnt Umber.  It made the base color come out a bit reddish.  For dry brushing, a mild layer of flesh with brown added.  Then a very light dry brush of the original mix; flesh only.  It took some playing around to get the mixtures right, but wound up exactly what I wanted.  Far better than my first Doc Savage model.  That was one of my earliest ones, and getting the flesh right was beyond me.  The finished product was actually an off-the-shelf flesh, mixed with a metallic bronze color.  As much as I’m proud of him, this time around the flesh tones came out far better.

The hair boggled my mind.  I couldn’t settle on an appropriate color.  Looking online, it ranged from brown, to blonde.  The blonde look just wasn’t to my taste, so it became brown sort of by default.  With some highlights to brighten it up, the hair turned out decent.  Used the same mix for the eyebrows, but blended them a bit with the flesh.  Wanted them to be there, but subtle.  The eyes were a major pain.  Mainly because my own eyes aren’t so good.  I used a set of jewelers glasses, with the two strongest lenses doubled together.  (Word of warning- doing so will make the room blur and spin.  Try to keep your focus very close!)  Very small brush, white down first.  Then a circle of brown.  (Yes, Karen, I know he had gold-fleck eyes that whirled, but doing that was beyond me.)  Finally a toothpick to lay down a tiny dot of black.  Then flesh tones to clean up any spillover around the eyelid.

That was a lot of work, but it really made the ultimate difference.  Dropped a light brown wash in in the eye sockets just above the eyes, and across the mouth.  After that, the face no longer looked elongated.  With all the details done, the sculpt turned out to be excellent.  That’ll teach me to judge a model before it’s been painted.

The last few touches involved using the same light brown wash on the darker areas of the hands.  Between the fingers, inside the fist.  Made the belt mostly black, but left it looking a bit cracked and worn.  After all, if he’s trekking through the swamp, it’s not going to be all new and shiny.  Touched up a few points needed repair.  All done.

Considering that I really disliked this model straight out of the box, the end result is amazing.  There’s so much loving attention to detail in the sculpting that I just couldn’t see at first.  While he’s listed as a 120mm model, just like my first Doc Savage resin model, the scale is much bigger.  If he stood up straight, he’d probably stand an extra 1/3 taller.  This gives the artist much more room for details.  As much as the first Doc is one of my favorite models, this one turned out to be a much better kit.  For small kits, both are excellent.  Both offer iconic images of Doc, in the Bama art style.

He required more work and attention than most 120mm kits, but it was seriously worth it.  If you’re a Doc Savage fan, and don’t mind the effort, give him a go!

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