Hey there, Seekers! Here we go again on another paint n’ glue adventure sure to teach us both some new tricks. This time around, I’ve decided to tackle Screamin’ Products Pinhead Cenobite, Hellraiser model kit. This is the ¼ scale vinyl version, and lemme’ tell ya’, IT’S BIG!! Back in 1993, Screamin’ was at the top of their game, crankin’ out highly detailed, museum quality, and here’s the big one, AFFORDABLE model kits, and the Hellraiser kits were a welcome addition to their horror series. This is my 9th column for my website but my 1st for Creaturescape On-Line Magazine so I gotta’ thank them right up front for being brave enough to host my ramblings on the subject. Had enough history? Me too, now let’s get onto buildin’ up this fine kit.
PART I: JUST GETTING WARMED UP........
And with vinyl kits, that’s not just cliché. First we’ve gotta’ cut away all the excess flashing that holds the kit parts, and to make this task less of a tussle, we’re gonna’ heat up the vinyl with medium duty hair dryer. Me? I choose the Vidal Sasson 1500 Watt Super Styler. This baby had me lookin’ fine back in the eighties, now it helps me to keep from cuttin’ my fingers off with an X-Acto knife fightin’ against stiff vinyl! Just blast that plastic with the heater until it becomes pliable, even flimsy, in your mitts and then your knife will go through it like butt-ah! So, now we have all the major pieces cut out and ready for assembly. But hold on there, Sparky, don’t reach out after that Super Glue quite yet. First, try and line up the parts to get an idea of how the parts and seams are gonna’ line up. With most vinyl kits, the lines are not perfect, especially if you were a little off with your cut job, and this kit is no different. In order to compensate for these imperfections, we once again call on our hair dryer. I’ve had a lot of success heating up kit parts prior to gluing so I can achieve a better fit. I put the Zap-A-Gap on the torso piece while heating up the arm piece to be attached. Once the arm piece is soft and pliable, I can easily get it to conform to the torso and take care of 90% of the imperfect mold issue. A couple of sprays of Insta-Set, and my arms are secure. Pretty swift, huh? However, as you can see there are still some seam gaps that we’re gonna’ have to deal with, and that’s why the good Lord invented modeler’s putty.
PART II: FILLING THE VOIDS........
Let’s round up some items we’ll be needin’ for patchin’ up those gaps in the seams. I’ve had success with Testor’s Contour Putty and Squadron Green Putty. For this job, I’m gonna’ employ the Testor’s because its tube enables me to draw a fairly fine bead of putty along the seam lines. The Squadron is a better putty, but the tube is bigger so the bead is a lil’ unruly. I’ll also be needin’ some nail polish remover and some Q-Tips to smooth out and shape the putty once it’s on the seams. So, grab yer putty and draw out a healthy bead along the lines of the arm, add some extra squirts to the big gaps, and then cap that bad boy up. Next, and this is a lil’ trick of my own (I think!) I dip a Q-Tip into the nail polish remover and use it to gently “form” the putty into the contours of the kit. Using a rolling motion between my thumb and forefinger or just dabbing gently at the putty, it will conform to the various nooks, crannies, exposed tendons, and striated muscles of the kit. There, now don’t that look better?
We just wait for it to dry a bit and then we’ll take to it with various sanding materials so that no one will ever know that those “un-seamly” gaps were ever there!! And now that we’re all practiced up, joining the two body halves together will “seam” like a breexe. Again, there are some noticeable gaps, and because there are some areas that actually require some putty build up, I use the Squadron Green Putty this time around. It has a lot more body, and is very moldable to the contours of the kit. Now we sand all this putty work with various sanding mediums, and man, I use a load of sanding stuff. For example, on this kit with all its contours, crannies, nooks and such, I needed some flexible sanding devices. My 3-M Super Fine sanding sponges are perfect for this job. But I also used a set of Premium Sanding sticks, Testor’s sanding sheets and good old fashioned 3-M 220 grit sandpaper. Now lookee there! All glued, puttied, and sanded and ready for prime time!!
PART III: ........SEVERAL MONTHS LATER.
Good grief, it’s like I fell into some kind of worm hole! Sheeesh, it’s been 3 ½ months since I sat down at the bench. All the while, ol’ Pinhead just starin’ at me, with those big ol’ eyes, wonderin’ if I was EVER gonna’ get back to the job of buildin’ him up. But hey, let’s use this for another valuable modeling lesson. Sometimes you just can’t keep up with a kit, don’t get discouraged, life happens. Just take heart in knowing that you can ALWAYS get back to the bench and get the ol’ ball rollin’ again!
So here we are, all puttied, primed and ready for the paint up stages. Because of the long lag time between startin’ this kit and gettin’ back to it, I’ve decided to warm myself back into the process by beginning the paint work with the pedestal alter portion of the kit. For starters, I paint the whole thing with Design Master Flat Black spray paint. This will serve as the base color and from here I will do layers of dry brush work in various shades of greys, blues, browns, and maybe even some bronze, to try and achieve a granite look. Now, by mixin’ up a blend of Delta Ceramcoat Acrylic Black and White, I form a slate gray tone that will be my first dry brush layer on the alter. Looks pretty good, but hold on kids, we’re just getting’ started.
PART IV: HAPPY ACCIDENTS
Ordinarily, I don't bound from the workbench to rush over to my computer to write up a new tip, but this is one of those rare occasions when I just happened across something that I just HAD to share ...........now, having said that, I've got to lower expectations in case this is something that you all already know about. Anyway, it's a big revelation to MOI!! I have been strugglin' with wash formulas for three years now, never quite satisfied with the results. The main issue for me was always the "adhere-ability" of the wash. Pardon the made up word, but I think y'all get my meaning. So, in one of those "happy accident" moments on the alter portion of the kit. I've already based it in black, dry brushed it with a slate gray, and now, I want to give it a wash to deepen the details and I confront the ol' problem of what darn recipe to use. Dish soap, liquid hand soap, other liquid soapy stuff, I've tried 'em all mixed with windshield wiper fluid and acrylic paint. This time though, I go pokin' around my work bench, kinda' takin' inventory of all the bottles of stuff I've accumulated over the years, thinkin' I'll just try ANYTHING that seems to make sense. (Sort of the way I make Chili, just empty out the cupboards and the fridge, always end up with a damn good chili!) Then, this bottle of J.W., Etc. Water Base Varnish catches my eye, right away it hits me!! This stuff will be perfect and, to make a long story short ( I know, I know, TOO LATE!) it works like a charm. It is viscous enough to flow on the kit smoothly AND has that darn elusive adherence quality that makes it settle in the crevices AND STAY THERE no matter which way you turn the kit while yer applying it!!! Fabulous, you guys gotta' try this; I'm just knocked out by the effect! Check out the pic here!! Am I lyin’??
PART V: ANYTHING WORTH DOING...
As they say, anything worth doing is worth doing again, so I’m gonna repeat the process. One more pass with the dry brushing of a slate grey, just a tad lighter this time, and one more wash with my new double top secret wash formula, and this podium is lookin’ ready fer some serious sacrifices!!
on with the last of the “extra parts”, I’ve gotta’
tackle the lil’ cube from hell that came with the kit. The
detail is a little weak on this, but no matter, I’m gonna
make it look as good as I can. Start by paintin’ the whole
thing flat black. Then, in a series of erratic dry brush layer I
put on the following colors: Dark brown (my own blend!), then Liquitex
Burnt Sienna, then Liquitex Raw Sienna,
then Tamiya XF-6 Copper, then Tamiya X-12
Gold Leaf!! The key here is to apply these very randomly,
we’re not lookin’ for total coverage of any one color
in any one area. The result is a cool, and realistic looking aged
wood box with gold and copper inlays. And don’t it look real?
Next step is to seal ‘er all up with your Testor’s
Dullcote and then its on to the BIG Boy, Mr. Pinhead
PART V: SKIN IT BACK!
Finally, after a short repose to do some commission work for a friend in need ( I built up an Ed Roth Scuz Fink for a fella’ in Vegas, exciting only because it’s my first commission build up. Details and pictures over in this months column), I move on to the “meat” of this project. Mr. Pinhead is not a healthy individual, so we’re gonna’ have to take some care in creating just the right palor for his skin. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure where I goin’ with this so I’m gonna’ start out real conservative. I begin with a pale base skin tone comprised of Liquitex Basics Titanium White and Liquitex Concentrated Medium Viscosity Raw Sienna. I’m not lookin’ for human Caucasian skin here, but I do need a base to pull off the dead look that I’m gonna’ try for. So here it begins.
PART VI: SKIN IT BACK RE-DO!
Okay, forget all that crap I just told ya’. Sheeesh, this hobby is really trial by ERROR!! After I applied that fine layer of pale caucasion skin, I then proceeded to ruin it by applying a dark, grey wash. My thinking, of course, was to try and bring out the lines, scars, scrapes and other details of the kit and not compromise the skin tone. Well, in short, this attempt blew chunks. So, like every good modeler, I went back to prime. Washed off ALL the work I just did, re-primed the kit and started all over. Whew, it’s great to know that at any given point in your build up you can just scrap it and begin anew!!! Kinda’ poetic, ain’t it? Now, for pass number two ( which is exactly what you could describe my first attempt as: passing a number two!!) I start simple, I get my Delta Ceramcoat Antique White and give the skin sections a light coate. So light in fact that you can still see the primer coming through in most places. I let this dry and then hit all the areas again with another light coat. At this point I have about 90% coverage, there’s still some primer bleedin’ through, but I’m thinking this will be okay in achieving my dead skin look. I’m gonna’ let this dry and then hit it with some Testor’s Dullcote, and then attempt once again to detail in the scars and lines in the kit.
PART VII: SKIN IT BACK PHASE III
So now we’re on the fast track. After our little, well, let’s just say major waste of time…..or learning experience, you choose, we’re really movin’ on what I think is gonna’ be one of my all time best skin techniques. After I based it out with two coats of the Delta Ceramcoat Antique White, I embark upon a new, yet strangely old, method of washing the kit to bring out the details. No tricky formulas here, what I did was to take some Liquitex Raw Sienna, dab my brush in plain water, and brush it all over the Pinheads, well……….Pinhead! Then, immediately, before the wash can even begin to dry, I dab it off with some paper towels. Man!! It looks cool, the wash settles into the crevices and cracks, and adds just enough tone to the white skin base to make the tone look like dead human tissue. Super!! And what a break for me, since I had no idea this would really work. Next, we’ll dry brush on another coat of the antique white, then try another wash of Liquitex Burnt Sienna. Onward and upward Seekers!!
Well, instead of hitting up the dry brush, I get this crazy idea to try and remove some of the Raw Sienna leaving just the darkest parts in the lines and crevices. I dab the corner of a folded up paper towel into some Tamiya X-20A Acrylic Paint Thinner, just dampening the towels. Then I lightly, and I mean lightly, rub over the entire surface of the face removing the top most layer of Raw Sienna color. This yields some pretty cool effects!! It leaves the darkest color in the cracks, lets some of the Raw Sienna color tint the white skin AND as an added bonus, brings out just a tad of the grey primer color underneath it all. Now I’m gonna’ Dullcote this bad boy before I do somethin’ stupid!!
PART VIII: DETAILS DETAILS
Okay, being a perfectionist, well, actually and aspiring perfectionist, I have this deep desire to keep working and reworking the skin tone. So I take my lil’ vile of dark wash (left over from ol’ Scuz Fink!) and with a small brush begin applying it to small sections of the face, almost immediately removing it with a cloth. This is generating some really dandy effects, almost creating the illusion of spider veins beneath the skin. I continue to do this in small sections over the entire exposed skin area. Applying the wash then immediately rubbing it off with a cloth. Just enough of the wash settles into the crevice details, and helps to bring out subtle texture details in the vinyl surface of the kit to make it look really sharp AND really like dead skin. Now while I’m waitin’ for the euphoria to subside over my great (and partially accidental) skin treatment, I decide to tackle some of the torn flesh areas of the torso, the punctures on the hands, and the pull/tear areas of the head. I don’t know about you, but for me, getting a realistic blood color is always a challenge. So often I see kits done with primary red being used as blood and it just doesn’t sell me. Then again, I see kits by David Fisher (damn you!!) that look like he opened one of his own veins to achieve the realistic blood tones. (Rumour has it that David actually DOES use his own blood when detailing kits!!!)
So, just experimenting I grab my bottle of Createx Transparent Airbrush Colors Deep Red. This choice actually yields TWO benefits; One, the color actually looks like blood and; Two, it’s a transparent color that lets some of the shadings and details created by my skin tone painting to come through the red color and really make the areas look like human meat!!!! (GROSS!! But SOOOOOOOO fascinating!!!!) To really create the depth and realism I ‘m lookin’ for, I wash the areas with the aforementioned dark wash. This really accentuates the recesses and details of the torn meat areas and allows a more 3-D look that rocks!!! Since I’m here and got the colors down, I use this same combo for filling in the mouth area. Then I go back and lightly drybrush the teeth with our starting out color of Delta Ceramcoat Antique White. Oh, my gosh!!! Are we getting’ stoked on this kit now, or WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?
PART IX: GET BLACK!
Time to start addressing the other 90 percent of this kit: the dude’s duds! Look, black is black, right? So, no need at all to be creative here, my approach is simple: I cover up his head and hands with some tin foil (why tin foil you ask incredulously??? Because it’s conforms to the contours or the kit AND it was the only thing I could think of at the time!! Remember that recent unpleasantness with Suran Wrap on my Robin kit?!?!) and then I grab my can of Design Master Flat Black #725 and carefully spray all the major areas of the skirt, and back, and arms. Can’t really do the chest because I ran out of my blue masking compound, dammit!! Editors Note: The aforementioned spray paint, although claiming to be FLAT, is indeed quite glossy…….just look at the pictures and I think you’ll agree. So word to the wise, be careful on that particular recommendation of paint. Moving on, I grab my trusty tube of Liquitex Basic Mars Black and carefully hand paint the remaining black areas, the details, cutting in around the skin areas and any other parts that the spray just couldn’t get. Ahhhhhhh, now that’s what I call a look that makes me eager to put this kit on the fast track to done-land!!!!!
PART X: PARDON ME WHILE WE LEAP FORWARD
Ya’ know, sometimes its just hard to document every damn detail of a kit. Well, in truth, that’s probably more of a problem for me then really good model guys. Me? I tend to be rather wordy in my detail, but it’s only because I don’t want to take anything for granted with the aspiring novice who aspires to be one of the Masters!! (Damn you, Bill Jones for setting the bar so high!!) Accuse me of anything, but I do NOT talk down to my readers!! But in this instance, this darn kit has been hovering, haunting, skulking, loitering, festering, babooning around my work bench for so long that I feel like I’m caught in an episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes* (*more on this sad event in my column). I just got so tired of struggling with this kit that I finally launched an all out assault on it, not pausing to visually document the steps. So if you’ll pardon my uncharacteristic departure from form, I will try to sum up the whirlwind of work that resulted in the completion of this challenging kit.
Some of you paying attention may have noticed in the last set of pictures that the eyes had changed from yellowish to grayish. Well, lemme tell ya’ sport, you don’t know the half of it. I literally scraped those eyes out with an X-Acto Knife TWICE because I was so unhappy with the look. Finally, on the third try, I found the right combination. First, I outlined the eyelids with Liquitex Medium Viscosity Raw Sienna. Next, ever so lightly, I redid the lids with a thin, thin, thin coat of Liquitex Medium Viscosity Burgundy for effect. Next, the eyeballs were coated, twice, with Delta Ceramcoat Antique White and then I glazed the whole thing over with Liqutex Gloss Varnish. The darn iris’ and pupils weren’t any picnic either; I ended up doing them over three different times. On the first several attempts I tried to shortcut the procedure by using Gel Pens, but as I applied the Gloss sealer, the ink ran like crazy. I finally decided on the third try to go back to paint and do old school!! With Delta Ceramcoat Black, I lay down the first circle for the eyes, assuring that they are centered (nothing worse than a cross eyed demon from Hell). Then I hit the color using Liquitex Medium Viscosity Burnt Sienna for the iris. The final stage is dot the pupils with the black, gloss varnish those babies, and put the ol’ eyeballs in the history books!!!
As great as I thought the skin tone looked, I started getting some cold feet, thinking I could do better. In order to bring out just a tad more detail, and highlight some shadow areas of the face, AND to add some more death to the dead looking skin, I turned to my set of Loew Cornell Soft Pastels. Using a medium tipped brush and the royal blue chalk dust, I add some depth to the cheek bones, recessed areas around the nose and mouth, and a general dusting over the head. This really puts the look over the top and I am, for the moment, satisfied.
From the moment I started this kit I knew that there would be one thing that would not be nearly as easy as it looked: Pinhead’s head is filled with……….PINS!!!!! You have not charted the sixth ring of hell until you have had to push over 100 pins through stiff vinyl. My damn thumb is still sore from this unthinkable act. Ah, but tis our lot in life to endure the suffering that accompanies our art. Truly this was painstaking. Not only did it hurt, but Horizon didn’t include enough pins to do the job, so I found myself scrambling over to Joanne’s Fabrics to see if they had a comparable pin. Fortunately, I was able to acquire some ¾” fabric pins to finish the job.
This kit came with some accessories that I have not been able to actually use with the kit. There were some torture tools that were made from thick paper for example, but they were out of proportion and cheap looking. I took the time to paint them, and make them look as presentable as I could, but my final vote was to leave them in the box. This is true of the chains as well. There were some chains that I painted grey and stained with a black wash, but I haven’t yet figured out how or where to use them with the kit. In my considered opinion, most of the accessories are a waste and do not add to the final presentation.
To be honest, this is the first kit that I have finished that I have actually been disappointed in at the end. Maybe it’s just because it dragged out so long that I thought it should have been better. Perhaps it’s just because I lost perspective on the kit due to the protracted build up time. Or maybe I’m just being too hard on myself and falling into the dangerous area where the hobby becomes a job thereby eliminating the fun factor……….waddya’ think???? If nothing else, this kit kept me humble, kept me yearning to know more, and made me want to continue to get better. I hope my lil’ tutorial will have the same effect on you.
You can check out the finished Pinhead kit here.
Anybody try this stuff out? Got any better ideas? Email me and let me know!