Tag Archives: steampunk

The Mutant Chronicles

Mutant Chronicles has Ron Perlman in it, so it has to be good right?  Actually it’s got Thomas Jane, Sean Pertwee, John Malkovich and Steve Toussaint, as well as Ron Perlman.  All I knew before renting this on DVD was that I’d seen one trailer which looked half decent, it has Ron Perlman in it and it’s called Mutant Chronicles, it was enough for me!  The film tells the story of a future earth, where four corporations who run the place war constantly for possession of the remaining resources.  It’s got a steampunk edge, and the start shows us the ongoing war, heavy on the World War I trench warfare imagery.  We get a brief introduction to a few characters and a voice over from Ron.  Eons ago a machine was sent to earth, with the sole purpose of subverting humans and turning them into killer mutants.  Inevitably, the war breaks the seal behind which the machine was locked by an order of priests (Ron being the head guy now), and all hell breaks loose in an already hell-ravaged world.  The corporations evacuate to Mars and Ron is left looking for a bunch of soldiers to help him shut down the machine and save those people left behind.  He finally puts his band of heroes together, from all corners of the world, and they head out to save what’s left of earth.

Visually the movie is great, it looks to me like it’s shot using the same technology as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but the shots are put together better and the technology isn’t so apparent.  The steampunk look and feel works really well and the opening moments in the trenches are suitably depressing and set the scene well.  The story arc is predictable, but the actors manage to keep us interested and there are a few interesting moments in the dialog.  The action scenes are ok, although some of the actors look a little uncomfortable it has to be said.  Anna Walton looked both great and terrible in equal measure which is a real shame, since her character had a chance at having the most depth.  Overall the writing doesn’t give any of the characters much depth, and it certainly betrays the roleplaying game background material.  Despite that, the movie was entertaining enough, and managed to avoid being entirely cheesy.

What I think really let it down overall was the pacing and editing.  The introduction was just too long and didn’t offer any character depth, the middle section in which the band of heroes is put together and descend into the catacombs is just too short, some of the heroes die within the first moments of setting out, with barely a line of dialog.  The end is ok, but feels bloated compared to the introduction.  There are odd threads which feel like they’re part of a greater movie but don’t really fit in.  Near the end we see Jane ‘saving’ Pertwee’s character, who is taken captive at the start of the film.  But where has he been?  The section where he saves him is either wasted space, or an excuse to keep Jane alive during an encounter which sees many of the heroes die.  Pertwee brings his character to life more than anyone else in the movie and it was a shame to see him used to little throughout.

Generally Mutant Chronicles is ok, but could have been much better.  I wonder if the best movie is on the cutting room floor or still on the storyboards, and maybe a more confident director would have delivered a more cohesive action adventure.

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part seven

Is that a Light I see before me?

touch-up-comparisonI often find that with miniatures the end sneaks up on you, and it’s no different with Sasha.  One moment I was looking and thinking there was a lot of work ahead, and the next minute, she’s done.  Done in the sense that the main figure is done, the base is clearly not done, but I haven’t properly based a miniature for about 10 years since all I do when they’re finished is stick them in a foam box.  So, this is part seven in a seven or maybe eight part diary about painting Sasha DuBois (other parts are one, two, three, four, five, six).

Yesterday (Saturday as I write this) we popped out after breakfast to Hobbycraft and Maplins and picked up a few things.  Some acrylic extender which I’ve been after for a while, a magnifying visor, a brush stand and a few other items.  Acrylic extender prevents the paint drying so quickly which is useful when it’s very thin, which in turn is very useful when using small brushes and detail work.  I tested the visor on a couple of other miniatures and then set about Sasha’s yellow bits.  The extender is really excellent, keeping the paint on the brush useful even when moving slowly with small amounts of paint, and the visor is good enough to let me see some real detail.  The picture just above shows the panels on the back of the figure before and after the second layer.  That layer was put on using the extender and the visor.  That was all that got done on the figure on Saturday.  There’s a few of photo’s of that stage after the cut …

Continue reading Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part seven

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part six

The Devil is in the Detail

Light grey undercoat on cuffsThis is part six in an increasingly long painting diary for my Sasha DuBois miniature.  There were five parts before this, which you can get to in order from here, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  One of the most crucial things this diary has taught me is that no matter how good you think your painting is, no matter how well you think you covered an area, no matter how fine you think the line you just painted was, photographing it with a 7 megapixel camera and blowing it up will prove you wrong.  In some ways it’s quite handy, for example I’ve just come to the end of a session working on Sasha, and reviewing the photo’s shows me some places where I need to look a little harder and touch the various colours up a little bit.  I guess with a magnifying glass /visor I may be able to see that kind of detail, but when holding the miniature normally and painting it at the moment I can’t.

Continue reading Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part six

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part five

Cloak and not Dagger

First couple of washes go onThis is the fifth post in the Sasha DuBois painting diary set (the others are one, two, three and four).  I’m a bit up and down about my painting skill level at the moment (my regular normal state for anything I create), some days thinking I’m quite happy with my skill level thank you very much and other days a bit down because I feel I should be better, if I just spent a bit more time.  However, I spend as much time as I spend and I enjoy that time and at the end of the day that’s what truly matters, it’s relaxing and enjoyable.  I’m happy with being slightly better than barely average (at the moment).

At the end of the fourth post I’d just put the base coat onto the coat (this could get confusing), using scab red.  I then spent a little while (a few days) not really painting anything, and finally got back into the swing by putting a lot of effort into the zombies.  I also managed to wash and brush the coat on this mini and then put some black onto the boots (too thickly, sigh).  Anyway.

Continue reading Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part five

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part four

Fancy Pants

This is the fourth diary entry in the ‘Painting Sasha DuBois’ series, parts one, two and three can be found by the simple click of a mouse.

First base coat of trousers and topWith some miniatures (for example, a zombie army you use for gaming) it’s entirely possible to make yourself get on and paint them.  The technique is different, you’re trying to paint them reasonably quickly, and it’s not likely anyone’s going to be inspecting them individually from 12 inches away, but they have to look good at distance as a unit on the playing surface.  So you can forgive yourself short-cuts and missed lines and broad brush strokes (as it were).  However, when I’m painting a miniature I like, and I really want to look good I have to be careful not to make myself progress, because I find that I lose the spark that makes me care about the detail.  If I push it too hard, it ends up looking rushed.  So I barely touched Sasha when I sat down a couple of nights ago (hence the short part three post) and although I’ve made more progress again it’s slow going.

I’d just spent a day painting a mini with blue and scab red and wanted to avoid that exact combination, but I knew I wanted to do Sasha’s coat in the red because it just looked so cool when washed / brushed.  So I went for green on the trousers and top as a nice contrast.  In the past I’ve made the mistake of starting with a base layer that’s too dark.  The issue there is that the wash makes little difference or you have to use a black wash to get any result, and then any amount of dry brushing is just too severe.  So, this time I went with a lighter green base coat with a plan to wash that with a dark green to give it some depth.  I was in two minds about starting with the trouser layer, there’s a tricky bit of work between her legs (no sniggering) where the coat shows through.  There’s a good argument to be made for doing the coat first, since it’s slightly easier to work on the legs and not hit the cloak.  However, if you put a green wash on the legs there’s a chance it’ll run onto the back of the coat, but when you wash the coat due to the layout of the model it’s very unlikely to run onto the legs.  So I went with legs first.

Continue reading Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part four

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part three

Best laid plans

First base coatI planned to work on the major clothing areas on the Sasha piece after finishing the eyes for the third part in the diary painting thing (part one here, part two here).  However, if you read my post on inspiration then you’ll know I ended up doing Sasha’s hair.  Hair is one of those funny things, although we talk about it being black or brown or blonde or red, it’s really not those colours and it’s very hard to just simply paint hair.  Harder than you might imagine, so when I find a colour combination that works I’m really quite happy.

While painting the deadly hammer wielding nun in the inspiration article I found that one of the brown paints in the new paint set is really good as a base hair colour, which I then wash with a brown wash and dry brush highlights onto.  It’s really effective.  So once I’d got it looking nice on the nun, I picked up Sasha and did her hair.  That’s it, that’s all I got painted on her in this session.  Sometimes that’s the way it goes, I’ll paint huge areas and get loads done (if I’m inspired) or each section will be a real chore forcing me to keep going (if inspiration is a little lacking that day).

Hair after wash and dry-brushSo, Sasha got her hair sorted, hopefully soon she’ll get some clothing as well.  Her clothes really are quite interesting with multiple layers and lots of scope so I’m quite excited about painting them, but I’m also concerned I’ll screw them out, so I’m probably going to try and get into a bit of a groove by working on other miniatures first / as well.  I find that I get better and re-learn things after a long time away and that a few weeks in my hand is a lot steadier.

Fingers crossed.

You can check out part four here.