Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sculpting Mangler Squigs

Or perhaps the title should really read: "mangled sculpted squigs", or something similar...

I have a pretty large Orc and Goblin army, however it lacks any of the new bells and whistles that appeared in the latest army book. I have purchased a few Arachnaroks, but none of them are painted yet. And I don't even own any Mangler Squigs. When you add in the fact that I've never gotten around to painting any Pump Wagons, my army is missing a lot of the tricks to make it fun. It's something I've always been planning to address, but I've been focused on other things.

When planning lists for the World Series however (just over a week away now), I made a list using my Night Goblins, and it just wouldn't have been enough fun without any Mangler Squigs. So I committed to a list that includes 2 of them, which means now I have to do something about it. And being a tight-ass who balks at the cost of one of the Finecast Mangler Squigs Games Workshop are peddling, I figured I would just make my own.

After all, how hard could it be?

Experienced, skilful sculptors and discerning lovers of miniatures may wish to stop reading now...

OK, if you're still here, I shall get on with describing my rather haphazard approach to making Mangler Squigs.

I started with a couple of bits of wire, poked into holes in a pair of 60mm round bases. I bent the wires at the bottom so that they would stay on the bases, then made a very rough shape for each Squig. I figure these armatures are mainly to give things a sense of scale and proportion, and hold them together a bit. Informed sculptors could probably tell you more, and explain why I should have made them better. I'm not one of those guys...
The wire armatures, such as they are. I really should have stopped right here - how could I possibly improve on such majesty?
Next I wrapped the armatures in aluminium foil, because apparently it's a good way to bulk out the frame and give things a bit more shape. Probably helps the putty grab on, too. I had a very rough idea of how I wanted each to look before I started (the full extent of my planning), so I kind of worked toward that a bit.
They put on a little weight during the aluminium foil stage. I squished it up as hard as I could, to make sure it wouldn't move too much when the putty was pressed on.
Then it was time to start putting putty onto the models. I used Magic Sculpt for these stages because it's cheaper than green stuff, and a little more versatile in how it behaves (it gets really soft and smooth when you add water). I basically focused on getting the basic shape of the models, then put them out in the sun to try to speed up the hardening process.
The one on the left will have his mouth open. I imagined the one on the right with his mouth closed, with a kind of sullen, "I will eat you now" expression.
I gave both of them tails, because I think Squigs look better with them.
After their sunbathing spell, I brought them back in and started trying to flesh out the details. It took longer than I had hoped, and I kind of cut the process short on one of them so that I could focus on the other. From this point I only worked on that one guy - I'll have to come back to the other one.
The guy on the right is far more advanced - I kind of started with him, and he absorbed most of my attention. By the time I got to the other guy, the putty was starting to harden and I needed to come up with a way to use it. There is an old Squig model with a mohawk. This guy is his Granddaddy.
Again, you an see the extra effort on the guy on the right. As well as the extra detail like the spines, he has been filled out and rounded better during the second stage. As rough as he is, the guy on the left is worse.
I made the mistake of picking up an old Squig with a relatively humanoid face as my point of reference, and I think it somehow came through on this guy. His face is not "Squiggly" enough. Don't know what it is about it, but it just didn't feel right.
Once that stage had hardened, I had another go with some green stuff to try to hammer out some of the details. After the second stage, a lot of the details were very rounded and vague, like the ridges on his back. I had originally intended to sharpen them up with a knives and stabbing weapons once they had cured, but the cartoony, balloony style of them kind of grew on me and I decided that I didn't think I would get a better result without an enormous amount of fiddling and effort. So I left them as-is.

My original plan was to add a whole lot of blades to the Squig - things the Goblins had stuck in to make him more spiky and menacing. I stuck with this plan, although I am not sure if it came out as I had hoped. I also considered standing a Night Goblin "handler" in front of him, leading him on a chain by his nose ring. But for the moment I am going to leave him the way he is and try painting him - to see what I've done wrong, and what can and can't be improved with paint. He's standing outside in the warm wind right now, waiting for his undercoat to dry...
Here he is again, with green stuff used to try to finalise some of the detail, like the toes around the claws, and where the horns emerge. I also had another go at the eyes, figuring maybe that was the problem with the face. I think this stage was an improvement (including the removal of the cleft chin), but he's still not exactly a thing of beauty.
He kind of looks like a grumpy Pug dog. One in need of some drastic cosmetic surgery.
To begin with I used whole Black Orc sword blades up on his back, but I realised they almost looked like sad little wings due to their placement and length. So I shortened them.
Here are the shortened versions. I think they're an improvement. He also has a Fanatic ball and chain attached to his tail, as well as a Black Orc mace head, hooked on with some rope. 
Anyway, we'll see how this guy reacts to paint before I try to finish modelling the other one. You never know; I might learn something.


  1. Replies
    1. I had to look that up, but you're right - there are similarities. Neither is exactly photogenic...

  2. Why are you so grumpy, this is the most awesome squig ever seen by mortal man! He looks so depressed and riddled with ennui. He has been there, done that, and he would've bought the T-Shirt but they don't make them in his size and any way, what's the point. Now he's off to glare at the TV and moan about the old days. What more can you want from a squig? Apart from re-enstating his cleft chin obviously. The he could be Kirk Douglas Squig.
    You should cast him. I want one.

    1. I should have modelled him with a cane, or perhaps a zimmer frame. At least I can ensure there is a patch of grass in front of him, so he can howl at kids to keep off his lawn!

  3. I think of all your talents, this one is your calling!

    1. Can't say I really agree with you, but I'm glad you like it.

  4. Awesome. I love seeing home made manglers. I did something like this earlier this year for my wife.


    1. Yeah, they do seem to be one of the most-frequently converted or sculpted models.