|If only he'd used one extra "O", maybe Comstock would have listened...|
Saturday, 24 May 2014
Creating a Warmachine BioShock Army, Episode VI: Anna DeWitt & Little Sister
I have to admit I've taken a week off from the WarmaShock project, and have been indulging a bit in my love of Batman. However, the enthusiasm for the project is still very much there, so I thought I'd mention the last couple of models to join the team whilst I'm in between bouts of painting the dark knight!
For those who have just joined the article series here, WarmaShock is an ongoing project to create a BioShock army for Privateer Press' Warmachine tabletop system. So far the army has seen Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth Comstock from BioShock Infinite, and the security bots and Eleanor Lamb from Bioshock and BioShock 2 - all of which can be seen through the Article Archive tab at the top of the page.
In today's article we're going to be looking at two new additions; a Little Sister from the first two BioShock games, and Anna DeWitt from BioShock Infinite. It might seem odd to feature two completely different characters in the same article, but I'm doing this for two reasons. First, neither miniature needed much (if any) customisation, so if they had individual articles they'd be very short. And secondly, the miniatures used for both characters come from the same Malifaux box set, so it makes sense to put them both together.
Thanks, once again, to GMorts Chaotica for allowing the shameless theft of the photos from his unboxing articles!
So the box set in question was the No Shelter Here set - Pandora's crew from Malifaux's Neverborn faction. Straight away from looking at the front of the box it was obvious that I'd gone to the right place for a Little Sister!
Way back before this was a project to build an army - instead being just a plan to paint some BioShock-y miniatures - I'd actually taken a look at the Pandora box, but couldn't justify buying the entire thing just for a single model (it isn't availably individually, unfortunately). However, once it became an actual army-build and I started throwing money away faster than I could burn it, the No Shelter Box became a more viable option - after all, what's a sixth Malifaux crew when you've already bought five? Besides which, I'd undoubtedly be able to find use for some more of the miniatures.
So with the box set finally in hand, it was time to get a Little Sister onto the painting table!
Assembly was nice and straightforward - the newer plastic Malifaux minis tend to be exquisitely detailed, but the trade-off is often that they have tiny fiddly bits which make them a nightmare to assemble! Candy avoids this nicely, with just three pieces to de-flash (which is minimal) and put together. The only non-Little Sister thing about this miniature is the basket, containing candy canes and a human skull. Not exactly fitting with the Little Sister aesthetic, but it's built into the model in such a way that it was beyond my skills to remedy. I've no doubt a more skilled hobbyist could trim off the basket with a good knife and use green stuff to complete the dress (and perhaps even sculpt a Big Daddy doll into her hands), but at this point I'm not that hobbyist!
With Candy/Little Sister built, I needed a suitable base to attach her to! Normally when I do tabletop armies, I just grit and paint the bases to look like a battlefield, but seeing as that wouldn't really work for Rapture (and only in a limited capacity for Columbia), I've been going for more scenic bases with the WarmaShock project.
For the Little Sister, my basing plan came from one particular area in BioShock 2: the Little Sister Orphanage. In Rapture, Little Sisters are walking ADAM factories - the substance which allows the creation of the superpower-granting Plasmids - but they start their lives as ordinary little girls, and these girls come straight from the Little Sister Orphanage. In large parts of Rapture, the flooring consists of lavish carpets or polished marble, but the orphanage is all wooden floorboards and other such typical orphanage furnishings. Wooden floorboards are certainly easy enough to replicate, but whilst bits box-rummaging down at Titan Games I actually found a resin base which would work even nicer, as it featured a little more detail. So I nabbed this base, stuck Candy onto it, and one paint job later, I had a Little Sister to add to the army...
The head popping out of the broken flooring was actually part of the base - presumably meant to be some kind of apparition arising out of a vortex, but being Rapture I just painted the vortex to look like water (with the addition of some clear resin effect), and just made the head into a melty-faced splicer, who had presumably just met his end at the hands of the Sister's Big Daddy!
In gameplay terms, she'll be using the card of Gaston Crosse - the new Mercenary journeyman warcaster. It's a bit of an odd one, I admit, but I liked the idea of the Little Sister controlling her own Big Daddies, so in terms of gameplay it should actually be quite fitting.
Warning! This section of the article contains spoilers! If you haven't yet finished BioShock Infinite then only continue at your own risk.
The other model in the No Shelter Here box I was planning to use was Baby Kade, the baby with the knife in his hand and demonic look in his eyes. I wasn't sure what to do with him, apart from make him another resident of the Little Sister Orphanage - obviously the Sisters we always see in the game are probably around 6-7 years old, but one would assume the orphanage takes them in at a younger age. This would also work with my plan to use him as Reinholdt, as he could then toddle along with the Little Sister and lend her a hand!
However, before I could get started on him, a good friend and fellow Titan Games regular suggested that he could be used to make Anna DeWitt - Booker's missing daughter from BioShock Infinite. Always susceptible to suggestion, I immediately seized this idea and ran with it, and that very evening I started working on ideas of how to turn Baby Kade into Anna DeWitt.
The main problem with a baby in this scale is that there isn't much to work with in terms of conversion options, which meant that I'd have to get creative with the base to ensure that this ended up clearly being Anna DeWitt, and not just some random baby I'd thrown into the army for no discernible reason!
*FINAL SPOILER WARNING*
In BioShock Infinite, the protagonist, Booker DeWitt, is a man with a fair degree of inner turmoil, having sold his daughter to pay off a gambling debt (as you do). Many years later he is sent on a job to capture/rescue Elizabeth Comstock from Columbia, and on this job discovers that she has the unique (and often helpful) ability to open up tears between parallel worlds. Well, in a dramatic twist of events at the end of the game, it's discovered that Elizabeth Comstock is, in fact, Anna DeWitt, after Booker sold her to the game's main antagonist Father Comstock. In a further twist, Comstock is, in fact, a parallel world Booker, and Booker-prime's attempt to back out of the deal as Anna was being passed through an inter-dimensional portal resulted in the loss of Anna's little finger, and Elizabeth's subsequent abilities years down the line! Phew!
To make the model embody Anna, I decided to try and capture the essence of that moment in the base, so with a rough plan in my head, it was time to get started!
First of all I assembled Kade, which was again nice and simple. The teddy stayed on the sprue, as it had no place in this scene, and the knife was clipped out of his hand, but aside from that he was simply assembled as normal.
Then it was time to start the all-important base! I started with a resin street-base which I had on-hand - one of many I'd bought for my Batman miniatures. It was important that the base had a kerb, for reasons we'll come to in a moment...
Next I needed a wall. It would be very difficult for Anna to be passed through a portal in the wall if there wasn't actually a wall, otherwise the portal would just be in thin air. Actually, that would have been just as feasible, but from a modelling point of view it would have been a nightmare, so I was very grateful for the wall.
I simply used a piece of plasticard for the wall. It was a little bit smooth for brickwork though, so I scored some lines on it to represent bricks, and then gave it a light sanding to try and give it a rougher finish. The other side of the wall I left smooth, as this was going to be the interior of a room, and so was going to be wallpapered. Then I just needed to create the portal itself, which I did by simply drilling a hole in the plasticard and gradually working it wider with a knife.
Then I just glued the wall onto the base, flush against the kerb, and used some wooden coffee stirrers to make some floorboards for the other side of the wall. This is where the kerb was important, as that raised level meant that once I'd added the floorboards, both sides of the base were even with eachother, and it also sandwiched the wall in place, preventing it from being knocked off in an inevitable bout of clumsiness later!
With the base and the miniature both assembled, all that was left was to combine the two and paint them! Again, the paint job did help to bring the scene together a little bit...
As Anna lost her left little finger in the incident, I wanted to add this to the grizzly scene, so I added a small pool of blood around her left hand, along with a streak of blood running down from the postal. Now you could nit-pick at this point, as she wouldn't have lost that finger while the portal was open, but I'm playing the artistic license card here, as it captures the overall scene a little better. On the pavement side of the scene, there is a small patch of blood on the ground, and I even added a dot of flesh for the severed finger. Again, I used artistic license and scrawled the words "Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt" on the wall - these words weren't present in this scene, but they are the words that prompted Booker's sale of Anna, as well as his eventual rescue of Elizabeth, so I felt that including them added to the scene as a whole.
So that's the latest two miniatures for the army! The splicers are almost done, so they will probably be the next article, but in the meantime thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this!