Beauty is Only Skin Deep – Norris Thing / Possessed Marine

Ok, so this another possessed, taking the count up to thirteen so far (the rest are here and here). Now you are going to get a lot more out of this post if you like John Carpenters film, The Thing. If you haven’t seen it… do that now is instead of reading this, or any other thing that you could do with your life.

This guy is similar to my White Dragon and the Raptor which were inspired by the film, the Thing. Where this guy diverts in development is that rather than just taking qualities that reminded me of The Things aesthetic gribbli-ness… I wanted to do a full on homage to the film, so I took a still from the film. As far as I’m concerned one of the most Iconic moments that encapsulates horrifying nature of the monster. The Norris Thing.

Well, they say its whats on the inside that counts…

If you haven’t seen that scene, The Thing has taken the body of Norris who appears dead, bites off the arms of the doctors arms with a mouth that appears in its belly, then sort of vomits out an extension of itself that appears to be a random amalgamation of various genetic information it has stolen. Its all sorts of terrible and amazing. This is the scene I wanted to depict with my possessed marine and for that, I had to start somewhere. That somewhere was a the very simple torso of a vanilla space marine.

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I glued both halves together and then using my clippers, cracked that thing open like an egg… well not exactly, I wouldn’t use clippers to do that, that’s insane, but you get my point. This was my starting point, it was arguably the most important step, not only because it was the first one, but it would be where the line between 40k and The Thing would be blurred.

I didn’t have a dead/dying patient on a table to split open, I had to have a Space marine, and lying on the base isn’t an option because that would take up way too much space on the 32mm base that my possessed are using. So I thought… what if he is standing, but the possession just suddenly took place so the body torso is just thrown backwards as the legs buckle?

At this point I also realised really I’m not using the belly/chest area… but the chest/neck area of the Torso, its just too small and unworkable for me to achieve the exact same thing as the film. I’m happy with how the model is posed but this way it wouldn’t have the head on it. I needed somewhere for the head to be, but there was no room with the power pack in the way. I took this as inspiration to later add The Things detaching head to the marine, so I cracked the power pack open as well.

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Unusually for my possessed, I gave this one a gun. This was mostly influenced by the fact that my base for the model was a standard space marine and I dont have any melee right arms. Since Possessed don’t have any ranged weapons though I decided to add the gun anyway but have it hanging limply in his hand. For the other hand I conveniently found the sprue had a hand holding an ammo clip. Having these arms hanging uselessly at his sides I felt added to the idea that this transformation was very sudden, in the midst of a reload even. The nature of this Possession makes the monster look disconnected from the body, so you assume that your going to be attacked by the top half of the entity and its not about to start spraying bolt rounds. At least, that’s what I was going for.

Obviously the other thing you’ll notice in this is the beginnings of the Daemon/Thing emerging from the torso cavity. I used a fine brass wire as a core and built up around it with Green Stuff.

This was the the first point where I really started to use the source material for accuracy. The body of the weird spider that hops out is like a gross mushroom on a stringy pillar, so I decided to do all the stringy bits and sculpt the top later. Its very easy for me to get ahead of myself, do too much, and risk ruining some of my work by not concentrating and shoving my thumb or finger into it before its cured. I used brush bristles, and the outside spiral bit of a some guitar wire for the stringy bits in the flesh. It was also at this point I added the detaching head, which also had a brass wire core.

The next step for me was to do the neck, so I attached another bras wire to the little mushroom body. It was at this point while watching a video that I realised there was more to the neck. In my still I thought the head was just on a raised neck but its obvious in the video that the neck then droops down a bit before ending in the face. So I started working on the face to get it to look like the face from the film and also add some more neck to it. The head was form some other gaming system, I bought a few from Wayland Games I think, for a different project previously. They are a bit bigger than the GW heads so not that useful, but in this instance when its part of a monster it doesn’t make a huge difference.

I then connected the two necks together and added some wire for the legs, at this point I couldn’t resist trying a direct comparison to see how it was looking…

I was really happy with this. Its not exact but I was hoping it was enough for someone to recognise The Thing. You can see I had to alter the face quite a lot to get it closer to the reference material. The nose was close but needed the smallest bit of widening. The eyes I had to make more bulbous. The mouth was the most work though, cut the lower lip away and built a new one before tying to ad the oversized teeth… which was really hard, they were so tiny and difficult to manipulate. I also added some hair as well.

I now faced a new dilemma at this point. In the film the Thing bursts out and grabs onto a duct… but my possessed marine is likely going to be outside a lot and not taking his own ventilation duct with him. So should I just splay his legs more so its like they are waving around and attribute its floating to… CHAOS!!!… or… come up with another idea. My co-blogger Krakendoomcool helpfully suggested a lamp post though… something I believed I had in my stock somewhere!

Here you can see the my modifications to the lamp. I was too short so I added some tube and continued the fins to keep the design. When I offered it up though, it looked a bit silly, the increasing size the lower you got made it look like a rocket with lamp on the end. So I broke the fins off and filled the bits the stuck out to make it all look a bit more uniform, and added a Green Stuff Band around it to break up the blank cylinder.

On the legs you can see I started working on the joints and I would gradually ad to them all the time while trying not to make them too thick.

While I was working on bulking out the spider legs I noticed something I hadn’t previously. In all the hours I had spend on this so far, I never noticed the two weird vestigial dog legs, a throw back from its killing/copying some dogs at the beginning of the film. So now was a good a time as any to start working on those, I glued in the pins, bulked them out and then added the details. they were finished when I added the last detail later, the claws on the bigger leg.

Finally (or so I thought) I needed to add some details. First he needed a faction though. Originally I toyed with White Scares, The white of seemed like a good choice to remind people of the snowy landscape in the Thing. I thought maybe I should pick one that has similar clothing to the people of the research station, so to match the brown leather coats I wondered if there are any brown marines… but obviously not. Then I had an idea though, I hadnt yet done a Space Wolf. I did have plans for a different and much wolfier Possessed but this on did have a couple of dog legs sprouting out of its back. So after a little research I discovered the Blood Wolves. A renegade faction of the Space Wolves that turned to worship Khorne, the god of Blood. Apparently the Space wolves just weren’t killy enough.

There was very little information though, just enough to go on. A description of the colour scheme as about all I had, which was bronze armour with red and cream used for their heraldry on the shoulder pads. I was pretty happy with this because bronze isnt miles away from metallic brown. For details I made up a sort of wolf head/eight pointed star for one shoulder pad, I sculpted a wolf tail at his waist and gave him a knife too

Something that started to bug me though was the head… I wanted him to look like a space wolf, but even with these bits of decoration he had a plain helmeted head. So I got one of the heads given to me by Krakendoomcool for the other space wolf Possessed and switched them over.

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Switching them was annoyingly not as simple as I’d hoped as I’d been “clever” enough to run a pin through the green stuff sinew and into the head. After some sawing and careful clipping, I salvaged as much sinew as I could then put the new head on. The head I picked had crazy upright manga style hair, which worked well as an upside down head, all I did in addition was Green Stuff some hanging hair at the back to cover a parting that made the hair point backwards a bit. Finally I added some torn neck flesh around the sinew as this heads neck wasn’t hidden by the helmet. I was pretty happy with this alteration, the bland helmet really bugged I think but I didn’t have a better idea at the time.

Now all that was left to do was paint it. I chose to paint the Spacewolf head ginger to match the Thing bursting out of him. The colour of his armour as I explained was fortunately dictated to me by a tiny entry on an online wiki. I tried as best I could to replicate the colours of my source material for the thing. Finally I tried a couple of effects on the model that I’ve never done before. Thanks to Rabid Dog Studios I discovered a good way to do running liquid, where as his example was blood I tried the same thing with the slim from the bursting monster. In my source material its running off the vent above but for mine I put a bit running off the legs. The other effect was Snow. I’d never done it before but I found a tutorial/test online, which I annoyingly cant find now. I just carefully added a bit at a time, bits of PVA to the base and sprinkled the baking poweder (or bicarb) onto the PVA.

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As usual I will happily accept any and all feedback, although i’m not sure I could change much apart from some of the paintwork now!

… oh and before I go I’m very aware that this thing is straddling the difference between possessed and spawn… in fact, I would go as far as to say its hanging onto its Possessed status by its fingernails… claws… spider fingers? Anyway, I probably will use it as both like a lot of my more elaborate Possessed. That does also qualify it for Azazels Jewel of July challenge too though! I hope to see your entry there too. Thanks everyone.

~Pandora’s Bitz Box~