Hannah ValerusFree Mars webcomic miniature, completed January 2011
My original impetus for this model was to try sculpting a [reasonably proportioned] female miniature, but I'm always interested in killing as many birds as possible with any given stone. So with the previous year’s sculpt under my belt, I offered/asked to work on another sci-fi model for Adepticon and the powers that be took me up on it.
While discussing what might make a good miniature, one of the Adepticon triumvirs suggested/requested a rogue trader/smuggler/space pirate. “What, like Han Solo?” I asked. I was already set on sculpting a female model, so that slice of glibness led to a working title of “Hannah” and the broad strokes of the character.
My own version of “concept art” is only the roughest of thumbnail sketches (you can see what I mean in the Fraticide gallery), so it was a great benefit when we enlisted Argentinean artist Nicolàs R. Giacondino to develop some concept sketches for this piece, and fellow Adepticon thrall Dave Pauwels agreed to write a bit of background to further develop her character. It just so happens Dave writes and Nic draws the webcomic Free Mars (which I highly recommend checking out), so it should have come as no surprise when the look and background of this character became increasingly colored by the Free Mars ‘verse.
Dave developed Hannah’s background until he had (and Nic had illustrated) a short story in a pulpy, first-person voice I really enjoy. A few things changed in the overall plan and that story was tucked away for later; but wellspring of fiction that he is, Dave produced another short story weaving Hannah neatly (and more securely) into the tapestry of Free Mars.
The end result is more a Free Mars miniature more than an Adepticon piece, but metal castings were given to 1000+ attendees in the 2011 swag bag - an experience I found every bit as enjoyable the second time around.
I’ve tweaked the model a few times since the Adepticon metal castings. A little narrowing of the chin, a bit more muscle definition in the legs, a spare ammo pack on her belt, a few rivets to her webbing, the odd wrinkle of fabric… Officially, these are things I wanted to do, but didn’t have time for before production. Unofficially, I do seem to have a deeply ingrained aversion to stock models. I can’t even seem to resist converting a figure I personally sculpted from scratch. Nevertheless, I do think the additions are improvements and it’s this “improved“ version that I’ve made available in the webcart.
The last photo in this gallery shows a painted version of Hannah, but not painted by me. Jennifer Haley happened to mention liking the metal version that came in her Adepticon swag bag and I replied “oh thanks, I sculpted it!” with as little smug self satisfaction as I could manage (still quite a bit, I expect). I offered her my slightly tweaked resin version too - which she graciously accepted - and I thought little more about it. She absolutely floored me a mere four days after Adepticon by sending these photos of the “quickie” paint job she’d done on the resin Hannah I’d given her. I’ve enjoyed Jen’s work for years, and it’s a surreal pleasure to have her paint something I’ve sculpted.