Minimate Skeleton Sketches
January 9, 2014

Apart from a cancelled Skeleton Crewman from the Calico Jack pirate line and a handful of Ghost Rider and Red Skull heads, there really hasn't been a study of the Minimate skeletal structure. About time that changed, don't you think?

I've wanted to make these images for quite some time. Of course the concept is inspired by the Freeny Lego cross-section poster Micro Schematic from several years ago. In the process of digging up that link just now I found many more 'dissected' pop culture figures, from My Little Pony to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. I didn't realize so much work had been done in this vein. Always room for one more right? Thankfully, I think my take is unique enough that I won't be branded a hack.

The hardest bit to get a handle on were the feet. They kept coming out clunky and thick. But I came to accept that, realizing that Minimate feet are clunky and thick by nature. The hip bone took some effort too. It was tough trying to get a natural looking (and functional) construction to fit inside a Minimate crotch piece. I did enjoy figuring out how to fit a fibula/tibia and radius/ulna into the legs and arms respectively. Though they did have to get turned around a bit.

I think I'm going to be doing a lot more with this concept... musculature, nervous system maybe. I'll probably have to modify things a bit. In some areas the bones are right up against the Minimate 'skin' leaving no room for other tissues. So it goes...

Oh, and yes, this conclusively proves Minimates have four fingers (including the thumb).
 RGBY Mirror
January 7, 2014

I wanted to play a bit with Blender's indirect lighting capabilities and this was the result. There was a lot of trial and error to get a decent amount of indirect lighting on the floor but not wash out the details on the Minimates themselves.
In the end this effect is probably better accomplished with colored spot lights.
 Rendered Torso
January 2, 2014

After getting a bunch of real-life stuff done, I rewarded myself with some Blender time.

 Translucent Tuesday Punch
December 31, 2013

I've mentioned the Translucent Tuesday Fight Club before and how it's basically translucent Minimates beating each other up. The guy behind it, Geohound, ran his own TTFC contest on the Multiverse. I was getting the animating itch again, so I created this:

You can see all the the entries here.
 LabTable: Hall of Armor
December 26, 2013

I'm really impressed with the Sideshow Hall of Armor modules for their sixth-scale Iron Man figures. The big stuff really isn't my thing (apart from big Minimates I guess), but I would like to have a Minimate scale versions for the recently released Hall of Armor 10-pack. Time to break out Blender.

Here are the first renders. I still need to work on making it modular and how to best light it. Oh yes, there will be LEDs.

Updates to come.
 Stained Glass Phoenix
December 24, 2013

I've wanted to try my hand at creating stained glass pieces for years. The color, the light refraction, everything about it just seems to hit all the right buttons. When the Minimate Multiverse put together the Marvel Minimates 10th Anniversary Masterpiece Contest (with prizes from DST), it seemed the perfect opportunity to jump in.

When starting something new, my first reaction is to go slow, experiment and learn how to do it right. I quickly realized that wouldn't win me any contests, so I went full bore with a roughly 14" by 14" Phoenix image with over 100 pieces of glass. Here's the result.
This is actually a scaled-back version. My original template had a much larger fiery Phoenix Force in the background. I do plan on finishing the full version in the upcoming months. Keep checking back.

Back lit on a bright, sunny day. Here you can really see the texture of the glass. I wish I hadn't used such small pieces for the sash. They really caused a lot of difficulties and detract from the overall look. Oh well, lesson learned.

Against the work room window. In these photos you can't really see the solder lines. That's the part that I'm least satisfied with. They are uneven and a bit lumpy.

Here's a big reason why I love stained glass. Refraction. It's so cool way the light bounces and flows as you move the piece. The way the different types of glass bend the light.

You can see all the anniversary contest entries here.
 LabTable: Printed Minimate
December 19, 2013

In early 2013, I purchased a consumer 3D printer. Not one of the industrial types that Shapeways uses, but an open source, plastic extruding, home model. Specifically the Ditto from Tinkerines Studios. After assembly and many hours of refinement I started printing Minimate parts. Large Minimate parts.

Using the models I created for animation I was able to produce a scaled-up version of the basic Minimate.

Like anything new there are bound to be problems. I printed many versions of the various pieces to get the fit and feel just right. I've also had a couple controller chips die so I end up waiting for replacement parts.

Print lines are very obvious in these early prints. It seemed whenever I would print a torso, about halfway through the printer would get off track just a bit. It would either skip layers or go over the edge a bit. It's gotten better, but still not ideal.

Also you can see the little blobs that indicated the starting point of each layer. These have been minimized quite a bit with recent prints. But I'm still sanding and filling to get the finish I want.

I've also purchased the Ditto Upgrade Kit that should improve prints as well. Unfortunately it uses a thinner plastic filament so I have to use up my stock of plastic before upgrading. I've got about three spools to go.

This is still an ongoing project. I don't yet have a fully assembled jumbo Minimate. When I do, it will be posted here.
 Roamer Zombie Turnaround
December 17, 2013

To finish up, here's the Roamer Zombie turnaround of the Minimate featured in the Skybound Walking Dead Contest post. Here's the released version.

 Rick Grimes Turnaround
December 12, 2013

Here's the Rick Grimes Minimate featured in the Skybound Walking Dead Contest post. This is the basic face texture that matches the released Minimate.

Hairpieces are still challenging. Maybe I should practice.