Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Building a Better Borka

One of my recent commissions was to recreate Borka Kegslayer's "two-handed swing" as seen in the fantastic Andrea Uderzo illustration.

Other modelers have done this using the Trollblood Axer torso to replace Borka's, so I went the same route. My goal was to recreate all of the detail and clothing as it appears on the "regular" Borka, so there was a fair bit of sculpting involved.

The parts list for this conversion: 

Borka Kegslayer (the complete model)

Troll Axer Body

Parts Preparation

I began by sawing Borka in half at the waist and cutting the arm off of the Axer's torso right above the armored gauntlet. I useed clippers to cut away the armored gorget on the Axer's neck, and to flatten out his chest.

The torso and legs were pinned together with a bit of putty to fill in the gap. Holes were also drilled in the arms to accommodate the armature pins later.

The Chest

With the armor removed from the Axer's neck, I could sculpt some anatomy. Not an entire torso, just the exposed chest area and the neck. The armor on the back of the neck would be covered by Borka's high fur collar.

Once the putty on the chest was dry, I added a small roll of putty to create the necklace "string." When this was also dry, I placed 3 balls of putty where the stones would go, and used my sculpting tool to flatten and shape them. The runes were pressed in with the tip of my hobby knife.

The Jacket

First, the leather jacket was laid in. A few folds were pressed in with my smoothing tool. and the arm holes were shaped into a ragged, tattered edge.

To sculpt the lacing on the back, I cut a few horizontal lines, and then the vertical seam between them.

Before working on the fur collar, I attached Borka's head and touched up the join. The fur was made by pulling lines along the surface of the putty.

When sculpting fur, I work from top to bottom in rows, so it's easy to have "layer lines" in the pattern. The trick to making fur look convincing, is to eliminate these as much as possible, creating a uniformly random appearance.

Finally, a few deep recesses were made with a pointer tool.

Here, you can see the front of the collar, and the attached head.

The Belts

I glued on the parts of Borka's kilt (the bottom of the jacket neded to be trimmed in a few places so the kilt fit properly). The kilt wrapping was built up a bit with some putty.

The belts were added as strips of putty which were then shaped. The seam along the edge was pressed in with the bladed edge of my sculpting tool. The round impressions were made with differently sized tubes, including a mechanical pencil with the lead removed for the smallest rivets. Using a pointer tool, I pressed in some holes on the end of the belt.

After this putty cured, I added the buckles. They started as squares and were pressed into shape. using the same technique as the rest of the belt.

Hands and Arms

The bottom of Borka's mace was carefully separated from the hand. The hands were then drilled out to fit a 1.90mm brass rod. On Borks'a left hand, his pointing index finger was cut off...

...and resculpted around the mace handle. You can see where I wrapped a little putty around the brass rod to match the thickness of the handle.

Here are the parts just before I trimmed the brass rod to length, and attached it to the other hand.

More brass rod was used to create the armature and pose.

Over the armature, I added a layer of bulking putty.

When the bulking layer was dry, I removed the hands and sculpted the final musculature overtop.

The Finished Model

On the final model, the mace was left separate for painting convenience.

This commission posed a lot of sculpting challenges, but was a lot of fun to work on. I'm really happy with the way he turned out. For now, I'll leave you with some rotation shots of the final miniature:

'Til next time!


  1. Very cool, and some good tips on process here, thanks.


  2. Excellent work here Rob!! Love all of the detail work you put in... I need to branch out and get more comfortable with sculpting anatomy. You do a wonderful job with it. Quick question for you... where do you get your brown stuff? Can't seem to find it anywhere.


    1. In the past, I've ordered it by the case, direct from the manufacturer. Although I've heard they're going to stop doing that unless it's for a redonkulous quantity. Like 7000 units or something.

      I think GF9 sells the packs, or CMON might.

  3. Very nice work and great results.

  4. Awesome work. Really great tutorial, Rob. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great job Rob! I'm still waiting to see you finish up your Terrorgheist base ;)

  6. Sick skills. How long did you train to sculpt like that ? Did you take classes or something ?

  7. How much would a replica of this cost?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.