Beauty is Only Skin Deep – Norris Thing / Possessed Marine

Ok, so this another possessed, taking the count up to thirteen so far. 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~

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30 thoughts on “Beauty is Only Skin Deep – Norris Thing / Possessed Marine

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  1. This is absolutely amazing! The lamp post was a great call. I will have to try that bi carb and PVA method if I do snow in the future, it looks so much nicer than the valhallan blizzard GW texture paint I used with my space wolves. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didnt even know there was a texture paint for that! I just looked up people making their own snow and found a guy that did an experiment where he made snow on 4 bases using pva/bicarb, pva/snow flock, water effects/bicarb, water effects/snowflock. The pva and bicarb was the cheapest and it looked alright so i tried it. Im prtty sure other people are mixing theirs up so they end up with a grainy paste, which means they can make like disturbed snow and sort of sculpt itba bit… But when i mixed the two it just went like gum! So i just painted the pva where i wantd snow and sprinkled a thick layer of bicarb onto it before leaving it to dry. A couple of place i did more than one layer to get it thicker.

      You should check out my co blogger, Krakendoomcool’s Wolves of your a fan, he has alsondon snow on his with a different recipe. More involved but i think he was really happy with the results, pick his brain if you get five minutes. Thanks for viaiting and commenting! Its nice to know that when you put some effort in its appreciated, it’s very motivating. Thank you. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will use that method! Thank you for the technique detail.

        I will certainly check out those Space wolves, and alternate snow methods. Once again excellent work! I look forward to your next post

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was just looking at my Norris thing Tgis morning in the bright light and the one thing i would
        Say is that its a flat/matte finish. Im still veey happy with it as budget snow but if you wanted to take it up a notch, you would need sometging reflective in there too.

        Azazel has some great first attempt snow on his Wumpas(?), The big starwars snow monsters. He used actual snow stuff which is essentiallu tiny peices of reflective plastic and i think he mentioned to satisfying glint from the snow. Just something to bear in mind. Hm… I may try stippling some varnish on my practice base and so how that goes. I could get back to you with the results if you like.

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  2. Wow, that’s pretty damned amazing. I’m not much of a 40K fan, but it was really cool seeing The Thing reference. And such a nice job on green sculpting the likeness. Looks great. All the detail and thought you put into this made for a very interesting read. How you positioned the body is just fabulous, and I think I would have picked up on that subconsciously without even realizing it. I even like how you tilted the gun, just to illustrate that your mini won’t have any ranged attacks available. Brilliant. Truly a Jewel piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome, thanks so much for commenting Faust and saying so! I had a similar exchange with Krautscientist over on his blog the other day about him tilting his Lamemters head. It does feel good when someone really appreciates the little considerations and tweaks in addition to the “wow” factor of the initial impressions. Im teally glad you liked the post too, i type what im thinking and i find it hard to condense somestimes, not sure if im going into too much detail. If you ever have any feedback on how i could improve on my models or posts, its completely encouraged!

      Thanks again for visiting

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the writing part just comes with time. I feel like I am still way too wordy in my blog posts, especially in this day and age. I take mental notes from other bloggers on how they are able to express themselves more succinctly than I. Also, I’ve noticed that a number of them leave stuff out and then explain more as questions roll in. Another trick that I’ve been attempting is breaking things up into shorter posts.

        I think you’re doing really well on both the modeling and posting parts, and things will just get better over time. It’s kind of in my nature to offer advice where I can, so I’m sure I will do the same for ya. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! Yeah it was an interesting challenge having to make that sinewy part… Actually, i think i need to edit my post! It just came to me… It wasnt guitar string, that stuff is way too tough, it was GW barbed wire! The “barbed” wire is pretty soft and flexable, one wire wrappesd around tge other, i just unwound the outside bit, thats it. Sorry, same principle wrong material. Not that tgere are tgat many people that would even have cause to rush off and try it… How often to you you need to sculpt weird stringy alien guts?…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “You gotta be cussing kidding me!”

    This guy is my favourite possessed (so far). Not just because I love the film either. You’ve done a fantastic job recreating the look and feel. That face is so recognisable. Excellent!

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    1. I there were definitely stages wjere i gained confidence.

      1. Setting up the mushroom body and putting the stringy bits on, there are 2 growths on the stem that i felt pretry good about.

      2. Maing the head was terrifying to face, so tackling that was importent, then that first comparison with the original pic was a huge boost for me, it felt so good it looked about the same.

      3. Your lamp post idea… The absence of the vent really bugged me and i didnt know what to do. Although attaching the legs to something changed thw angles thatbwas another big step. And i finally felt like… Yeah i can finish this off and make a decent job of it.

      Yeah, easily one of my best posse-… No… One of my best MODELS. Glad you like it man.

      Like

    1. Thank you very much, im really proud of it as its probably the most complex sculpt ive had to do and the most time ive spent on one. Also i appreciaye getting feedback not only on my mini but also on my write ups. The blog is still reletively new and i think im still finding my feet when it comes to my writing style. Cheers for the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh man, totally forgot to ask. Have you seen the movie “Slither”? If you like John Carpenter’s The Thing, I think you’ll find that one quite good as well. They did a great homage to The Thing and other movies. Way better than The Thing prequel.

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    1. Im not sure… I may have seen bits of it. Is it about like leeches… Or somtging inside people? I cant really remember. I actually enjoyed the thing prequal! I waa imoressed with their efforts to keep the continuity between accross the films and although it was only a small, having the sequals into music play at the end was a great touch.

      I ll try to check slither out when i have a chance. Thanks Faust

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, there are leeches from space, taking over things. And of course a huge ugly monster at the end. Their use of practical effects was pretty amazing.

        I appreciated the effort they put forth for Thing prequel. But after having had watched it, really had to question whether it was “necessary”. It’s certainly not as bad as a lot of the Hollywood prequel/sequels, but I still feel like The Thing is best as just the one movie, with Kurt Russell.

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  5. That’s pretty bloody amazing. Also disgusting. I really like the build photos and the walk through your process in creating the model from conception to conclusion, including the times you had to change course or redo things (lamppost, head).
    Because I think your model here is so cool, I used an (unattributed) strip of it as a teaser for the Jewel of July Round-Up in my most recent post – hope you don’t mind! As IRO said the other day – it can be good to whet people’s curiosity, so I’m sure there area few people out there wondering WTF about it who will see the model in all it’s glory around this time next week. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha, im really glad you like it. I never used to take progress photos of my stuff because i used to like surprising people. Now with the blog i try to take a picture with each significant change. I put all my live progress on Bolter and Chainsword and try to condense it a bit here.

      Feel free to you any of my pictures for what ever! Its really cool you thong it will be a good fraw for people and it all for the hobby community.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks man. I thought you would like it. Im genuinely proud of it and its made me realise some of more ambitious ideas are definately achievable.

      Like

  6. I was going to say, I got more of a Spawn vibe than Possessed here. I guess the line really is pretty fuzzy between them, at least from the outside. Regardless, it looks fantastic. Amazing job capturing the feel of that scene. The one thing that seems a bit odd is that there’s so much motion here that the snow that’s collected on the Marine itself is a bit out of place. Probably not worth the effort to fix now, tho.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, i know what you mean, i debated that back and forth a few times. I thought with no snow it might look kike the whole marine just suddenly appeared in the anow but with any snow it would look like it had been there for ages. I opred to put a little snow on bits of him that may have collected even if he was walking around, even if it wasnt exactly right, just to help tie him into the scene. I made sire i didnt put ang on The Thing because its JUST burst out. One of those balencing acts in art with what looks right vs. what is right.

      Your the first person to say something so i guess its a grey area/point of preference, but im glad you did. I actually made a new mini that i will post up sometime this month maybe, that is a duel between a Marine and a Genestealer (for a twitter competition). It was another snowy scene and again i wasntnsure if i should put some on the armour! but this on i opted not to there is a lot more motion from both parties.

      Cheers for the feedback and i super pleased you like it! 😁

      Like

      1. I think on pieces with more motion, I’d do just a super light dusting of snow. It’s easier to do with something like GF9 or Woodland Scenics snow effect than with baking soda techniques, but still possible.

        Look for places where some snow might accumulate even when moving, like in the Marine’s collar, or on the shoulders between the collar and the pauldrons and backpack. On a Genestealer, the gaps between the ridges on its back carapace might well hold some snow even if it’s being fairly active. In both cases, they’re capable of operating in hard vacuum, so you know they’ve got some amazing insulation there, and the outside is mostly going to be at ambient environmental temperature, which will let individual flakes freeze to it strongly enough that they won’t really get shaken off, they’ll only come loose if they’re actually struck or brushed away, while larger clumps will stick to themselves better rather than the surface and will be more likely to fall off just from motion. Maybe even try to find some photos of hikers in snow or something for reference.

        Regardless, I look forward to seeing how it turns out!

        Liked by 1 person

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