View Full Version : The Bureaucrat. A diorama project log

08-06-2012, 20:31
I’ve always loved the images of the Administratum, ranks upon ranks of menial scribes scratching away at ancient desks in vast ill lit halls. I first got into 40K back in Third edition and this quote has always stuck with me.

The whole population of Earth belongs to the unimaginably vast and complex bureaucracy of the Adeptus Terra or Priesthood of Earth. The divisions and departments of the priesthood number hundreds of thousands of independent, quasi-independent, federal and subsidiary offices. Entire lives are spent in ceaseless shuffling of paper and checking of rosters, the assessment of planets for tithes and counting of holo-clips. Together these billions of petty and largely aimless activities turn the wheel of the tireless engine of government. All intelligent self-awareness vanished from the process millennia ago. Whole departments exist to serve worlds or agencies that have long since disappeared. Applications and petitions arrive daily from citizens and are dully processed and acted upon, though the process takes several lifetimes to complete so the citizens in question are inevitably dead by the time their reply arrives.

Such is the nature of government in the Imperium—as devoid of malice as it s without compassion.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for those faceless agents of the Imperium because I am also a low level bureaucrat for my countries federal government and the above quote rings true all too often. In this spirit I have decided to take a break from army painting and work on a little diorama that I think captures the spirit of the Administratum and parts of my day-to-day work life.

The inspiration for this little scene started with one of the Inquisitorial Henchmen, specifically the fat little bald scribe (who oddly enough resembles my division lead). I’m also using Hirst Arts bricks to build him a little office (he’s very important…he has a window). And now pictures!

Here he is taking a Simple Green bath


And the base coat, Deneb Stone


08-06-2012, 20:35
Really looking forward how this evolves! Always a fan of non-martial interpretations of the 40k setting, and this looks like it's going to be a good 'un.

Looking forward to more,

Veteran Sergeant
08-06-2012, 21:36
Some of the coolest fluff and short stories from the old days involved seemingly innocuous characters. It's kind of a shame that the 40K fluff has gotten away from that for the most part to concentrate on relatively bland combat or action/adventure narratives written by authors who don't know anything about warfighting or weapons. ;)

Looking forward to this project. Some of the best project logs are ones which concentrate on telling a story with the figures rather than trying to achieve the most action factor possible.

09-06-2012, 12:02
Sounds interesting. I look forward to seeing how this goes.

09-06-2012, 14:06
So, as you can tell by the annoying little dates in the pictures I started this project back in March. It was briefly interrupted by our decision to buy our first home and all the ensuing projects that come with home ownership (I've been refinishing furniture like a mad man). On the upside I now have a garage to do all the casting for the Hirst bricks and thins are moving along at a nice pace. Below were some more WIP shots of the fig that will be the focus the scene.

Typically I just batch paint armies for the table top but with this fig I wanted to try to build up the color using some layers. These shots show the fig after adding a layer of Bleached Bone to the Deneb Stone foundation.




10-06-2012, 15:14
Another layer plus some skin tones.




And now some shots of my brick casting work area



12-06-2012, 03:19
Just a quick update. Two weeks ago I finally had the majority of my bricks cast and dried so construction of the "office" commenced with a quick dry stack to see how things would lay out.


Next step was laying the floor. The legos help keep everything nice and square.


Hideous Loon
12-06-2012, 09:27
Looks real nice. What accessories will he have? (Bookcases, filing cabinets, whatnot.)

12-06-2012, 09:33
Looking very nice! Very curious to see how this'll end up!

12-06-2012, 16:17
Hideous Loon: I'm planning on a desk, chair and at least two filling cabinets. I don't want to clutter up the space two much. I'm currently trying to figure out how to build a little desk lamp.

13-06-2012, 00:22
Construction went pretty quick. Hirst Bricks are easy to use with a minimal learning curve.


And a detail shot of the window. The plan is to fill this with a color window printed on a transperency.


13-06-2012, 02:03
Looks good so far. Kudos for trying something pretty original too.

14-06-2012, 04:55
After construction comes painting. First coat was spray painted black. On the next layer I used normal house paint from Home Depot, mixing strait black and white to make various shades of gray.

First spay coat



Second coat



Finally, a quick shot of the finished fig

15-06-2012, 15:45
Just a quick update with the first dry brush coat on the walls.


18-06-2012, 07:25
looking good - will there be noticeboards, pin boards ect up?

19-06-2012, 13:49
So despite this guy being a somewhat important cog in the Imperial government (remember, he has a window office) he still works in a pretty dank and dark place. I've tried to illustrate this by adding some large leaky pipes to the interior of his work space.



As a finishing touch I need to apply a glossy clear coat to giv the pipes a nice slimy look.

19-06-2012, 15:57
Looking nice. I think the filing cabinets, paperwork and wall details/posters & memos are what will really sell it.

19-06-2012, 23:25
That opening post kindof gave me goosebumps, cant wait to see where you are going with this.

20-06-2012, 03:45
That horizontal pipe needs a shelf on it for storage of bureaucratic paperwork, scrolls and other important seals etc.

20-06-2012, 03:47
I've been working on the furniture most of this week and I think it turned out really well. The desk file cabinets, and book case help fill out the scene. The pieces are primarily constructed from Hirst Arts bricks from the gothic dungeon molds.








20-06-2012, 20:19
That's shaping up nicely. I really like his motivational poster.

22-06-2012, 07:39
needs more filing cabinets and maybe a datserver uplnk?

looking good though

05-07-2012, 20:58
A small update. I was able to build some of the detail pieces that will flesh out the scene. The scrolls are thin card stock rolled around a toothpick and the books are styrene wrapped in thin card.


05-07-2012, 22:22
The books and scrolls look great. I particularly like the open book on his desk.

Veteran Sergeant
05-07-2012, 22:53
This has turned out really, really well. Great work.

09-07-2012, 04:41
Finished painting some of the furniture and detail bits.





10-07-2012, 09:28
nice - great table top

10-07-2012, 09:53
Gorgeous. Perhaps you could add several stacks of books (up to the ceiling), and a quilt to show their endless exploration through the written history..

17-07-2012, 05:10
Quick update. Finished painting the furniture and spincr, I've taken your suggestion and added a tall, tottering pile of books. Final details will include a stained glass window and some posters.



17-07-2012, 22:35
I really love this, great work!

18-07-2012, 07:01
i dunno - it needs a little more i think. more books, more servo-skulls, more posters, more underlings, more wiring and smaller pipes. Such an important offical (he has a window) would be surronded by lots of hangers on.

18-07-2012, 10:13
Hey! You flatter me!

Looking great, although a room used for ages normally doesn't look so clean! (although who knows, they must have dusters in the future:)

18-07-2012, 21:41
spincr and madd0ct0r: I agree with you both, the room is both to clean and to uncluttered. I keep staring at the piece trying to think of ways of giving it more personality while at the same time not making it appear to busy. As to not being dusty, my government office has people come in and clean at night, a never seen workfoce that emties my trash and vacums up my lunch crumbs.

Staring at my own workspace it’s covered in individual papers and lots of file folders (I also have a ton of never opened three ring binders from various classes). Any tips on recreating those in miniature? I’ve heard that tin foil works as paper. Has anyone ever tried that?

19-07-2012, 00:49
I think some small rubble in the corners and around the attaching sides will go a long way, perhaps a spiderweb high up in 1 ceiling corner. Also perhaps you can give the red details a bit more different colors as shades, and perhaps a shade on the floor (light through the window shadowing over the desk on the stone floor) - or something else!

PS: how did you make the books or were they premade?

Edit: more idea's
Skulls on the bookcase, perhaps a miniature schematic of the human body, then a space-marine suit compared to that.

Posters of galaxies (they always do good), perhaps a schematic or parts of a tyranid (you'd only need like a few bits to make it look like a display of sorts).

19-07-2012, 01:25
I would argue this is a good time to use some more "high-tech" gadgetry, maybe a holo screen on his desk? for sure you need some servo skulls, and some underlings hurrying about. And more shading color wise!

19-07-2012, 01:33
Everything is looking great, if you are thinking of trying to give it more character what about adding some color/hue variation. That way you wouldn't have to add more "clutter" but you could make it more visually interesting. If you look around you at real world inspirations, you'll find most things are pretty saturated with multiple colors, rather than, for example, just say grey or blue. It was a constant critique of my paintings in college, and I've found it now applies very much to my mini painting as well. Hopefully that might give you some ideas

19-07-2012, 05:36
Thanks for the feedback everyone, and now some follow up questions. I’ll admit to being a “tabletop” level painter. I’m usually pretty satisfied with getting the colors in the right spots and adding a dry brushed highlight here and there but I’m trying to add some new techniques through this project so I appreciate the advice.

constant_ones: I get what your saying about multiple colors and tones. I tried to add a streak of light coming in through the window but I think it gets washed out in my pics. How would you go about adding depth to the existing colors and surfaces?

spincr: I made the books by cutting a piece of styrene stock, beveling the edges and then wrapping the stock in a thin sheet of card (I used left over poster board from my daughter’s “use the potty chart”). I learned the technique from here http://www.abarothsworld.com/

A great site with some great tips and tricks.

Off to the bits box, I know I’ve got some servo skulls in there somewhere!

19-07-2012, 11:49
Thanks, just going to the website and checking some stuff out is giving me ideas!:)

Like alchemist tableware: http://www.abarothsworld.com/photogallery/Furniture/Table2.jpg

19-07-2012, 22:32
If I might suggest checking out my quest log? The cold ones, the new ones, are a pretty good example of how you can add colors to otherwise mundane tones, and get something really interesting out of it. I also used the same technique on the true scale wolf I just posted.

Specifically for your set, I might be tempted to use cool colors for the shadows and warmer colors to reference light sources. The cools are easy, just thin out some ink washes. Light is harder I think, if you have a air brush it becomes super easy, but otherwise it tends to be dry brushing which I find a bit difficult to use to achieve a smooth transition.

I'd also suggest using some harsh lighting, photograph, and then use the photo as a reference as to where you want to place your effects.

Hopefully those ideas are useful o you!

19-10-2012, 22:31
Big update for this project. Work and life got in the way of finishing some of the final details but I’ve managed to bring this project close to conclusion. I’ve added a larger base and finalized some of the details like posters, a window and a leaning tower of books. I also added a black wash to the walls in an effort to break up the uniform color of the bricks.

Now some pictures!








19-10-2012, 22:32
And a few more.