Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Grenadier Monster Manuscripts Vol.III MM19 Efreeti

Efreeti are supernatural creatures in Arabic and Islamic folklore. They are in a class of infernal Jinn,  noted for their strength and cunning. An Efreeti is an enormous winged creature of fire, either male or female, who lives underground and frequents ruins. Efreeti live in a society structured along ancient Arab tribal lines, complete with kings, tribes, and clans. They generally marry one another, but they can also marry humans. While ordinary weapons and forces have no power over them, they are susceptible to magic, which humans can use to kill them or to capture and enslave them. As with the Jinn, an Efreeti may be either a believer or an unbeliever, good or evil, but he is most often depicted as a wicked and ruthless being.

The next item to be extracted from the lead mountain was this fabulous sculpt by John Dennett. The paint job on this was surprisingly easy - yellow at the base, blended into orange, and then finally red for the main torso (although I did keep the lower part of the right arm orange to suggest it was still emerging from the flames) - and then a wash of GW crimson, followed by lots of dry brushing. The armband and the earring were picked out with gold, whilst the eyes and teeth were picked out with yellow and white. The base is simply Milliput, scored to suggest flames (perhaps not too successfully), and then painted orange and dry brushed yellow to try and merge into the base of the figure.
I think this is a fantastic sculpt - incredibly sinister, and radiating malice. Imagine the reaction of adventurers entering a desert tomb and finding this waiting for them! VERY pleased with the way this one turned out :)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM25 Giant Snake

What's this?!? TWO postings in the same month?!? Ludicrous... I actually have a couple of weeks off, so I am using the time to get in some much needed painting. Next from the lead mountain was this rather unspectacular beastie from Asgard.

I was NOT enthused. Whilst many of the early Asgard sculpts have a lot of charm and character (for example the excellent trolls from the Fantasy Monster range), several of them are quite coarsely sculpted... such as this one. The level of detail on the scales, eyes and mouth isn't great to be honest, and there were plenty of flash lines on the scales which were difficult to cut away/smooth down without wrecking the figure. Still, out with the brushes... 

One immediate issue was the base for the figure - it didn't fit well on a 45x20mm GW 'long' base, so it ended up on a 40x40mm base. Even then the head still stuck out over the edge! It also made the base look a bit empty, hence the addition of the heads from a plastic GW skeleton cavalry unit. The original idea for the paint job was to base it on a coral snake - brightly coloured and defined bands to give out a very definitive 'here is danger' signal - and in hindsight I should have gone for a deeper orange or even red, as the final result does make it look like a serpentine version of the lead character from Finding Nemo :( The actual paint job was just white, orange and black bands plus a light yellow for the underbelly, followed up with an Army Painter Soft Tone wash on the orange and yellow parts. The base is just builder's sand.

To be honest I wasn't happy with the figure or the paint job, until I put it on a table and stepped away from it. Oddly enough, it looks a lot better from a distance, especially when placed next to unwary dungeon adventurers. I suspect this figure may get a decent amount of tabletop time - it will certainly meet the need for a generic 'oh-look-here-is-a-giant-serpent' encounter. It also seems to be a fairly rare figure - I've only seen a couple of copies turn up on certain auction sites, and they seem to go for a decent amount. One for the collectors and completists rather than the painters ;)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Grenadier Monster Manuscripts vol 1 MM4 Basilisk

"In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance."

The next nugget to be extracted from the lead mountain was Grenadier's take on the Basilisk. Whilst I am big fan of Grenadier figures, and especially of John Dennett who sculpted this one, I was not enthused - it looked like a slightly comical figure rather than the king of serpents. And what was with the eight legs??! Still, out with the brushes...

I'd been reading an article about how difficult it is to paint yellow, and I thought "it can't be that hard". Wrong. It's really difficult to do it without the figure looking grimy... this is my best shot and I still think it needs a bit of a wash. Originally the figure was done in two shades of yellow - a dark yellow for the scales on the top, a lighter yellow for the bottom part of the figure - and then a light coat of The Army Painter mid-tone wash. And then highlighting. Lots and lots and lots of highlighting, before picking out the detail of the crest in red, the teeth in white and the claws in black. The base is simply GW sand, whilst the finish is satin varnish to give it a slightly shiny scale look.

It didn't come out too badly I think - it's just a really weird creature, basically a dinosaur with too many legs - and I still think it looks too cuddly to strike terror into the heart of anyone. I suspect it is to do with the pose - that raised claw looks like it is about to beg for something. Love and affection and a nice cup of tea perhaps.

As for the eight legs... well, I did some digging, and found this woodblock print of a basilisk from 1640, which is probably where John Dennett drew some inspiration and then probably thought, "the king of serpents... with a chicken's head. Nope. Let's give it the head of.... T.Rex." And no, I don't mean Marc Bolan...