Friday, 19 September 2014

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM53 Balrog

Next to be extracted from the Lead Mountain was this beastie from Asgard. It’s their take on the Balrog from LOTR. It originally came in two parts – the body, and the wings, both cast in metal.

Attaching the wings to the body gave me no end of grief. The moulding to attach the wings was crude to say the least, and the wings are incredibly thick and heavy – they weigh about the same as the body! It took several goes, a lot of superglue and a LOT of cursing to get them to stay on. Once I had them fixed, the joints were filled with Milliput. Not an easy job! The next problem was the figure once the wings were attached – it wouldn’t stand up unassisted, due to the small base size. This was addressed by gluing it to a GW base – the original Asgard base had stones moulded into it, so I extended that by adding additional stones carved from Milliput.

So on to the paint job. This was actually the simplest part – base red, GW wash for depth, and then lots and lots of dry brushing. I wanted it to look like a creature of fire, and I think that the colour scheme worked pretty well. The flaming sword was problematical – not really much detail to work with – but I tried my best by picking it out with yellows and whites to suggest heat. The whip of fire was just a matter of highlighting the tail ends of the whip. As for the base… the easiest thing would have been to paint it gray, but I wanted to give the effect of heat and fire, so I painted them orange to suggest reflected flames. There are a few grains of sand on the base as well, picked out in red, to suggest embers.

Whilst I like the figure, I can’t see it getting too much table top time. I rarely run campaigns that make use of Balrogs or Fire Demons, although if I do need one I can bring this chappie out. And it has wings, which are one of my pet peeves with miniatures. And it is a seriously large bit of metal – look at the Grenadier early 80’s archer next to it! I understand Viking Forge still produce it using the old Asgard moulds, and I think it still holds up pretty considering it is nearly 40 years old!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st series 134 Armoured Centaur and Garrison Sword and Sorcery SS76 Female Centaur

It’s been a while – a combination of work and then holidays has prevented me from posting – but I’ve still been painting. Here we have two figures on the same topic – centaurs – but with very different styles. The Garrison figure was bought as part of a job lot, and when I extracted it from the Lead Mountain I was NOT enthused… then I realised I was also working on the Grenadier figure as part of a HOTT Woodland army, and thought it would be interesting to paint them and show them together.

Garrison were one of the earliest figure manufacturers – I think this figure was sculpted in the mid 1970’s by the great John Braithwaite, and based on the Robert E Howard Conan novels. As consequence, it is VERY simple, and quite coarse, with some very strange proportions… maybe he was reading The Sun’s page 3 when he sculpted it! Still, out with the brushes… the main thing with the early figures is to keep the paint job simple, and I did exactly that – dark gray for the horse body and hair, then dry brushed white. The torso is just base flesh with Army Painter soft tone for shading, and then flock on the base.

I didn’t have any expectations of this figure, and I was quite surprised it turned out fairly well. It actually reminds me a bit of the primitive art, Neolithic paintings on cave walls, simple and a little bit child-like, but with a definite energy. I like this figure!

The Grenadier figure was done in the mid 1980’s, and shows just how far sculpting had gone. This figure was actually rescued from a junk pile at a war games fair, and had obviously had a very hard life – really badly painted and dented. Soaking it in Simple Green brought the paint off, but it had lost a bit of detail. Excuses, excuses….

I stuck to the same colour scheme – dark gray for the horse parts, dry brushed white, and then picked out the armour with white as well, followed by a quick coat of Army Painter dark tone and finally picking out detail with gold and burgundy. The face and arms were simply flesh tone and Army Painter soft tone again. I really like the mid-80’s Grenadier figures, the one produced before the oval flat bases and the Nick Lund era, and I think this is one of their better efforts – I’ll be happy to see him based up as part of a centaur Knights unit.