Friday 24 January 2014

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM68 Necromorph

And staying with the theme of Undead... the next exhibit for the Menagerie is this unpleasant looking fellow – a Necromorph, or as everyone refers to him… a Lich. Goodness knows why Asgard didn’t call it a Lich and have done with it – Lich is a perfectly good old English word, so I can’t imagine it would have been an issue with copyright – perhaps someone just liked the word NECROMORPH. It didn’t catch on though. 

The figure was simple to paint; GW Rotting Flesh for the skin, then suitably sombre colours for the clothing, then a wash of Army Painters Dark Tone and then dry brushing.  The base is just model railway gravel, whilst the ‘mist’ around the base is simply strands of cotton wool.

I think this is a splendid figure for its time – it would definitely have a place as the default Undead Sorcerer in many D&D scenarios – but to be honest, as with so many of the Asgard figures, it does look very coarse compared to many of today’s sculpts. In all likelihood it will be degraded from the status of Undead Sorcerer to Undead minion leader. Correction: Undead NECROMORPH minion leader:)

Sunday 19 January 2014

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 2nd Series 025 Lord of Death

No two ways about it; Grenadier chose some weird subjects to sculpt in the 1980’s. Next out of the lead mountain was this chappie, complete with cowl, cloak and scythe (but sadly missing a cocktail stick stuck through small pieces of cheese and pineapple). The paint job was fairly easy – white primer, then a couple of washes of Army Painter dark tone, then lots of white dry brushing to bring up the white again. The cowl and cloak were then painted black, and then dry brushed with several shades of gray to bring it up, followed by various ‘touch up’ jobs in white and black to tidy the entire figure up. I'm not entirely sure what the strange thing around its waist is - a pouch for putting gathered souls in, or a sporran maybe? The base is simply model railway gravel given a dark tone wash, and then dry brushed red and orange to try and suggest that it is stalking around on warm coals.

It’s a big sculpt – the second picture shows a Grenadier Fantasy Warriors (FW) barbarian against it to give you can idea of the scale, and the FW range were big hefty sculpts themselves! – and I actually quite like it as a sculpt. It has a definite sinister air, and not something you’d want a group of adventurers to encounter at the end of a session. Imagine your Cleric trying to turn THAT!

The question I have about this figure is WHY Grenadier produced it - who it was aimed at? It is such a specialised figure that I really can’t see it getting much table time at all. I mean, how many D&D sessions need a giant skeleton with a scythe? It might potentially get some play as the centre piece of an Undead army I suppose, but even then I can’t imagine Grenadier ever shifting many copies of the figure. As a wild guess… was this figure ever marketed for the Heavy Metal and Goth market…? I should imagine it would find a few takers there. As it is, it’s a comparatively rare figure (although as with many Grenadier figures, it’s not of great value on certain auction sites).  

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM58 Wyvern attacking

A wyvern is a legendary winged creature with a dragon's head, which may be said to breathe fire or possess a venomous bite, a reptilian body, two legs (sometimes none), and a barbed tail. 

Next up from the lead mountain was this early release from Asgard. Now, I'm not a fan of winged creatures in metal - there is usually an overhead in securing the wings to the body, followed by the liberal use of Milliput to fill in any gaps, and even when the wings are on there is always the risk that a tabletop accident will cause them to break off. Plus they attract dust like there is no tomorrow. Still, onwards and upwards…

The sculpt came in four pieces – the body, two wings, and the tail. The actual sculpting is pretty good – lots of fine detail, not too many flash lines to remove – and the securing pins/slots for the wings were surprisingly well moulded, with only a minimum of Milliput needed around the joint for the tail. Interestingly, the original catalogue line drawing from Asgard shows the figure with the tail down – but it is fairly obvious from the sculpt that the tail is supposed to curve upwards, a bit like a scorpion’s tail. Once assembled it became apparent that the sculpt was very unstable, hence the need for two 40x40mm bases glued together to support it.

The paint job was comparatively easy – light yellow for the belly and underside of the neck, then green for the main body, head, wings and tail, with just a splash of red for the barb at the end of the tail. Washes and dry brushing then brought up the fine detail of the scales and on the wings. The base is simply flock plus some stones and twigs from the garden - my reasoning is that the Wyvern is most likely to be encountered in the wilderness, rather than in a dungeon!

I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out – not bad for a figure that’s nearly 30 years old! I suspect it is a fairly rare piece, as it’s the only one I’ve ever seen in the wild, although I understand that Viking Forge still produce the model. I’m guessing it was never that popular due to the cost of it in the early 70’s – it is a fair sized lump of metal – and also I suspect it would get limited table time, as opposed to something like a dragon which would be brought out again and again. Shame really, because I think it’s a lovely piece of early sculpting.