Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Back from the Dead, with a finished Death Giant of the Undead Legion

Six years after I resolved to complete my copy of the Grenadier Death Giant of the Undead Legion, I finished it. Seriously I really finished it. Done. This is a big deal, it means I might finish other things as well! Previous posts described the project and the approach to customization, as well as accommodating the difficulty of stabilizing such a large white metal model. I have now here some images of the completed Giant.

The general colors were simple: decay and old bone. The chainmail shirt is dealt with rather abstractly, and the colors are simply blotted on, like an Autumn leaf. The helmet was quite fun, dark brown base, clay-like red and turquoise verdigris rust playing different parts for an overall effective ancient-look...

Stance was tough, my descriptions of the drilling and pinning touches on some of this, but if the thing didn't stand properly, and look like it was comfortably menacing, it wouldn't have worked at all as a model.

The 'face' needed to look right as well, not dopey, not skewed, but genuinely fierce and unsettling - the position of the model's jaw was crucial. The placement of browns and earth colors wasn't just a recess-finding wash, but a deliberate definition of the sculpt's form, deepening the severity of the features.

A striking profile, an assault from an un-feeling foe... I think I did quite well on that copper-rust stuff on the helmet...

The model was painted entirely assembled: all joints sealed, all pins pinned, everything was completed to make the thing effectively a single-piece miniature. It was lightly washed with dish detergent and water to remove finger grease (there was a lot), dried for several days to make sure no moisture lurked in any recesses, then primed on a low-humidity day with pre-warmed Krylon gray primer.

The first step was to paint the inside of the rib cage dark gray. There was no chance of creating any effects or colors there, so making it 'all shadow' or at least largely irrelevant to the outside coloration was the way to go.

Now for some details of note First, the axe...

I believe I did quite well on the axe head, with dominant reds and oranges. I studied photos of actual old metals to guide this. The red tassel just below the head... I could have done better on, could have had more variation in color to pronounce the sculpt...

... But after a half-way point had been reached I decided that this project had to finish, even if I didn't have things just-so, as long as it was colored, coherent, and respected the detail sculpted in, it was going to work... The above shows how nicely my additional sculpted chainmail worked out at the shoulders.

Here's a nice spot: the knee/shin guard, it's really a super nicely designed part of the model, and I treated it differently than other areas as an exercise in color. This is base-coated in a dark gray, but uses a fiery rusty red in the recesses, it comes off nicely, though not strictly logical, maybe an iron-like texture.

The really good bits are really around back, where I've cut-away the original sculpted straps (which were boring) and added my own, green-epoxy sculpted rotted leather straps, held aloft by interior brass-rod armature. I likely could have done better on the color, but again, we're in the home-stretch and this thing has to be finished. Nice view on the scabbbord there as well, basic colors with verdigris decay and (gulp) an attempt at a gem-like appearance on those blue baubles. Maybe I should leave that to the Eldar-painters...

This shield... I swear the time spent is not reflected in the results... I agonized over this. I knew I wanted to get some design on there, the real-estate begged for it, but I realize I'm not at that painting-level where I can work that freehand stuff into the general painting and have it work right. I drew and traced and copied and worked many designs, taken from outside influences, even before attempting the application on the shield. This works... sort of. I'm not pleased with the bare wood areas, that definitely could have been better, but with that animal-graphic on there it distracts a bit, I suppose it works its best. Again, I just wanted this thing done and out of my life for good...

And the base, all stock, slightly modified just so the whole model could stand upright properly, painted in such colors as would delineate the model from the base but still stay in the same universe. The wood was cut from a shipping pallet some years back, stained and coated with something I found in the basement...

A view from below, perhaps what the rest of the 25mm neighborhood might see after this guy came and wrecked up your village...

...before thundering off into the distance, swinging his axe at anything in his path. Erm, actually I mean her axe... for as any anatomist with an eye for the distance between Ischial Spines of the human pelvis can see, it was a beauty what became this beast.

Seriously, no shit, that's a female pelvis.

I'm proud of this bona-skell. Having had this mini for so long, having made attempts since boyhood to make motion on the model, I've come to know the parts and details very well. Eagle-eye Grenadier nuts will question the absence of the dagger that came with the set... I left it out, it's nicely sculpted but it became too much, especially after I added some leather straps near the sword, hopefully I'll find some nice satellite project to work it into in tribute. Super eagle-eye Grenadier nuts will question the absence of the 1mm tall spire that should be on the top of the helmet: mine never had it, lousy cast? Not important.

Along the way I broke some drill bits and molded and cast an extra jaw bone for a friend who has the same set. The biggest lesson I take from this is that I can actually finish something, so I'm glad to move from big to small as I approach completing the Grenadier Dwarven Troops set. I promise anyone reading this that it's not going to take another six years.


  1. Well It's a great thing to see you back !!!
    and with that guy done !

    1. Thank you - it's good to post new material, it should occur with greater frequency.

  2. Holy cow that's big 'un! And a great paint job, especially the helmet and axe. Now let's see those dwarves! Hardly anyone does Grenadier anymore. Good job!

    1. Oh I've got Grenadier pouring off the shelves... waiting to be painted... Dwarves coming up soon...

  3. Wow! That's one beautiful skellie.

  4. Great job there. Love the old Grenadier Giants.