Friday, September 27, 2013

Review/assembly: Krull, Servile Lord of Dis

After a week of rest and relaxation in which I didn't do a dang thing modeling-wise, I decided to jump back in with both feet. Following the jump, we'll review the most iconic Darklands model ever, Krull: servile Lord of Dis. Shall we see how awesome this thing is?
I had a bunch of directions I could go for my next project - I have Trolls, Tarvax, Ysian Drunes, and Sronax sitting relatively untouched; I have Shaaroc mostly assembled and just needing a bit of conversion work to be ready for paint; I have Dyndraig assembled and ready to paint... and there are some other random models. I put a poll out on the Darklands Kickstarter I comments section for what people wanted to see me do next. It ended in a tie with Shaaroc and Krull bringing in the same number of votes. Since the Mierce Miniatures account posted in favor of Krull, I decided to use that as the tiebreaker (though I may work on Shaaroc at the same time).
I unpacked Krull and laid all his parts out on my gaming table.
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There is just no comprehending the size of this model. I tried to find a model that would be close in scale, and the only thing I've got that's bigger is the Rackham Titan Dragon of Aarklash. Above is a scale shot of Krull next to various things: from left to right, the gigantic Reaper Bones Bone Giant, a Reaper barbarian, a Games Workshop Chaos Marauder, Krull's legs, a Rackham Confrontation Wolfen, and Aradae Mawr.
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"What have I done?" I thought to myself after seeing him all laid out. Deciding to get a grasp on the situation, I put Krull in a plastic container with soap and water, so I could clean the resin before I got assembling. To make me feel better, I poured some Real Ale Devil's Backbone. It helped.
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Krull's legs from the top and bottom. The mold lines on the rear thigh and buttons are the worst ones on the model (and actually the worse I've ever had on a Mierce model), and took quite a bit of cleaning. They're in a part where nobody's really going to be looking, a trend we'll see with some of the other components in a bit. Yes, Krull has nards. What else do you expect from Mierce?
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I trimmed the sprue pieces from the top and bottom halves. I'd wondered about pinning these two pieces together, but they matched up as though they were sculpted to do that. I don't even think I'm going to have to gap fill the waist, which pleases me.
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From there, I went on to the head. I need to offer a caution to anyone else building Krull - Mierce has a very effective casting technique where the "sprue" (the part of the resin that was sticking up from the mold so they could pour it in) fits in with a peg that's used to pin the model. Krull's horns have a sprue done this way, on the inside of the horn. When you're cleaning it, if you clean it all the way down to the sculpt, you'll end up with the gap I've put into Krull's left horn. If you leave a bit of it and test-fit it as you're going to make sure you don't take too much away, you end up with the seamless result I've got in Krull's right horn. I had to pin the one on his left, and will need to fill the gap in it. I don't have to do a thing to the one on his right. The bottom jaw is a separate piece, and I had a bit of a fit issue with it on the bottom. Another thing Mierce does amazingly is ensure the pieces fit perfectly from the top and sides; if there's any gap or overlap, it's almost always on the bottom, where it's only going to be seen if someone picks up the model and flips it over. More on that later...
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The right arm, from the front and the back. If you're staring at all the Krull pieces and trying to figure out where the spikes go: one goes in the hold with the recession in it. The other one is on the bottom, and we can ignore that. I'm curious whether the chain was sculpted on, or just an actual chain wound around the sculpt. I may never know... until the art book comes out!
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So, here's where I quit after the first day! First, just bask in his majesty.
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Another first-day pose. I did pin the two arms on, because the weight of the model is very high (especially with the wings on), and if he falls over I want the fists to be able to absorb the shock without snapping off. I also pinned on the axe hand, for the same reason. I'm a bit nervous about him falling and the axe haft snapping, but I'll convert that bridge when I come to it.
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A better view from the back. Did you know Krull had a tail? Neither did I! Glued right in, with no problems.
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The gap in his right horn (which I caused by over-filing a support peg) is the only issue I had with those.
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The fit of the left arm. As you can see, there's a bit of a gap, which will need to be filled.
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A view of the bottom of the arm fit shows a recurring theme - there's a bit of overlap from the arm onto the body, which I'll have to sculpt around. The only time you'll see it is if you pick the model up and flip it over, or do model's eye photos of it. Since model's eye is one of my trademarks, I guess I'm going to fix this!
Also, I found the bits below the knee pads are a bit counter-intuitive to glue on. The pieces are slightly curved, and I wanted them to follow the curve of the knee. They're supposed to come out of it at a 90 degree angle, which means they actually need to be curving perpendicular to it. When you assemble yours, just remember - they're supposed to stick out, not line up with the pad. I hope that helps someone else who's confused about it! I wish I could have pinned these parts, but they're just too thin to do without trashing the sculpt. I'm going to have to add some greenstuff to the join between the arrow at the top of the knee, but that's just because I want the arrow to look like a single piece when I paint it.
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Again, the right elbow joint has just a hint of a gap, and some overlap underneath. This one is (I think) due to my pin holes being slightly offset, so I'll chalk it up to being my fault.
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The only underlap that really made me sad was this, where the head connects to the neck. The detailing on the head and neck is gorgeous, and I'm not sure I can match the textures perfectly. I'll do what I can, though!
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So, for everyone asking for scale photos of Krull: Here's Krull against a standard American pint glass (filled with pint #3 of Devil's Backbone for the night). As you can see, the top of his horn comes to roughly the pint pour mark on a standard beer glass.
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Finally, the most important question for me in adapting it to Other Gaming Systems: will it fit on a 50mm base? After measuring the feet, it looks like it will, but only if the hooves are half on/half off the base. (3" is equal to 75mm). However, I have an idea for a cunning example of Ryan's Random Ability To Fit Massive Models On Tiny Bases, which I'll break out once I start putting paint on this bad boy. Not that I'm teasing you, or anything.



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The next day was spent gluing spikes all over the model. There are 13 spikes on the model, and pretty much all of them had to be pinned. Each knee gets one, the top of each elbow gets one, the top of his axe gets one, and the other eight go on his left shoulder armor, with 3 on the top row and 5 on the second. Test fit them in place, and you should be fine.  I also glued the tabard underneath his crotch armor. This one had a problem, so I glued his left side first, let it set, and then glued the right side with a paint brush shoved behind it, to force it up onto the armor. Without doing that, it would have just been floating behind the armor, and looked silly. There are also two tusks that go into his hip-plates; these were simple pin-and-glue steps.
I should have taken photos as I was doing all this, but I didn't. Instead, here's an intimidating, dramatically lit picture of Krull's head and some wings.
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Now, I'm up to the punching dagger. Out of all the design decisions that were made on this model, this is the only one Mierce made that I was unhappy with. As sculpted, the punching dagger is about 10' long in scale - long enough to be used as a sword. Krull's already got a ton of reach. Why does he need a punching dagger that can reach so far out, when a better scaled one would work just as well? Also, mine had some warping issues at the ends from sitting all day in an outside mailbox in 102 degree Texas heat, and I really didn't want to take the time to bend it back into place. Originally, I had ideas of sculpting a big huge whip into his hand, but dismissed that for being too derivative. Instead, inspiration struck as I was cleaning the mold lines off the massive blades that are supposed to go behind his elbows. Well, actually, I messed up and accidentally snapped off one of the lateral supports that's supposed to hold the blade on. Struck by inspiration, I asked, "What if Krull's punching dagger had CLAWS?" My dog looked at me oddly (why is my master talking to himself at 2 AM?) and the pin vise came out. In the end, I trimmed about 2/3 off the punching dagger, and added a curve to it so that it looked almost like a shield-gauntlet. I then took the spikes that are supposed to be on the elbows, and the ones that are supposed to attach to his hand, and pinned them onto the top of the gauntlet.
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Second shot of the Punching Claw. Now, he can parry attacks and still hit you in the face! I should have taken one from the back of the hand, to show the curvature, but I make bad composition decisions when it's 2 AM.

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A final shot of the assembled Krull. I've glossed over the wing attachment, and I shouldn't have. My wings are held in place by two pins each, with a neodymium magnet in between the pins to add a bit of friction. I do a lot of traveling for tournaments, and in case I ever work Krull into an army, I want to be able to get him into a suitcase. Those wings just add so much room that I don't see any other way than having them detachable. I'll probably have a similar project when Angrislaug gets here, because he gets to fly to San Francisco with me in July 2014. There are gaps between the wings and the body, but that's purely because I messed up and offset the magnets slightly. If you just pin them and glue them down, the fur does a great job concealing the join.

So, there's the second largest resin miniature I've ever owned, assembled. Is it hella expensive? Yes, but it's not a $300 Titan Dragon. Were there some join issues? Only a few, and on a model this large, you expect that you're going to have to do some cleanup. Were there mold lines? Yes, but only the ones on the underneath of the legs required anything more than gentle scraping with a hobby knife. Is the model detailed? Oh, heck yea. This is the type of model that's going to take me a month or two to paint.
So, review notes?
Fit: 4.5/5. Some issues with joints, but a model this size will have that.
Detail: 5/5.
Cost: 4.5/5. It's an expensive model, but that's because it's so huge.
Coolness: 5/5
Total: 9.5/10. The high cost will deter many buyers, but the quality is more than you'll get from a Forgeworld piece. The scale might deter a few other buyers who don't want to figure out how to balance it on a 50mm base, but I've got a unique idea for that which should hopefully inspire others to try it. If you want an amazing model to buy and the price isn't a deterrent, I strongly recommend this model. It can be fielded in four different gaming systems (Darklands, D&D, Warhammer, 40k) with only basing considerations, and is a centerpiece for whatever force you want to add it to.

2 comments:

  1. So how did the model turn out so far? Did you end up using a 50mm base or the base that the model came with (120mm)? Can we see an update on this beast? Beautiful model!

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  2. Unfortunately, Krull got shoved into a display case back in November, and hasn't been touched since! I'd hoped to have time to work on him over Christmas, but getting the Orcs ready for the US Masters and working on my 2014 Warriors of Chaos list has delayed me in getting back to him. I will be doing a dual-base for him, with a square 50mm base leading up into a raised "summoning circle" that should slot into his 120mm base so I can use him in either game. As soon as I get back to work on him, I'll update with a WiP post!

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