Rakshasas

I’m kind of excited to be painting these Rakshasas. They were originally produced in the Ral Partha “The Adventurers” line, a series of small boxed sets. The second monster set had these two poses of an armored gnoll — one with a scimitar and one with a spear. This was the first RP boxed set I bought, largely on the strength of the fact that it listed two skeletons and a minotaur as well. I painted my original pair as gnolls, although they looked a bit small and more feline than hyena-ish; moreover they are kind of short for gnolls, who should stand around 7′ tall, while these are the height of an average human in scale.

Anyway Ral Partha Legacy is setting the record straight and re-releasing these as Rakshasas. D&D players know Rakshasas as supernatural, man-eating monsters. The AD&D Monster Manual does not describe their appearance, but the accompanying illustration of a tiger-headed man has mostly stuck into later editions. I can see some tiger-like qualities to their faces.

I feel honored to have been trusted to paint this set for RPL (full disclosure, volunteer painters get a free set of the same models they paint for the catalog/conventions). They came with halberds for the spearmen rather than the standard piano wire spears that the original had. I like this change. If Ral Partha Legacy is satisfied with these, I’d be happy to try something else for them.

Here’s the progression of how it went.

Bare metal glues to cardboard for painting. That is how I painted units for wargaming when I had my wargaming jag, although these will get more careful detailing and shading than I would normally use for wargames armies.

rakshasas, unpainted

First I primed them black, as requested, and blocked in the steel for their armor (dry-brushing) and the brown weapon hafts and shield backs.

rakshasas, primed and metal

Then I added a dark blue for their shield faces and pants. I decided to paint the boots the same color to suggest a uniform, as they are all standing in a very disciplined pose. Gold details on the armor and maroon straps and belts add some more color.

colors blocked in

Then I applied a dark wash over their armor, some highlighting on the blue clothes, and painted the exposed fur orange. For the fur I painted the areas ivory/white, then applied a thick orange wash.

more color added

Finally I detailed the tiger pattern on their faces (white chin, snoot, cheeks, and “eyebrows”) and added yellow-dotted eyes. Their paws got some white detailing too. There wasn’t really much exposed fur that would have black stripes, but I did add them to their forearms.

back of a rakshasa

Finally I took them off the carboard bases I was using to hold them and touched up any areas I’d missed. Then they got a light coat of Dullcote, as requested. I would normally use a few heavier coats of matte sealer but Ral Partha Legacy will want to base them according to their standards,  which makes a lot of sense as that will help blend all the different painting styles of the volunteers doing their armies. I assume they’ll add another layer of Dullcote after that.

Here is what I’m sending in:

Not the best photo but I hope they’ll approve.

Published in: on February 15, 2021 at 8:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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Film Fridays: Conquest

A little early this week, but I’ll be on vacation by Friday…

Conquest (1983 : Dir. Lucio Fulci)

This is movie I really need to watch again some time. It was so dream-like that I can barely remember which parts were in the film and what are embellishments of memory.

The director of many great splatter films takes a stab at the sword & sorcery genre. Really more like taking a bashing, a decapitation, several eviscerations, and a thousand Atari 2600’s worth of special effects at a barbarian movie. It’s based on no particular sword & sorcery tale, but has archetypes of many;  in fact if James Mal’s excellent phrase “unholy goulash” has any application in film, this is one.

We have what seems to be a more civilized nation sending a champion with a magic bow to a more primitive land where, if I am remembering this right, a witch is worshiped by gnoll-like monsters and controls the populace by sheer terror. Early on the gnolls rip a woman in half, very graphically, and bash open a man’s head, very graphically. Lucio Fulci is most famous, after all, for movies like Zombie aka Zombi 2, a movie that features buckets of blood and gore, and an infamous shark vs. zombie fight scene. So if you think you might enjoy zombie vs. shark, you will like Fulci’s other films.  There is a certain amount of brain-eating, of course.

If Conquest could have kept up the pace of its first ten minutes or so, it would be a classic on a par with Conan the Barbarian (which, love it or hate it, has some great scenes). Instead, Fulci decides fantasy = acid trip and the film has eerie, dream-like cinematography, surreal dialogue and action sequences, and a barely intelligible plot. But if it is delirious, it is also deliriously fun. Old-school D&D players will appreciate the remorseless barbarian Mace and the remorselessly brutal story that (minor spoiler) kills off major & minor characters with barely a thought. There is a dungeon-like setting around the middle of the film, too. And the witch-queen, who wears nothing but a mask and a snake for most of the film. Nice.

The FX are hokey, certainly.But hey, 1983. This is an Italian knock off of a B-film. So you make allowances. Wolfmen, zombies, and other monsters harry our heroes, the archer above and Mace the barbarian (who wields a silly nunchaku made out of stone or something, see the poster at the top of this post!). You might see the “twist” at the end coming a mile away, but the whole thing is a guilty pleasure. Also, the cinematography is seriously weird and occasionally gorgeous.

Oh yeah, the armored dude/demon/robot/what ever he is.  Another great monster.  You must watch this, preferably with beer (or whatever) and friends.

Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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Gnolls

A paladin confronting some gnolls?

Gnolls are a weird D&D monster — hyena-headed humanoids. The name is taken from Lord Dunsany, as the original edition of D&D mentions (“Lord Sunsany….”) in the brief description of gnolls. Lord Dunsany does not describe his gnolls* in any detail, and the first edition description just suggests they may be a hybrid of gnomes and trolls. But the look of the AD&D monster is pure Medievalism — they are the Cynocephalies (Dog-headed people) of Medieval folklore. (more…)

Published in: on April 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm  Comments (5)  
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