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Happy Friday folks, and I’m happy to report that my super death-dragon monster of deathly death is finished, thus comfortably getting me over the finish line for Azazel’s Decembruary painting challenge. As a reminder, the challenge was to paint a ‘big thing’ that has been put off for a while, and this certainly matches that brief – I’ve had this project in mind for months, but never seemed to have the motivation to roll my sleeves up and get cracking… You can probably see why – this was a complicated and intimidating kit bash to represent Arkhan The Black in an OldHammer stylee, and is based on the venerable Death Dragon from Grenadier, (still available from mirliton.it as ‘Arkor the Eternal’). This is what I ended up with:

So let’s talk a bit about the build… First things first, this old girl is a big lump of lead, and I made it more complicated by deliberately ignored the ‘correct’ pose to make her a bit more dynamic… much pinning and filling was required to make sure she was rock solid! I used an old GW skeleton cavalry mini to represent Arkhan himself, with some minor conversion work to swap the (MASSIVE) head, add a right arm, add a tilting shield, and sculpt a saddle & banner mount. He also got some manly man-chains to steer the bugger. The base got quite a lot of attention as well – Arkhan gets a bunch of spirit host attacks in AoS, so I wanted to represent this on the model. The banshees from the Mortis Engine kit fitted the bill nicely, while some trees & scatter filled in the gaps and added a third point of stability for the dragon. One final thing to note – cleaning the mould lines off such a big model created a lot of lead shavings and off-cuts. I glued all this gash to the base and used it as texture, thus avoiding any thorny issues with responsible disposal. I even managed to sneak the rider’s original massive head in there – waste not, want not!

In terms of painting, this piece (is it pretentious to call it a ‘piece’??) provided ample opportunity to cut loose and have some fun. First up, I wanted the spirits to look like they were really glowing, so I had loads of fun with OSL. I think it came off nicely, though I think I overdid it a bit on the dragon’s eye sockets… I’ll sort that bit out next time I have some skellies on the table, but otherwise I am really chuffed with how the glow effect worked. Another bit that got a lot of attention was the banner and (to a lesser extent) the shield, and I really got to push the boat out with the freehand here. I am delighted with how it came out – that banner ended up being one of my favourite ‘things wot I painted’ ever! The rest of the paint job was pretty standard – I painted the trees to match my woodland bases, and I took my usual approach making things look tatty and old. A smattering of leaves and tufts of grass complete the base, though I do need to just go back and add some OSL to the leaves, (they got glued on last, and I didn’t want to risk painting on to wet superglue).

Here are a bunch of close-ups from various angles & focus points – I’ve tried to capture all the interesting bits for your viewing pleasure:

 

So, that’s it folks, what do you think?! I’m delighted with how it all came together & hope you like it too 🙂   Huge thanks to Azazel for setting the challenge and motivating me to tackle such a big & intimidating project – it is great to have such a mighty hero to lead my legions, and I wouldn’t have got around to it without this challenge, so high-fives to you dude 🙂

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