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 :-)
Really cool project mate, love the regal pose – scepter outstretched – and banner work
Cheers dude, glad you like him – he does have a haughty air about him doesn’t he? :-)
Nailed it – the bone, the ghosts and especially the banner and the shield, it’s all spot on. Great stuff mate!
Thanks mate, I’m pretty chuffed with it :-)
Yes! The piece is great, from the model itself to your Arkhan conversion, the banner and base. And the tomb banshees. The radiating spectral paint job on them is spot on.
As is the rest.
Great job mate! Much impressed.
Hey, thanks dude, it is nice to just cut loose on something big and complicated for a change :-) I’m glad you like!
Wargamer Eric said:
I really like it! The banner is fantastic and well done.
The leaves are a nice touch too. Secret Weapon?
Thanks muchly Eric – honestly can’t remember where the leaves came from, but quite widely available I think :-)
I agree, it came out really good and the banner is especially impressive. I also very much liked the glowing spectres and the OSLing on the tree. I’m not sure if the eyes on the dragon work for me or not, I’m inclined to say they do but I don’t think you overdid them.
Thanks Anne, I surprised myself with that flag :-) Like you, I’m not 100% on the dragon’s eyes, so I will be revisiting them at some point – I think I was in a rush to share:-)
Excellent!! THERES so much I love about this. Those spirits really are flowing. The banner, the checker pattern and the pose. Your hard work has paid dividends pal. You should be proud
Hey, thanks man – too kind, but yeah, I am pretty chuffed mate :-)
This is so absolutely awesome. Incredible work, seriously
Thank you Suber, and same to you mate! Loving your work too dude (that skiff is excellent) but I continue to be frustrated in my attempts to comment!
Fantastic work there!
Cheers dude :-)
Fantastic (and brave) work, Alex. Brave because just putting together that metal monstrosity requires a lot of gumption, let alone converting it. The paintwork is really impressive – both the shield and the banner stand out, but for me I think the OSL on the dragon and rider really make it for me – especially on the dragon’s lower. I’m aware of how wanky this will sound, but I *did actually* have an “oh yeah – OSL” moment after initially looking at the pics for a couple of moments because it looks so natural.
Hey, thanks man – I am really pleased with the glowy bits as it goes, but thank you for the kick up the arse to get it done!!
Absolutely incredible mate, and love that banner! Such an insane level of detail. Love it!
Cheers mate – I’m delighted with the banner, and it was really good fun to do. I had a reference image and just approximated it with ink washes… it sort of painted itself really!
Looks amazing, especially the shield/banner combo and OSL from the apparitions.
Thanks mate :-) It took a while but hopefully worth the wait!
Pingback: Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 4 | Azazel's Bitz Box.
Pingback: Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 6 – The Final Round-Up! | Azazel's Bitz Box.
That’s beautiful man! It looks suitably old school while the “modern” head makes it look fresh. Excellent colour contrast between the purple on the character and the yellowed bone too
One question, though, how do you transport it being a big chunk of metal? (Which is what intimidates med a lot with old and/or metal models.)
Thanks mate – t’was certainly a labour of love! It’s amazing how much a modern headswap can lift these older skellies – new plastic skulls are way more convincing.
Good question on the transport aspect – he hasn’t left the display cabinet as yet, but I imagine he’ll be transported in his very own cardboard box with loads of loose foam chunks around him when he does make a journey… I’m planning to take him to BOYL this year for the painting comp, so I’ll figure it out in the summer :-)