Because in the end, you need to show not tell
The second figure in my warm-ups for the Big Boys I mentioned earlier, and things are going pretty well overall. But I’m starting to feel my limits.
Final Judgement, Solemn’s father from Judgement’s Tale, is certainly one of the most influential characters never to make it into one of the Tales of Hope. He’s dead, you see, having used his last ounce of strength to get his son to shore and the relative safety of this new world in the very beginning:
At forest’s edge, the Gypsy band huddled and watched a boy on the seashore, burying his father.
-Judgement’s Tale, p.1
Solemn has no idea what he is supposed to do now. He sets out to follow his father’s example, and draws encouragement from him throughout both stories, particularly when they speak again in the sequel The Eye of Kog. I know, I said dead. You’ll need to pick up the tale to find out.
In the back-story, Final Judgement was some kind of high ranking advisor to the king of a small European-style kingdom, in a place a lot like the past of our Alleged Real World. Widely learned, puissant in combat, and able to cast miracles with holy power, yet Final chose to keep Solemn and his two brothers ignorant of his own religious beliefs, since he was a member of some fiercely pious minority and despite his high position he feared persecution. Forced to flee the king’s madness, Final was only able to save his youngest son, making it to the sea and sailing east into another world. But his son only picked up hints and glimpses of this. On the voyage, he taught Solemn about every subject in the catalog, again excepting religion. It took two years and everything he had left in him.
Final Judgement points to the one idea most people in the Lands of Hope don’t want to talk about: namely, what happens after death. As Judgement puts it “what is its true sequel”: thanks to the liche Wolga Vrule, necromancy is “alive and well” in the Lands once again, and no one likes to think about the power to pull back a person’s spirit or animate their body against their will. But is there a heaven of some kind? Do the Heroes that the Children of Hope reverence have any future beyond the end of their lives? Like Solemn’s father, the Heroes never mentioned one. But as Judgement asks an Elven noble, to whom did the Heroes pray when they taught us to do likewise? Solemn Judgement believes in a life after death, and that his father looks down on all that he does in his adopted world. Hardly anyone he meets wants to talk about such subjects, and the Man in Grey makes few friends as he walks the length and breadth of the northern kingdoms in search of lore and answers.
The figurine is uncannily like Judgement’s father, bearing a sword (as Solemn confesses in Judgement’s Tale, he was never taught the sword, as it was a weapon for adults– Final taught him to use the quarterstaff instead), and also an early pistol (which Solemn shows familiarity with when he discovers one in The Eye of Kog). The overall dress of the figure is very Puritanical, and that certainly fits the story of Final Judgement’s eerily-similar homeland. Think Cotton Mather with the ability to cast holy miracles.
This figure proved the old adage that much like life itself, it has to get worse before it gets better. The coat of grey primer wasn’t too far off from the finished product! But Final Judgement needed some color– on his skin, for example– and he was not as married to shades of grey as his son became. This time I cracked out my smallest paint brush, something I’d been resisting because I know the psychological consequences. Namely, now I have “nowhere to go” when the call for detail increases. But I wanted to try eyes and pupils, among other tiny touches, so out it came and I did fairly well. Lots of mistakes in the mid-game, going back over earlier colors to touch up, whoops, now touch up the other one. This can be a serious pain when you’re mixing virtually every shade and not able to get back to painting for days. Stuff dries out.
I find for most of the finish-work it was useless to keep my glasses on. Once the shade was mixed I set them down and held the figure approximately five inches from my eyes, where my natural vision can still see clearly. It is an innately sad activity, bringing to mind the same mortality as Final Judgement no doubt experienced.
To take the pictures, I have had the devil’s time getting proper light on the figures down in my basement where the painting happens. I finally resorted to using my magnifier in front of the iPhone camera, with its internal light turned on! That brings the figure closer, retains focus, and puts a little light on the subject without washing it away like the flash does.
A very special thanks to the local Days of Knights store for their support as I restart an old vocation in painting figurines.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this excursion to other worlds and states of being. One more “test run” figurine in Vuthienne (another character who appears in The Eye of Kog) and then it’s on to the 32mm figs!