Because in the end you have to show, not tell.
You don’t have to take my written word for it about the Lands of Hope. I have photos. And this time, I’ve decided to take you through the process in a world where heroes are built from scratch to suit the tales they came from.
Yes, for the first time in over twenty years I’ve decided to take up the brush again and begin adding to the massive store of visual evidence I have for the Lands’ existence.
First and foremost, it’s the fine folks at DGS Games who I happened to see when one of their Kickstarter campaigns featured a hero of the Lands of Hope I never thought I’d see in person. Honestly, he’s perfect: Percis the Giantsbane, a hero of the middle years in the Lands who figures in the story line of Judgement’s Tale as well as in the Book of Tales collection. You had to support them at a certain level which resulted in three figs being sent, and I noted there was a very decent Pikeman as well as a Stealthic-type among the most original looking figurines I’d ever seen.
Best of all, these guys are larger-than-life! That is, they’re 32 mm scale, rather than the usual 25 mm; which means Percis is perfectly-sized as a Minion (his status in the present day of the Lands, something like a saint or angel in Alleged Real World Terms). I couldn’t believe my luck, and my rapidly-failing eyesight was grateful as well.
It’s time, that’s why. Thirty years I didn’t write about the Lands because my head was screwed up about the job of a Chronicler, but I faithfully painted what I saw for two of those three decades. Some of my earliest figs predate my discovery of the Lands, to tell the truth. I enjoyed the painting nearly as much as sharing the tales themselves. And when you see such fine work coming to light, it’s impossible to stay out of that collective sense of patience and achievement. I’m no therapist (I’m on the demand side there), but I’m sure there’s a deep connection between the detail I can bring to my chronicles and the hours I spent trying to paint (and repaint) the buckles, eyes, shades, wine-stains and heraldry of these characters. Most of the time I was painting, there were guests around who took a figure here and there, and almost universally did better than me. I won’t tell you which ones, because jealousy. But I got steadily better and despite the eyes I think I can continue to improve now.
The joy of having Sir Percis, Stathos or Astor to show will be well worth the time. And even the money… have to draw up a list:
- Paints- mine are completely dried out, bricks of useless gorgeous color now. New colors will run about $10/3 good-sized bottles, and one brand comes with dropper-tops so I can precisely mix (and repeat) color shades. Very cool. I figure around $40-60 to get a good pallette
- Brushes- checking mine, you need extremely small ones to do this kind of work (and I’m clumsy so even smaller is better). I have a few that will probably hold up to get started, but another two or three in my size won’t break the bank. A set of 8 at the craft store has five I’ll never use, but for the whole bunch it’s less than $10
- A magnifier on a stand. I have to admit it, there is no way on God’s earth I can see what I’m doing with just the glasses (either set). I take them off to work already. Another $15
- That’s a serious sub-total, but maybe if I’m a good boy my family will gift me for Father’s Day, and by the end of the summer I can show you Percis
Since my last column, my old Nokia Lumia phone completely died and my company replaced it with the iPhone 5. OK, wow- and this is not even the best tech they have? I’m nowhere near what the editor on the phone can do, so I’ll have to learn as I go. But it can get pretty darn close without any special lens, and I am using more light now so that helps. Here are shots of the opening stages, de-flagging and gluing the figs.
If you think about it, most figurines are cast inside a standard cylinder-sized space. What’s exciting about these figurines, aside from their size and detail, is how they all “break the plane” with things that are clearly outside that cylinder. Gluing is a weak point for me- Crazy Glue or other 10 second varieties are too
dangerous, so I have to use the old-fashioned model cement kinds and just. hold. on. for. ever. Deep breaths and try to lose track of time: my glasses are off so I can’t even read or watch TV! Ah the travails. But soon I’ll get paint on these beauties and it will all start to be worth it.
Be sure to check in later as the Minions and Heroes of Hope come to life!