Monday, 5 August 2013

The Barbarian

Call him what you like. Say what you want about him, he was always my favourite bad ass! If there was ever a call for who was gonna play as who. I was always jumping to the front making my claim to be playing as the barbarian. He even got to be the feature point of the box art!!!

 so if anything became the face of Heroquest. he may not be skilled in the arts of magic or have a handy knack of spotting big spikes sticking out of the ground. but hes pretty mean with that broadsword. Now I'm not sure if he was everyone's favourite. but he still is mine. even playing fantasy video games, Skyrim or whatever. I still play as the brutish sword wielding oaf.

it seemed also when you took a look at him, that there were 'variations' of the figure.
in the box you got this red plastic dude with a slightly warped sword.
on the back of the quest book you had this awesome 'Mike Mcvey' painted version.
and also a metal variation was also floating around
I wanted that dude in the middle!! I've never even seen a picture of that same figure anywhere at all. the picture on the right claims to be the same. but we can see side by side. they aint the same!
i think that figure has popped up on Ebay for a substantially ridiculous amount over the years. and rightfully so if it really is that rare!

so who's fault is it?
 Get to the choppa!!!!!

Yes his fault. Conan the camel punching barbarian. I've never read any of Robert E Howard's tales, nor have i ever touched the comic book. but when i watched this film as a kid. i was just blown away. Arnie is Conan and not even Kal drogo can do anything about that!
So it comes as no surprise that anything called barbarian after this film, was pretty much a copy of, or so influenced by Conan that it may as well of been a copy.
Heroquest's barbarian also had to of been strongly influenced by his portrayal. and anything barbarian esq for the next few years also seemed to be that way. i collected so many of citadel's metal barbarians and still have many of them today.
sadly the whole 'barbarian' thing seems to of drained away. the nearest you see to a barbarian in games workshops catalogue of today are chaos marauders. but if you ask me they aren't even good models let alone barbarians.

Sadly many moons ago, because he got used so much every time Heroquest got played, (I'm sure I used to carry him around in my pocket for safe keeping too,, not safe enough though!) as he was the first and only casualty of a big heavy foot of doom. my foot to boot! (great pun!!)
but that wasn't so bad. i was pissed that id lost out on my favourite character, but i had loads of barbarians that could fill the void. OK none of them were a perfect match, but that didn't matter.

Over time i would change the figures I used as my barbarian.each time thinking I've moved onto something better. with the introduction of the internet I was starting to see I wasn't the only person doing this, be it a simple repaint or a complete proxy like i was doing.

was nice to see everyones own personal takes on the barbarian.

Some went for the straight up repaint
courtesy of Gunamar Ironwill
courtesy of goblin-king

We had He-Man barbarian!!
courtesy of painting agency

some gave him new weapons

Some took to having a female counterpart
courtesy of Sjeng

then some went with alternatives from other dungeon crawlers
coutesy of Tasao

So I scoured the web, every time I saw something that looked like that barbarian on the back of the quest book, I would nab it! for a few years i settled on the below figure from the Celtos range.
apart form the dodgy fringe line, i saw him as being the closest in pose and stature to that barbarian on the back of the quest book. and was very much my staple for a few years

throughout this time i was convinced i had the best fit barbarian for the job!
others cropped up on the net, but still i felt i had made the decision to rule them all. and I'd never need another replacement figure again......
not even this wonderfully painted original could sway me

then i spotted this little figure from Hasslefree miniatures
Great pose! even has a identical sword to that of the Celtos barbarian i have been using for the last few years. But I'm still not sold?? out of the 3 heads available, I would have to sculpt some hair. I have got no problem with that! but still.... I'm not sold on it and not sure why! I then happened to stumble on a magnificent blog by damien thevenin, who's complete reworking of Heroquest is nothing short of amazing!! He too had used Hasslefree's wolf mini to make his barbarian!
this is fantastic right? it truly is, and still i'm not sold.  for me this version almost hits the mark but has a bit of an Arabic vibe about him. not sure why. but this confirmed why id chosen against using this previously. all the above..great versions of. But for my picky self i still thought there was something better out there. in truth i was totally wrong. id scoured the web into every dank dark corner possible. Google searched so much i was ending up in all sort of weird places.
Truth was my answer lay right under my nose all the time!

i had stumbled upon a fantastic thread on Warseer that was a worklog for someone creating warhammer quest characters and the likes, he hit upon something i had been trying to do for a while. and that was creating character! any model can be painted up in a various sort of way. of customised a little just to add a little bit more. even with the original Heroquest barbarian he had managed to give this a new lease of life

so i go back to the drawing board on this. a bit of rope, a vial, generally just a few things that make someone look like they are kitted out for some adventure time!
so i start looking at the wolf miniature from Hasslefree once more...what if i add a few things to his belt? and a new head? of course a head that fits what i want much better.
then completely out of the blue i find this gem of a blog and they have some wonderful projects on there. including a Warhammer quest log. of which they have used a wolf mini as the barbarian also.
and et voila. the perfect head too!!!!!!!!

so of course at this point I know I'm close to getting that barbarian i want...
now just gotta find that head right? some of you may recognize it already. so i scoured everything i could think of. every GW sprue that i could possibly think of. until i finally broke. and just asked the creator (of which you can see my pleading on his blog)
and it turns out it belongs to a space wolves sprue!!! space wolves????? i never thought once to look at 40k stuff at all!
so there we go. that was my journey to creating my (for now) perfect barbarian.
I've got the mini.
I've got the head.
I've got more bits than i can comprehend.
so let get cracking.
bish bash bosh,,paint paint paint

I did initially just want a smooth sword, but I couldn't quite fill in the etchings on the sword to be as smooth as i wanted. plus i has all my bits ready and just wanted to get him done. maybe a little bit of a rush job...but i was excited to get him completed! I carved the diamond shape on his brow to be more triangular and gave him a nice 80's rock band hair style!

also sculpted some fur around those boots
attached a bit i had found in my bits box. this seems like something a barbarian might be carrying around. a pouch for his gold. a vial of some concocted potion. a big ass dagger! and some looted gems!
oh and gave him some stubble too :)

so there we have it. a little bit of my journey in creating and very little on the actual creating of! It took a long time, but thankfully the gift of the internet and the many many wonderful ideas people have, helped me get to where i wanted with my favourite Heroquest character. all the great ideas I've seen everywhere helped guide and influence. and hope for many years the community continues to thrive with such magnificently creative souls!

hope you enjoyed
till next time! :)