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Matthias the Twisted was insanely fun to paint, he's definitely one of my favorite undead models, and one of Bobby Jackson's more eerie characters.
Despite it being the bane to Castlevania fans everywhere, i took inspiration for the hunter from Simon off of the cover of the Castlevania 2 box art. What a game haha. Sorry for the pictures being a bit blurry, but C&C is surely appreciated.
Putting aside for a moment the title of this post, which sounds like some sort of Norwegian black metal prog-rock crossover, I am presenting a mini I did quite some time ago - probably about 10 years or so, but I thought longer. Maybe my memory is deceiving me, but I thought I painted this when I lived in Detroit, and that was up until 2006. Maybe I'm getting old and not remembering things as good? Old man yells at cloud. Anyway...Judas Bloodspire, the metal Warlord sculpt, #14016.
Is it my best mini ever? No. However, I'm just happy with what I got right: high-contrast hair that manages to actually look like glossy black hair versus gray. The face pops but isn't too cartoony. The red and purple work well together. He is wearing a lacy cravat and I am a fan of lacy cravats on vampires*.
Paints are a combination of reaper, GW, and craft paints.
Also: that cape! The new plastic pose has his cape down, and I remember when this mini came out that there was a lot of discussion on what to do with the cape -but to me he always looked like he should be flourishing his cape, either revealing himself as the true prince of the night (mwa ha ha ha ha) or concealing himself as he shifts into bat form (Your choice - he can either laugh [mwa ha ha ha ha] or he can yell "BAT!" a la "What we Do in the Shadows"). And yes, before you ask, it was a pain in the tuchus to get it to stay that way.
Anyway, without further ado: Judas!
*So once upon a time I was...intoxicated...and had a vivid vision of a "vampire club" in downtown Detroit (not to be confused with City Club, which is a goth bar in downtown Detroit, but I digress) - anyway, the vampire club was old and authentic and a little stuffy and everyone dressed like "Interview with a Vampire" but then this new vampire club opened up and they were super douchey - they were the shaved chest bro crowd, college kids doing keggers, and they had a vampire club that was really plastic and fake and loud and derivative, but it was also really popular. Anyone who was part of the rave scene in the 90s and who saw big-marquee clubs start calling themselves "raves" will know what I'm talking about. Anyway, some of the vampires from the older vampire club went over to the new vampire club so the old vampire club had to find a way to increase business, so they put a sign out front, a little chalkboard standee, and on it they wrote "Now with 10% more lacy cravats." I don't know if it worked because I was laughing too hard at that point to keep the thread of my own thought coherent, but I like to think the vampire club is still around, still wearing their lacy cravats. Competitors come and go, but the vampires probably took out a 1,000 year lease on their building at a fixed rate, so they're probably fine.
While I am waiting for some inspiration to finish my necromanceress and hone my painting skills with other stuff to get a grip on OSL to finish my Ghost King, I came across a basecoated Judas Bloodspire in my box of shame.
I realised why I did not finish him: I did not like his face and didn't care much for the skulls on his armour. A few minutes later is head was gone and so were the skulls. But what now? While googling I came across a copy of a portrait of Vlad Tepes apparently based on an original made during his lifetime. This picture is in the Public domain, still only a link to be on the safe side:
Portrait of Vlad Dracul. By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
He was a Wallachian prince that lived 1428/1431 to 1476/77. Contemporary and later sources describe him as a cruel and ruthless politician, some go so far to paint him as a sadistic monster that reveled in drinking the blood from his impaled enemies. It does not come as a surprise that Bram Stoker got inspired by this historical figure for his Count Dracula novel.
I had this idea of a fictional family graveyard of the Draculesci for the base, going even further back to the House of Basarab. This would allow to depict weathered gravestones that are a hundred years old, some tumbled over and overgrown, the walls of the graveyard in disrepair. I imagine the entire family to be cursed by the gods with vampirism based on Vlad's cruelty. Embracing this curse, or "gift" as he likes to refer to it, he may have chosen the graveyard as a resting place. He cares little for its condition and revels in the decay surrounding him.
In my case the miniatures original sword was held at such an odd angle that its point was lower than the cast-on base. Instead of cutting off the arm and adjusting the weapon I kept the angle and decided to put the miniature on the edge of some stone steps. This works also very well with his raised knee and outstretched left arm. In the end I decided to replace his long sword with a Hungarian sabre or szabla, which I carved from a two-handed sword that was part of the Northstar plastic gnolls set using a scalpel. The historical Vlad Tepes would most likely have used an european style sword, but his immortal counterpart may have adopted a saber when it became more acceptable among the nobility a hundred years after his "death".
To resemble more the portrait of Vlad I added a new head and breast armor. Turns out Vlad's hairdo and mo was pretty metal back in the day. Anyhow, I used a head of the Gripping Beast Late Romans for this conversion. One of the soldiers wears a Pannonian cap which provides a perfect base for the Wallachian headdress depicted in the portrait. I still need to add the pearls and maybe a dragon emblem on the chest piece.
There are still some elements missing:
As you can see the gap on the base will fit the graveyard wall. I think I will use a magnet to attach it to simplify transport. I also need to add the bat swarm to the background and another gravestone to the front left. This one was the bottom part of the bat swarm. I cut the Bones version in two pieces to be able to mount the swarm on some clear acrylic rod. Given the gravestone had a skull with batwings on it *cough* I decided to add some new design with greenstuff. I had a flying dragon in mind to mirror the headstone behind it. I also want to add another hanging bat to the lower branch of the tree. This will most likely be the bat from the Reaper familiar set. A nice touch could be a tumbled over statuette that was originally placed in the little alcove of the gravestone on the front right. I'll see what my greenstuff skills can produce. Here are some pictures of the base without WIP Vlad. If you are interested in how it was constructed head over to my blog, where I wrote a detailed step-by-step tutorial:
Unrested souls - How to make a graveyard themed diorama base
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