Tuesday 20 January 2015

A Tale of Two Baldies - Xenos Merchant and Genestealer Magus

My two lastest figures have a few things in common; they are both aliens, both bald and both have interesting stories behind them.

First up is a figure from the talented hands of Sonny Bundgaard, and was sculpted for the Frothers 2014 sculpting competition: Froth Eisley. Sonny had a small number of his alien merchant sculpt cast up in resin and was kind enough to send me one on the understanding that I would paint it.

Sonny's Alien Merchant
The sculpt is exactly the kind of simple but characterful figure I like to paint - he has an expressive face and a great pose. To highlight the fact he's not human, I painted his flesh with a purple tinge, with some dappled markings on his head.

I was aiming for a retro sci-fi feel on his tunic; in hindsight it I think it looks more like sporting leisure wear though!

All in all, a really fun figure to paint - I hope you have more sculpts planned for us Sonny!

Gra'gul the xenos trader drives a hard bargain for the rare beastling pet.
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Second on the painting table is an unreleased Genestealer Magus I offered to paint up for a fellow collector. I was offered a selection of unreleased models to choose from, and plumped for this figure, even though the owner considers it a "horrible figure"!

So why did I choose it? Well, I actually owned a copy of the figure myself, but sold it last year before getting round to painting it. Seeing as I wasn't planning to get a replacement copy, I figured it would be a nice opportunity to test out how I might have painted it.

As for the sculpt itself, I believe the story is that Andy Foster (now of Heresy Miniatures) sculpted up a couple of miniatures in the late 1990s to show Gary Morley (then head of trainees at GW) what he could do. Gary had the resulting sculpts, including the Magus, cast up in a handful of numbers, and the rest is history.

I went for a fairly traditional Genestealer Cult colour scheme, complete with purple and blue. The major deviation is the mustard-brown colour for his robe - I figured he could rid himself of his Cult vestments and travel around fairly incognito in it!

The sculpt itself is very much from the hands of a new or amateur sculptor - there's lots of rough detail and awkward spaces - particularly the zone between the staff arm and body. His hands are odd-sizes (the pointing left hand is massive and singularly lacking in detail). I also had to do a lot of preparation to the figure prior to painting - there was a large mould line across his head and shoulders, and a huge miscast area to the figure's right hand side of the amulet hanging from his neck. In the end I had to cut away a lot of rough metal from that zone, and I ended up resculpting the amulet cord.

L-R: Bob Olley, Andy Foster, Jes Goodwin

Now he's painted up, I think he looks passable next to the Olley (left) and Goodwin (right) Magi, although you can clearly see how less is more - Jes Goodwin's Magus has the least detail of all 3, but in my view is the strongest sculpt, with real poise and presence, in spite of the simplicity.


  1. Really funny to se ethe take of different sculptors on a same model, this is a bit like what you showed with the astropaths. It's true some details seem odd but some are really nice it seems (or mabe it's only the painting...)

    That's a real chance to be able to paint such wonders, but I suppose it's only natural you get to have that chance ;)

    1. Absolutely JB - it's different interpretations of the same brief. I do like the amulet on the unreleased model, and the Ecclesiastical vibe to his clothing, but I think Andy may have fallen into the same trap as many other sculptors, which is to overload the figure with details and skulls. I'm a fan of his work now with Heresy, and this is very much a figure from a sculptor who was learning the process (of course significantly better than anything I might attempt)!

  2. Both models are really nice and the Magus is a great little bit of obscure history. It looks great from here. You must be at about a fifth of last years total output at this stage and its not even February.

    I forgot all about the Froth Eisley competition - I find Frothers a deeply tedious place so I rarely remember to check up on the comps. The last one that I picked up the set for was the zombie one about five years ago I suspect.

    Do you by any chance have a link to an image or series of images showing the models that have been manufactured for Froth Eisley? Are they still available do you know? As ever, the information is hard to find without wading through pages of nonsense.

    1. I know Paul - I'm at 8 models so far - not quite 1/5 but getting close! I'm doing my best to make the most of things while I've got the motivation :)

      All the Froth Eisley stuff is on the facebook group - that seems to be the best place to get the pictures as they were never on the forums: https://www.facebook.com/Frothers2014SculptingCompetition

      As far as I know, the set hasn't yet been produced. Sonny's trader wasn't one of the winners, so probably won't be made. I got mine direct from Sonny - I hear he has plans for a range of his own this year.

  3. Like many I have given up on lurking frothers... so I completely missed the Froth Eisley.

    All fringe worlds need an assortment of alien/demi-human/abhuman/mutie scum, and your merchant fits in nicely.

    1. Precisely! Oddities, aliens and mutants are all required :)

      Frothers is an odd place - its primary function seems to be insult and be hostile to figure makers (unless you're part of the 'set'). It does have a fairly good constant overview of new releases though, so it's not all bad ;)

  4. I love the track suit, actually. And looking over the Froth Eisley thread I'd say Mr. Merchie is one of the better sculpts there. (Though to be fair there are several very good ones.) Haven't dug enough to say whether the loss was justified, but I'm going to guess most probably not. Oldhammer just isn't the popular look these days. More's the pitty. (It really should be for something referring to Mos Eisley.)

    All that said, quite lovely indeed. Lovely lovely.