Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ghost - The Direwolf of Jon Snow

It should come as no surprise to even occasional visitors to this blog that I am a huge fan of Dark Sword Miniatures.  Frequency of product release, quality of the miniatures, and great customer service are just some of the reasons that place DSM at the top of my list for miniature companies.  Probably the best attribute however is the sculpts of the miniatures themselves.  Action and emotion are both captured in most every pose while the proportions are quite realistic and believable.  There are very few figures on their website that I would not be proud to own and paint.

Despite all of these wonderful accolades, DSM has met its match in at least one catagory....wolves.

Ghost, the direwolf of Jon Snow.

I had been waiting for DSM to release the direwolves to accompany the Stark children....especially Ghost, the faithful companion of Jon Snow.  However, when they were released, I was quite disappointed with Ghost.  I say "they" because two versions were released but neither were exactly what I envisioned from reading the books.  Version one, sculpted by Dave Summers, was too feral for me.  The pose, especially the mouth with teeth bared, suggested active malevolence.  In the books, Ghost was often described as a silent menace and I thought version one went beyond the bounds portrayed by George R. R. Martin in his writings (with that being said, the sculpt is wonderful and would make a great wolf/direwolf for general purposes).  Version two  was just the opposite.  Tom Meier is a wonderfully talented sculptor but his version of Ghost was too domesticated.  I felt like I was looking at an overgrown lapdog.  So I began searching for a better replacement.  That's when I remembered my old miniature stand-by, Reaper, and a blister pack of wolves I purchased a few years ago.

Wolf Pack (02830), sculpted by Geoff Valley, contains three wolves in various poses.  One of the three, presumably the pack leader, stands on a small rise and gazes out towards the landscape.  The wolf seems powerfully built and brimming with the confidence of a top tier predator.  The sculpt was exactly what I was looking for as a stand-in for Ghost. 

Painting was fairly straightforward.  I started with a medium grey basecoat then gradually added white as I worked up to the highlights.  Although Ghost is described as an albino, I elected to leave a fairly good amount of grey visible to enhance the highlights.  Going mostly white would have produced a dull gaming piece in my opinion.

The base is well sculpted but is a bit on the thin side.  I could see the miniature being easy to knock over when handled so I added an oval wooden counter to provide more stability and a bit more room to create scenery. As I mentioned in this post, I decided to avoid using a snowy base to allow the wolf to serve in other roles on the table beyond a wintery battleground.  

Jon Snow from Dark Sword Miniatures along with a wolf from Reaper

Mixing different miniature companies can sometimes lead to issues with scale.  In this case I was quite happy with the results, however.  The size is just about right, although for a direwolf described by George R. R. Martin as being a little "gaunt" when compared to normal wolves, the bulk is a somewhat overbearing.  But for the most part, I'm quite satisfied with this wolf as a replacement.

With that being said, I still plan on purchasing some of the DSM direwolves as general gaming or display pieces.  As I mentioned above, I'm particularly drawn to version one of Ghost but I'm also leaning towards picking up Nymeria and ShaggyDog as well.


  1. Looking good... I like him (and your rendition of Lord Snow)!

  2. You swing an excellent brush!

    I have just started watching the HBO Series of Game of Thrones. Not quite the same as reading a book but I am enjoying it and Jon Snow is one of my favorite characters as are the wolves.

    Happy Paintng,


  3. @DHC Wargames: Thanks for the compliment and thanks for reading!!

    @Allan and Carmen: I agree completely. There is just so much complexity and so many layers in the books that the series cannot begin to show and/or depict. However, the series is definitely well done and I'm happy to see that the date for Season 3 was just released....March 31st 2013. It's a long time to wait but I'm sure the wait will be worth it. Thanks for reading!

  4. Very nice job. The pose has a certain 'majesty' about. Nice base detail too.