Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Legends of the Fall - part 1

Although a few more months will have to pass before we get any relief from the tropical heat and humidity in the Florida Keys, the calendar indicates that autumn has definitely arrived.  And with the arrival of fall, thoughts of adventure in mythical lands begin to fill my head.  Perhaps this call to adventure comes from the fact that beginning in every September, I reread The Lord of the Rings (this will be my 27th rereading) and get caught up in Tolkien's ability to stir the soul to wander. Or maybe it's nothing more than some residual trait from childhood camping trips.  Whatever the case, the spell has been laid upon me and I think it's even more potent this year since I'm also in the process of rereading the original Dragonlance trilogy, which certainly has a link to the autumn season.

Unfortunately, I live on an island and can't go tramping through the woods and mountains so the adventure must take place in my head and imagination.  And when that happens, another hobby project tends to form.  Such is the case with Legends of the Fall.

The plan for this project is simple.  I'm in the process of creating a fantasy adventuring party in miniature (the first member of which can be seen above).  I envision a well-balanced group of five to eight adventurers representing most of the common fantasy RPG class archetypes.  After painting, they will all be based with a autumn foliage/terrain theme to tie the group together visually and satisfy my current fall-based need for adventure.  More than likely they will all receive some kind of background and back story that will reflect the sculpt of the miniature and connect each individual with the group as well.

As the title of the project suggests, each miniature will be an experienced adventurer and rather legendary in their chosen class.  The sculpts that I choose will have to reflect that trait both in the overall demeanor of the figure along with the equipment and weapons carried.  While painting these minis should be fun, I think the process of picking the individual models to represent the different classes will be one of the best aspects.  I will not limit myself to any one range or brand, so the sky is the limit.  I also plan on seeking suggestions from readers and guests on how to fill those roles and hope to find myself considering models that I would never have found on my own.

As you can see from the photos above and below, the first two slots have already been chosen.  One model has already been completed while the other is waiting for a few more highlights and an appropriate base.

The miniature above is from the Visions in Fantasy line from Dark Sword Miniatures.  Looking through my mountain of unpainted lead, it quickly becomes apparent that I'm a huge fan of DSM and it's only appropriate that a mini from the company fills my first Legend spot.  According to the website, she is titled Female Warrior With Longsword and Shield (DSM7210) but right away I envisioned her as a female paladin. 

The sculpt is quite lovely and exudes an air of strength and leadership while still preserving a feminine aspect.  The color scheme I used was already in my head even before I placed the order - white to symbolize the purity of a paladin with floral shades of pink/purple to emphasize her gender.  I initially thought to give her darker hair however, to create a bit of mystery about her, but a lighter tone fit better with the color of her cloak and the metal of her armor.

Speaking of the armor, I really wanted to go non-metallic but I found the contrast too weak between the robes and the armor.  Plus, to be honest, I'm still learning the whole NMM technique and find myself struggling at times to create realistic effects.  I'm limited to decent looking swords right now and fear that I have some ways to go before I can tackle larger, more complex objects like armor.

As for her background, I only have a name to go along with her class for now.  At some point in the last few years I came across the name Liandra and immediately fell in love with it.  I've used a version of it (Liandrha) in a few other projects and short stories and think the name very appropriate for this character.  I have a few ideas for a surname or epithet, along with a very rough sketch for a background, but those details will have to wait until the next post on the project.

Accompanying Liandrha the paladin in the above photo is my choice for the mage in the group.  With my love of Tolkien, it was very tempting to choose an iconic old wizard with a long beard for the magic-user of the group but I wanted to emphasize the fact that this group of adventurers were a force to be reckoned with and in the prime of their careers.  Also, I think I may have been influenced by visions of Raistlin, the gold-skinned mage from the Dragonlance setting.  I do want to point out however that while he is indeed wearing red robes and has white hair, all resemblance to the much loved/hated character ends there. I have other ideas for this guy once he is finally completed.

The miniature is from Reaper and is called by them, Anirion, Wood Elf Wizard (03491).  The sculpt is very simple but the luxurious flowing robes provides lots of space for shading and highlighting.  Very little of the face can be seen beneath the cowl of his hood but that adds to the air of mystery about him.  I will have more photos of the mage as soon as I finish the final highlight coat and base him.

The next step for me is to chose the cleric/healer of the group.  For this choice I would like to seek some suggestions from you, good readers.  I'm open to any company and gender but the sculpt should be in the 28mm range and reflect a higher level character.  I'm very much looking forward to the possible suggestions and thank participants in advance for the help.

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