|1/6 CONAN the Barbarian|
|Kit Number: Kit #1|
|Reviewed by Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653|
In my teenage years, one of my friends loaned me a book, "The Coming of Conan" by Robert E. Howard. To say that I have been hooked ever since is a real understatement. Howard only wrote about Conan from 1932 to 1936, and in only 21 total tales. The books are phenomenal; the comic books are good; and the movies are, well, entertaining. This doesn't include things like board and video games, toys and, of course, models. Into this mix comes Moebius with a two-figure sculpted kit depicted from the cover of the Conan comic book, issue 1. It shows our Cimmerian hero, sword in one hand and spear in the other, standing over a fair maiden while she cowers in terror at some unseen foe! Sweet!
This kit itself is cast into about 25 parts. The material is a tan-colored hard resin. The main body is hollow cast. (Find out below how I figured this out.) It includes a length of wire for the necklace and some toothpicks for spear points. The sculpting work was done by Shawn Nagle and he sculpted to the style of the comic book cover. It is realistic to a point, but there are some stylized parts like the woman's legs and fingers that are very thin; however, they are what the comic looked like.
Construction is straightforward for those who have handled resin kits. All the main joints were glued and reinforced with pins where possible. For example, the hands were separate so they were drilled out and then pinned to make sure the joint is strong. Final gluing was done with super glue - that or epoxy work the best for resin figure kits.
Once the main parts were joined, there were some remaining seam lines where the parts fit. For this, I used Aves Apoxie Sculpt. This is similar to the old Milliput product, but much finer and much less expensive. It does a better job, to boot. This is two-part material that is mixed and has the consistency of putty. It is rolled and put into place and then smoothed with water to a seamless transition. It dries in a few hours and can be sanded smoothly. Once the seams were filled and sanded, and the casting seams removed, both figures and the base were ready for primer. I like to use Krylon sandable auto primer for my kits. When everything had dried, I was ready to base-coat the figure.
For Conan's skin, I wanted to go with a reddish base coat for that tanned, barbarian look. I used a dark red oxide color (think ship bottoms). This is where the trouble started. While base-coating him, he "jumped" out of my fingers and landed on the floor. Rats. Even worse, the resin on his left shoulder shattered like glass into shard - double rats. I was stunned. I have found that in moments like these, the best thing to do is to walk away. And I did. I thought about it and thought that I could resculpt the shoulder. So I pieced together the parts I could salvage, backed them with some glued wire, mixed a large batch of Aves and went at it with some tools. Two tries later, it looked pretty good. With a little sanding, it is hard to even see - cool.
Okay, back to painting. I based-coated Conan in red oxide and base-coated the lady in KitBuilders flesh. KitBuilders paints are an acrylic brand sold through KitBuilders' magazine. They take some practice to spray, but are opaque and come in great flesh colors. My way of painting flesh involves lots of thin coats and alternating between lighter and darker colors. So for Conan, I used KitBuilders pale flesh, flesh, bronze flesh and warm brown. I also used Model Master Flesh and 1st shadow. I started with the dark first, and then worked up to the pale flesh on the high spots. I went back with the warm brown and darkened the deeper spots. Then I took the Model Master Shadow tint, thinned it and sprayed the entire model from a distance to blend the colors together. I was happy with that, so gave the kit three coats of Krylon Matte Coat.
I then colored the armor, loin cloth and hair black. The sandals were colored with Vallejo leather brown. I applied flat-coat again and then added black wash to the loin cloth and dry brushed with raw sienna and raw umber. Dry brushed the hair with a Payne's gray for some accent, but I didn't do much to keep the comic book look. I base coated white on the horns of the helmet white. I also pastelled some gray onto his beard line because I wanted the look of a five o'clock shadow. Then I sealed the product again. I painted the eyes next - blue, as that was a trademark. I then commenced with the helmet as bronze and the silvers, both from the Citadel Miniatures line. I know these are gaming paints, but they hand brush perfectly and you can't beat the colors. The sword was painted boltgun metal and the hilt painted gold. The armbands were painted boltgun, as were the lumps on the belt. The helmet was painted with about five coats of Citadel dwarf bronze. The mouth was painted last with a dark brown interior, then with pink made from white/red oxide. The teeth were painted off white. A brown wash was placed over it. After everything dried, a quick matte coat was applied, missing the metallic parts and the gloss to the eyes and lips. The necklace was painted and added last.
The young lady Conan is protecting was base-coated with KitBuilders' flesh, highlighted with virgin flesh and pale flesh, and then sealed. I used pastels to highlight her by lightly shading the areas near her cleavage, knees and around the dress line. I added a red oxide pastel to the cheeks for blush and purple eye shadow, also with pastels. The dress was painted purple with four or five coats of Liquitex acrylics. Her hair was painted black. The shoes were base-coated gold, as was the jewelry. A generous matte coat was applied. Once dry, the eyes were painted green, the interior of the mouth was done dark brown with white teeth, the lips bright red (Boyd's auto color red) and then flat was applied again. Clear was added to the eyes and lips, and transparent red to her jewels.
Next, the base was coated with primer. Then the outer stone parts were painted gray and dry- brushed with alternating gray, brown and white to show depth. The middle section was coated with brown. Washes were added to both parts to break up the colors and the base was flat- coated. One note here: I knew that Conan would be on his toes, so I predrilled coat hanger sized wires up through the bottom and secured them under the base for stability. Conan slid onto his wires with super glue. The lady was added. Then flat coat was misted around the connection points in case glue peaked out. Done!
This kit was a lot of fun to do. I recommend it to people with a little resin experience. The only complication was my dropping it, but the fit was good and the choice of a subject great. One more bit of good news - a new resin version of Conan 100, showing him and the death of Belit, is now out and is also great - can't wait to see that one.
My thanks to Moebius Models for the chance to build this kit.