Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: Monolith Icon scenery

The Argonath

I recently recieved my two "King's Monuments" from Monolith Icon in the mail. These two bad boys are BIG - 37cm tall to be precise - representations of the Argonath monument from The Lord of the Rings.

The sculpture is taken from the movies, rather than the books (more on that later) and is a pretty close representation, though quite a bit smaller. They are cast from stone ceramics, so a quite heavy and feel a bit dusty to the touch. The detail is very good, though not as fine as a resin sculpture it is more than enough.

Click for larger

Again, Glorfindel for scale. Big.

You may also notice Anárion is lying down and Isildur is missing his hand. Well....

First off I must say this is in no way Monolith Icon's fault. The inside of each piece was packed out, each was individually bubble wrapped, put in foam with more bubble wrap and covered in fragile stickers.

They were packed head to toe so where Anárion is broken on his base is where Isildur lost his hand. I'd guess some dim-witted postal worker dropped something onto the box, breaking them. The breaks are all clean so a bit of epoxy and milliput will have them looking right as rain.

As for dealing with Monolith, they were incredibly helpful with dealing with PayPal's derpiness. My initial attempts to pay via PayPal were met with a gibberish error message, and when I finally got through to a human being they told me money couldn't be sent to Poland from Australia, but not why (WTF?). I emailed the Monolith team and they said they regularly got payments from Aus, and sent me anther request. Which worked.

In summary, Monolith:


But anyway, Monolith were a pleasure to deal with and kept me updated on the status of my order, and it arrived very quickly.

I rate these guys 9/10.

For a painted version you can check out CoolMini.

My only issue is with "historical" accuracy. You see the Argonath is a monument on the river Anduin to Isildur and Anárion, who were joint founders of Gondor with their father Elendil. Anárion founded Minas Anor (later Minas Tirith) and Isildur founded Minas Ithil (later Minas Morgul).
The statues were set at the north of Nen Hithoel, the northmost border of the kingdom of Gondor in a much later time (by Rómendacil II, roughly 1200 years after the death of Isildur and 1800 years before the fellowship passes by). The outstretched hands are a warning not to proceed further.

What is innacurate is that the statues are both described to carry axes, and shouldn't have beards due to their Númenorian blood (being part elvish [who don't have beards {except Círdan}] due to the blood of Idril and Tuor). Also one is significantly older than the other, and neither brother lived to be that old (Anárion slain at the siege of Barad Dúr, Isildur at Gladden Fields).

What is likely is that the film crew decided to make the other statue represent Elendil as he is shown in the prologue rather than complicating things by adding in Anárion. And of course it's more visually interesting to have two distinct visages.

Not that that really matters.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Under Golden Boughs

Finished basing up most of my SiSt trees:

The basing is green and brown sawdust scatter, giving it a nice crunchy texture. I built up some undulations on the bases with spakfilla so they weren't totally flat, painted them brown and glued on the scatter using watered down PVA.

The PVA was watered down so it was easier to paint on and wouldn't be streaky, as that can cause the flock to dry in the pattern of the brush strokes.

Glorfindel still has clearance under most of the trees, though a few will cause him to be under the canopy (like the weeping willows).

Next up in this project is to either make a bunch of hills, paint up my Zuzzy tree stumps, or finish up my wrecked Rhino. I'm also looking forward to the arival of my Argonath kit from Monolith to add to the board.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Blood Angels No More

Been working on my Space Hulk dudes the last couple of days, namely de-Blood Angelifying them. Most of them it is a simple matter of carefully chopping all the symbols off (the guy with the laser-guided powerfist was very simple, as was the dude in the dress).

Some of the fancier ones I've done are the Lightning Claw and Thunder Hammer troopers:

Trooper Jürgen "Curly" Ratna

I've used the torso from the Chainfist trooper, as I'm not overly enamoured of his pose, or the LC guys torso. The crossed chains are alright, except the broken one is just gone, not hanging loose or anything. However it did have his belt and codpiece attached.

I got a spare pair of regular terminator legs, cut the legs off at the hips. To get the piece off I used a razor saw, then fit it with some greenstuff and a fair bit of trimming. The replacement hat thingy is from a 2nd ed banner pole. Crux Terminatus pendants replaced the blood drops on the back of his claws.

I've also greenstuffed the armour damage back to normal. He still has a few touchups to go, like his right shin and the greenstuff, but he's mostly done.

Veteran Trooper Thu "T.V." Vukasan

This one was alot simpler than Ratna, the arm was repositioned with greenstuff, and the symbols cut off and replaced with Cruxes from the Terminator boxes and eagles from the Commander sprue. The head was cut out and a helmet stuck in. The blood drop on the left knee was cut down to be a round gem. Everything else was just cut off.

Rather amusingly when playing with a random name generator one of the first that came up was Ba'al... guess they didn't want to forget their heritage :)