Thursday, January 21, 2016

Entry #8 to the AHPC - Three Denizens of Edgar Rice Burrows' Barsoom

First, I want to tip my hat to Sander for this project's inspiration. During last year's Painting Challenge he submitted a wonderful entry that got my mind whirling and my pocketbook prised open to order these great figures.

In 1912 Edgar Rice Burrows published 'A Princess of Mars', the first in what would be 11 novels making up the John Carter of Mars series. Burrows is seen as one of the founding fathers of science fiction and his writing, while a bit anachronistic, still entertains today much as it did over a century ago.

These figures were a close contender for my 'Nostalgia' entry as I've had a real soft spot for the series since I was a teen. I have fond memories of going through the turnstile of novels in our town's pharmacy (which was the only place to buy novels and magazines) and taking furtive glances at the salacious covers of the John Carter paperbacks, trying not to be seen by the store's staff. To me, the art of John Carter is inseparable from the writing itself and I can't help but think of all the wonderful overwrought covers from artists such as Frank Frazetta, Frank Schoonover and Joe Jusko as I reminisce about the novels.

So here we have three denizens of Mars, or 'Barsoom', as Burrows called the Red Planet in his novels.

These 28mm figures are from Tin Man Miniatures. They are really wonderful castings, with very nice poses and, for the most part, requiring almost no cleanup.

This tall, green, four-armed fella is called a Thark. They are a warrior race which show up frequently in the John Carter novels.  He's armed with a pair of cutlasses and has a holstered pistol as well.

I decided to eschew metallic paints for this project as I thought the NMM approach would provide for a more interesting cartoony, cell-shaded effect to the figures.

The above figure is a female Barsoom assassin. I spent some time mulling over what colour to go with and finally decided with a simple deep red as it's often heavily used in the series' cover art

I did a blocky highlighting style to make her robes and boots quite pronounced.

The 'Wild Ride' vignette is a fairly complex white metal model with around 20 parts. It required a fair bit of pinning and filling to complete, and while I'm still not completely happy with it, I still really like the sense of movement it gives. 

I decided to go with a blue skin tone on the beast as I like the sharp contrast against the red-themed groundwork and, well, it's a freaky looking alien so it seemed to fit.

In regards to the bases, I was at a bit of a loss as at first.  I wanted groundwork that was distinctly alien, but yet not so over-the-top to overpower the figures. In the end I decided to use bits of bark built-up with glue to create a stratified rock effect which did a decent job of blending with the original bases, and then went with a pale orange/red base colour and just highlighted from there. 

As to the vegetation, Burrows describes much of Mars being covered with loamy, yellow-red plants so I thought I'd use some old 'autumn' foam flock which I've always thought looked a bit too weird for Earth anyway, but it's finally found it's home on Barsoom.

Thanks for dropping by for a visit folks!