Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making of: Dragon Monk on Temple Dog

In the following I describe the making of my 2nd-place-winning entry for the first Golden Tom (GT#1) competition at Tom's Boring Mordheim Forum. The miniature represents a Dragon Monk from the Battle Monks of Cathay warband list from the Border Town Burning (BTB) supplement. The Hero is mounted on an impressive Cathayan Temple Dog.

Temple Dog mount
"Temple Dogs are stone statues found guarding temple entrances in the lands of Nippon and Cathay. They resemble nothing so much as a cross between a giant pekinese and a lion. In times of war, the power of the temple gods is channeled into these statues to animate them. It is a great honour to mount this divine animal, indicating that the rider has found great favour with the gods."
(Warhammer Armies, page 26, 1991)

Temple Dogs were first introduced in the 3rd edition of Warhammer. Since they fit the Border Town Burning setting so well, they were introduced to Mordheim in the supplement. I was already wanting to get myself a second Temple Dog for a long time because of the Man Hunt scenario from BTB and as they can be ridden by Dragon Monks I quickly decided to make this model for my GT#1 entry.

Temple Dog from Citadel (source: CollectingCitadelMiniatures)

Although I really like the old Temple Dog model from Citadel Miniatures a lot, I found it to be a little underwhelming considering its powerful profile and rules. This is, however, largely due to it's rather dull posture. For my first Temple Dog I bent the legs a little so that it stands on a small stone (see below).

For my second Temple Dog I wanted a way more dynamic pose. Using pliers I bent the legs a lot more this time to achieve a rearing pose. The head is glued next
to the "neck" to stress the effect even more. This made it necessary that I did a lot of Green Stuff work on the neck and mane.

This was the first time I pinned a miniature. I was a little concerned that the dog wouldn't have a proper stand with only the hindpaws touching the base. However, I had no clue what to use as a pin until my girl-friend suggested using a large paper clip.

As I wanted to be able to also use the Temple Dog alone (ie. without the rider) I couldn't just glue the monk on the dog's back. After a little pondering and still "enthusiastic" about my new pinning skills I had the idea of drilling a hole in the Temple Dog's back.

Early on I decided to give the entire model (ie. rider and mount) a fighting pose. I even considered squeezing a Chaos Marauder model on the base, but then refrained from that idea as I feared it would glut the base too much. I also feared that a dying marauder would not be so appropriate for when I use the Temple Dog alone. So instead of putting a marauder on the base I only placed a marauder shield on a stone. This may not create half the same splattery bloodbath effect but it supports using the Temple Dog as single model.

My two Temple Dogs: the first one (left) and the Dragon Monk's mount (right)

Dragon Monk rider

Like all of my other Battle Monks the Dragon Monk is mostly made from Empire Flagellant bits. However, since this one is a rider I couldn't use the normal body. Riders need wide spread legs to fit on the mount so I had to cut off the legs of two body bits and combine them for a proper rider pose.

As I mentioned above I wanted a very dynamic fighting pose for the model. I imagined the monk and dog to be in the midst of a battle with their arch nemesis in BTB, the Marauders of Chaos. I gave the Dragon Monk a sword (instead of the usual quarter staff or chain sticks), because I wanted him to be beheading his opponent. I quickly chose to give him a Marauder head in his left hand. As a little gimmick I chose the same head that my Marauder chieftain conversion has. This would help the model tell its little story...

The Chieftain of my Marauders of Chaos warband (painted by Thomas List)

For my other Dragon Monks I used Flagellant heads, but this time I went with the Chaos Marauder head that I usually use for the Warrior Monk henchmen. The rest was several sessions of Green Stuff work for filling gaps and modelling the obligatory cliché moustache and beard. I added the wire piece from a paper clip early on, fixating it with Green Stuff. This allows attaching the monk on the Temple Dog mount (hence the hole).

Additional bags and pouches are a must for my Mordheim models and I use the ones from the Mordheim Accessory Sprue (these ones kindly given to me by Admin Tom because I ran out of them a while ago). You can view the unpainted model in "3D" rotation on the Border Town Burning website.

The unpainted Dragon Monk on his Temple Dog

Painting the Model
I painted the non-mount Temple Dog first. This was, of course, a great opportunity to earn some Experience before painting the mount. I tried to be thorough and did a lot of careful dry-brushing. I guess the model came out okay in the end, yet I wasn't really satisfied with it and figured I would need something better to make a worthy competition entry. So for the Temple Dog mount I decided to use no dry-brushing at all and paint the strands of hair individually. This took me about three or four times as long as for the first dog. I like to believe that you can see the difference...

On the body parts where there is no modelled fur, i.e. the belly, back and legs, I tried to simulate fur by painting lots of fine lines. I made a wash of watered down yellow and applied that to the area around the eyes. This gives the eyes a mysterious and dangerous glow, which I like a lot and think works great for the miniature as it shows the supernatural powers that are floating through the temple dog's body and and bringing the stone statue to life.

As the Dragon Monk is in the process of slaying Chaos Marauders the base fits those of my Marauders of Chaos warband. This means the model is set in the Northern Wastes and the base is sand and stones with a little steppe grass and, of course, lots of snow. For this model I chose to not use the usual grass flock. I used the tussocks from Silhouette instead. They are pretty awesome as they stand up perfectly unlike normal flock. Then I applied the snow flock (see this useful little tutorial by Thomas List). The last thing I did was spilling some blood across the shield and base to add to the model's character.

The Temple Dog Mount

The Dragon Monk was painted similar to the rest of my Battle Monks warband, i.e. with a red and grey robe. At first I feared it would look bad to have the grey robe on the Temple Dog, but it turned out better than I thought.

What I
usually have the most problems with is painting eyes. This time the eyes came out pretty good I think. The monk does have an Asian look to him, not only because of the beard.

You can see the finished model also in pseudo-3D rotation on the Border Town Burning website.

In the snow-clad Cathayan forests a group of Battle Monks encounters a Chaos Marauder warband

Alright, that's it! I hope you enjoyed this 'making of'. Many thanks to Admin Tom for holding the GT competition, as without it I probably wouldn't have managed to pull myself together and paint the miniatures (two Temple Dogs and one Dragon Monk) in time. It also motivated me to spend extra long on painting the miniatures - I hope it was worth it in the end. Personally, I am quite satisfied with the model as I think it's my best painted one so far - with more to come hopefully!

Until next time,

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