Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Intulo by Deviant artist Slaskia

While looking for information on lizardmen in mythology, I came across the Intulo of Xhosa and Zulu folklore. It is vaguely described as a "lizard-like creature with human characteristics". In other instances, it is described as a blue-headed lizard or gecko.

In Zulu mythology, Unkulunkulu (who is described by various authorities as either a sky-god or an ancestral spirit) sent Unwaba the Chameleon to bear the message of immortality to men. However, after the chameleon set out, Unkulunkulu had second thoughts about granting immortality to men. He sent Intulo the Gecko after the chameleon to proclaim that men would be mortal. Intulo was much faster than the chameleon, and delivered his message to man long before the chameleon arrived. Thus, both creatures are viewed as harbingers of doom by the Zulu people.*

The only other mention of the Intulo I could find was in Final Fantasy XI, where they are reptilian creatures that spit poison, and have strong resistance to all magic except fire.

Now, there is no Intulo miniature of any type that I am aware of, but when I saw the lizardmen from Irregular Miniatures, the first thing that came to mind was that they were Intulo. Why? I don't know, but perhaps it was because of their big bulging eyes. From left to right, the figures are Heavy Infantry Lizardman with Halberd (FLM5), Lizardman Standard Bearer (FLM8), Lizardman Drummer (FLM9), and Lizardman Swordsman (FLM1).The fifth figure is the Lizardman Chief (FLM10), but it is of completely different appearance to the rank and file, and looks a heck of a lot like Prickle from The Gumby Show.

I couldn't find an actual South African creature that was said to be the blue-headed gecko of myth, so I patterned my paint scheme somewhat after Bibron's Gecko (of the genus Pachydactylus), and the Blue Headed Tree Agama, both of which are common to that region.

The paint-job looks a little meh at the moment, but I think a coat of satin lacquer and a dark wash would probably do wonders for it.

If you wanted to cast the chameleon as the Intulo (or just as plain Unwaba), there are the Warhammer Fantasy Chameleon Skinks (GW 88-47). The first figure is actually the Chameleon Stalker, but it sometimes replaces one of the standard figures in the normal blister of Chameleon Skinks.

* Note: In The Religious System of the Amazulu, the two creatures are called Intulo and Abantu. Henry Callaway translates "intulo" as chameleon, and "abantu" as lizard (in the role of the gecko).


Sean said...

Thanks for posting. I find your blog an invaluable resource for miniature comparisons to fit with 1/72nd scale.

Lobo said...

very interesting post and minis suggestions!

EY said...

Glad you liked the post, and thanks for reading.

Paul´s Bods said...

Hi, just in case you are interested..a new Forum devoted only to 1/72nd ..

beaded animals said...

Please note that the wire beaded chameleon and beaded gecko shown above were taken from our website,

Check out numerous other beaded animals.

EY said...

Actually, only the chameleon comes from that website.