Sunday, October 16, 2016


The Cimmerians were a tribe of steppe people who (according to Herodotus), were driven from their homeland north of the Black Sea by the Scythians.

Battle between Greeks and Cimmerians shown on a sarcophagus from Clazomenae.

They migrated southward, sowing chaos in their path for a century or so, before being broken by the Assyrians and Lydians, and passing into obscurity.

Battle between Assyrians and Cimmerians shown on a bas-relief from Nimrud.

The popular perception of the Cimmerian however, comes from the fiction of Robert E. Howard, who characterized them as the descendants of Atlanteans, and the progenitors of the Gaels.

It is more in the image of these later Cimmerians that the Dark Alliance Cimmerians were made.

The figures are essentially the male equivalent of the Dark Alliance Modern Amazons, with mostly bare-chested, mighty thewed, hair metal barbarians.

The set is advertised as having 40 figures in 10 poses, but there are actually 44 figures in 11 poses. The figure on the far right in the following picture is part of the set, but not shown on the back of the box.

The figure on the far right in the following picture is the lone unmounted figure from the Mounted Cimmerians set.

He is obviously modeled after the former Governator of my state from his breakout role in Conan the Barbarian.

The second set contains figures with more of a death metal/chaos warrior look, who might fit as a modern interpretation of Homer's description of Cimmerians as "dwellers in a land of fog and darkness, at the edge of the world and the entrance of Hades".

The figure on the far right in the following picture is a bit of an oddity in that he is dressed as a berserker, but appears to be wielding a magician's staff (perhaps Dark Alliance was taking the description of berserkers as shamanic warriors too literally).

One thing that I noticed with these sets, was that there was a high percentage of particular figures that were short-shot. Three of the four figures of the spearman pose from Set 1 did not have a properly formed spear tip (I thought the figure was wielding a magician's staff at first).

All of the figures of the single-bladed axe man pose from Set 2 were missing the left horn on their helmets. I reconstructed the horn from melted sprue for the figure in the picture above.

Otherwise, I like these sets. I can see swapping parts between these figures to create Thorgrim and Rexor from the Conan movie, and even the Kurgan from Highlander.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


The set of War Trolls from Dark Alliance include 8 figures in 4 poses.

They are made of the same type of plastic as the Dark Alliance Mounted Modern Amazons, which I think they should use for all their figures going forward.

These figures are essentially modeled after the design of the Olog-hai battle trolls from the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies and associated media.

In the novels, trolls were presented as creatures of Morgoth, created in mockery of Ents. The Olog-hai were a newer breed of troll which were immune to being turned to stone by sunlight, and described as "taller and wider than men, with hide or armour of horny scales".

The movie derived Olog-hai seem to be at least twice the height of a man, and the Dark Alliance figures look to reflect the size very well.

I'm not sure how they scale out compared to the GW Olog-hai miniatures, but from this post from The One Ring, I get the impression that some of them may be very comparable in size to the Dark Alliance figures, and could possibly be used alongside each other without any issues.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Amazons were titled Androktones (Killers of Men) by Herodotus, who said that this name was a direct translation of Oiorpata, the name they were known by in the Scythian language.

There are various claims surrounding the origins of the Amazons, but the majority of those believing Amazons to be historical fact agree that they came from somewhere in Central Asia. Evidence is provided from excavations of kurgans containing remains putatively identified as women warriors.

Others note that Amazons are always encountered outside of the confines of the civilized Greek world, and see them more as allegorical representatives of barbaric lands where law and rationality were completely inverted from the norm.

In ancient Greek imagery, Amazons have frequently been depicted as wearing Scythian dress, with headgear representative of the enemy du jour.

Amazon wearing Scythian cap.

Amazon with sagaris wearing Phrygian cap.

Amazon wearing Persian(?) cap.

At other times, they are depicted as wearing Greek-style armor and helmets.

Hippolyte (mounted) in Greek-style armor, while her
companion wears Scythian garb with a Greek helmet.

Heracles taking down an Amazon wearing Greek-style armor.

Modern imagery is varied, but ranges from typical fantasy cheesecake armor, to what is more or less Greek-style armor.

Anyway, the first set of plastic 1/72 scale Amazons were produced last year by Dark Alliance. They followed up this year with the release of Modern Amazons.

The initial set of Amazons, are dressed in a mix of fantasy and quasi-historical armor.

Archers from Set 1

Sword and spears from Set 1

Spear and sword from Set 2

There was a lot of flash on the figures, and I found the waxy plastic used for the production of these figures to be particularly difficult to work with when trying to clean them up.

The latest set of Amazons have a modern aesthetic that includes a mix of medieval plate armor, cleavage, and bare midriffs.

They are figurative rather than actual Amazons, and fall more accurately into the classification of "fantasy female warriors".

Swords from Set 1

Dual wield, polearms, and archer from Set 1

The archer seems to be different from what is shown on the back of the box. The figures I received had short, unfeathered shafts in their quivers.

I'd be interested to know if others buying this set actually get fully cast arrows for their figures.

These figures had even more flash than the previous sets, but the plastic has a firmer consistency, making clean-up somewhat easier.

I thought it was particularly funny that for more than half of the figures, no matter how heavily armored they were from the front, that their backsides were always exposed.

Looks like an album cover for 2 Live Crew...

The set of Mounted Modern Amazons may be of particular interest to many because of the mounts included in the set.

There was very little flash with this set, and the plastic has a harder consistency that makes clean-up very easy.

Finally, I present a couple of Ral Partha Amazons (Personalities and Things that go Bump in the Night 01-085) portrayed in heroic nudity, and a [Amazon] High Priestess from the Wizards and Clerics box set (The Adventurers 98-001).

A comparison of some of the taller Dark Alliance Amazons, and a Ral Partha Amazon.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ole Lukøie

Master Box Ltd. makes a number of British Mk I tanks, including versions that were part of the Machine Gun Corps of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

A nice build review of the kit can be found at Armorama. When I started my own build, I got stuck half-way because the instructions were missing the pages with steps 5–10. Luckily I was able to find some scans of the missing sections from an AMPS review of the kit.

The "special modification" advertised for the kit are supports on the roof used to facilitate attachment and removal of the sponsons. However, the only picture that I could find of a tank that had these supports was "Sir Archibald".

Most pictures of the Mk I tanks used in Palestine did not seem to show them with these supports.

In any event, the tank I wanted to model was "Ole Luk-Oie" (Old Shut-Eye), named in honor of Colonel Sir Ernest D. Swinton, who used Ole Luk-Oie (the God of Dreams from a story by Hans Christian Andersen) as a pen name for his published fiction.

The kit was built pretty much OOB except for the following modifications.

Part A3 was partially filled with Elmer's Tack to ensure that the barrel would stay in place when raised or lowered.

The ends of the barrels were drilled out.

The "special modification" (steps 17–19) was not added, but I substituted a framework used for securing stowage on the roof of the tank instead.

In hindsight, I should have attached the brass bars before closing up the hull, but it still worked out fine.

The "L" from the H.M.L.S. decal of another tank was taken to change the misprinted "OIE-LUK-OIE" decal to "OLE LUK-OIE". The smaller decal I just left alone because the misspelling won't really be noticed due to its size.

I scored the tracks where they wrapped around the end horns to try to avoid having the plates look overly curved, but I don't think it really made any difference.

The final steps will be to paint the tracks, apply weathering, and maybe add some stowage before I can call this model finished.