Thursday, July 30, 2020

Gog Magog

Gog and Magog are Biblical names that have been used in a number of different contexts. Throughout history, the names have been applied to various peoples or nations by demogogues to signal the coming of an apocalyptical event.

In the Alexander Romance and Islamic folklore, the names refer to tribes of rapacious barbarians, but whereas the former sometimes illustrates them as giants, the later describes them as being more dwarf-like.

The names have also been associated with legends about the founding of Britain, with representative examples being the Guildhall Giants (traditionally known as Gogmagog and Corineus), and the Wicker Giants used in the London Lord Mayor's Show.

Miniatures of Gog and Magog were made as super exclusives for the Time of Legends: Joan of Arc Kickstarter.

The two giants are billed as heralds of the Apocalypse. Gog is a sorcerer, armed with a sword and staff, while Magog is a warrior bearing a mace and shield.

I find Gog a lot more interesting than Magog, but both sculpts are very nice. They're on 65mm bases, which I'll probably switch out for something smaller.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Golden Fleece

Lord Jason held up the great fleece in his arms. The shimmering wool threw a fiery glow on his fair cheeks and forehead... The ram's skin with its golden covering was as large as the hide of a yearling heifer... The long flocks weighed it down and the very ground before him as he walked was bright with gold... Dawn was spreading over the world when they rejoined the rest. The young men marveled when they saw the mighty fleece, dazzling as the lightning of Zeus...


The Golden Fleece is the pelt of the Golden Ram who took Phrixus across the Aegean and Black Seas to Colchis, and was immortalized as the constellation Aries.

The Fleece is also part of the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, which Strabo interpreted as a mythologization of the gold panning technique used in Colchis (a theory still popular to this day).

There are different versions of the legend describing how Jason overcomes the dragon guarding the Golden Fleece to attain the prize.

The Colchian Dragon guarding the Golden Fleece is described as both deathless and unsleeping, yet in the legends it is either put to sleep by Medea, or killed by Jason.

For miniatures, the Golden Fleece is available from Crocodile Games (WarGods of Olympus WGO-121b), while the Colchian Dragon is available from Mythic Battles: Pantheon by Monolith Games.

I was a bit unsure about the exaggerated curves of the Dragon, but it does look like a somewhat flattened representation of the corkscrew appearance of dragons in ancient Greek art.

The model of the Golden Fleece is excellent, but I cut away the helmet that was attached to the tree bearing the Fleece since it was too big, and I couldn't really find a reason for it to be there. The miniature was then primed, and the Fleece painted gold.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Golden Sphere

And only then did Redrick raise his eyes and look at the Sphere. Carefully. Apprehensively... It wasn't golden, it was closer to copper, reddish, completely smooth, and it gleamed dully in the sun. It lay under the far wall of the quarry, cozily nestled between the piles of accumulated ore.

Roadside Picnic

I was going through my magnet box, and found a ¼" diameter gold plated sphere magnet (S4G) that I ordered on a lark from K&J Magnetics many years ago. Looking at it, I thought it would be a perfect representation of the Golden Sphere from Roadside Picnic.

The novel describes the Sphere as actually being copper colored, but almost every piece of art shows it as a literal golden sphere, which is fine by me.

Happiness, Free, For Everyone,
and Let No One Be Forgotten

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

North Star Models

North Star Models (not to be confused with North Star Military Figures) is a Latvian/Ukrainian company that produces various 3D modeled figures and kits in a wide variety of scales.



I first became aware of their existence from their eBay store, where I could scarcely believe that the picture of their Girl Mechanic model was actually 1/72 scale.

To see if the picture was too good to be true, I decided to purchase a few models directly from North Star and have a look. Flat rate shipping to North America runs €16, and takes over three months to arrive at the moment.

The first picture is a set of printed models entitled Naked Girls 3D (F-72018). It seems to be one of their most popular sets for some reason, so I bought them purely for evaluation purposes.

I think that the painted catalog images for this particular set are actually their 1/43 models, and not their 1/72 models. My initial impression was that there was something off about the head to body proportion, or length of neck, but I think it's actually because they have realistically modeled hair (which makes their heads look undersized at 1/72).

The next models are all cast resin. The resin is a bit on the hard side, but it is not overly brittle. The models had some minor flash that is easily cleaned up.

The first model is the Girl Mechanic (F-72017). She comes in three pieces, and has huge mold lines up and down the sides of her legs.

Next is Frau Lili (F-72015) who I presume is a representation of Marlene_Dietrich.

The next figure is a WWII IJN Fighter Pilot (F-72012). The pilot is a single piece model with a separate sword. I think they actually use a 3D printed sword for the model in their catalog image, because the resin version is pretty sad. I don't know if its because of his bulky flight suit, but his body looks oddly proportioned to me.

The last figures are Despots of [the] 20th Century (F-72003). Hilter is a single piece model, while Uncle Joe comes in four pieces. They are nicely cast with no seams, but the fit on parts is not great without some carving. I don't really have a use for these two, but they were on sale.

With regard to scale, the resin models lean toward the small, thin side. The 3D printed models look tall, but they are still on rafts that are the equivalent of 4" platform shoes. The mechanic is really tall and all legs, but her proportions aren't totally off if we think of her as a gravure model rather than a mechanic.

The despots look undersized as well (Stalin in particular). I think this may be due to one of the major issues that I see with 3D mastered models. The sculptors start with some standard sized model, and then just scale proportionally up or down to the height that they want for the figure.

The problem however is that the proportions for people of different heights is not a linear relationship. Thus we have Stalin who should be short and stocky, but instead looks like a 1/76 figure instead of a 1/72 figure.

In any event, the models lean towards the expensive side, particularly with shipping. I'd rate the sculpting as excellent, and overall, I'd say the figures are suited for diorama purposes, or for use as objective markers. However, some of their catalog listings only show 3D renders of the figures, so it's hard to judge what they will look like in real life.