I’m waiting in an airport departure lounge at 06:30 in the morning (but my body still thinks it’s a lot earlier), breathing conditioned air and listening to the clatter and rattle of shoes and trolleys, the hushed murmuring of my fellow passengers, and the occasional chime of an announcement. Later I might buy a bland but overpriced sandwich, or a cup of coffee to wake me up properly. My flight leaves in three hours and I won’t be home before midnight. This is not what’s best in life, so today seems like a good day to post a recently painted barbarian.
This is my first of a box of ten ‘barbarians of the wasteland with great weapons’ from the Russian Alternative. I’ve posted a couple of their miniatures before, most recently a ‘troll of chaos‘. The range is quite small, but covers the fantasy mainstays: a handful of barbarians, dwarfs, trolls, orcs, goblins and elves. They’re also very nicely sculpted, combining what I like best about old and new fantasy miniatures and loaded with character and detail; they seem fresh, dynamic and exaggerated, without relying on pointless spikes and flourishes or cartoonish muscles.
That’s the good. I opted for the metal version, both for its familiarity and because I’d been a bit dissatisfied with the casting quality of their resin trolls. I can’t make the same complaint about the metal, and while there was a bit of flash and mold lines to clear up, it was no worse than any other brand. The torso, head, and weapon are all separate (with the latter sometimes being split into left and right arm components). Mixing and matching among the five heads and weapons provides some variety – although to get started I opted for the same combinations on the box art. However, some of these parts are very small, and with my giant hands I’m not great with glue and tweezers. I ended up packing a couple of gaps with epoxy resin to support the weight of the weapon – it’s noticeable and spoils an otherwise great sculpt, but I hid the worst of it under splashes of blood and gore.
Contrary to the stunningly painted examples on their website, I’ve decided to paint them all in a red-and-brass palette, so I can use them in a hypothetical Khorne-themed Realm of Chaos war band in the future. I also decided to use a variety of skin tones, avoiding the historic tendency for miniature painters – myself included – to paint most of their humans in either varying shades of white or otherworldly greens and blues. These barbarians will be barbaric, but they won’t be bigots – and I rather like the idea of a rag-tag group of warriors living in the frozen north, banded together despite their differences to fight whatever else is out there. For the base, I used a tried-and-tested formula for rocky ground, blood on the snow, and some nice purple heather.
I didn’t find this to be the easiest piece to work on, but I’m happy with how it turned out in the end – which is for the best really, because I’ve got four more to paint and another five to build!