When the flowery hands of springC. S. Lewis, The Satyr, 1919
Forth their woodland riches fling,
Through the meadows, through the valleys
Goes the satyr carolling.
While rearranging some shelves last week, I realised that I’d painted quite a few miniatures last year (and indeed, done some other arts and crafts) that I’d never uploaded anywhere. I’ll aim to start putting that right over the next few days, starting with a handful of Citadel ‘Beastmen’ from the ’80s and ’90s. I’m not sure at what point I picked these up, or where, or whether I was planning anything specific.
As a child in the ’80s, I knew of fauns and centaurs from C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, where for the most part they’re fairly affable chaps, and a surface interest in Greek and Egyptian mythology (without really understanding the symbolism underpinning classical depictions of man-headed beasts and beast-headed men). So I was a bit surprised when I first started collecting Fighting Fantasy and Citadel Miniatures that all sorts of beast-men, from faun-like creatures and minotaur lords to centaurs and snake-folk all fell under the umbrella of ‘Chaos’. It makes sense in the lore, and it’s probably more fun to sculpt and paint chaotic beasts.
I’ll start with two that I’m particularly happy with: ‘Halberd 2’ in the 1991 Red Catalogue, and somewhat more evocatively named ‘Shadeflench’ on his Combat Card. I’ve given him the classic green fur, contrasted with lots of purple-pink.
And, oddly, a plastic Talisman model. It’s a much more simplistic (and slightly larger) sculpt than any of his lead brethren, but I rather enjoyed painting him for that. I’m particularly happy with the shield here – it might be one of the best I’ve done.
The next fellow – simply called ‘Club’ in the catalogue – is quite a small, neat sort of beast. I’ve given him a pretty subdued colour scheme, which I think rather suits him.
By contrast, there’s nothing subdued about a two headed beastman with snake arm and club. I remember thinking that this was the best combination of design elements ever when I first saw it. I was quite into the snake men in He-Man and Conan the Barbarian too, and I’ve been playing a Yuan-ti in D&D, so maybe that’s a thing for me. Anyway because it’s a classic it’s a bit overpriced on eBay these days, and I guess I paid a bit over the odds for my version. Mix-matched hair colours and a tiger-skin loincloth seemed appropriate painting choices.
There’s some incredible miniatures being released at the moment, but I can’t help but feel that this one will never be topped in terms of pure chaotic energy.
Strictly speaking ‘Dwarf Slicer’ here isn’t a beastman, he’s a snakeman. But they were never numerous enough to make a whole army, and the Citadel sculpts are too expensive for me to make any sort of real effort to collect them (Die Hard have released a few very interesting models though… oh well). For me, at least for now, he’ll just have to count as an extra-large beastman.
It’s not exactly a brilliant sculpt – oddly flat, and with some quite chunky detail. I feel like the armour is reminiscent of Japanese oni, so aimed for a sort of samurai inspired colour scheme. I think it’s come out rather well.
As is traditional I’ll wrap up with a couple of family photos.