|He's a bit of a brute|
I purchased this Bane Lord character from the BaneLegions range quite a while ago now. He's sat in my 'to do' box for all that time feeling neglected and overlooked... like so much high quality resin. I was having a bit of a clear out recently and working through all the miniatures I have. I was trying to catalogue them so that someone else could come in, have a look at my collection and find what they wanted and see what I had, rather than have to wade through all my stuff for themselves. I know what I have, but not everyone else does! What actually happened was I kept coming across miniatures that I desperately want to put together and paint. But this guy kept winking at me. I just had to clean him up and put him together to paint, to relax me and while I was doing all of that it dawned on me that all you lot might like to know what I think of Ulric.
He's a single 32mm miniature and is one of BaneLegions first ever miniatures I believe, well he's certainly been around a fair old while in their range. He's possibly been in my house for nearly two years, maybe. So he's not one of their most complex miniatures as he comes in only two pieces, his rather bulky body and his rather large axe, which comes with two arms attached to it. There a square plastic slotta base and that's your lot.
|the bits that you get.|
For those of you with ever so slightly more 'interesting' sex lives, I'm sure many of you will recognise full BDSM head mask, or as it is sometimes referred to, a slave mask. These have multiple purposes within the BDSM scene, the obvious one is to hide the identity of the wearer, as is the case here, but to also de-personalise and possibly even de-huminise the wearer. This allows others to project onto the wearer different personas. So to me I'll be honest here, it was this that instantly drew me to the sculpt. If you look at it closer it has even more BDSM overtones, he has also been denied his voice by a gag, or 'mouth bit' of some kind, which to me just adds to the extremem nature of this sculpt. Let me be clear I quite like it. The fact that we have a male sculpt that has specifically been denied his own identity is interesting to me, his personality is his axe... and that certainly adds a pretty terrifyingly maniac type air about him, that I quite like. Lets be honest if you saw this masked freak running around on a battlefield screaming gargled animalist grunts through his gag as he swung his mean looking axe in huge sweeping arcs you'd think about turning tail and just running away. Well I would, but perhaps I'm a coward. It is as a I say a design feature that is heavily laden in sexual symbolism, and then twisted as he's clearly a capable individual.
How do I know he's a capable fellow with his huge axe? Well he's carrying the heads of his victims on his back... and there are a lot of them. It's a bit grim. Some carry anguished and shocked expressions etched onto their features in the moment of their deaths, probably as they stared at the faceless butcher in front of them. On his back there are further nods to BDSM culture, he has suspension hooks and chains latched into his flesh, as well as wearing his scars like medals of honour. talking of his flesh his torso is bare. He is I believe the correct term is 'ripped'. To say he's muscle bound and well defined is and understatement, his muscles are very clearly defined and identifiable, he has bulging biceps and his neck muscles look as powerful as an ox's. There are slashes and cuts that criss-cross across his skins surface, his right nipple also has a ring piercing and it's all very characterful and neat, but the thing that really sticks out for me... and him... are the bulging veins on his muscles. Often it's these little details that are missing from such sculpts. They get the tone and muscle definition right but the huge bulging veins you quite often see on professional body builders are all to frequently absent. Not so here, and they add a great sense of strain and reality to him as he slowly and relentlessly hunts down his prey.
In fact talking of 'prey' his hands that are tightly gripped around the haft of his axe actually have a bird of prey like talon quality to them. His fingers are boney and gnarled, with sharp claw like finger nails. They're almost as viscous and nasty looking as the curved and spiky looking axe head itself, which by the way has a leading edge that looks well worn and chipped from excessive use. This thing does not leave clean cuts, it looks like it hacks limbs off and leaves chunky bloodied stumps behind. Another series of details that look like they've been battle-worn are the ragged cloth draped down his back from his waist, that looks well worn and I'm sure I'll paint blood stained... it just seems like it would be that 'sort' of garment. But, it is his armoured legs that show yet more scars of battles fought. The pointy plate armour is reminiscent of Games Workshops Chaos Warriors, with it's points and overlapping plates, studs and spikes. No skulls though. shmae. But it's the chinks, dents, dinks and notches etched into it's surface that speak of many wars fought and battles won, just as his skin is scared so to is his armour. Telling stories in the patchwork of battle damage you can see that Ulric is the sort of warrior who has a scant disregard for his own personal safety. They hint at the savagery of his own attacks, moving in for the kill without feeling pain himself, focused on making sure his opponent dies no matter the cost.
I obviously wrote a Sunday Sermon a week or so ago now about potential institutional misogyny in the hobby. It obviously got a lot of people hot under the collar, which is a good thing. Some people even accused me of being stupid for tackling the issue, not because it was hard, but because I'm male. Well I say bollocks to that. These things effect me and my hobby too, and it would be remiss of me not to talk about them. So it is with Ulric, there are clearly nods to extreme sexual fetishes in this piece, and I need to talk about that, even if that's not the sole purpose of the sculpt. Is it over done, is the first and most important question? In my opinion no it is not. But, I could see why some people might find the face hood and hooks a tad extreme, but the reality is that he is clearly a warrior who is out to kill. The BDSM touches just add an air of mysterious horror to him, in the same vein of horror as you get from characters like Jason from the Friday the 13th films. The faceless butcher. The inhuman monster relentlessly hunting victims down, no humanity to speak of, devoid of emotion. Cold and silent. So I like what Stéphane Simon has done with him, he's extreme in his image and appearance, but I think given what he is supposed to be it's perfectly in keeping with the theme.
Detail 8.5 out of 10
The little details on this miniature really make it for me, I've spoken above about the details like the scars, muslces and veins that litter the surface of his skin. Well they're all brilliantly defined, and they are all reproduced crisply. The armbands on his forearms are also crisply detailed with fine studs and spikes covering their surface. Then there's the armour on his legs. It's battle-worn and damaged, and has intricate and detailed pointed plates. Again there are small studs and spikes all over it's surface, there isn't a space anywhere on this miniature that hasn't had some detail placed on it somewhere. The cloth trailing from his back is a hole ridden rag, tattered and torn with a coarse texture on it's surface. Nothing about him is refined and the details all support his rough demeanor. The final thing I want to talk about though is the detailing on his axe blade. It is a mottled surface and highly textured, it actually looks more like an organic growth than it does metal work... and I like it. Not too sure how I'm going to paint it, but I know I like it.
Quality 8.5 out of 10
As I've come to expect from BaneLegions miniatures the reproduction cast of this miniature is truly excllent. The details are sharp with no miscasts or air bubbles at all. There weren't really any noticeable mould lines on him either, and mercifully the vents were in all in places that made them easy to remove and were at no risk of damaging any details. Good job who ever produced the moulds *doths my cap*. The only potential issue you might have is with the arms and axe, and how it joins to the body. Firstly it has two contact points, his arms, that are themselves exposed and leave the joins clearly visible. So if you don't line them up perfectly it won't look so good. To make matters worse these two contact points are some distance apart and there is a thin axe haft between them. Those gamers and painters out there with a significant amount of experience will know where I'm heading with this one. Resin has a tendency to warp and bend, and although my Ulric was 100% perfect and it all fitted together snuggly there could be potential problems with it. However, it shouldn't be too difficult to rectify with warm water and a litte bit of brute force and ignorance... with the emphasis very much on 'little'... if you do get one with a bit of warp. Honestly though, I can't see how else it could have been cut, and for me it wouldn't be a deal breaker.
|God only knows how he eats in that thing. Actually I don't want to know!|
Service 8 out of 10
This was purchased in person now many, many months ago from Dan at Maelstrom Games. As he no longer works at Maelstrom Games and has moved over to BaneLegions full time it should hint at how long ago this was purchased. He smiled took my money, put it in a bag for me and made a joke about my bank balance (see I have a good memory) because I brought a lot of resin that day. Sadly his joke proved to be horribly prophetic... I was told I was being made redundant not 6 months later... bugger! Apart from that he's a thoroughly nice fella and a top bloke, and I don't hold him responsible.
Price 8 out of 10
When I first brought this miniature I think flares were still in fashion and I'm sure the banking crisis hadn't happened. Plus England had just won the World cup... I might be exaggerating now. However, I distinctly remember paying £9.99 for him... I know this because the blister he came in still has the price tag on. Yeah OK so that's cheating. However, after the BaneLegion Price Rise he has soared to the astronomical price of £10.99. That's sarcasm if you can't tell. I think for a fine single miniature of this quality £10.99 is a perfectly reasonable price for him. Obviously £9.99 is a better price, but I'd not gripe and grumble about paying the new price either.
|The studio paint job... well it looks better than grey resin.|
Overall 8.5 out of 10
I don't really know how Ulric will fit into the background of the upcoming BaneLegions game, or exactly what it is he's supposed to represent in that universe they are creating. However, I can tell you that he looks like a faceless monster, an automoton. An incarnation of blood and death, and the details and character that Simon has crammed into the piece is all in keeping with the terrible visage he wanted to generate. It's a simple piece in some ways, but that's what makes it so potent when you stop and look at what he is. He doesn't scream look at how scary and awesome I am. He just calmly and cooly gets on with being psychopathic and violent. It's a really interesting sculpt that is nicely understated in some ways, so much so that I think its impact might not initially register with some viewers... but it resonated with me. Peace out!
Please remember I'm not around at the moment to respond to any questions or points you might have. So could I ask you to be patient and bear with me, I'll get round to it eventually I'm sure. Thanks!