WIP: Mounted Barbarian

120 mm Mounted Barbarian Warlord

I’ve had this fantasy kit for a very long time – so long, I’ve forgotten exactly when I acquired it. It says 1993 on the box so that’s probably correct.  It came from the period when I was looking around at military ranges for any kits that interested me. There weren’t many.

It was produced by a Wales based company, owned by David J Parkin who may also have been the sculptor. It comes with a numbered certificate and (unusually) building and painting instructions which describe it as a fantasy figure “based on our local VAT inspector”.

It’s crisply cast and very professionally presented but I realised, almost immediately it wasn’t going to be that easy to build. Partly that’s because it’s half resin and half metal -making it potentially fragile at the joins.

Also because, dry-fitting it, the joints are a little ‘ambiguous’ in the way they fit together. I’ve never built a kit of a horse before and I’m not familiar with a horse’s anatomy so it’s going to a challenge all-round.



July 18

Here I have glued together the three resin parts – following the instructions. I did a little pinning but there wasn’t much thickness to the edges of the hollow-cast  pieces to use pins. Quite a lot of filling needed at the joints.


July 20

Here I have attached the feet of the horse to (hopefully) the right legs – quite a tricky feat since the parts didn’t “match” very well. They are pinned and filled in with putty but they feel quite fragile. I will base the figure as soon as I can for protection.

July 23

I found this forum thread on painting black horses which looks useful (http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=273856).  (PDF version) A lot of the ideas I already had but it’s good to have them confirmed.


July 25

I primed the horse and figure with respectively Tamiya Fine Surface Primer and Plastikote Black from an old can – a mistake, as I got some spitting and splattering. (Note: don’t use old cans. I went and bought a new Chaos Black the next day).

Everything okay until I tried to fit the figure back onto the holes I’d drilled on the base. I appliedonly gentle pressure but a hairline crack turned into a break – aaargh! The leg was rotating on its pin loosely. Nothing to do but reglue it. I used the strongest Epoxy I had (‘Two Ton’) but the pay-off was I had to wait a long time for it to set. Despite constant checking – and using blu-tack – it set slightly out of alignment so I then had to re-putty and reshape it.

July 26

I then tried Black Gesso on the horse which actually worked quite well. I kept it away from the detail, just used it on the smooth surfaces – haunches, neck, belly etc – and it produced a very smooth finish/surface. From experience though I know Gesso isn’t very hardy; it marks easily. Also I wasn’t able to fill in the hairline crack in the other leg or some pitting in a fetlock. I used putty instead.

By now I’ve pinned and drilled holes for the riders arms and legs and I’ve undercoated them. I next looked at the tail – which is very large and meant to stick our horizontally. I baulked at attaching it like that.

There wasn’t the thickness on the tail to put a really strong pin (it narrows to a point) and it would make the whole model fragile and almost impossible to work with. It would also stick out over the edge of the base because I didn’t realise from the the one photograph I have, that that’s what was intended when I chose my base – too late to change it now.

Luckily, by grinding it down a bit, I can make it hang down to the left – as though the horse is swishing its tail. That gives me a much larger area to glue it on and makes it less fragile too.



July 27

Today I primed a few of the accessories and started on the the basework. I like to have some basic groundwork done before I attach the figure, and with such a big figure, I’ll probably do that sooner.

I began by smearing some hard wood filler and sprinkling fine sand in it. I shaped the edges and created some larger stones, using up an old tube of Green Squadron putty for this purpose. I primed it afterwards. It’s not finished but I’ve laid the foundations.

August 5

I was waiting to airbrush the horse until I took delivery of a new airbrush, a Harder & Steenbeck Infinity. Disappointingly, although the brush handled well, it wasn’t really right for the job. My fault – I deliberately chose a 0.15 nozzle for fine work while the horse needed something ‘bigger’. I went back to my Iwata HPC which felt much more comfortable and suitable.

I spent a long time adding shading to the horse under a strong light but when I looked at it under normal lighting, I discovered I’d painted it grey! Aargh again . . . Nothing to do but cover it with black and start again.

This time I was probably too cautious and didn’t give enough contrast. I may try it again when I’m further along with the rider and can judge better.


 August 11

Slow going – due to real life getting in the way. I’ve decided to try and do the helmet and breast pieces as ‘Non Metallic Metal‘ using the Scale 75 set of paints – another first for me. (I really like these sets. Brilliant for unconfident painters like me. Ordered the wood and leather set too.)

Spent a lot of time on his coat which I’d still like to try some weathering effects on. The fleece was far too yellow and I again spent time drabbing it down. My putty work on the joins around the saddle was looking awful so I added more to give the saddle a ‘definite rim’.

I haven’t painted onto a white primer for a long, long time and it’s taking some getting used to but that was part of my experiment this time – painting in the European style with washes. The colours are much brighter and the instant highlighting effect is quite pleasing (the trousers in the photo haven’t been shaded at all, just base-coated) but it does show up every little error.

Mainly I’ve been going over sloppy paintwork and correcting mistakes. There’s a level of concentration and focus that you have to find and which only comes with constantly doing it – very easy to get rusty if you take too long a break. Think I’m finally finding it but it’s a struggle to set aside the time.

Sept 3rd

My first attempts at NMM metal – using the Scale 75 set. Looking a little washed out at the moment but I might be able to fix that with some ink washes.

NMM is a little like pre-shading. I don’t think I’ll ever use it consistently on bigger kits but the principles of shading to a higher contrast level give interesting results and I’ll adapt it for metallic paints (I was sort of doing this before but not as confidently). I’m going to do the horse headgear and buckles with metallics I’ve decided. The shield I may just buff to a shine and use glazes on.


October 12th

Discovered to my horror that I’d lost one of the figure’s boots! I spent many hours looking for it and finally had to build one from scratch. Suppose I was lucky that it wasn’t a more complicated part.

October 22- 23

The final stages were really tricky. I had great trouble attaching the arms and ended up having to create a kind of undergarment with short sleeves to support the joints. (Black Milliput has been a real godsend).

I had been planning to add reins because the horse does have a bridle and presumably a bit so it seemed illogical not to. However experiments with strips of lead and a bit of twisted wire both looked wrong – I just couldn’t get them to hang naturally so I gave up.

I succeeded in knocking off the scabbard and the sword blade while wrestling with the figure. All the time, had to be really careful not to put any pressure on the joins in the horse’s legs. I became so paranoid, I decided to take some pictures before I painted the groundwork in case it didn’t last. This figure has always felt incredibly fragile – with its thin ‘wavy’ bits – and I’ve been constantly worried about accidentally dropping it or knocking it over.

Finished it – finally – with a sense of relief. My first batch of photos haven’t turned out that well – nothing I could put up on CMON – but I may have another go

Barb_05 Barb_06

See the final pictures here

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