Monday, August 9, 2010

Conan: Frost Giant; Second in the series.

Hey All!

Next up in my series of Conan related figures is one of the sons of Ymir... The Frost Giant from the Robert E Howard tale: "The Frost Giants Daughter". This particular tale is probably one of Conan's more off beat adventures as it involves his encounter with the apparent apparition of a beautiful naked woman on a snow covered battlefield upon which he is the only survivor. The woman turns out to be the daughter of Ymir the frost giant and it's her custom to peruse battlefields in search of wounded or dying soldiers to seduce and lead to her two frost giant brothers who eagerly dispatch their victims and serve their smoking hearts to their cruel father. Conan, of course slays both the giants with ease and proceeds to attempt to take his just desserts from their deceptive sister.
Staying true to form, Howard is very vague in his description of the giants and most artists (Frank Frazetta and Barry Smith, for example) have depicted these guys as really tall viking types. I took some inspiration from Frazetta's cover painting for "Conan the Cimmerian", and the unproduced Frost Giant "build a figure" from the unreleased series of "Legendary Comic Book Heroes" and some form my own imagination to come up with the scary fellow you see here.
He started out life as a Marvel Legends Beast figure and takes accessories form various figures from that scale. His mail armor is sculpted as are his horns and facial detail. The braids in his mustache are braided kite string. I added the "decapitated head charm belt" as not only a way to add some character, but also to help clarify the scale of the figure. Strangely enough, they are both modified Star Wars Han Solo heads I had lying around the studio. I had a blast doing this guy. The larger scale was liberating to work with, but it took forever to paint him! I need bigger brushes if I'm ever going to work in this scale again!


  1. *Warning, big critique coming*

    Though Howard was a little vague in his descriptions, he still leaves a few clues:

    He did not wonder at the strangeness of it all, not even when two gigantic figures rose up to bar his way. The scales of their mail were white with hoar-frost; their helmets and their axes were covered with ice. Snow sprinkled their locks; in their beards were spikes of icicles; their eyes were cold as the lights that streamed above them... Conan saw the remaining giant looming high above him like a colossus carved of ice...

    So you have the beards, long hair, helmets, axe and scale mail, as well as the "cold eyes," all present in the figure and most illustrations. Since they're Nordheim mythological figures, giant Viking types are easily true to form, including the horned helms shared by the Aesir & Vanir. Howard never elaborates on the height of the giants, but seeing as Conan can almost decapitate one with a downward stroke when it's doubled over, they can't have been taller than 12 or 15 feet. Your chosen height is thus pretty close.

    The only thing missing is the ice covering their bodies and weapons, to the point where they almost look like ice statues. In fairness, though, this is something that most illustrators seem to miss - even Frazetta, Buscema, Smith and Nord. The blue skin works to that icy effect, as well as providing a nice contrast to the red beard (though I think it would've been cool to try for a golden-red like Atali's).

    Aside from all that, this is another winner. Beautifully sculpted, painted, executed, one of my favourite depictions of the giants. I'm not digging the tusks, but that's a minor thing, and at least they aren't the ridiculous hippo fangs of Nord's version. I particularly love the Cimmerian and Vanir heads hanging from the belt, and the crest of the helmet: is that perhaps a portrait of Atali?

    Once again, fantastic work. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

  2. Cool! thanks for that great critique! I appreciate it. I had planned to drybrush the entire figure with white once it was done and even thought about trying to use some of that "realistic water" stuff they use for dioramas to simulate ice on the helmets and weapons, but in the end i just couldn't bring myself to do it. I liked the skin tones and the look of the armor to the point where I took a little creative license with the finished product. You're 100% right though... he does need to be a bit more "frosty". Thanks again for the critique... maybe I'll return to this guy in the future. Hell Frazetta revised his paintings all the time right?!

  3. Fair enough: I do hope you return in the future to add the ice. Let's just presume that this is a slightly "thawed" giant. ;)

  4. Amazing Frost Giant!!! A Great Use of the Beast! Amazing Job

  5. This is pure genius. I think he is perfect as is but if you are feeling adventurous, some white overspay from an airbruch or spary can would give him a "frosted" look.

  6. That custom is spectacular. I really wish the Legendary Heroes line continued and they had produced a BAF Ice Giant. Yours gives me some thoughts about doing my own custom. Great work!

  7. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we'll talk about it.


    Joel Houston

  8. Dude: I have used your site for inspiration since I came across it over a year ago. I am truly in your debt for your tutorials and outstanding picture guides - NOT TO MENTION the sheer quality of your work - nothing short of motivational.

    Sorry it has taken so long, but I am in a position now where I can finally reciprocate! I too, am a collector and customizer of 4" 1:18 scale figures and I take it quite seriously (within reason, of course). Please stop by my own Blogger Blogsite and let me know what you think.

    Since it doesn't seem like you've been around for a while, maybe I can help you come back to the hobby and update your blog for us all to see.

    Hope to hear from you!

    - Will