Monday, September 21, 2020

BUILDING A BETTER BARBARIAN


I am reading the second in the series of 4 books about Gath of Baal, the famed "Death Dealer". Imagined by Frank Frazetta in a painting (and several others to follow), he partnered with multi-media maven James Silke to create a series of novels based on the character.

As you would suspect, "Lords of Destruction" is not high literature . . . but it is highly entertaining. Written in 1989, there is not much to compare it with Robert E. Howard's Conan, the gold standard of the sub-genre of Sword & Sorcery, but that's not a bad thing. Raw and adventurous, it's also a bit more, shall I say, lusty than others of its ilk. In this story, he is pitted against Baskt, a great white shark that has been turned into human form by an evil sorceress. What follows is a lot of mayhem, along with a generous serving of blood, guts and gore. I love it!



The character of the Death Dealer became so popular that numerous sidelines appeared, including this plastic model kit by Moebius. Released in 2016, it remains available through retailers.

Following is a build review by Jeff Lamott from FINE SCALE MODELER (January 2018).


In 1973, noted fantasy and comic artist Frank Frazetta painted a now iconic image of a mysterious warrior on horseback. The Death Dealer graced album covers and spawned comic books, novels, and role-playing games.

Moebius’ 1/10 scale kit was sculpted by the talented Jeff Yagher, who did a masterful job of turning a painting into 3-D. Noteworthy, too, is the packaging, with a removable sleeve featuring the kit’s title and other information. Removing the sleeve reveals an unobstructed copy of the original painting suitable for framing or as a backdrop for the completed model.



After washing the parts, I started building the horse with the legs and tail. Seam cleanup was much easier before the limbs were attached to the body.

The halves of the horse trapped the tail. I attached the ears before cleaning up seams. The parts fit well, but on organic subjects it pays to eliminate joins. I had little trouble filling and sanding seams along the back, chest, and rear with Tamiya surface primer, but seams between the leg quarters were tricky. Fortunately, it’s mostly hidden on the finished model, so you could skip that if you wanted.




Before assembling the figure, I temporarily attached the saddle back and pommel horn with white glue to the horse to properly fit the rider.

Spend extra time dry-fitting the rider’s subassemblies to check which seams and ejector-pin marks will be hidden on the finished figure. When I glued the legs to the torso, I taped them in place on the horse overnight to ensure proper fit. I left the arm, cape, stirrups, head, hand and ax, and shield off for painting; they were easily attached during final assembly.

I cleaned up the tack but painted it separately. The reins are fragile, so be careful when clipping them from the sprue and removing the attachment points.





The kit provides chain and small metal rings to decorate the saddle blanket and suspend the sword. The instructions show them being attached to pins on the back of the blanket corners, but there are no pins on the parts. Instead, small indentations indicate attachment points.

I base-coated the subassemblies with Badger Stynylrez black primer. For the horse, I airbrushed shades of brown acrylics; the rider and equipment were colored with dry-brushing and washes over the black.

Final assembly was a breeze. I enjoyed building and painting the Death Dealer. It’s one of Moebius’ best offerings thus far, and I recommend it for figure fans. Armor modelers will probably get a kick out of it, too.

For you modelers out there, here's the specs:

Kit:No. 961 // Scale:1/10 // Retail Price:$69.99
Manufacturer: Moebius
Pros: Good sculpt and fits
Cons: Small mistake in instructions
Comments: Injection-molded, 47 parts (1 metal chain)



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