Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.
One of my fondest memories growing up was hanging out with an older neighborhood kid and reading his stash of Savage Sword of Conan comics. I’d sit there reading for hours and be totally captivated by the incredible art, exotic characters, and savage (way too savage for a little kid really) stories. They blew my young mind. Now that I’m old and sotted, I sometimes get that nostalgic yearning for simpler times, and a Conan figure hits that sweet spot between nostalgia & my current hobbies (1:6 figures). Though there are plenty of Arnold movie Conans out there, I was determined to create a fantasy-painting-style Conan figure to commemorate those fond times. A tip of the hat to Joe Jusko, John Buscema, Earl Norem, and all of the other artists who so vividly brought Conan to life and who inspire me to this day!
MY PHILOSOPHY ON MAKING A CONAN FIGURE
- On a fantasy Conan figure, the muscles / physique are the whole point of the figure. They’re not a supporting element, but the main event. A Phicen body will not do, it’s too small, too realistically sized, too soft. I don’t mind visible joints either as long as they are tightly fitted and keep the silhouette of the figure. I ended up spending oodles of time creating a massively muscular body by combining parts from several figures + sculpting what I couldn’t find.
- The headsculpt doesn’t need to look like Marvel artwork (Jusko/Buscema art) but must achieve the same feel: Robust facial structure yet a little gaunt (ie, not that well fed). Not old, but not so young that it looks in any way naive or soft. Serious and grim without looking totally evil. Naturally, a glorious lion’s mane of hair is needed, and only real hair will allow the range of motion needed.
- Clothing must accomodate the body, not the other way around. Since most commercial clothing and gear wouldn’t fit on the huge body, I ended up scratchbuilding much of it instead.
Anyways, I’ve worked on some form of this figure for over 5 years. It’s gone through many iterations, originally being much more cartoony, but the current iteration was done in the last 2 years. In that time, I learned to sculpt and paint better and even do light 3D CAD work to solve customization issues. Those in turn have opened up the possibilities of customizing for me (teach a man to fish & all that). I hope that you like it.
(Sorry for the hodge podge pictures. I really need to setup a proper photo station & get a good SLR
MAKING OF CONAN
Head – DCD Dr Manhattan – resculpt forehead, added real hair
Body – DCD Dr Manhattan chest & legs, ACE waist, Marvel Icons Wolverine shoulders & biceps
– Sculpted: Forearms, neck, traps, nipples
– Feet are 3d printed, ankles are the shoulders from a 6″ wrasslin’ figure (this creates marvel legends-style rocker ankles)
– Hands are from Enterbay NBA ballers. They’re big but don’t have gripping hands, so I drilled a hole into a fist and resculpted the fingers around it.
Kidney belt & bracelets – Scratchbuilt from clear box packaging, apoxie sculpt, wire
Swordbelt – Boromir, weathered
Loincloth – Made from white cotton, dyed, cut & weathered, with an elastic waistband
Sandals – Scratchbuilt
Necklace – HT Predator
Axe – Phicen, repainted to brown leather, added blood effects
Base – Sculpted from pottery clay
Rocks – Styrofoam
Decapitated head – He Man figure, sculpted on neck and eyelid, added hair, repainted
DCD feet were too small, so I replaced with 3D printed feet (which were also much better sculpted). Added shoulders from a 1:12 WWE figure to create Marvel “rocker ankles”. Sandal bottoms are the bottom of a 12″ wrestler figure’s boots:
Many variations on the kidney belt and loin cloth design were tried:
Demon head from original to v1. I felt the wide open eye was too cartoony, so I sculpted a more closed eyelid onto it eventually:
My first time sculpting stonework and first time using regular clary. It was actually quite fun, though regular clay shrinks a LOT when it’s dry. On the plus side, it holds detail better than anything I’ve seen: