Building Arial: A 28mm Reaper Mod Project | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Thursday, 08 November 2007

Arial Brightband, Chosen of Nordal, God of Justice, and High Protor of Nordal's Knight-Protectors, stood atop a hill, facing 500 Knight-Watchers and 500 Criers�wizards who paired with Knight Watchers. She was giving delivering a final address before leading the force into battle against a much larger army.

She finished her speech with a simple truth, spoken in the High Cant favored by Knights of Nordal the world over:

"Thou shouldst each of thee know that I am proud to have served Nordal's will with each of thee, and mine place and time of death couldst not be better chosen than on this field, with thee, defending Passrock and reminding the world what a Nordalian is. Prithee may I serve thine comradeship well this day!"


The finished Arial from the front

Arial Brightband was the Webmistress' favorite RPG character, one she played through most of the years we've been together. The Battle of Junters' Mount was the end for her and one of the Knightly Orders that she commanded.

After the battle of Junters' Mount, most of the Nordalians�those fifty or so people who play in our primary RPG world�turned out to wish her farewell. I wanted to offer the Webmistress something special to commemorate her passing. Over the years, I have built her versions of Arial on her trademark mount, a Unicorn, and in several combat poses. But there is one version of Arial that she did not have: Arial in her Avatar form granted by her deity.

So I set out to find a model of a solar with a large sword that I could modify. Frankly, solars are not popular fantasy figures, but I did find one by Reaper. The problem was that the figure had an axe, something that Lady Arial never learned to use. But the Webmistress loved the figure otherwise, so I shopped around and found a vampire figure by Reaper that was about the same size and had a sword that was nearly perfect.

So far, so good. We take our gaming pretty seriously, so I wanted this miniature to be near-perfect. I had some other ideas for what I wanted, but wanted to get through the first steps before getting carried away.


The two miniatures that form the base of the miniature

The very first thing that had to be done was removing the axe from the solar's hand and the sword from the vampire's hand, and swapping them. First, I needed to identify exactly where to cut. I would love to give you a hard-and-fast rule for how to determine just what to do, but each miniature is different, and as long as you cut them at a point where they are about the same size, you will get an acceptable result.


Arial (right) with the sword from the vampire (left)

Once you've got the two hands cut free, test fit the arm and shape the two bits. Get the two parts "close enough," remembering that it's easier to add bulk later with Green Stuff or something similar than it is to remove large bits of mismatched lead once the parts are together. After you've filed down the two parts so that they match relatively closely, use a pin vise to drill a hole in each end, and glue in a pin. We like to use brass tubing and rods because these work as weapons when needed also, but we've used the metal provided by Foundry for spears as pinning material before. Whatever works for you.


The arm, pinned and with a first coat of Green Stuff bulking it out

Next, spend alternating nights filling with Green Stuff and filing the Green Stuff down. The point of this process is to get the seam nearly invisible. In this case, I wanted to add some design�the sleeve entering the gauntlet�into the Green Stuff, so I spent four evenings, two putting on Green Stuff and shaping, two filing the seam down and buffing.

Finally, after all of this was done I was able to prime the figure and see what it looked like. At this point I was happy and ready to start painting.


The figure, ready for painting

You would think that this would be the end of the story, and that we would have painted pictures for you. You'd be right, except for one little thing: Midway through painting, I settled on a plan to replace the wreath with the symbol of Arial's god, a set of balance scales. Now, since this was an unplanned addition, it took a little bit of extra work.

To build the scales, I took an extra 15mm M4 Sherman barrel, two 15mm tank hatches for the measuring trays, a 28mm Aztech Shield from Eureka for the base, and some floral wire for the measuring-tray supports. A couple of lengths of rod finished off the bits we needed. I pinned and glued the barrel to the Aztech shield, then wrapped the whole in Green Stuff. Next I drilled three holes in the turret hatches to hold the floral wire, and super-glued them in place. After that, I bent the support rods slightly, and glued them to the top of the base. Finally, I glued the assembled measuring trays to the supports.

After inspecting the finished scales, I took another loop of floral wire and glued it to the top to act as a handle, and finally cut the wreath free of the off hand on the figure to make a place for the scales to be held. I drilled holes in the hand, glued the loops of the handle in, and � viola!

While I was very happy with the results, the scale could have come out nicer. But the real test was the Webmistress. If she was pleased, I was pleased. She was, so I suppose I did well enough. If I build a set of Nordal's Scales again, I'll find a different way to connect the support bars and the measuring tray supports so it looks less clunky, but otherwise, the figure is fine.

But I'll let you decide. Here are the final pictures.






The Knight with the book upon his shield looked about the battlefield, but the few remaining Knightly pennons were near the top of the hill, finishing off the Knight-Watchers. So he stepped forward hesitantly.

"Will you not yield, Lady?" He asked with a vaguely familiar voice, "I am not the skilled warrior that others on this field are, and yet I can certainly best you in your current state. Will you not surrender to me? Perhaps you could fight another day ...."

Arial summoned her strength, what little was left of it, and surged toward him. He stepped aside and reached for his sword.

"As you would have it. I do not comprehend such fanaticism, but you have fought bravely, you deserve a clean death," he said reluctantly.

Summoning the last of her strength, she ran straight at him, leaving her sword low and on the outside, thinking that if only she could touch this man, he would be a powerful force for good in the world.

As she ran toward him, he crouched and brought up his blade. She felt it pierce her stomach, and knew it was a mortal wound. The world started to gray, things rapidly dimming around her. She reached out with her left arm to touch one of the bracers known as Relcosta to this vile knight's arm, and willing the strength of Nordal into him. She was done, but if she could but touch him, this Knight would not kill another Knight of Justice.

Arial Brightband, First Knight of Nordal, never knew if her last defiant gesture was successful; the world dimmed and then went black.

If you enjoyed the bit of story above, click here: The Knight Watchers' Last Stand and choose "login as guest" then (without closing the window this link opens) come back to this page and click the link again for the full story of the last stand of the Knight-Watchers.

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