ALIGNMENT: Pragmatic Solipsism
ARMOR CLASS: -1
HIT POINTS: 350
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 3-30 (+15)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Relentless Verbiage
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Executive Privilege, Regeneration, +3
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 50%
SIZE: L (6.5')
VITAL STATISTICS: 61-54-58
Lord Graedik is the ruler of Heck, a cheesy outer crust plane where moody glycol fog spills over styrofoam boulders and wends through the undying flames of cellophane. His influence is quite limited however, as he has only two subjects to torment. There were once a great many more red demons, but they were lost... or more accurately, they got lost navigating the hallways of Heck in search of restrooms: As a species they have an abysmal sense of direction, and aren't very skilled at giving directions either. (Current subjects must use a lifeline when embarking on any quest.) Despite this decline, Lord Graedik continues to rule as only a cruel despot can: He festers in his throne with rodent drumstick gripped in his meaty fist, eyes glued to a brutal game of Pelote on his magical scrying crystal, belching orders like, "Woman, fetch me another Arrogant Bastard ale!"
As a near-immortal born near the beginning of unrecorded mythology, Lord Graedik has been around long enough to have forgotten the higher edicts of The Times Tablets. The athletic build that plagued Lord Graedik as a youth has matured into an exquisitely marbled mass of bare essential muscles (which would be quite tasty if seasoned and seared on a hot mesquite grill). Although Lord Graedic is winged, the laws of physics prohibit flight due to his body-mass/wing ratio... but since he doesn't recognize those laws, he enjoys extended flights of fancy.
When forced into combat, Lord Graedik stumbles forth with drunken bombast, doing 3-30 points of damage to himself with each attack. His weapon of choice is the studly BMF Sword, designed to inflict painful and damaging stress on the wrist ligaments of anyone foolish enough to wield it; yet, it looks good, and for a near-immortal, that counts for a lot. Perhaps his most effective weapon is his compulsion for relentless boasting, nagging, and complaining. Anyone exposed to this attack may suffer Unbearable Tedium and nod off (75% chance) or Suicidal Compulsion (25% chance). This applies to both friend and foe, and unfortunately for his near-immortal subjects, there is no escape. Such is life in Heck.
10/07/04- The freakshow continues...
I often have a tough time figuring out what to make next. Sometimes it's a specific character idea or an particular crafting technique... but sometimes shelf space has a say in the process. I like my stuff spread around the visual field where I work to help me decide what characters to make next. Managing this high-density shelf space can be an art: Instead of full-blown dioramas, grouped arrangements of figures and a few props are used to suggest relationships and a larger world, and from that, it's easy to extrapolate tawdry stories. This guy was made to fit in the vacant space next to the Red-Meat Demonesses of Heck, Brucelia & Acme, to suggest details of their miserable lifestyle and dismal social life, as well as the Red Demon culture as a whole. As usual, I leave it to your limitless imagination to come up with your own stories.
Technique-wise, there's not much new here, but it's sort of a first for me-- I think this is the first figure I've started without a store-bought base figure. I didn't have anything that fit the size and shape I wanted, and I reasoned that converting a figure (or two) would probably be as much work as just doing it from scratch. Maybe, maybe not. I spent an agonizingly long time revising his basic torso proportions, making him squatter, fatter, taller, thinner, roughing in his basic symmetry, then tweaking it, then re-doing it. I spent far longer on this than my previous dragon project, which was a physically bigger project. As I mentioned in that article, I think it's because we're more critical about the proportioning subtleties of human forms than we are about non-human ones-- so it really had little to do with the scratch-building aspect, other than the freedom to change one's mind that scratch-building encourages. The figure isn't entirely scratch-built: I used store-bought fodder for elbow, knee & ankle hinges since the tolerances and properties of vintage-style Joe's nylon hinges are vastly superior to anything I could make. They support weight well, and this is another really heavy figure. (However, using the nosepicker hand hinges for his ankles was really pushing it, and they needed to be beefed up with screws & nuts.) The hands are a combination of Takara Cool Girl wrists and Hasbro's large pre-Classic Collection (?) hands. The wrist provide good articulation and the large hands are cast in a flexible plastic, which is useful for posing fingers.
My first impulse was to do the classic corpulent demon lord/Jabba/Harkonnen archetype. I gradually evolved him into a slightly trimmer caricature: A mountain-of-a-demon type, who'd been around for a long time. After all those years, he'd drifted away from the daily Bow Flex routine, but his imposing stature could still intimidate (basically, I wanted to avoid the hyper-striated muscled look because it's everywhere in fantasy art). He's only 13" (not including wings), and was deliberately made shorter and squatter with stubby legs. His torso mass and width is similar to that of an 18" super-articulated Spiderman, so he looks pretty striking amidst a group of 1:6 dolls, and fits within the confines of his 15" high shelf space assignment.
By definition, realistic (vs. stylistic) modeling is based upon natural rules of the Real World. Although Fantasy is fantasy, it abides by many of those natural rules to give it a predictable logic that we can relate to (too much arbitrary magic makes it boring). So while realism in fantasy modeling may seem to be a peculiar juxtaposition of opposities, it's really not that much of a stretch: It's quasi-realism without apologies. I mention this because at first, I was reluctant to give this figure full wings, thinking that he should have tiny vestigal winglets. Wings are a peculiar feature of fantasy art-- angels have 'em, most demons and dragons have 'em. It's an established convention, but it's an area where modeling is forced to violate the laws of physics (Magic doesn't count because it doesn't have a physical aspect to model). In Terra Firma's gravity, this guy's body mass would most likely make muscle-powered flight impossible, given that the largest prehistoric pterosaurs with 40' wingspans (that's 80 inches in 1/6th scale) probably weighed only in the neighborhood of 100 lbs. In addition to that, many of the fantasy winged creatures are six-limbed, instead of using the arms as wings-- which isn't the way most real-world winged vertebrates evolved. Despite all this, I gave him wings because the other two red demons have 'em. Further to that, since it's quasi-realistic, the wings can have a small attachment point on the body which works well from a practical/make-'em-removable angle. They do look appropriate, which I suppose is the point, but the only way he'd ever take to the skies would be with a solid rocket booster wedged between his buttocks. Yeee-owwwwch!
The headsculpt was another speedbump in the process. Initially, I'd given him a very human-featured head-- I figured that this would follow the lead of the red-meat demonesses I'd made, since their basic facial structure is human. This made him look something like a Djinn, or maybe a middle-aged former football player (with red skin). I tried to convince myself that this was an okay thing, but I eventually succumbed to giving him some of the standard demonic facial distortions-- a jutting jaw and some bony plates around his eyes (but no snarling fangs though).
The costuming was easy, since I just extrapolated from the materials of the demonesses' costuming. I briefly considered taking the armoured aspect further, but felt that it would look out of place... demons like this are usually shown bare-chested, and hiding his flesh behind full armour would work against the doll's basic concept. I also nixed the idea of headwear to indicate that he was a head demon. Basically, it's hard to give a horned figure headwear which looks natural, and it would seem that orthodox demons rarely wear crowns ('cuz it makes 'em look dorky). However, he did get a big honkin' sword. This should probably be a flaming sword, but since that's not very practical (his wings got in the way of the strap-on propane tank), I settled for an oversized metal one. The crossguard was probably the hardest part to make since it was milled from solid brass. The bone handle was engraved with a scaley pattern and a large solid brass pommel was added to help with the balance. It was far too heavy for the Cool Girl wrist hinge, so I replaced the plastic pin with a tiny screw/washer/nut assembly.
Overall, this has been an attempt to expand my collection's diversity of body types. Previous attempts to make bigger figures have resulted in taller, ganglier figures because it's relatively easy to extend the vertical dimension of a store-bought figure. Extending the horizontal dimension to make a heavy-set figure is considerably more difficult. Besides the basic issue of girth, it also requires scaling up the arms and legs, which necessitates larger ball joints which aren't readily available in pre-fab doll form: I constructed them using shape primitives (a refrigerator egg holder). As a Bush might say, "It's hard work!" (And speaking of such things, as the doll's name suggests he is so equipped and with improved Pinnochio technology... Eat yer heart out, McFarlane!)