Tuesday, July 24, 2012

El Commandante

A good hero is often judged by the quality and evil of his adversaries. And no Zorro villain is more memorable than the dashing but treacherous Capitan Monastario (usually referred to as "El Commandante").

To offset Monastario's ruthless evil is the goodnatured though often misguided and "slightly" overweight sergeant Garcia (sometimes suspected of being a secret admirer of Zorro, based on his feeble attempts to bring the masked bandit to "justice").

Both (excellent) figures are made by Boot Hill Miniatures and painted using shades of grey for that authentic black and white serial feel.

The brave Capitan urges on his troops (from the back) to apprehend the masked bandit who goes by the name of Zorro.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zorro - The Black Fox

The most important of all figures in such a collection is of course Zorro himself and luckily for us, there are a few versions out there. I used the one made by Malamute's Boot Hill Miniatures, because it comes with a mounted and unmounted version, though I do have the Artizan Designs limited edition one as well).

Zorro is the only one of these that actually uses black as a basecolour. All the others use shades of grey and no white paint was used anywhere. 

First of the Presidiales

After the test with the peons came out well enough to give a green light to the project, I moved on to the rank and file troopers who would be ridiculed in combat with Zorro. I should probably paint a Z on one's tunic at some point.

The presidiales (from Boot Hill Miniatures) are painted using only two different colours (a dark and a light grey) and were the most work due to all the different shades of grey.

Next for these will be an overweight Sargento and his dashing but thoroughly evil Commandante.

Some Humble Peons

What does Zorro need (aside from his mask, his horse, his sword and a willing oppressor) most of all? Defenseless bystanders to protect and lots of them. Here are the first, three poor, lowly peons in need of a hero. Though the one the left (that makes me think of a young Charles Bronson) will actually serve as a fighting figure as well, since he's armed with a pistol and knife.

The peons were actually the first minis I did to see if I could manage to paint in this style. It was a bit of a learning curve but they came out well enough for me to try the presidiales (which show some improvement I think). These are Foundry miniatures. For some reason the bases look a bit off, I may have to fix that. I will use the small 20mm bases for the non-combattant figures and the larger 25mm ones for the action figures.

A New Project In Glorious Black & White

I had wanted to do this project for some time since I had the idea. What I wanted was to recreate the true Zorro of childhood Sathurdays, as portrayed by the unforgettable Guy Williams.  None of that modern Antonio Banderas mythology for me (he's not even the real Zorro). I can respect the Tyrone Powers version as it clearly inspired the later Disney show and I'll even admit to a soft spot for the Alain Delon version (though again, not a true Zorro), but in the end, there is only one true Zorro and this is the man:

Now, the only way to do justice to my childhood hero is by representing him on the table as he was presented to me on those treasured Sathurday evenings. In glorious black and white. And so I did...

When I first encountered this black and white painting style (actually shades of grey) I thought it a mere gimmick that would have little more use than a diorama if one was so enclined. Vikotnik's wonderful "Nosferatu - A Symphony of Horror"-project made me reconsider and what project could be better suited than this one to try it out?

The pictures are full colour and have not been adjusted (aside from the usual correction of sharpness etc...). I printed out a custom background and floor in black and white to serve as a backdrop, otherwise the effect would be spoiled. 

And a shot with some colour (background and landsknecht mini in the center) (as if you couldn't see him) in case someone might think it's a fake: