Thursday, July 13, 2017

Talisman: Sorceress and Barbarian

I doubt that many of my readers will need an introduction to Talisman: The Magical Quest Game, a classic that has weathered the test of time over twenty-four years and four editions, and is rumored to be getting a fifth for the twenty-fifth anniversary.

I have fond memories of this game, having owned the 2nd edition since my youth and having also played a fair number of 3rd edition games. There is some elusive quality inherent more in the illustrations and presentation than the actual game experience that has captured my imagination all these years, and driven me to tinker, over the course of the decade and more, on a design of a game that mechanically bears no resemblance mechanically to Talisman but attempts to deliver on the sweet promise that the game seemed to make to me all those years ago.

Hopefully more on that later, but in the meantime I'll just note that that is mainly the purpose I intend to put these figures to, more than playing actual games of Talisman with them (though I am also half-heatedly wearing down the resistance of those around me to consent to a a game or two of Talisman itself as well).

On to a few words about the figures. These are all sculpted by Aly Morrison, best known as the Marauder Miniatures principal, after illustrations by Gary Chalk. I'm unabashed in my enthusiasm for both. It's interesting to have the opportunity in the later editions to compare the experience with Gary Chalk to without. I was actually surprised at the time, back when I played the 3rd edition as a teenager, that I enjoyed it as much as I did, as I might otherwise be telling you now that Gary Chalk illustrations represent some 90% or more of what Talisman "is" to me. Instead, I know that's not entirely true, but still these illustrations, and the character illustrations in particular, made and make a huge impact on me and my "fantasy ideal," or whatever I should call it.

I should be able to roll a good few blog posts out now, and let's start with the first two I painted, the sorceress and the barbarian.

A few notes about the painting. I used some black and brown stippling on the sorceress to capture a bit of the pen and ink feel of the illustration as well as the rough quality of the dress and paper on the staff. The minimal base texture is watered down concrete patch and it was painted quite light and then a heavy wash of ink and matte medium. Believe it or not, on both of these figures the nose was at least fully twice as big as shown here before I carved them down with an exacto knife to better match the figures. I actually like big noses but on both of these they were grotesque-level big and it was hurting my ability to see the card illustration in the figure. The barbarian still has an enormous nose even after the major nose-job operation! Last note, the gold on the barbarian's sword is a new style for me. I painted it very, very bright yellow over white before painting P3 "Sold Gold" (the brightest of the golds they make), and then I put a brown wash for depth and yellow glazes for even stronger color. I am really, really happy with the result and have used it on a few other figures since. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know about them!

I'd also appreciate feedback on the size of the pictures I'm sharing. I'm showing the figures many times magnified. Just right or too big?