Today we have a model from the Conan Kickstarter once again. The model is of a Conan character called Baal Pteor, or on the box, Baal-pteor. (I keep thinking of him as Baal Predator. I wonder if that’s a subtle pun on GW’s part?) He was a paid add-on from the Conan Kickstarter, and cost me ten bucks.
I picked this model out of a stack of boxed add-ons to paint entirely because of his appearance – basically a buff dude with a loincloth, bracelets and sandals. Or to put it another way – a simple model to paint as almost the entire thing consists of flesh tones, followed be a chance to discard the giant box that a single tiny model and a couple of cards came packaged in. Now, I pretty much know nothing about Conan. I’ve never read Howard’s novels or stories, and my total experience pretty much amounts to the two Arnie films and the single 2011 film that shares a name with Arnie’s original, and very little else.
So I used the box art as my rough guide to painting. Once I had pretty much finished the flesh, though I went with shaved bald rather than short stubble for the head, I got online to work out what colour(s) to paint his accoutrements. I also stopped to find out who the hell this guy is. Mostly since I wanted to note whether he was a player hero or an “Overlord”-controlled hero.
And then I find that he’s “a Kosalan strangler of Yota-pong” who is described as “a black man from the lands of Kush“. Uh. Huh. So where or what is Kush or Kosalan? Wikipedia: Kingdom of Kosala was an ancient Indian kingdom, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present-day Uttar Pradesh. Oh, right. Ok, where is that? North-Eastern India. So… I guess from the regional and physical descriptions given, Baal Pteor should be panted as a darker-skinned Indian. I guess it then makes perfect sense that the artwork shows a character that’s clearly European. I’ve heard that the developers were careful to reinterpret various Howard characters so as to appear less racist (though sexism was apparently not a huge problem), though I’m not sure how “giant dude who is stronger than Conan and fights him” is inherently racist regardless of what ethnicity giant dude happens to be. I’m kinda ambivalent to the whole series of arguments either way, but I’d personally rather have painted the character as he’s “supposed” to look. Still, the flesh is all done, and I’m not repainting him now.
He’s got a bit of a lean to him as well, that I only really noticed once I had cleaned, primed and base coated him. In person it varies between looking like a lean and like part of a swaggering gait. otherwise, I feel that he looks pretty decent, all things considered. I’m happy with the flesh tones and musculature, though he would have been a cool figure to paint with dark skin as well (Bobby Lashley, anyone?) Less happy with how the eyes came out, but as you can see via the Marine comparison pic here, he’s much more truescale than GW figures, and a bit of a weird looking pinhead to boot! Then again, a bit of eyeliner fits in well enough with his pretty coin-fringed loincloth and fabulous bracelets, so who’s to say?