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Of Wolf and Witcher

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"Verily, there is nothing so hideous as the monsters, so contrary to nature, known as witchers for they are the offspring of foul sorcery and devilry. They are rogues without virtue, conscience or scruple, true diabolic creations, fit only for killing. There is no place amidst honest men for such as they.

And Kaer Morhen, where these infamous beings nestle, where they perform their foul practices, must be wiped from the surface of this earth, and all trace of it strewn with salt and saltpetre.

They roam the land, importunate and insolent, nominating themselves the stalkers of evil, vanquishers of werewolves and exterminators of spectres, extorting payment from the gullible and, on receipt of their ignoble earnings, moving on to dispense the same deceit in the near vicinity. The easiest access they find at cottages of honest, simple, and unwitting peasants who readily ascribe all misfortune and ill events to spells, unnatural creatures and monsters, the doings of windsprites or evil spirits. Instead of praying to the gods, instead of bearing rich offerings to the temple, such a simpleton is ready to give his last penny to the base witcher, believing the witcher, the godless changeling, will turn around his fate and save him from misfortune."

— Andrzej Sapkowski, "Blood of Elves"

I’ve been fan of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels about the Witcher for many many years. The bigger was my happiness from buying White Wolf 54mm figure by Andrea Miniatures.

Although the figure does not match Sapkowski’s description of Witcher in 100% - I’d describe it as a mix of novel image, video game character with some elements taken directly from Lord of The Rings movie’s Boromir and sculptor/painter’s own contribution – it clearly is the character I know from the novels. Two swords on the back, elixirs, long white hair – details so typical for witcher Geralt that the identity of the figure is undisputable.

The Witcher
I decided to basically keep the color pattern suggested by Andrea painters. It was nicely composed and I really liked the red blouse giving live and lightening the figure.

Assembly of figure was simple and fit was good (only exception was the right hand, but I’ll return to it later). Minor cleaning of seamlines was necessary. I decided to leave swords with right hand unassembled, because this part required precise painting (especially the silver sword carried in wrapping tied with leather strap) and would make painting of whole backside of the figure much more difficult when assembled.

White Wolf is perfect example of figure dressed in multiple layers. I kept traditional way of painting figure in the same order as the figure was dressed – starting with the skin and going “up” layer by layer. I wanted the witcher to look pale (he was lacking his pigmentation due to magical modifications) and to avoid high contrast between the skin and gray or even white hair.
Then I moved to first layer of visible cloths – the trousers. They were first of many parts of figures wardrobe I painted using leather tones. In this case it was brown leather highlighted by two different mixes of brown leather and ochre.
Leather smock visible on the back of figure was another step – this time I used red leather as a base. Weathering of the smock’s leather was made by mix of red leather and black or even pure black on the edges.
Next step was chainmail visible on the arms (according to Sapkowski’s novels witchers never used any armor since it was heavy and restrained their moves). I painted it with gunmetal gray, drybrushed with natural steel and slightly highlighted with silver.
Figure is dressed in red blouse almost directly borrowed from Lord of the Rings movie and Boromir’s appearance. I painted it red, as suggested on the boxart with yellow hems and golden decorating. Dark blue vest is the top layer cloth. Since it is quilted it took me some time to bring up al bulges and seams.
What came next? Belts, belts belts. Lots of them. Black belt with yellow hems runs around the waist. Attached to it are three small bottles with elixirs (I used bright, strong colors to give them rather unnatural look ). Second belt was the one going across the chest and holding steel sword. I used red eather to paint the whole thing and then mix of red brow and black to paint the belts middle area of the belt giving it worn look. Same colors and method were used to paint the belt keeping left armlet. Third belt which seems to be keeping the silver sword in place was painted the same way but with brown leather instead of the red one. Same mix of colors was used for the bag strapped to this belt. Yellow ochre was used to bring up the ornaments.
Than came the shoes – painted with similar but a little bit darker mix of colors than the trousers. Black leather parts – gloves and armlets were painted with mixes of black and dark blue. Delicate touch of gloss varnish completed armor parts giving them stronger look. Studs and rivets visible on armor and leather parts were painted with silver.
Last part of figure painted before moving to swords was hair. Since Geralt according to Sapkowski’s description has totally white hair I started with sky gray and highlighted it with white.
I painted swords separately mainly due to the fact that silver sword is wrapped with cloth. I used light sand color darkened for more worn appearance for wrapping. Black and brown leather were used for wrapping straps.
Steel sword’s blade was painted with natural steel with slight highlight of silver mixed with blue. Hilt was painted with grey gunmetal drybrushed with silver.
Final assembly was easy – swords to the back, palm to the arm – fortunately both joint areas are quite cleverly designed and both are almost not showing (palm to arm is perfectly visible, but it’s designed as edge of the gauntlet).

Funniest thing about painting this figure was the fact I had to do it twice. Colleague of mine claiming to have no talent for figure painting (he is great paper model maker) bought same figure some time ago and as soon as he heard that I’m planning to paint my witcher he asked me to paint one more for him. Since it is hard for me to find enough time for my own figures I decided to paint both figures in the same time ( time saving on preparations, paint mixing etc…). It resulted with well… Geralt and his doppelganger…

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About the Author

About Andrzej Snigorski (endrju007)

My first contact with model making took place over 20 years ago – I’ve made few models of planes when I was 9. They were all destroyed in one disastrous accident. Pain after loosing results of my own work was so big that I’ve left model making for about 15 years ;) . I’ve returned to building models...


very nice story and scene Andrzej... Congrats
MAY 28, 2012 - 05:34 PM
Thank you very much friends! I'm really happy you like this one.
MAY 28, 2012 - 08:20 PM
A bit of a staffers-fest I know but I also want to say thanks to Andrzej for sharing this work with us. Well done! Cheers, Jim PS: And it wouldn't hurt to see more feedback from members in the forums as well. 90+ people have read this topic already (and 180 for the article) yet the only people taking the time to give feedback are us? Ugg...
MAY 29, 2012 - 07:38 AM
I'm a big fan of the Witcher as well Andrzej, although my exposure is limited to the games. I couldn't believe it when I saw the header for this feature, and go figure it was your work. You did an awesome job in capturing his essence, I just feel like you need a backdrop depicting a forest or nearby village to complete the picture. Thanks for sharing this one with us
JUN 05, 2012 - 03:06 AM
I've been noticing the same thing a lot lately Jim, I'd like to see more people getting involved with posting comments and feedback as well.
JUN 05, 2012 - 03:09 AM
Jim, Jeremy - thank you very much for your comments! I'm really happy you like this one. Jeremy, I was thinking about some good backdrop taken from first or four chapter of first game, but I simply suck at matching good angles and unfortunately have not enough time to play with natural light during the daytime (also my kids wont let me ). With artificial light I was not able to get propper colors that would not stand out of the backdrop... Thanks again guys!
JUN 05, 2012 - 06:20 AM