Saturday, September 9, 2023

Beware the Jabberwock, my son! It's even got a coat of paint on...

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves.....oh dear I can't just copy paste mr. Caroll/Dodgson for the entire length of a blog post, can I? Back to regular blabla then. I finally got around to finishing this wonderful sculpt of the famous Jabberwocky It is a fun monster to add to my collection of miniatures and I'm rather happy with the paint job I applied. 

Just when you thought it was save to go back into the forest.

I used to have the classic C29 sculpt of a Jabberwock by Citadel, but I sold it off years ago. No regrets there. It was a tiny thing compared to modern standards. Having grown up with the rather excellent Jabberwocky movie (I only found out years later it was based on a poem) I didn't like the small scale of the old GW model. The Jabberwocky is supposed to be a serious and big monster that can crush you beneath its bulk (or at least make an attempt at that), The weird looking chicken headed thing the size of a dog wasn't cutting it in my opinion. 

I started with a bit of magenta in the mouth and then painted in the teeth. Next I applied highlights to the purple, then I painted the teeth again (having hit them with the highlights). Next step was painting the lips in skin color (it makes a mouth look that much more menacing). Then I painted the teeth again (having hit them with the skin color). Finally I applied a bit of careful blacklining (well darklining) around the teeth. Having hit the teeth once more with the dark lines, I painted them a final time for good measure. There might've been a more efficient way to paint the mouth, but I'll be damned if I can dream it up ;). 

Luckily I'm not the only one with this opinion, I've seen some sculpts over the years and the monster seems to be growing. I discovered Citadel made a fresh sculpt (years ago). I never laid eyes on that one in real life, so I'm not quite sure about the size. There was a rather nice looking metal model made by an alternative brand, but I never bought it because the shipping cost where higher than the price of the model itself ( there are some limits to this madness after all, who knew?). This changed when I chanced upon a 3D sculpt by Brite Minis. Before I could fully articulate 'your displays are full and there's no more space anywhere near your paint station!' I had already bought, printed and primed the model. 

The deeper red on the wings have been added with the new Deep Shades by AK.They are very translucent and slow drying colors that sort of strike a balance between a wash and a contrast paint. I lie them a lot. Also if you look at the underbelly of the Jabberwocky you'll see the purple glaze I airbrushed on at some point. I love going over the top with colors.

When it came to the paint job, I slowed down (as one does). It lounged around in the background, primed German grey with a white zenithal, until I finally decided to go for a bout of lazy airbrushing (it is a bit like mindful meditation, but it involves paint and compressed air). Using a few reference pictures I Googled to get a sense of color, I rather quickly applied some base tones, starting with a camouflage green, some off whites and a muted orange. It made for quite an interesting basic scheme. At that point I got distracted (for some reason my mind decided I could paint and glue a near infinite amount of Tyranids in one weekend. In reality I'm got stuck deciding the paint scheme and they are now occupying about half my workspace). 

The green pool between the Jabberwock's legs contains two extra skulls (the dark brown nubs), I never applied the Swamp Green Water Gel by AK before, so now I learned it takes most of the detail and color away from painted skulls :)

I finally decided I should get around to finishing the Jabberwocky, but by that time I realized I couldn't remember any of the colors I applied during the zen-airbrush phase. After a few short seconds of freaking out, I relaxed. The trick is to remember both Bob Ross (there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents) and the wonderful attitude John Blanche has in ancient 'Eavy Metal articles (I can't even summarize it in a second, maybe I should make a long form attempt at some point). Long story short, I just went for whatever looked right with a bit of white added for highlights. I alternated highlighting the model with some happy glazing and washing experiments. I also took care to continue my experiments using colors instead of dark browns and blacks to create shadows. Last but not least I played around with dotting and stipling (I have a bunch of Tyranids to paint at some point). The end result pops as far as I'm concerned. Taking extra care on the eyes and adding a bright orange to the 'horns' to create some interest really tied the model together. Last (but not least) I went for a new record basing the model (I stuck it together and applied paint to different parts in about thirty minutes (including snipping some skulls of the Citadel Skulls sprue). So all that's left to say now is: "All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe."

Going for zen-mode while painting does result in a rather messy work area :D

As a final thought: when it comes to painting I've come to realize there's nothing quite as relaxing as letting go of all notions about color theory, lore friendly schemes, proper ways of mixing paints, an order to things and whatnot. Just playing around with (mostly) liquid colors on a textured canvas and seeing the end result when you get there is awesome and quite relaxing. Having said that, I'm going back to sweating on the Tyranid color scheme decision I have to make (bla bla bla contradiction in terms bla bla etc ;))....


  1. What a great model, I'd buy that if i was available already made, no technowizardy mini-making machines in my hobby cave. That fully tummy, its as if its just eaten the poacher in the opening scene leaving that sack of animals to roll off into the woods .. ah Jabberwocky, one of the best movies.

    Reminds me so much of that old monster mini, always wanted one but I never saw one.. elusive beasts. I like the freckles on the skin, looks tall, is that a 60mm base?

    1. Thanks, now that you mention it, it does have a suspiciously distended tummy. It hadn't occurred to me to consider the contents.

      I've based it on a 60mm round base, but a bigger oval base (120x92mm) would work quite nicely as well.

      If you want a print of the model, feel free to drop me a line through the contact bit on the blog and we'll use e-mail to figure out how to get it to you.

  2. Oh, wow, the work here is awesome! The skin tones, the details everywhere... Pretty cool!!