Here is my first entry to the painting challenge. I was back from vacation this week-end and managed to get this done on sunday. I really wanted to start with this figure since I like the way it is looking forward for the nice things to happen in 2013.
This horseman is nothing less than the famous Ilya Mouromets probably the most well known hero of the russian folklore. Ilya was born neer the city of Mourom, he could not move his legs until the age of 30, but he was then gifted with tremendous strength. When the ruler of Kiev heard about this, he called him to its court and made him a knight defender of the faith. During a life of prowess Ilya eventually defeated an army of Tartar besieging the city of Tchernigov, freed the forest of Kiev from the deadly whistling of a monster, met the witch Baba Yaga two times and survived, chopped all twelve heads of a dragon, got reed of a giant...
The figure is from a russian manufacturer called Plastic Miniatures. I came across it a little by chance but felt at once that I had to have it. The quality of the mould was beyond expectation, and I had only but a few to do to prepare it. It is just sad that the manufacturer doesn't offer a full range of medieval russian figures of this standard.
The sculpts actually depicts Ilya Mouromets as he appears in a famous painting from Viktor Vasnetsov called The Bogatyrs. Thus, I decided to get him painted the same way he appears on the canvas. I only took a few liberty with the shield. For the first time I have been using only Army Painters colors and I must they are really great.
Wargaming wise, I think this beautiful horseman will make a convincing byzantine mercenarie for my First Crusade Project, the kind of Kievan or Kuman warrior that guided (or harassed) the armies of the Franks on their way to Constantinople.
Ilya is the first in a serie of three Bogatyrs, so expect to see the others very soon.
I dunno Nicolas. Sure, this Ilya guy sounds pretty cool but when it comes to Russian folk heros nobody can match Vladimir Putin. Cripes the dude hang-glides with Siberian cranes, shoots rifles bare chested and seemingly can't take a bath in a shallow tub without emerging with a Greek artifact! Now, how cool is that? ;o)
Mr. Mouromets will give Nicolas a base of 10 points but I think I'll add another for his groovy shield and scabbard (and to placate his publicist).