Oh, Mirklace. How I looked forward to painting this brute. Among the lieutenants available for Descent Second Edition, Mirklace definitely brings a presence to the table. In terms of concept, I imagine the game designers sat around throwing out single traits that they found intimidating, and then the artist smooshed them all up into the strangest looking character they could make.
The backstory for Gargan Mirklace is that he was an evil sorcerer who had experimented with inter-dimensional gateways, eventually being trapped between dimensions. Apparently, this causes one to grow gigantic antlers from one’s back and ooze an oily secretion from the midsection. They also appear to have amazing arm and chest machines in the “Black Realm” and no shortage of jewelers. However ridiculous this all sounds, I have to admit, it does look pretty cool.
As far as gameplay, Mirklace can be a powerful force for the Overlord. With a high defense, high health, and moderately strong attack pool, this guy is bad enough. But then you have to factor in his set of magic-based abilities as well. Blast allows him to extend an attack to include adjacent heroes, Sorcery allows him to increase either damage or range by using unspent values for the other attribute, Aura deals damage to heroes who move into spaces adjacent to him, and Split Earth allows him to damage and move heroes along a linear swath of four spaces. The heroes definitely want to keep their distance if they can.
The sculpt of Mirklace had some definite issues. As I have come to expect with older Descent miniatures, mold lines were problematic in several areas. The gold rings were very roughly textured (making NMM a headache) and there was some evidence of mold misalignment in areas, especially behind the right elbow. The palm of his right hand was also very strangely sculpted, being almost perfectly flat and featureless with sausage fingers that ran perfectly parallel to each other (rather than in an anatomically correct ray configuration). To rectify this situation, I chose to do my first true modification on a miniature to date. Using a piece of thin floral wire and some Aves Apoxie Sculpt, I added a tendril of the black oily substance protruding from his malformed palm, as is shown in the reference art. This not only covered the problematic sculpt, but also created additional visual impact for this dark sorcerer.
So, without further ado, I present my take on Gargan Mirklace…
Overall, I am very pleased with this paint job. He posed several difficulties, from the poorly engraved tattoos to the rather chunky and ambiguous musculature of his back. It was also a bit challenging to get the correct bluish black sheen for the oil, but I think I ended up with a very nice result. Because Shadow of Nerekhall is a city-based expansion, I chose to paint the base with simple sandstone blocks. The color of the pavers complemented his skin tone well without detracting from the complexity of his sculpt. In the end, I feel like I hit this one out of the park. But let me know what you think with comments and critiques.
Now, I just have to hope my heroes are up to the challenge when they come face-to-face with this “warped and twisted” sorcerer from the Ynfernael.
Base coated with Vallejo Game Color (VGC) Camouflage Green (72.031). Occasional shading with the addition of a very small amount of VGC Scurvy Green (72.027). Layers were built up with the incremental addition of VGC Dead Flesh (72.035), until highlights of pure Dead Flesh were achieved. Final point highlighting in selected spots with the addition of some VGC Dead White (72.001).
Base coated with a mix of approximately 1:1 Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Black Grey (70.862) and VGC Night Blue (72.019). The deepest recesses were shaded with a 1:1 mix of VGC Black (72.051) and VGC Imperial Blue (72.020) – which is a bit more vibrant than the Night Blue. Layers were built up with the addition of small amounts of VGC Dead White (72.001).
The horny growths from his head and back were based with VGC Bone White (72.034). The faded red tips were achieved with several layers of glaze created with Vallejo Glaze Medium (70.596), a drop of Vallejo Retarder Medium (70.597), and a mix of 4:1 VMC Vermillion (70.909) andVMC German Camo Black Brown (70.822). Thin glazes of Ivory were used at times to smooth the transitions. Slight shading to the undersides of the horns was a mix of about 5:1 Bone White and VMC German Camo Black Brown (70.822). This was very slight, and almost unnoticeable, but it helped to give a sense of dimensionality.
The non-metallic metal gold was done with my normal mix from the Vallejo Non-Metallic Metals set. Base coat with VGC Heavy Brown (72.153), layers with the progressive addition of VGC Heavy Goldbrown (72.151), followed by the addition of VGC Dead White (72.001). Point highlights with Dead White were kept to a minimum, given the small size of each metallic element of the miniature.
The base of the miniature began with a base coat of VMC Khaki (70.988). The joints between the stones were painted in with a 1:1 mix of VMC Khaki and VMC Black Grey (70.862). The gradient on each stone was created with the addition of VMC Green Grey (70.971) to the original Khaki, stopping just short of reaching pure Green Grey.