Happy new year 2013 to anyone who dare reading this entry. I am back from a two weeks vacation to the land of my ancestors. I haven't touch a brush nor a paint pot during the time and I am just starting to pull things back together for a new year of wargaming and painting. Well, I'd better hurry because the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge is already in its third week and I have this feeling that it will take me a few days to be back at full painting speed.
Nevertheless, I wanted to begin 2013 voluntarily, reason why I have picked the character of Ilya Mouromets for this first entry of the year. The way he is staring at the horizon tells enough his determination to overcome any hazardous situation. A state of mind I wish to make mine.
Ilya Mouromets is a prominent character of russian folk stories, if not the most characterful hero Mother Russia ever infanted (although some would argue it is Vladimir Puttin... Well, I leave this thought to everyone's self appreciation). One can tell from the rough of his beard and the round of his baly that he someone personifies the very soul of his rather intriguing country of birth.
Now, Ilya took his time to become a legend. Who wouldn't with both legs paralized until the age of thirty. Some tells that the long desired son of two peasants of the area of Mourom, miraculously recovered from his affliction and was suddenly gifted with a prodigious strength. Some other believes, that it is when he reached the aged of eight-teen, that he helped a beggar to quensh his thirst and was then rewarded with unequal strength.
Of course such tremendous strengh would be waisted in the daily work of an humble farm. So the beloved parents treated him with a lance and a mount, and Ilya decided to travel to Kiev and make his most powerful arm an instrument of the faith, in the hand of the Tsar. To be honest, some other tells that the Tsar of Kiev ordered him to come, but who really cares? The important is that on his way to Kiev, Ilya freed with his sole spear the city of Tchernigov from a siege by the unpious tartars of the East. And that he could bring peace back to the whole country by expelling a group of scoundrels that had been plundering the place for too long. Had he reach Kiev, he won the trust of the Tsar by capturing a strange creature named Nightingale, whose whistling was loud enough to kill a man and was thus cursing the depth of the forest.
Yet, some other tells that this was only the first task of a larger quest he had to complete in order to win the heart of a beauty. A beauty of unequalled beauty of course, who was leaving in a far far far away realm, and was harassed every night by a dragon with nothing less than twelve heads. We would probably call it sexual abuse nowadays... What so ever, Ilya went to rescue the beauty. At the crossroads, he choosed the path of death and had to survive the cunning of Baba Yaga the witch and her sister. Only after that, could he chopped the twelve heads of the perverted dragon and put an end to his scandalous behaviour by crushing the last head. As he came back to Kiev, Ilya found the court subdued by a giant who had a head the size of a beer cauldron and answered the name Idol. Idol could devour a bull to the bones, but Ilya kicked him out of the palace by simply raising a single hand.
Well Ilya, with such a pedigree you really deserved a figure that would fit your prowesses. Let's admit that manufacturer Plastic Miniatures did it quite fine. The pause is actually taken from a canvas by Viktor Vasnetsov, so to stick with the legendary atmosphere, I went with an interpretation of the colours seen on the painting. This work has grant me 11 pts for the Painting Challenge and the last seat in the competition, more details can be found on Curt's Analogue Hobbies.