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"Know your Orcs!" Episode 2: Orc Warriors!

In Italy, there's a term, usually derogatory, that is often used with a positive connotation to describe something brutally beautiful: ignorant. Obviously, the original meaning of the term remains, so you'll hear this adjective used in relation to individuals who don't make elegance or refinement their pride: when a motorcycle or car engine is insanely powerful, it's said to be an ignorant engine, just as when a soccer player scores goal after goal thanks to sheer physical dominance, they're called an ignorant player. All this preamble is to tell you what? When I conceived the Orc Warriors, I wanted to create characters who are decidedly ignorant, even by the standards of their race. The Orc Warriors are like two Himalayas in a range of mountains, and they make characters like Urghor or the Orc Captain seem slender, and in terms of muscles, they are anything but lacking! I like to think of the Orc Warriors as the Hyūga Kojirōs of the range (by far my favorite character from Captain Tsubasa! Kojiro, a true Juventino!), two pallets of insanely large and robust muscles. Ignorant, in short.

Warrior A will certainly be familiar to you; after all, it's nothing more than a slightly scaled-down version in 32mm of the 'Before the Battle' kit. Since it's already oversized (those who bought the 75mm scale kit know what I'm talking about!), the modifications we made were more aesthetic than technical: the original helmet was replaced with one that is more consistent with the rest of the range, and some micro-texture and weathering were removed, which would have clashed with his colleagues. The mouth was also closed to avoid potential scale issues, details on which I'm trying to focus as much as possible to improve some flaws from various kits I've produced in the past.

Warrior B is among my favorite sculpts, just slightly below Lunchtime (by far the kit I'm most proud of), a project that, in terms of personal taste and technical execution, I find verges on perfection. If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I like to make my life more complicated and try to take less-traveled paths whenever possible (which I advise against doing if you're out in Turin at night, by the way), and these two Orcs are no exception; in fact, they are a great example of my unique approach to certain very classic and iconic subjects: the search for a niche mainstream. If you've read 'Bakuman,' you'll know what I'm talking about, but in case you're not a big fan of the genre, let me explain briefly: in Bakuman, a pair of young creatives (a manga artist and a writer) try to find a winning idea to create a successful manga. They ponder on which genre or style would appeal to readers the most, and after various reflections, they categorize two macro-genres that usually enjoy great success: mainstream manga and niche manga. Mainstream manga, as you can imagine, are those manga that follow a very classic narrative framework, taking inspiration from iconic genres that are highly appreciated by readers. Niche manga are works in which the author tries to amaze the reader with innovative and original ideas, breaking the rules of the reference genre and offering unique designs, surprising storylines, and, in general, a unique and personal approach. However, the two protagonists of Bakuman also consider a third category: mainstream-niche hybrids and niche-mainstream, respectively, mainstream manga that try to incorporate small elements that go beyond the usual conventions, and niche manga that, conversely, add some 'classic' elements of the mainstream genre. So, if I had to describe my approach to miniature design in two words, I would undoubtedly say: 'niche mainstream.' I always start with mainstream subjects but add small personal elements that contrast with the representations we're used to seeing.

In the case of the Orc Warriors, I thought, what if we took a subject that is, in itself, a celebration of ferocity and tried to portray it in moments of absolute calm? From this premise, Warrior A was born, intent on pampering his cat, and Warrior B, I would dare say, is almost elegant, by Orc standards. Both are mountains of muscles, decidedly menacing to look at, armed with two swords that would put even Guts to shame, fully adhering to the classic canon of Orc Warriors, but I tried to place them in a slightly more 'niche' context. Of course, it's up to you to decide whether I hit the mark or made a resounding flop! However, I must say that I am really satisfied with these two big guys, and painting Orc Warrior B was an unusually satisfying and enjoyable experience for me, as I usually approach painting my models with a mix of performance anxiety and exhaustion. Both characters are, in my opinion, very versatile. For example, I think I'll create a small diorama with Warrior B as the bouncer of a Granada inn, surrounded by cats in a dark alley! From an aesthetic point of view, I tried to create two versions that are consistent in their basic principle but very different in aesthetic impact: Orc Warrior A is Spartan and essential, with his clothing and equipment being decidedly plain and unadorned, while Orc Warrior B has an elaborate armor, a sword kept in a highly decorated sheath, and even an elegant jacket! Both, of course, have a cat: an indispensable lucky charm for an Orc Warrior! Here, too, I wanted to provide two distinct interpretations: Warrior A's cat is slender and portrayed with an affectionate attitude, while Warrior B's cat is chubby and far from friendly!

If you want to add a good ton of muscles to your collection and don't want to miss any moment of the upcoming Kickstarter campaign (October 24th!!), click the button below and reserve a front-row seat!"

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