Updated: Jun 14
"Ryuko" is the biggest kit designed for this upcoming range, I'd dare to say a gamble. I honestly fear to read the quotation concerning the production costs of a 75mm Pachycephalosaur but I hope you would agree with me that there are trains passing once in a lifetime and I didn't want to skip this chance.
When I was a little boy, in kindergarten, I used to play all the time with a little girl: I played with a toy pachycephalosaur and she used to grab from the toy box an action figure of Jasmine (from Disney "Aladdin"). We spent hours, pretending to live incredible adventures with this unconventional duo, but we had a lot of fun. Years later, the same girl took my first kiss, but this is another story. Since when I was a little kid, I loved dinosaurs (as any other kid, after all...) but I always preferred herbivores over predators, my favorite ones have always been Pachycephalosaurs and Stegosaurs. From the beginning, I decided to design a tough Elf character and, being this range all about big and ambitious things, I wanted to make something that could not be ignored.
In our 32mm range there is already an Elf knight riding a Pachy, but this time I wanted to design a more noble and elegant subject.
With that in mind, "Ryuko" was born.
"Ryuko" is named after a Japanese name (it's the feminine version of "Ryuji", maybe you remember it from the main character of "Toradora" anime) and we can roughly translate it as "Dragon's Child": I think it was an appropriate name for this character!
The draconic theme, in fact, is clearly evident: not only does she ride an enormous scaly lizard (after all, dinosaurs are dragons in disguise!), but her armor is shaped like a classic Japanese dragon! I added a subtle cloudy pattern on some armor plates because it's always a good match with those mythological beasts.
Despite this scene having a lot of details, I tried not to overdo them and, if we don't take into account the Elf's armor, the sculpt is pretty clean and easy.
This was meant to enhance one of the focus points of the composition: the knight's big shield!
This enormous shield has been designed by Davide (the sculptor of the Iron Titan and the Hounds of Zorn Uzul, and illustrator of all the Peoples of Inneath booklets) and from the first time I saw it, I knew I would use it in one of my characters. Unfortunately, at that time the Elf range was already designed, but luckily I didn't have to wait for long.
I think that all the painters out there will have a lot of fun, painting this element!
Despite this being a classic fantasy archetype, I tried to portray the scene without indulging too much in the "warlike" thematic, I imagine Ryuko more like she's on the patrol and, as I always prefer, the composition shows a relaxed character, with a static pose.
I think that static poses are more versatile, despite dynamic ones being more "catchy" to the eye of an observer. Of course, there is not a "better" or a "worse", it's just personal taste, but I think that a static scene has more interpretation available, while a dynamic one is more "directed" by the creator. I always prefer to give the painter/hobbyist as many ways as possible to express himself/herself and, when possible, I prefer relaxed and static poses because they can be set in many different environments and scenes. If I'd give this character a more aggressive pose, maybe portraying her during a fierce assault, for sure the impact of the scene would be more intense, but you would be forced to set the scene in a war/duel/battle context.
To make things even more ambitious, this kit will have also a couple of alternative parts (to unlock as Stretch Goals): an alternative head, wearing a super-cool helmet, and an alternative arm so if you don't want to put her lying on her shield, you can choose another part to replace it with.
I loved to work on our Elves and despite I'm proud of how I achieved with the 32mm range, I think that the 75mm scale is the best scale for them because I can think less about all the production compromises that these subjects require when designed for a tiny wargame scale.
My favorite detail of the whole kit?
The Elf's hairtail. I think that Valerio managed to sculpt an amazing hair texture and haircut on this girl. From the back view, I can't help but admire how elegant Ryuko's hair flows, and how his move is accompanied by the headband. by far, this never stops fascinating me.