Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Classic Pig-Faced Orc

This is my first entry to this year's Painting Challenge. As a nod to our dungeon theme, here is an 'Orc with Guisarme' (Orc1) from the venerable 1979 Minifig range, I believe sculpted by David Hutchins.

Yes, he's a real old school classic. This figure was originally from a group of twelve that I had ordered with our first set of D&D books and dice, directly from TSR out of Lake Geneva. 

When I finally received the figures I was so impatient to have them painted that I used my dad's nasty automotive paints (no primer!) and 'brushed' it on using some of my mom's sewing needles. Yes, very primitive, but you can't fault the pure enthusiasm of youth.

Here is the last remaining orc of that cohort. As you can see, almost all the paint has flaked off over the years. It took several hours of rummaging through containers of random bits to find the original hexagonal shield. I did snoopy's dance of joy when I found it.

A certain charm. The archivist in me was torn whether to paint this guy or just leave him be.  

As historical background, the original concept of pig-faced orcs is usually attributed to Dave Sutherland, who was one of the main illustrators for TSR in the mid to late 70s. His work on the cover of 'Swords & Spells' (1976) is probably the first imagining of the face de cochon orc.

That same year The Brothers Hildebrandt also produced a painting of the capture of Merry and Pippin by orcs. Who influenced who, I'm not sure, but the idea took hold for those formative years.

TSR continued the porcine depiction of orcs in their 1977  Basic Set and the 1st Edition of the AD&D Monster Manual (I can't look at this book without getting misty, recalling a younger me pondering the weighty questions of which monster had the nastiest stats, the best art, the most treasure, etc.)

Orcs in the AD&D Monster Manual

...and from the D&D Basic Set

While the style of orcs have changed over time, certainly with the dominance of Games Workshop and Peter Jackson's movies, good ole pig-faced Orcs are still 'canon' for nostalgic old school D&D geeks like me. I love 'em. Oink.

I decided to repaint this guy in a fairly natty armoured hauberk, with bronze for his helmet, shield edge and boot banding. 

In a nod to Games Workshop I went with classic orky green for this skin tone, though now I wish I had gone with a dark flesh instead. Maybe I'll try that with the next ones I do. 

Fans of these types of orcs will be happy to find that Otherworld Miniatures has an entire range of re-imagined snouted Orcs available. I hope to have a few of these done later this winter.