Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Manticore

A triple row of teeth meeting like the teeth of a comb, the face and ears of a human being, blood-red color eyes, a lion's body, inflicting stings with its tail like a scorpion...with a special appetite for human flesh!

One of the things I love about the old Warhammer editions is the numerous monsters available. It is perfectly acceptable to have in your army a few of them, from good Elementals to various Chaos creatures. As it should be, really, I mean we are talking about a fantasy world goddammit!

Citadel produced a number of monsters in the 80s, and of course Chaos being the favourite child (lets not kid ourselves here) a wide selection of Chaos critters were sculpted. Many of these were stand alone beasts, and not the mandatory heroe's mounts like we see today. They were also often of "normal", as in "human" size. The following Manticore is such a sculpt. It was designed by the master Jes Goodwin in the mid-80s and is probably my favourite Manticore sculpt to this day. A good Manticore should always look like its in a very bad mood and this one fits the bill!

It is smaller than the recent offering by GW, but to me the Manticore was never meant to be a gigantic beast. I was surely influenced in this view in part by the well known cover of "The Shamutanti Hills", from the Sorcery! series of Fighting Fantasy books. A creature doesn't have to be the size of a Dragon to be terrifying!

The Manticore has the body of a lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), bat-like wings, and a trumpet-like voice.

I went pretty conventional on the painting, with a classic beige for the lion body and some dark purple for the wings and scorpion tail. I did modify slightly the position of the wings, I just prefer the look. I love the animation of this model, I find Jes Goodwin has really nailed the feline slow and predatory walking stance.

The base was made with cork, accompanied by the remnants of a skeleton to add a little atmosphere to the piece (he is a man eater after all).

Another nice addition to my Chaos bestiary. In my young days, I used to be afraid of painting these creatures, but they are a lot of fun and a great change of pace between unit painting. After painting a Griffon and now a Manticore, I'll probably need to paint a Chimera soon, I figure!

This piece was entered in the recent Analogue Painting Challenge Bonus Theme Round. This round's theme was "myth", so the Manticore, originally a myth of Persian origin, where its name was "man-eater", fitted perfectly. If you like him, you can encourage one of your fellow Oldhammerer by voting on the page previously linked. You'll also get to see a bunch of fantastic entries.


  1. Best manticore sculpt ever for me too. I have it ready for painting and am really looking forward to starting it (you can actually see it prepared on the pic of my desk I posted earlier). And as always the sorcery books are of ourse the best inspiration for tha tkind of creature.

    I really like hos the natural tones on the body are baalnced by the fantastic colours of the wings and tail. The sharp highlights also tend to mak it quite muscular like real felines which adds to the danger of it.

    Great job ;)

    1. Thanks JB! Great mind think alike, and all that. Its obvious the Sorcery! book scarred us for life (in a good way)!

  2. Awesome Dude, love it. I don't own this sculpt, I do own the 4th edition one with Dieter Helschnickt riding it, sadly that one is nowhere near as nice and your one but still full of flavour. I really must get around to painting it............................

    1. Thanks! I must say Manticore and undead never seemed like a natural fit to me