This now marks the fifth outing for a kit from Black Crow Miniatures, and as usual it's a pretty cool one.
The Swordmaster is their most recent release and comes from the sculpting talent of Raúl García Latorre. Hugely fitting choice of sculptor which if you're unaware of why... will be explained further down.
I always like seeing Black Crow miniatures arrive in their branded boxes. Especially when they have a large sticker showing the render and name of the enclosed figure.
No painted example for the box art as you often see, and I honestly don't mind that at all. Leaves you completely uninfluenced on your colour choices and zero thoughts of "there is no way I can get near that quality". But I'm fully expecting to see plenty of this one popping up on social media.
Inside you're greeted with a sticker and art card on top of the black padding paper.
That art is by Guillermo Gonzalez who sadly passed away a short while ago and seeing that brought him and his family to mind. Especially when his art has really helped shape the look of Black Crow over the years.
You can see how the bags of parts are nestled safely and ready for your grubby and resin hungry hobby hands to get to grips with. Nothing lose and bouncing around on the trip from Spain.
Two zip lock bags as mentioned and more swords than I was expecting. Mainly due to seeing the promotional photos which showed the different heads and missing the text about sword options. Rookie error but a good one.
Nine parts in total with two head options and two sword options for each hand. One part is obviously a base. A pretty plain one with a bit of texture. Useful as a starting point for your basing perhaps to help make sure the feet are sitting in place nicely.
For those unaware... this is the reason why Latorre is the perfect choice to sculpt The Swordmaster.
Back in 2009, Latorre released Sumothay as part of his Enigma Miniatures range (sadly discontinued in 2011). It was a traditionally sculpted, 54mm scale, metal figure with a ton of character.
Black Crow Miniatures state on their site that The Swordmaster is "inspired by" Sumothay, though now in 75mm scale, a change of clothing, and digitally sculpted.
Your two head options up close. Bit of a tricky one choosing which to use but then you have the bonus of a practice head for painting. Especially good when people often worry about painting faces and hair. Even more when they are designed this well.
Resin and casting wise... and if you've read many of our reviews you'll know what to expect here... is done by Ciprian. So I'm expecting crisp details and cuts in sensible and easy to clean places. Plus good resin too.
As you can see from the cuts and mould lines on these heads going across the neck join and pretty much vanishing on the sides, that Ciprian in on form.
Loads of detail there while not being over complicated. Love the East Asia influence on the hip/ thigh armour, and all the different layers of cloth too.
Plenty of different textures for painting while not being overly complex. Even with that belly armour with its pattern.
Can get a better view of the shoulder fur here which has a nice feeling of movement. Makes me think of cold mountain passes.
Good view of the connection points for the head, arms, and cloak too. Nice clean stuff right there.
Now then. As you can see I found the mould line running between the legs and up the left side of the body. The legs were easy to access and clean up with scrapers and sanding sticks, but the right side was a little trickier...
However...; I was talking to Isidro (Black Crow owner who is really supportive of what we're doing here at GMR, thank you) and before I even mentioned the mould line he mentioned that Ciprian has moved the cut location on this part when recreating the mould so it now runs up the back. That's just a great example of someone learning from experience and adapting.
This person isn't some rich prince draped in fine silks. Even with the hints of finery on him, there are areas like his cloak which look ragged and made for practicality rather than for show.
The joining section needed some careful trimming and sanding to get a good fit. Though realistically, I'm going to need to do a little gap fill on this one to really get it flush as the shape is a little complex.
Now we have his sword options. Very much going to be a personal choice between the single edged, chopping style or the double edged Conan style. Or one of each of course. Plus, no two of them are identical as they have slight changes in the blade patterning. The only things missing are scabbards, but I'll let him off.
The pour points are next to the sockets to join to the body making them easy to clean and hide. And those connections are excellent too.
There is some mould lines to clean along the arms which sanding sponges helped with
Finally, the base and a good reminder that I should clean my phones lens more often. That halo doesn't come in the box. Doh.
Simple but with some texture like I said before. Easy to use as a starting point too unless you like to fully base from scratch of course.
How big is he?
The Swordmaster is on the larger size of the 75mm scale. That measurement is usually from the base of the feet to the eyes, so a 75mm male figure is often around 80-85mm to the top of the head. The one comes in at 80mm to the eye so he's going to stand out and look imposing among many other figures.
I completely missed out on Sumothay when he was available. Was still focused on a certain well know game company and ignorant about the rest of the hobby world really. So getting to see The Swordmaster, heavy influenced by a classic, and sculpted by the same person, is frankly excellent. Plus the added bonuses of being in high quality resin and a larger size really helps draw me to this figure.
His whole look feels like a Conan-esque warrior, dressed for a wilderness adventure. Makes me imagine some windy, snow covered, inhospitable location. Snow catching his hair and clothing as he contemplates his next moves.
At 40€ plus VAT, or around £42 in the UK I'd say it's a very fair price without taking the optional parts into account.
I'm fully expecting to see this figure getting some love by many different people. Hopefully even finding his way into some dioramas and vignettes. The likes of Honourguard or Chris Suhre perhaps for those larger scenes. But when competitions get going again I hope to see some feature.
Where to buy?
You can buy directly from Black Crow Miniatures at https://www.blackcrowminiatures.com/product-page/the-swordmaster or from any of their official stockists.
Leave us a comment and let us know if you have or plan to paint this one. Would be great to see them too. Until next time, take care, stay safe, and happy hobbying.
Want to support GMR?
Have a product you would like us to review? Contact us and we'll be happy to talk.