Sunday, 10 May 2015

McDeath: Restoring Spot

I met the previous owner of this dog in the early afternoon a few weeks ago. At first, there wasn't anything immediate that set him out to be any different to all the other classic Citadel collectors I had met before. He had the beard, the wife and kids and, of course, the leadpile. 

It was at the first mention of his hoard that alarm bells started ringing. For instead of being lead to the atypical 'man-cave' style garage or shed, or their opposite - the immaculate storage unit with every figure bagged and catalogued - I was taken to a run down building to the rear of the property. 

The smell hit me first. The stench of dusty old boxes crammed full of GW plastics mouldering away, the odour of slightly damp magazines from the mid '90s and the overpowering tang of spray undercoat heavy in the air. As he pushed open the rickety door, I glanced within, my eyes catching in the semi-darkness piles of rusting cans of Citadel 'Compressed Air', the coiled remains of the old flamer style paint sprayer and boxes full of unopened copies of Dreadfleet. 

It was horrible. 

The former owner then directed me to a small steel box, within lay Spot - Lady McDeath's beloved hound. Only, when the terrible canine was brought forth he was in a truly pitiful condition. His tail was missing, great chunks had been hacked from his body and one of his paws had been broken off, I tried to hold back my emotions, and nearly lost control of them when I discovered the final shame inflicted on the poor creature - he had only gone and filed his teeth away!

Spot changed hands for the total price of £1. I was glad to get away from the terrible conditions he had been kept in for over twenty years and back to the loving safety of my Dettol jar. Twenty-four hours of stripping saw the filthy layers of 'paint' removed from the creature and the full extent of the damaged became apparent. Great holes and slashes stretched across the animal's body, with his flanks having been filed down rather badly. Apparently, this could be explained away as an attempt to 'convert' the model to hold a rider. 

The tail was present but broken from the body, as was the front right paw. These were pretty straight-forwards to reattach - thanks to a little pinning. Some careful greenstuffing filled the remaining gaps and helped smooth over the slashes and gouges on the beast's body. A cocktail stick helped create some appropriate detail in the putty to mask the terrible injuries inflicted. The same cocktail sticks were then whittled down to fine points and snipped off. Influenced by Pete Taylor of Old, I used the slithers of wood to construct a set of dentures for the hound and painstakingly fixed them in place with superglue. 

Once the greenstuff was dry, I took my inspiration for the colour scheme from the box art from the McDeath campaign book. Grey. I used plenty of glazes and layers of drybrushing to work the model up into a state fit for the table, though I wasn't totally satisfied with the result and I may tinker with him in the days to come. I gave him an additional drybrush with a lighter grey after these photos were taken in order to bring out the detail a little more. 

Still, after years of mistreatment, Spot is now happy in the company of his mistress. No doubt Lady McDeath will be settling him down tonight with a bowl of his favourite Orc innards after a thorough walk around the dungeons. Welcome home boy!


  1. I'm sure you loved being taken up the alley by a bearded collector hehe, but for £1 you must of pleased him greatly :) Now all joking aside good job on the wee doggie :)

  2. A fine tale of animal rescue. Good work sir!

  3. Inspiring stuff! Are you going to be playing the original scenario (with 7-odd players)?

  4. Ouch. After that charming write-up, I doubt you'll be invited back to get any more of that guy's old lead for a quid a pop. I've been following this project with some interest, but I don't see the pressing need to burn bridges...

  5. nice work on the dog. I did find the lead in to that (i.e. the story how you got the figure) a bit odd though. Personally my stuff is pretty well stored but each to their own how they go about doing that even if the method chosen isn't conducive to keeping the stash in good nick.

  6. sigh, what a shame some people don't know how to properly store and treat things, still at least you were able to restore poor old Spot, he looks great now.

  7. Great restoration job, also I didn´t know he was that big!

  8. I loved the write up. An evocative description of my own storage... Indeed my collection is has been through the wars. As a teenager I had very little say in where my collection was stored. Nobody back then thought any of this stuff would be worth anything. You can't blame my mum for insisting it was stored in the falling down shed. Only recently have I got my own place, but now I also have a wife. Therefore the garage is where all the unpainted stuff ends up. Excellent restoration work!