Only a few days later and another character complete. But, this isn't just any character, this is Castellan Garran Crowe, head and Brotherhood Champion of the Purifier Order. A nobler exemplar of the Grey Knights would be impossible to find. He is considered a flawless soul, immune to the temptations of Chaos. Garran carries a burden greater than any of his Battle-Brothers, for he is charged with the wardenship of the Chapter's most perilous relic: the Black Blade of Antwyr. A Daemon Sword ancient beyond imagining:
I am the power of death incarnate. I am the sword's edge; I hungrily cut the flesh and drink deep of the bloody well beneath. Give me your body, and I promise you glory, I promise you vengeance, and I promise you immortality – if you will only let me... — Antwyr, the Sword-god
Only the intervention of all eight Brotherhoods of the Grey Knights was finally able to destroy the Daemonhost who wielded the sword in a cataclysmic battle, and it wasn't until over three thousand years later that they were able to recover it. It was placed in the hands of the Purifiers, as only they possessed the strength to resist corruption and ignore the malign whispers of the Daemon trapped within. For Terran centuries it has been placed into the capable hands of the Brotherhood Champion and passed down from one Purifier to the next, the order always choosing the strongest among them to bear the burden.
Only Grey Knights are able to resist its words, and even then only for a time before they to feel their wills being bent and buckled under the onslaught. Remarkably, Crowe alone seems immune to the effects of the blade, though it is known that Antwyr speaks to him too.
This was my last metal grey knight miniature to paint. As with all metal miniatures Crowe is quite compact with arms held tightly around his chest. However, this doesn't make it a bad miniature. It places the sword as the main point of focus as it rightly should, as Crowe would likely not be held in such high regard if it wasn't for what he wielded. I don't know if it was down to the miniature or my base coat but I found the top runes on the sword were not as clearly definable as the ones below which made it a bit more difficult to paint cleanly.
I've seen a lot of people discard the banner, and I can understand the reasoning, but I feel it is important to give him that height to make him really stand out as a character and not just another Purifier on the table. When not on the table and looking closely you can see there is a huge amount of detail on this miniature with a number of purity seals, books, etched metalwork and even a vial of the Emperor's crystallised tears.
For a metal miniature I think it's great and don't think an upgrade is really need at this point. If another was made I think a lot of changes such as the pose, the sword, the banner and even the helm would be needed to actually made it worth doing. I'm not saying these have not already been done well, but only a major change (like the new Ulrik the Slayer from the original) would be worth doing.
The focal point of Crowe is the sword, the Black Blade of Antwyr. It was important to get it right, and I spent hours of research looking to see how others had done it and what the best colour combinations were. In the end I found two I really liked. The first found here has the sword being painted completely black, with the runes glowing purple within. I really like this effect, it definitely fits with the sword being known as the ' Black Blade'. The second found here is painted bright orange with yellow runes. This really makes the sword stand out and gives it a chaotic feel.
In the end I decided I liked the bright fiery effect as I wanted it to really stand out, and I had already painted Brother-Captain Stern's sword purple. However, after having it painted yellow and orange I didn't really like it. I also felt it didn't really tie in with the 'Black Blade', so I darkened the base of the blade into black. Once I had done that I got the idea of the blade remaining black when dormant, then blazing into life when combat begins, so I highlighted the top of the blade up to pure white. This looked much better, but now the top of the blade faded to white the yellow runes at the top blended in. To fix this I repainted painted the runes in the same colours but in the opposite direction to the sword and much brighter. This created the desired effect.
I chose red for the cloak to really brighten the miniature, then chose black for the banner as I felt more red would be too much, and I didn't really feel like it should be a big focus point. The freehand pattern on the cloak was definitely the most complex freehand I've attempted so far. I feel it came out OK but not perfect, it is one of the key areas I need to improve on for the future. I just find it difficult to get the right amount of paint on the brush and to get it put down before it drys, often meaning I'm working quicker than I would like and usually with too much paint on the brush.
Crowe was a good miniature to paint and likely the last metal one for a very long time. I find paint rubs off metal a lot easier than plastic, so I needed to make several touch-ups before I was done, and I gave it a couple of layers of Purity Seal just to make sure. As always give me your feedback below and expect a vehicle to be coming along in the next few weeks!