Axe to Grind
Boris Karloff as Mord the Executioner
The Tower of London (1939)
Manufacturer: Resin Crypt
Sculptor: Mana Studios
Tower of London,
while not a huge, memorable blockbuster like Frankenstein, is an
excellent film nonetheless. It is set in the 15th century and is the
story of Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, murdering his way to the
throne to become Richard III, King of England. Basil Rathbone plays
the Duke and is supported by a young Vincent Price and Boris Karloff
as the club-footed executioner Mord – the subject of this excellent
kit from Resin Crypt.
When I first saw the progress shots of this kit I knew it was going
to be exceptional. The design of the kit was refreshing – a scene
from the film in which Mord is busily sharpening his axe, withdrawn
and introspective. Not the usual, larger than life, action pose that
looks as if it could be from a publicity still. It really struck a
chord with me.
Mana Studios did the sculpting chores on this and could not have
done a better job. The likeness is superb, the pose comfortable and
natural – not stiff or awkward. The figure is so well balanced and
executed (no pun intended) that it stands on its own after
assembling. He’s captured in a big 1/6 scale, my favorite, and
because he is sitting, he doesn’t take up much shelf space!! Another
plus for all us resinheads!
The kit came in 18 resin parts, cast in 3 different colors. The
casting was excellent. The only clean-up was some seam work but
Because of the complexity of the piece, I did a great deal of test
fitting. Once satisfied, I worked in sub-assemblies and pinned
everything. There is only one small catch to putting this kit
together and while it created a small problem, I’m not sure I would
have done it any differently. I built the figure and was going to
add the axe to it after I had it all painted. Well, the kit and its
pieces fit so tightly together that it was difficult to get the axe
handle under the arm after it had been attached. The idea was I
would merely slip it thru the sculpted opening in the armpit and
there you have it. But after getting everything painted that became
more of an issue. The folds of the sleeve are sculpted too tightly
to just snap the piece in from below so it has to slide in. If you
slide it in then some of the paint work you did on the axe handle
get scraped off and needs redoing. The only other option is to put
the handle in the armpit during assembly of the figure and then
paint it. Not a huge problem but something to think about.
I built the kit straight out of the box with no modification – it’s
so good it didn’t really need any in my opinion. The only extra
thing I added, and this is a personal preference, is water in the
wheel trough. The wheel is a giant whet stone and therefore would
work better if there was water to sharpen the axe blade. We wouldn’t
want a dull axe now would we?
Everything on the kit was painted in acrylic by air brush, hand
painted details and acrylic washes. There is a lot of texturing in
the kit, especially on the base, that allows great opportunities to
flex your painting muscles. I took the time to mask off each stone
around the edge of the base and paint them individually. My thought
was that when building a castle, each stone is cut individually.
Therefore the stones might have similar color characteristics, but
they would not all be the same. It was more time consuming but I
enjoyed it and I think it paid off in the end.
All in all this kit was an absolute pleasure to build and paint. I
highly recommend it.