Axe to Grind

Boris Karloff as Mord the Executioner

The Tower of London (1939)

Manufacturer: Resin Crypt

Sculptor: Mana Studios

Material: Resin

Scale: 1/6


The 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 The design of the kit was refreshing – a scene from the film in which Mord is busily sharpening his axe, withdrawn and introspective.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 nothing severe.


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.






































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For Hire