Many times I have heard modelers “accusing” or describing Spain’s El Viejo Dragon as the “cheap“ alternative of Andrea, Pegaso, Lattore , or other well respected companies in the field of miniature figures. Having started painting figures with some of EVD’s oldest ones, I could also support this opinion. Many of the oldest figures had poor fit but the biggest drawback was a lack of detail and the need for a lot of cleaning and correction.
But some of the latest releases , like “Achilles” and a few Roman soldiers in 54 mm have made me check the company for signs of improvement -- and I’ve found it. When I saw some new busts release (actually the two latest ones – both pirates ), and having already two of their busts, I decided to give one more chance.
The Bust (what’s in the box)
“Pirata del Caribe“ is the Spanish title for “Pirate of the Caribbean.” This 1/10 bust is sculpted from Emilio Arrendondo (who also painted the box art) and could probably be called “Johnny Depp” since there is an obvious similarity to the actor who played the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the very nice Hollywood movie.
The box contains five pieces that are well wrapped in plastic with air bubbles.
the parts include: two cream colored resin parts for the bust itself and the cap of the pirate; there alre also metal parts for the right hand with the pistol, part of the chest belt and its buckle and one for the beaded hair decoration band.
I have to criticize here the lack of any painting chart , even an example , or any evidence of historical reference for the pirates action, if not for the specific one (since the movie star similarity
Under the Magnifying Lens (checking detail):
The casting of the resin looks good at first and the hat fits almost perfectly to the head without any sanding . The big part of the bust is nicely molded with nice facial characteristics that cry for good painting . there are some tiny air bubble holes that were discovered in the moustache area and on the upper lip, but they are so tiny that they can be easily filled with liquid putty.
The clothing is nicely represented and the opened buttons of the skirt leave more than enough flesh in the chest area to paint.. A raised molded line runs on the two sides of the clothes (arms) but nothing difficult to clean with a knife and some sandpaper.
The hat is also nicely cast and has three small resin pegs to remove with knife and smooth with some sandpaper or a fine file.
The hand with pistol part is also well done and has good detail and shape, but there is a mold line running across the fingers and that will take some time to eliminate. The mold line of the pistol is easy to remove , as it runs across the barrel and with a fine file can be removed. In the front of the barrel there is a small hole but not symmetric so it will need some correction and enlargement with a thin drill or a fresh X -Acto blade. This specific part is heavy and as it has to stand on the cupped end of the arm so take good care gluing it -- you don’t want to see it missing some day !!
The small part of the hair decoration hanger , is ok and requires some minor filling on a thin mold line to make it perfect looking .
The chest belt part is also without problem and fits good to the bust, so there‘s not much to say about that.
There aren’t a lot of colors needed for this one, BUT...since the bust represents a very well known person, I think that the painter is “obliged” to study the real thing (pictures of Johnny Depp” from the movie) to pull this project off successfully.
Color selection appears simple enough with a whitish shirt, single color hat dark blue or black, blood red head scarf and a medium blue overall.
I believe the pistol will need some attention to make it look realistic in this large scale. The wide leather belt also will demand some good painting to achieve the texture of leather.
Having painted before, the busts, of Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson -- both by EVD -- I have to admit if the result doesn’t look like the real thing , you’re easily disappointed.
Overall the sculpture is very good and the similarity to Depp is striking. I think builders with a medium degree of experience painter can achieve good results. But I don’t think that busts like this are for beginning figure painters (without excluding them).
For bust lovers , and figure painters, who don’t put restrictions to their interests this is nice alternative to the usual military themes we paint . The quality of the piece will help the painter concentrate on painting and working to achieve the likeness of the person it represents.
Overall the sculpture is very good and the similarity to Depp is striking. I think builders with a medium degree of experience painter can achieve good results.
About Costas Rodopoulos (Major_Goose) FROM: KIKLADHES, GREECE / Ελλάδα
I started modelling 27 years ago with some 1/72 planes and military vehicles. Soon the diorama bug got into me and with Sheperd Paynes books I dug in. I loved to build dioramas and military vehicles till the Vietnam Era. I don't like modern stuff so much. 4 years ago I had a crush on figure painti...