Wow, this one really challenged my photo set-up and skills. Sorry for the odd pictures!
What you see here is of course the orc on wyvern sculpted by Tony Ackland and released by Citadel back in 1984. This would indeed, to my knowledge, be the first model to pair those two and thus sparking a long working relationship between orcs and wyverns. The model a few years later came to represent the power-hungry King F’yar in the Orc’s Drift campaign. Nevertheless Ackland’s wyvern seems rarely to show up painted on the web. I am not sure why, but my guess would be that the style simply is too archaic and pre-“golden age” Citadel, even to the tastes of many within the Oldhammer community.
The model is fairly big, even by today’s standards, and the lizard-like wyvern completely steals the show. I really love the strange looking, winged beast. I had never seen the sculpt before I went to the first year of BOYL. I cannot remember who had brought the orc wyvern, but it certainly caught my eye and I captured one for myself on Ebay a few months later.
Tony Ackland is a magnificent artist, I love his drawings, and his sculpting on large models, like wyverns and war machines, is brilliant. His work in smaller scale however is not as good, and the orc riding the wyvern was quite complicated to paint. It has quite a lot of details, but all of them sculpted in very low relief, making then hard to interpret and paint. The fangs of the orc, for instance, are barely anything but hinted lumps and this you will find repeated in all other details as well. This leaves the orc somewhat unsatisfying to work on, and while I am very pleased with how the wyvern turned out, the orc is I bit frustrating to behold. But then again, this is some of the stuff you have to face as a collector and painter of old lead.
Nevertheless, I am quite happy to finally having painted Ackland’s wyvern. It is a striking sculpt, and now I also have the joy of finding a practical way to store this rather fragile chap!