Art Insights - The Supreme Guardian

By now, you may have seen the fantastic new Supreme Guardian miniature, and in this behind-the-scenes look, I’ll discuss the concept art process that provided the visual foundation for the sculpt. Like every concept, there’s always a written description we give to the artist to work from.

  • This is a resin battle engine that is essentially a scaled-up Ancestral Guardian (which we had previously done on 40 mm bases). However, we are looking for a heavier silhouette, basically giving the “cataphract mass” to the existing Guardian’s look and feel.
  • The Ancestral Guardians are magical, mobile statues sculpted from obsidian. They are inhabited by the souls of great skorne warriors and are adorned with magical gems that can collect the souls of other warriors who die on the battlefield in their presence. We definitely want to see plenty of these gems represented on the Supreme Guardian model.
  • We would also like to see a flaming brazier built into the back of the Supreme Guardian’s armor in the form of some sort of stylized back banner. It vents these flames to breathe fire.
  • Being a mobile statue, this model should have a pose that is fairly static, but it should also be a commanding presence on the tabletop.
  • Like the smaller Ancestral Guardians, this model is also armed with a halberd-like polearm. Possibly pose the polearm less at rest than the weapon in the hands of the Ancestral Guardian.
  • Like the previous Ancestral Guardians, the Supreme Guardian should have cracks running through it along with other signs of weathering to show its great age. Likely these things have been standing outside the walls of a skorne city for centuries.
  • Note that the Supreme Guardian represents a “generic” Ancestral Guardian and should look less stylized (asymmetrical) than the Hakaar the Destroyer model, which represents a named character with a form sculpted to Hakaar’s specifications. Again, we are looking for more of a scaled-up Ancestral Guardian here.

Based upon the written description, the concept artist, Johan Grenier, provided me with the following sketches.

I liked the silhouette of #3 with the brazier/backpack of #5. While #2 had some cool armor elements as well, the faces on the shoulder pads weren’t suitable for the model or the Faction. The direction to go would be to make those design elements more in line with an Ancestral Guardian design.

Johan provided me with some additional sketches, working in line with my original notes, and after meeting with Matt Wilson, I took the elements I liked the most and combined them to create 1b. This was moving much closer to what we were looking for, but wider hips were desired with the bracer designs of B. In addition, Matt requested that the head resemble the original Immortals and that we shift its head back and upward to help it feel more regal.

I adjusted the proportions to match Matt’s notes, and I provided a quick sketch for the head so it was more in line with the Immortals.

Matt made some additional adjustment notes in the sketch above that widened the skirt and shifted the head back and upward.

With these adjustments made, I contributed additional changes to the height and size and shape of the helmet peak. Other adjustments I wanted to see were lengthening the skirt and blade, increasing the size and height of the shoulder pads, and narrowing the face while shrinking the head. (I shrank it too much.) Ron Kruzie also sent several notes requesting adjustments and clarification to the concept for sculpting that resulted in our final line art below.

I hope you’ve enjoyed yet another peek behind the curtain at the concept art process. The 120 mm base models tend to be the most time-consuming concepts due to their scale, and the Supreme Guardian was no exception! The model is now available for preorder through the Privateer Press Online store, and for a limited time, the first 1,000 preorders also receive a Black Anchor Heavy Industries patch.