Beware the (Ral Partha) Jabberwock, my son!

Jabberwocky is of course a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in his 1871 novel ‘Through the Looking-Glass’. More importantly though is Sir John Tenniel’s original illustration that appeared in Carroll’s novel.

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Sir John Tenniel's Illustration

The two Jabberwock sculpts made by Ral Partha and Citadel in the 80s (the ‘rearing up’ Ral Partha sculpt and the ‘walking on all fours’ version by Citadel) faithfully follow Tenniel’s drawing in pretty much every detail except the vest. I suspect the Jabberwock made it into early Fantasy RPGs/Wargaming entirely due to this picture. Had the Bandersnatch or Jubjub bird been illustrated by Tenniel in such a manner maybe they would have made it into miniature form too.

The Citadel version is less dynamic than the Ral Partha sculpt but it still has charm. It’s been OOP for a few years now but you can still find used ones on eBay occasionally, usually for sensible prices too. Most people however seem to favour the Ral Partha miniature.

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Ral Partha 'Rearing Up' Jabberwock

The ‘rearing up’ Ral Partha model pictured above is often listed on eBay with high Buy lt Now prices. The highest I’ve seen is an eye watering £175 plus £15 postage for one in a (presumably) unopened purple Citadel blister pack – complete with it’s original £2.50 price tag. Greed or Lunacy? You decide…

Anyway, here’s mine painted.

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I bought it new for 8 quid from Ral Partha Europe a couple of months ago. It’s in production (and was available from previous licensees of the model prior to Ral Partha’s re-release) so there’s no reason to pay over the odds should one of these float your boat.

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10 thoughts on “Beware the (Ral Partha) Jabberwock, my son!

    1. Somet Post author

      Thanks! I used to have the Citadel version and I’m still fond of it as a sculpt now. I painted it in pale blue/grey tones which by pure coincidence became the colours that Games Workshop used on their Stone Trolls in the early Nineties. I’d say get an RP version ordered, it’ll look great with the Citadel one.
      Also I can’t recommend sitting down and trawling through Ral Partha Europe’s website enough – so many great items that you see on eBay overpriced as ‘OOP’ that are still available new too.

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    1. Somet Post author

      Yes, that was my initial thought pulling it out of the bag, I was quite surprised too!

      Until now I’ve only ever seen photos of this miniature and pretty much all of these (with an occasional rear shot) were ‘face on’ – very much it’s most imposing angle. Of course this is the best way to photograph and show off any miniature so it explains why nobody (until now) shows it from the side.

      Back in the early 80s Tom Meier (who I believe is the sculptor) was technically head and shoulders above anyone else in the field and this sculpt goes some way to prove that. However I do wonder if the thin appendages (tail, fingers etc) would create casting problems and so the limbs where kept closer to the body to make an easier mould but a less dynamic posture? Wild and spurious supposition on my part there of course, I am guessing. It could just have easily been down to something else instead!

      Although it is very flat the way it leans back and the angle of the head gives it a strange bendy serpent quality which I have to admit has grown on me.

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      1. Azazel

        Do you think it would be possible to cut the right arm’s finger from the neck and also bend out the wings to give it more of a “3D” shape overall, or are the parts too spindly to survive this kind of minor surgery?

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      2. Somet Post author

        I reckon both those things are doable but there’s a definite risk of snapping.

        The main problem is the modern alloy that Ral Partha use isn’t the most malleable of materials and bending and cutting it can be difficult. I tried to see if the Jabberwock could be straightened up a bit more on the vertical by bending the body forward on the base. It wasn’t for moving so I left it ‘as is’.

        Cutting the finger off the neck is possible if you slowly and methodically trimmed into it from both sides with a knife but going full on with snips might damage it. It’s the same material the undead ogres you’ve been working on are made from so you’ll know what I mean about cutting it.

        The wings are supplied separately so teasing the bend in them between two pairs of pliers (protecting them from the plier’s grips of course) before gluing them to the body should be easier than the finger.

        I don’t know if the alloy would respond a bit better if heat was applied before attempting any movement – probably worth experimenting with a £2 Ral Partha cheap and cheerful Adventurer or some such thing first!

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  1. Azazel

    Ah well, I’ve got a fair whack of RPE stuff to finish off (and start) first, so when I get to my next order (metal dwarf regiments?) I’ll look at some more exotics. Sadly the price of shipping means ordering from places like RPE has to be go big or don’t bother as opposed to going down the local shop and picking up a couple of models.

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  2. Martin

    Very, very nice work. I’m quite jealous – I want one too. As Azazel, I was also surprised with how flat the piece is. It looks great and only adds to the unearthly, weirdness of this creature.

    Cheers

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