First published June 23, 2006, at GJSentinel.com.
Inspired by the Dungeons & Dragons character.
Sculpted by Sam Greenwell, who also painted the kit pictured. (“Krylon primer, gel stain, done.”)
Produced by Greenwell Studios.
10 inches tall; 15 resin parts.
Price: $110 plus shipping; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Not long after I discovered garage kits, I discovered eBay. It’s easy to find a ton of problems with the online auction giant, but it’s often the best place to watch if you want to find a model kit that’s out of production for a decent price. It’s also where you’ll occasionally find new pieces, which is what happened to me when I happened upon Sam Greenwell’s auction for the “Umber Hulk.”
What is an “Umber Hulk”? I had no idea, but it looks like some kind of bug. A NEAT bug, and a big one, too. Maybe part gorilla. So I looked it up and found out it was part of the D&D role-playing game. I’m one of those geeks who’s never played D&D and still don’t want to start, but at least I’m more interested now than I was.
This sculpture comes to GK fans courtesy of the talented hands of Sam Greenwell, who thinks the first of his sculptures to be produced as a garage kit was “NomadAx” for Jayco Hobbies in 1995.
Sam, 36, lives in Georgetown, Ky. He is married and has two kids, a 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old boy.
Q&A WITH SAM GREENWELL
Resin the Barbarian: My parents both come from Hazard, Ky., a town I loved when I was small but haven’t visited in about 26 years. Have you ever been there?
Sam: No. My best friend growing up was from Hazard but I’ve never been there myself. I think the closest I’ve been would be Pikeville.
RtB: The “Umber Hulk” is, for me, the latest example of a resin kit I like that leads to me finding out more about the source material. What drew you to sculpt this character? Are you a D&D fan? Did you consider the market potential or just want to do it?
RtB: I’ve been doing a little Web surfing for pictures of the Umber Hulk. While most of them were consistent about a few things (such as the mandibles), there were also many differences. Kind of like there are different interpretations of many comic-book characters, depending on the artist. Is your sculpture based on any particular vision of the Umber Hulk, or is it your own interpretation?
Sam: A little of both. I got it from the artwork in the newest “Monster Manual” for D&D. I think it’s the newest one, it’s from 2000. I added a few changes myself, like making its head a little smaller in proportion.
RtB: I know you once had aspirations of penciling comic books. Did you do your own drawings of the Umber Hulk before sculpting it?
Sam: I don’t really know. I guess you can say he’s in his lair, surrounded by the bones of his victims. I was just going for stuff that looked cool. If I tell you I raided my wife’s jewelry box and the bones of a KFC meal, it doesn’t sound nearly as cool.
RtB: When you sell your pieces as resin kits, do you do your own casting?
Sam: In the past not always, but we’ve gotten our own mold shop up and running so we’ll be doing our stuff from now on.
Sam: It started a LONG time ago as a joke on my wife’s then-stepbrother, but “Acornboy” has been with me for so long that it’s grown way past its origin.
RtB: I read an old interview (again at deathcookie.com) that said you were popular in Japan for a while. Do you often hear from fans there or other parts of the world?
Sam: I hear that my work is popular in other countries from friends overseas, but I have never heard from any fans outside of the U.S.
RtB: I know, of course, that you sculpt regularly, but garage kits from you aren’t terribly common these days. What do you have available right now as model kits, and what can fans expect to see from you down the road?
Sam: Yeah, I haven’t really done much in the way of garage kits for a few years, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t wanted to. I’ve been sort of overwhelmed with working for clients rather than on my own stuff so I haven’t had the time.
This year I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to get more of my own designs out there as kits, and also as prepaint statues. Right now, we’ve got the “Umber Hulk,” “Calliope,” the updated version of my “Time Bandit,” and within a week, the “Flygirl.”
I plan on having at least 10 kits for sale by the end of the year, as well as at least one as a prepainted statue.
We’ve also got a line of Norse gods that I’ve been working on for a few years now.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the Zodiac series that I started in 1996, I’m working on those again.
There’s going to be a LOT, this year and next. I’m really excited about what we’ve got planned.
RtB: Anything else you’d like to add?
Sam: Not really. Just thanks for the opportunity to do this interview, and take care.
Want to read more about Sam? Click HERE for a terrific interview.