Saturday, 14 March 2015

Empire of the Dead - Burke & Hare

So the last theme round was anti-hero, at first I thought this meant villain but a quick interweb search revealed that it is in fact  "a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, and morality."  A bit of thinking and research and I knew who I wanted to paint for my entry.  
Burke & Hare made almost loveable by Simon Pegg and Andy Sirkis in their 2010 film. 

I started searching for figure suppliers and found to my pleasant surprise that I already had the figures from an Empire of the Dead Kickstarter I had sponsored with West Wind a few years ago.  A quick trawl through my figure boxes, a few splashes of paint and the odd grass tuft and my entry was complete.
The Burke and Hare murders were committed in Edinburgh over a period of ten months in 1828.  The killings were attributed to Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare who sold the corpses of their 16 victims to a local doctor as dissection material for his anatomy lectures.  The advances in medical science meant that demand for cadavers far outstripped supply, a shortage that our entrepreneurial duo helped to solve.

They were eventually caught, however, the evidence against them was far from conclusive and in order to secure a conviction Hare was offered the opportunity "to turn King's evidence", i.e. be granted immunity from prosecution if he confessed and agreed to testify against Burke.  Hare agreed and walked free whilst Burke was convicted and hanged on 28th January 1829, he was dissected the following day in the same college lecture theatre as his victims.
I really enjoyed painting these two figures, they're the first ones I've done from the Empire of the Dead range and I'm very impressed with the sculpting and casting quality.  I painted the figures in a weekend and then completed the basing over three or four days.  I'll certainly be painting more of these over the coming months.
These figures are also my Curtgeld and so they'll soon be winging their way towards their new home in Canada.


  1. These were beautifully painted mate, and certainly got my attention in the challenge. Superb.

  2. Wow. They look great! Really nice job!

  3. Lovely work on the infamous pair!