You've very likely seen the "Akupara" turtle heads and parts before. I first showed them off on my YouTube show, "Mythic Conversations", all the way back in September! At the time, a few pieces from this series were planned for release in what Wolf King Customs was calling a "September Sneak Peek" sale. That sale was eventually postponed, and the turtles have been waiting for their time to shine ever since. Well, truthfully, they've been waiting even longer than that! The reality is that these parts were the second project I ever worked on with Walter DeMarco (MASS Customs) and Len, shortly after the Kitsune pieces were released as the first products by Wolf King Customs! I am thrilled they are FINALLY going to make their way into fan's hands. Here is a bit about these parts, their creation, and more!
As I said above, this was the second project I worked on, really right after the Kitsune were released. While those fox parts were created for my own use, and with no larger story in mind, these turtles were the first ones I did not only for myself, but specifically with the mindset of them being sold by Wolf King. I am still not sure why it happened, but these turtle parts got pushed to the side to make way for some other later projects, including the "badgerines", the Wulvven characters, and the Crawdaddy heads. All of those were developed after the turtles, yet they saw release first. Well, the wait is over - the Akupara will be available in the January 23rd sale here at Wolf King. More on that in a bit....
As I was designing these parts, I created a whole storyline for this series, which I called the "War of the Akupara". That name, "Akupara", is from folklore about the "world turtle", which is supposed to be a giant creature who holds the world on his back. I used that name to imagine a race of turtle-like anthropomorphs who wear suits of battered armor and carry their shells around with them. This is the storyline I wrote and showed off to Len at the start of the project.
The Akupara are a long-lived race of humanoid reptilians. Born inside of thick shells, Akuparians grow out of these temporary homes as they approach maturity and become warriors, but those shells remain an important part of their lives. Donning suits of battered armor, Akuparians strap their discarded shells to their backs and carry them with them for the remainder of their days. For an Akuparian, to lose a shell is to lose their identity. This race believes this loss to be the greatest dishonor they can experience, and any Akupara who betrays their tribe is stripped of those shells and cast out of the tribe forever.
Akuparians often wield makeshift weapons that they construct out of wood, thick cord or rope, and the teeth of aquatic predators. While Akuparians are often slow-moving in battle, what they lack in speed and finesse they make up for in sheer determination and resiliency. Able to withstand incredible blows that would stop most other foes, an Akuparian will keep coming back for more, outlasting their enemies with their slow and steady approach to combat.
That story was presented as a way to utilize the cool "turtle shell" shields from Mythic Legions that came in the "Dark Forces" weapons pack and with the Thwikk figure, but I also tried to make it so these could be used without a shell and there would still be canon-like storyline for why one of these turtle characters would be missing that shell! Of course, that is just my storyline - the great thing about these parts, and all the products from Wolf King, is that you can make them your own how you see fit! But let's get back to the "War of the Akupara"!
I wanted to create a heroic character and a villain, and I also wanted some cool weapons for them to wield. For the hero, Genbu the Wise, I designed an old, wizened tortoise character. Here is his bio:
Calm and wise, Genbu has led the Akuparians for ages. While he is a capable warrior, Genbu has found that the path of peaceful, level-headed negotiation, and a commitment to the good of the Realm as a whole, has done more for his tribe than their war-mongering ways of old. Committed to turning away from those bloody days, Genbu took control of the tribe by challenging the then-ruler of the Akupara in single battle. Wielding an ancient sword passed down to him by his ancestors, the young Genbu won the battle and changed the course of his people’s fate. Since that day, the Akupara have been counted amongst the goodly races of the Realm, but from the depths a new evil emerges, one that threatens to undo all the good Genbu has done, and once again move the Akupara onto the path of bloody conquest.
For the villain, we went with a vicious looking snapping turtle who I dubbed Archelon the Terror. Here is his story:
As ambitious as he is cold-hearted, Archelon the Terror is from the same bloodline as the battle-hungry Akuparaians who led the tribe before Genbu’s rise to power. Swearing that he would one day reclaim leadership of the tribe from Genbu, the much younger Archelon has quietly amassed a force of like-minded warriors as he prepares to launch a coup against Genbu and the other elders who favor the tribe’s peaceful ways. Thus begins the War of the Akupara.
In addition to those two heads, I also wanted the figures to have some cool feet, so we did a set of turtle-like feet as well. Honestly, these are some of the coolest parts in the set I think! Not only do they work with both 1.0 and 2.0 bodies and my turtle heads, but they look super cool with other figures too, like the Bog Goblin or even customs using the dragon-man heads from Planetary Dog Toys.
The weapons we created for this set were all very much inspired by Polynesian weapons, using wood along with shark teeth and cord to create wicked and organic looking implements of war. The first two which will be sold are the "hook" and the "sword", which are the weapons I gave to the two main characters (and which can be seen in the pics above), but we also did a cool club and a spear topper that will plug onto a Mythic spear shaft.
OK, so truth be told, I chose these weapons to not only look cool, but to be a bit of nod to some other anthropomorphic turtle characters who carry weapons! I didn't want to be too literal here, but obviously I did a sword (Leo), the spear will be similar to a bo staff (Don), I imagine the club in place of Mikey's chucks, and the wicked hook is for Raph, who was always my favorite of the brothers! Again, these are clearly not exact renditions of the turtle weapons, but they were definitely designed with TMNT tributes in mind!
You can see Walter's renders of all 4 of these weapons below. Note - the club and spear will NOT be in the January 23rd sale, but they will be offered at a later date.
Speaking of a "later date", there is also one more part of this series which has never been shown - a cool helmet that fits on the snapping turtle head! My idea was to use this to create generic "soldiers" to accompany Archelon the Terror. You can see a sample render of that helmet below. Once again, it will be available in a future sale.
Ok, so when can YOU get your own Akupara? January 23rd starting at 3pm EST these will be available. There will be unpainted pieces of the tortoise and snapping turtle heads, the feet, the hook weapon, and the sword. Additionally, I will be painting a limiting number of each head as well as some feet sets, and Joe Vasapollo will be painting a limited number of the hook and sword weapons!
As always, thank you for supporting my parts through Wolf King - and if you made it this far on this post, thanks for sticking with me as I babble about "The War of the Akupara"!