Thanks to some of our members, the original thread along with all the images, seem to have been pulled or hidden from public viewing. I currently don't know where else, if anywhere, one can view the original work - so until further notice here's the the final boxart from Paradox.
It seems, that contrary to what we all seem to have assumed, the Paradox M&B cover is not a photoshopped photo or composite, but a damn good render.
I was on the CGSociety frontpage just now looking for new gallery entries and my jaw just about hit the floor when I scrolled to the bottom of the frontpage and saw Frodogorn's face pasted right there staring back at me(I was just not expecting it):
As it turns out this piece is even by one of the guys who's work I've been following (Piotr Fox Wysocki). It really is a small world.
Here's the wire and the final render (reduced size)
Check the thread for a larger render (click on the picture) and details on how he produced it. http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=655450
(link no longer valid)
However one might view it as a cover for Mount&Blade or even as a piece of art - as an achievement in realistic rendering I think it's quite convincing. It at least seems to have fooled all of us.