Thursday 29 May 2014

XLIV. The Horse

The Hobby Horse!

Since the last time you saw it, I added some discreet green stuff work on the legs and ropes and, as a finishing touch, attached a bell to its lower jaw. After this I've slapped some paint on it and now call it done. As I thought it would, the texture of the cloth lent itself wonderfully to drybrushing for a very neat effect.
You will notice that the result is pretty monochrome (he was done in the same pallette used for troglodytes), but next to the greenish Bell Ringers he manages not to look dull. The paleness gives him somewhat a ghostly appearance. I already have plans for another one, this time with a tinted cloth (I have yet to make up my mind whether it will be green, yellow or red), though it is not that high on my priority list.

A hobby horse is a traditional costumed character that falls somewhere between a costume and a puppet/prop. It appears all across Europe in different occasions during the year- including carnival, time around Christmas, weddings, May Day celebrations, folk plays, etc.
There are many variants, but they can roughly be divided into those with a rider and those without one. The one I made would fall into the latter category, which is known as "mast horse" in the UK ( I haven't so far encountered a similar classification in Croatian texts on the subject). Those represent just the animal, and usually consist of  a head on a stick and a long cloth that covers the person or persons acting the character.
The head would be typically made of wood, but sometimes it's a real horse skull or other materials are used. Sometimes one creature is performed by more than one person. Jaws on the head are often hinged and the operator can snap them by pulling a string. The creature is not always a horse, it can also be the likeness of a camel, mare, cow, ass, bull, ox, goat, heron, stag... 

Regarding hobby horse representations in tabletop miniature, I am only aware of two cases.
The first one I encountered was Mast Beast sculpted by anevilgiraffe as a part of his Folk Horror project. You can find pictures of the green if you follow this LINK and the painted pictures HERE. And if you like the miniature you can actually get a copy (or three) for your own collection here: LINKETY LINK, since Fenris Games in fact purchased the sculpt and added it to their range as "FGCU019 - Sid, mast beast cultist".
Another case were Dave Taylor's hobby horses. They are a unit in his WHFB Empire army "Procession of Morr", which was his Armies On Parade entry at Games Day 2012 in Chicago. The entire army is quite unique and worth checking out.

Thursday 22 May 2014

LXIII. Betula pendula, or: Leaves Don't Just Grow on Trees

Oh, wait... They do. ;)

If you need some tiny leaves for your bases, now might be the right time to go visit your nearest birch tree and harvest its fruit. I did so myself, encouraged by this great article I chanced upon on Reaper Miniatures website last year: 'Birch Seed Leaves' by Daniel Joyce. The article describes in detail how to prepare your own miniature leaves practically for free.

There are a dozen or so birch trees surrounding my bus station- I've been keeping an eye on them ever since they started blossoming. Yesterday I have determined that they were ripe for picking, so today I stopped on my way home to fill a small bag. Birch tree branches usually hang low, so it is no trouble at all to get to what you need.
After following the instructions from the aforementioned article, including baking it all in the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 120°C and separating the "leaves" from the seeds afterwards, I ended up with this:

I'll probably give some of it away, but even with that this amount should suffice for my basing and terrain needs for the next couple of years...

Friday 16 May 2014

LXII. Tall

I've been neglecting my pagan undead faction (the last time they got an update was in February), so I've decided to make it up to them- by building a towering hobby horse.

The creature is still work-in-progress; the main parts are here, but I would like to add some more detail to it. It is placed on a 40mm base and stands about 70mm tall. The hobby horse is made of differet types of wire, a piece of old rag soaked in watered down PVA glue (it hardened and has a wonderful texture for light drybrushing), and a Vampire Counts Black Knight's horse head. It looks nice and sinister already.  :)

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The Troglodytes received another trio of dirty little Workers. There are now ten Workers, two Shamans and one Brute. There is only the Mother missing now for them to be complete and ready for the campaign.

Troglodyte group shot.
Well, that's it for now. This semester drawing to its end means I'm busier with college stuff than usual. As a result there could be a dearth of updates this coming month. So much to do, so little time...
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Friday 2 May 2014

LXI. The Troglodyte Brute

The Troglodyte Brute - for that's Bellhead's official name now - is finished.

The Brute's heavy bone club is stained with blood and brain of many.

The war paint on his torso and right hand has magical propertis.

He proudly marches forward butt-naked, protected only by his war-paint and trophy bell.

JimmyGrill said he would like to see him with an open hand rather than a closed fist, and I tried that out. I think they both work. And since I cut off the original fist  to try the other option anyway, I thought I might as well make them swappable. Both hand options have a pin that goes into a hole I drilled in the wrist.

The open hand version.

He blends in well with the other Troglodytes. I'm actually tempted to make another one (no bell this time).

What he looks like next to his wimpier kin.

In the previous post I forgot to mention where the bell is from, so I'll remedy that now. It used to be an actual little bell; I bought a bunch of these cheap on e-bay a while back. I butchered it a bit, as shown in the picture below, and added a nicer metal loop on the top.