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.


  1. Great work, very macabre indeed.

  2. Nice work as always.

    Does the Bretonnian battle pilgrim horse count? It is sort of a puppet horse with a rider...

  3. What a fantastic addition to the Garden, additionally creepy in its simplicity (and thanks for the link to my horses too).


  4. Thanks guys! :)

    @Lasgunpacker- wow, I completely forgot about that one (and I actually painted one of them, some five years ago). It's not a typical example but I'd say it would definitely qualify.

  5. Great terrain piece, Ana. The bell is a nice touch.

    1. Thanks Finch! :)
      I wouldn't really call it terrain, though. The Horse perhaps doesn't have much in a way of physically harming its opponents, but it does move around making them feel scared and uneasy. Or something like that, anyway; I have yet to form its stats.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous and creepy :)

    I remember Hobby/Mast Horses from my childhood.
    There aren't very many places that still hold the old celebrations.

    1. Thanks Stygiantheart! :)
      Sadly, I've never seen one in person. In the suburban area where I grew up we had no such traditions.

  7. just found this, nice work and thanks for the nod :)

  8. Even more creepy now they arte painted up....

    You can just imagine them on the battlefield in one place, look away and then next time they are somewhere else, kinda like Dr Who's Weeping Angels, except if they appear within certain close distance they cause some kind of fear effect.....