Saturday 23 January 2016

XCVII. St Anthimus, the Knight of the Holy Trinity

Part mummy, part bare skeleton. Encased in gilded plate armour bedecked with jewels. I haven't developed him much yet, but he will be a patron saint whose remains are thus embellished and venerated as a relic. Miraculous properties are associated with such relics. This practice is not uncommon, it occurs in different parts of the Empire. Each year, on St. Anthimus day a procession is held in his honour. Unlike statues, banners and other bones, the saint is not carried during the procession. He walks. That's all I know about him for now.

An inspiring sight for the faithful.
The Shield of  the Trinity.
The saint's eyes are a pair of rubies, and a golden halo encircles his head.


The breastplate idea, with windows that show the ribcage underneath, came from the armoured skeleton of St Pancratius. I really enjoyed converting on this one.
 In order to make his pose more awkward and "shambly," I cut off his right leg and slightly repositioned it.

The shield comes from the Blightkings kit. Skulls and spikes had to go.
The rays of the halo are leaves of an etched brass fern.


St Anthimus was inspired by the catacomb saints phenomenon.

Catacomb saints are skeletons exhumed from catacombs on Vatican's command in order to be dressed up as relics of Catholic saints and sent to German, Austrian and Swiss towns. This was done in response to Protestant iconoclasm, starting in the 16th century and continuing through the 17th and further on. Even though they were presented as saints and clad in finery, gems and gold, the skeletons were in fact anonymous early Christians. Some of them might have been actual martyrs, though.

The skeletons are very visually striking. If you're interested in learning and seeing more, there is a book dedicated fully to catacomb saints: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, by art historian and photographer Dr. Paul Koudounaris. More about his book in this ARTICLE.

Another source of catacomb saint images is a series of photographs by Toby de Silva. I cannot find the man's official website, but a quick Google search will get you to some more examples of his work.

Photograph by Toby de Silva.
Photograph by Toby de Silva.
Photograph by Paul Koudounaris.
Photograph by Paul Koudounaris.

The Shield of the Trinity St Anthimus carries came into being when, rummaging through my bits, I found that Blightking shield. I really like that bit, and it instantly reminded me of this:

From Heraldry: Its Origins and Meaning, by M.Pastoureau.

This is the Shield of the Trinity, or the Shield of Faith. In the above image we can see it in the coat of arms of God from Medieval times, and this book is probably where I first encountered it. The Scutum Fidei is a diagram that visually expresses the doctrine of the Holy Trinity:

Making this an actual shield was a great opportunity for some freehand on the miniature. I had to adapt it a bit, due to lack of space in the shield's centre. There was no way I could comfortably fit Deus and three ests there, so I painted that part simplified: with the ests as simple lines. And the Deus got a place on Anthimus's belly plate.

Different versions of the diagram:


The idea of these dead saints walking as a part of processions in their honor came from a ludicrous article I came across some time ago. This is probably not the exact text I read back then, but it says the same thing: LINK. Basically, is speaks of mummies in Indonesia actually walking to the place of their birth as a part of a funeral ritual, animated by magic of “a witch doctor”; and it presents this photograph as proof of the claim. The photograph in question is indeed real, but it documents a different sort of rite. Anyway, absurd as that story was, I immediately thought it was a pretty neat concept to adapt and use somehow in a fantasy setting.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

XCVI. Podcast Interview

Near the end of 2015 Fallout Hobbies have started a new podcast. The aim is to "discuss new model releases from a hobby aspect, have hobby tips and tricks, tools and tutorials, interview talented hobby painters from international hobby circles." The first episode was an interview with Dave Taylor. The second features a conversation with me. My thanks to Ron Gamble and his co-host for the episode Thom Jason for inviting me to share my thoughts. You can find both episodes on Soundcloud by following this LINK.

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 As a bonus, I present my attempt at a fully scratch-built piece. It was a collaboration with my brother
Do you wanna build a snowmaaaan? An abominable snowmaaan... 

That's all for now as I'm currently sorting out some commissions. But soon enough I'll be back to show you what came out when I finally took my knife and putty to an unsuspecting Stormcast Liberator.

Sunday 3 January 2016

XCV. Borislav and the New Beast

Happy New Year, everyone.

I was rather busy during the past week and a half with the holidays, so even though I had some new things to show off I just didn't have time to publish. The soldier fellow from the post before this one is now finished:

Borislav, a warrior in service of house Waywode.
The miniature was assembled from a variety of bits. The body is from the GW Empire Huntsmen kit. But I chopped off the original legs and grafted on a pair of cut down High Elf Archer legs. In addition to giving him a different look this also made him a tad better proportioned. The cravat around his neck is fashioned from heavy paper.

Borislav's belt holds useful items, like charges for his rifle. He also carries this small heraldic shield bearing the Waywode family colours. As he is a rare living minion of the Countess, the yellow of his clothing will set him apart from the spirits, and the subtle red and white details (hopefully) make him still feel like a part of the crew. The freehand on the rifle's stock was inspired by richly decorated historical Balkan flintlock rifles.

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This is yet another version of Countess' etheric projection, like the Beast and the Harpy. Counting the ones I made before starting the blog, this is the fifth version of this character (what can I say; I'm hopeless...):

I wanted the design of the head to include both the Countess' face and a wolf's maw - somewhat like I saw on the wolf-creatures in Bird Boy. I recommend you check out the whole comic; it's rather beautiful. The author, Anne Szabla, comes up with such amazing creatures. You can find more here: LINK.

This time the Countess' soul takes the form of a huge she-wolf, her body dotted with wounds that bleed perpetually. The Beast leaves a trail of dark blood and ectoplasm in her wake. This form was inspired by the crest of the Countess' family.
Vérzőfarkas coat of arms, as seen on Mór the Armour. On the left are the colours, and on the right the crest: "one bleeding wolf, tail to the east". I'm planning a post explaining the heraldry of this world in the near future.

When painting, I relied heavily on washes and glazes, using photographs of wolves for reference.

The body is from a LOTR Warg Chieftain. The face is a Slaanesh Daemonette's, the same as the  one on the Countess. 

The new Beast, the old Beast and the Harpy. Which one is your favourite?

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