Thursday, 5 April 2018

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?

A silly post this one, but every so often I come across a miniature and think, “I’ve seen this before somewhere?” More often than not, it is because I have forgotten that I had bought it in the first place and have the joy of discovering it all over again, but sometimes there is that realisation that I have actually seen the very same sculpt on the printed page. I can’t explain it, but I love discovering the original inspiration for the sculptor’s art. I have had quite a spate of these recently and all from the same book, so thought I would share them here for fun. The title in question is Osprey Publishing’s ELITE 21 – The Zulus, written by Ian Knight and illustrated by the prolific Angus McBride. Mine is a well thumbed edition and an important reference for my Anglo-Zulu War collection. The first colour plate is titled, The Youth of Shaka and shows the young warrior about to head of to war, being bid farewell by his mother Nandi. It just so happens that you can get your very own Nandi in the 'Dixon Miniatures' pack Zulu Girls and Udibi Boys.
Miniatures from the same pack can be seen a little further on in the book, Plate H - Warriors Muster 1870s.
Finally miniatures from the ‘Copplestone Castings’ Ngoni Chiefs and Witchdoctors pack seen alongside an ‘Empress Miniatures’ Sangoma bear an uncanny likeness to those seen in plate J - An Impi is Doctored for War 1870s.
I have often wondered if I were ever in a position to commission a set of miniatures what they might be or where the inspiration might come from?  From this Osprey title alone, one might be tempted by a group of Zulu warriors in full regalia dancing at The Court of Mpande (Plate I).  I wonder though, if money were no object, whether I might find myself seduced by the work of Lady Butler.  'Studio Miniatures' already produce a miniature that is clearly inspired by her painting, the Remnants of an Army and which I have documented here, but what about a small vignette of her earlier works, Balaclava?  Mr. Hicks if you are reading this, then count me in for a set!  Any other suggestions?

46 comments:

  1. Interesting Micheal but it does make sense that they would use things like pictures for ideas :)

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    1. Oh I couldn't agree more Frank, but every so often you find a sculpt that is a homage to the illustrator or painter.

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  2. Ohm excellent looking stuff Michael!

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  3. "Zulus - thaaasands of 'em!" Excellent stuff, Michael; but, alas, yet another example of my unpainted plastic forest...ho, hum...

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    1. Thank you Monty and like you I have thaaasands still to paint. :)

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  4. Wonderful work on these marvelous figures, Michael. The Sangoma are very scary cool. Reminds me of that witch in Shaka Zulu.

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    1. Thank you Dean and another film I need to revisit soon.

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  5. Wonderful job...and great figures!

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  6. Lady Butler would be preferable, her copyright being expired.

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    1. That is a very good point Edwin, hadn't thought about that.

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  7. Interesting post Michael, I had the same experience myself in the past, and as you say it can drive you mad trying to remember where you saw it first!

    Lovely figures too of course.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Thank you Roger, I just love the idea of holding the sculptor's homage to the painter or illustrator.

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  8. Marvelous work! I like how you paint African skin colors a lot!

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    1. Thank you Mr. Nimrod, the skin colour is thanks to Reaper's paint triad.

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  9. Interesting observations Michael. I perhaps follow the same logic when painting my miniatures being supplied in the various boardgames these days. Trying to match the colour schemes to the player boards to make it easier for the players to ID their characters. I really do dislike those silly snap on colour rings. I am also a tad surprised you didn't add in a National Geographic-like border around your nubile negresse's, for posterity of course 8D. Keep up the excellent work!

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    1. Thank you Terry, I do like a point of reference when it comes to painting, I seem to loose all confidence if I don't have one. As for National Geographic, that was practically an institution at school.

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  10. Some great looking miniatures, based off some equally inspirational artwork, thanks for highlighting Michael

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    1. Thank you Dave, Angus McBride's illustrations have long been an inspiration to me and will continue to do so.

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  11. Lovely sculpts, and of course always nice to see Angus McBride's wonderful illustrations.

    I couldn't help think of the Pet Shop Boys song when I read "Udibi Boys for Zulu Girls." Showing my age...

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    1. Thank you A.J. and the comment about the Pet Shop Boys had me chuckling.

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  12. "Haven´t I seen you somewhere before?" How often have I had that one? Not only do I Keep hunting for new and weird ideas for new Projects but my unpainted Collection numbers in the tens of thousands..honestly. There´s shelves of the stuff!!! I Run out of ideas..a good old rummage through the "spares"Box(es) and "ooh, that´d be good"..start work on whatever, preping, base painting and re-search and then the WTF!?!* Moment when I realise I´ve already painted something soooo similar. Then Comes the dive down of interest similar to a sopwith camel leaving a Trail of black smoke behind it after Meeting an Albatros DIII and yet another prepped set of stuff goes into the future Project draw.

    Still...keeps me off the streets :-)

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    1. Actually...this has just given me an idea!!! :-)

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    2. Oh dear Paul it is slippery slope now! I thought that I had developed a system for stashing 'on going' or 'potential' projects in the loft. Out of sight been a distinct advantage when it comes to the Saintly Mrs. Awdry, sadly out of sight really does me out of mind. Only the other day I rediscovered miniatures I had replaced due to my forgetfulness.

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    3. When I started to paint medievals, my plan was to try and never paint the same pose twice. That went the way of all my Hobby plans, it didn´t happen but I try to stick to it as far as I can but only this week I´ve gone and done it again.
      Mind you..in my defense, my Collection isn´t that small :-)....as I´m intermittently remined of by my better half.

      Is there an "oooer missus" in the last sentence?

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  13. I love the painting "An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745" by David Morier. It's the pose of the redcoat with his musket overhead. Wish they made a figure like that.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Morier

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    1. That's a cracking choice Ray, bravo!

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  14. Excellent work on the figures Micheal and good job on the spotting!

    Christopher

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  15. Great job. They do look excellent!

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  16. That question of what you’d commission is a good one. I have similar thought about miniatures and rules writing. Unfortunately I lack originality and so everything that I think of has been done already.

    Lovely work as always.

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    1. Thank you Kieron, I used to do something similar with my Star Wars Action Figure collection, "I wish they would make a ..."

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  17. I think you're right on every count, which made me wonder when/if the time will come when Osprey coordinates its 'uniform books, with its rules and a dedicated range of figures designed to compliment its illustrations.

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    1. Thank you Joe, I think you are spot on and we are definitely seeing collaborations happening more frequently. I am just thinking about Osprey and North Star for their Frostgrave title.

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    2. Slightly larger at 54mm, New Hope Design made a large number of figures based on Osprey illustrations back in the 1980s. I don't think it would be too much for them to do the same in 28mm

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  18. I love this kind of stuff, though once realised, I become quite intimidated when tackling painting the sculpt as I never feel my own paintjobs would ever do the original illustration the justice it demands.

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    1. I can certainly see that side Dai, but I actually prefer to have the reference. If I don't I can spend an age worrying about whether a colour will look right on a particular miniature.

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  19. Lovely work and nice to see some none war like characters.

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    1. Thank you Simon, always good to have some non combatants on the table to add character to the game.

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  20. I get the same feeling too, on books too as well as minis. And btw ... nice work on the minis!

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  21. a great reflective post Michael, I suppose this happens to us all from time to time but finding out what inspired the less obvious of figures is really nice!

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  22. I have to totally agree! It can be a source of inspiration in itself to discover the source of inspiration for some sculpts out there.
    Amazing brushmanship as well Michael! You‘ve really nailed that dark skin tone.

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  23. For anybody that likes Lady butler and has a spare £252.25 (and likes 80mm metal figures), cut and paste the link:- https://www.traditionoflondonshop.com/en/product_info.php?products_id=4791&p=ToL80_04_The_Gallant_six_Hundred_The_Return_the_charge_of_the_Light_Brigade_Painted

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  24. Very nice figures again, my friend. And some very interesting points you mentioned. Dixon released a couple of Viking sets that resemble some Osprey plates as well.

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