Monday, 16 July 2018

Torturer

Following on from the previous post, I decided that I needed some evil lackey that could inhabit the dungeon, meeting out all manner of cruel and unspeakable acts on the poor unfortunates that crossed his threshold.  I knew that I had a ‘Hasslefree Miniatures’, Narg the torturer but on closer inspection he reminded me of a cross between Big Daddy* and Thelonious, Lord Farquaad's right-hand man from Shrek.
*Those of us in the UK that remember World of Sport’s Saturday afternoon wrestling, will appreciate the reference.
Narg is a lovely miniature, but it didn’t feel quite right with the other pieces that I was working on.  Instead I went for one of the Executioners set from ‘Fenryll Miniatures’ supplied through 'Figures4Sale', an Ebay seller.  This is not a make that I was familiar with and hadn’t realised that they were actually resin until they dropped on the doormat, here at Awdry Towers.  I chose the smaller of the two, not least because the larger version was a multi part kit and I just didn’t have the heart to tackle it at the moment.
There were some tiny imperfections that I didn’t notice until I started to apply paint, but on the whole this is a lovely sculpt, with just the right balance of malice and comedy to work on the tabletop. Having decided on my choice of torturer, I looked around at all the other bits and pieces that had been salvaged, but not used at this juncture, and cobbled together a little vignette. Contributors include an executioner’s block from ‘Black Tree Deigns’, rats from ‘Warbases’ and a brazier from ‘Midlem Miniatures’.
Although there are no immediate plans to start work on a dungeon I thought, collectively, that these pieces could serve as a grim reminder of the probable outcome of any transgressor!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

And stretch!

Now although there are no immediate plans to create interiors for my Witchfinder world, these resin accessories from ‘Dark Art Studios’ proved just too difficult to resist.  The iconic Iron Maiden is a solid one piece casting and was a relatively quick paint job.  Interestingly there is some debate as to whether the Iron Maiden was really used.  That it might actually be an 18th Century invention to reinforce the cruelty of the middle ages in literature and museums.
The rack, by comparison, was very much a real entity and its simplicity in design very much in its favour.  To be broken on the rack would be to suffer the most excruciating pain as your body, having been shackled by your wrists and ankles, was literally stretched.  Joints would be dislocated and muscle and sinew torn from the bone.  The pain inflicted could be accurately measured, but anyone who spent any length of time on the device would be disfigured for life, if indeed they survived!
The 'Dark Art Studios' version would certainly be capable of inflicting great pain, but I am happy to report that it wasn’t too onerous to assemble and paint. A really nicely sculpted set, that took paint well, my difficulty now is that I am starting to think that I need a torture chamber or dungeon in order to house them!



Monday, 9 July 2018

Stocks and Pillory.

In their simplest form, a pair of stocks were hinged together at one end and, whilst at other end, a hasp and staple for a padlock was usually found.  The stocks would confine the victim’s ankles, who was then obliged to sit in that position, either on the ground or on a wooden bench.
 A pillory, by comparison, is an elevated set of stocks that would secure the victim’s head and wrists, again holding them in place.  By finding yourself in in either set usually meant that you were doing your bit for village morale by providing some much needed entertainment.  Audience participation was very much encouraged and all manner of produce might be launched at our hapless victims.
To that end, I could resist adding a little base, with a basket of apples and a sack pf potatoes to help get things started for the locals.  My poor unfortunates are from the every dependable ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ and require a little assembly, but nothing too taxing.  As with all 'Redoubt' miniatures, their slightly simpler style means that they a joy to paint.
These two unfortunate chaps are the companion pieces the ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ Stocks and Pillory and are, in fact, included in the same set; a stock collar and one in chains.




Thursday, 5 July 2018

Crime and Punishment Month

You’ll be glad to hear that this is not a month long review of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s master work, but simply a series of loosely related posts that feature man’s ability to inflict pain and suffering on his fellow human being.

It was whilst watching the BBC’s latest retelling of the Gunpowder plot, a lavish, action packed drama that spared no one in its gruesome depicture of torture at this period of time, that I was instantly transported back to the London Dungeon in the late Nineteen Seventies.  Then situated in Tooley Street, the London Dungeon was a must see attraction and in a flagrant disregard for their young son’s sensibilities my parents plunged, headlong, into the darkness!
At this time, the attraction was a series of gory wax works depicting the most gruesome of British tortures and methods of executions, something that young Master Awdry was fascinated by.  Unfortunately, it was the eerie sound effects and a sign that simply said, ‘Beware of the Rats’ that did for me and I have this undiminished memory of been absolutely terrified, sobbing the whole way round!
These gruesome encounters are so far removed from my everyday life that they have remained of interest to me.  The sheer barbarity and complexity of some of the devices and methods are incomprehensible today and as such their absurdness has had a sanitising effect on the pain and suffering they must have caused.

Let us be clear ‘28mm Victorian Warfare’ does not condone the practice of torture in any way, shape or form, but the ‘Witchfinder’ world of the 17th Century was an unforgiving place.   Here extracting the truth from potential ne’er do wells or vassals of evil was an art form practiced by the dead of heart and strong of stomach.  As such it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have some acknowledgement of its existence on the table top.  To that end, I have scoured the collection and unearthed a couple of pieces that would not look out of place in any chamber of horrors yet I hope might make an entertaining series of posts – you have been warned!


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