Monday, November 01, 2004

Helen of Troy and the Flying Tigers of Qin

Two things to report:

I've finished the Helen of Troy figure. I chose purple (or porphyry, to be precise) for her outfit, based on a picture from the Oct 2004 National Geographic - an excellent feature article on the ancient Phoenicians which included a photograph of a model wearing a purple scarf, dyed in the extract from the murex shellfish (which, incidentally was the same colour the Spartans used to dye their famous red cloaks) and which, happily, I could match to an existing bottle of paint.

Helen of Troy, originally uploaded by Wahj.

I haven't quite figured out how to blend colours properly yet - her skin tones are not as smooth as I would like - hardly suitable for the face that launched a thousand ships - but I may return to her again in the future.

Qin Army 2
Originally uploaded by Wahj.

The second bit of work I did was to retrieve my Qin army from Paradigm Infinitum, where they'd been languishing in the bottom of a display cabinet for the longest time. This was a 15mm Essex miniatures army that I bought and painted for pure interest - I mean, who wouldn't want his own terracotta army? The first Emperor of China did - and since he had the decency to leave a life sized, 1:1 scale army as a reference for us, the least we could do is follow suit and make our own smaller versions. The Essex miniatures are quite decent, and clearly based on the terracotta army. I based them for DBA, and there's currently 4 bases of spears, 2 of crossbowmen, 2 warbands, and one base of cavalry.

Qin Army 1
Originally uploaded by Wahj.

I also took the opportunity to rebase some of the units as well, and since I had a spare cavalryman I decided to try and spruce up the warband.

flying tigers 1, originally uploaded by Wahj.

The DBM army list has the option for picked units of soldiers, which the ancient chinese called (literal translation) "dare to die" soldiers. These would be used as either crack troops or suicide troops to spearhead attacks. These units were also called by other names, one of which was the "Flying Tiger" squadron, and this was the one I chose to represent. I based the spare cavalryman behind the frontline of swordsmen, to represent the commanding officer riding behind and encouraging the troops. I had to turn his head slightly to make him look to his left, and I painted him in a black and white colour scheme - black being the state colour of the Qin Emperor's reign (in case you're wondering, his astrologers also told him that his element was water, and his number was 6, resulting in him commissioning an imperial chariot in black, and with all measurements in multiples of 6) and white being a colour traditionally associated with death in Chinese culture. The rest of the army are in black and red. The character on the shields reads "Tiger", in a script used for bronze inscriptions from the era, and the banner the officer is carrying reads "Flying Tiger". I thought it was quite appropriate, since DBM lists them as Wb(F) - that's "Warband, Fast", for those of us who can't read Barkerese.

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