Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 7:09 PM
No, it's not THE Athena, Greek Goddess... It's an Athena, so named because I got my basic inspiration for the project from a picture of the "Mourning Athena" frieze. In it she's wearing a flowing robe and a crested Corinthian helmet. That wasn't the sort of costuming I was in the mood to make, being on an armor binge & all. I liked the helmet but wanted something with a lot of decoration since the last project was so plain. So she's a conglomeration of recent influences, including the "Gladiator" movie, several books on Greek and Roman costuming and some Internet research on the Amazons. She ended up with a decorated Roman/Greek unarticulated breastplate, shin armor, forearm armor and a bastardized yet-to-be-articulated Corinthian-style helmet-- kinda like a Greek Hoplite. The vague concept is for her to be some kind of Amazon General/Queen, even though I didn't follow any historical Amazonian costuming guidelines. What can I say? If you don't like historical reality, change it... (You can get away with that in the Fantasy genre.)
I had planned to postpone uploading an update until I'd made more headway, but decided to upload this update because of the breakthrough I made on the helmet this morning. Without the helmet, she looked sort of like... a cheerleader! Unlike the last project, I didn't start with the helmet, but saved that until last (well, nearly), confident that it would happen since I knew basically what I wanted. When I got to that point I realized that it would not be quite so easy-- I didn't want to fup the head since it's pretty close to what I want, and I didn't have any other appropriate helmets to alter. The fit needed to be fairly tight and the wall thickness needed to be minimal or else the head would look oversized. I was stuck at this point for several days.
This morning I began playing with the unused two-piece helmet thermoform I made for the "Generic Fantasy Warrior". In its final form the helmet is waaaay too big for this figure-- I don't even like it on the GFW figure. I started trimming away at it and it started to look promising. Then it occurred to me to make it articulated, or at least two-piece-- this solved bunches of problems. For one thing, it improved the fit immensely since it made it thinner, front to back. Secondly, it made it easier to put on and remove, a problem of tight-fitted helmets. Finally, it solved a display problem. Single-piece enclosing helmets have a big drawback: You can't see the figure's face unless you remove the helmet. Since a good deal of the figure's character is expressed the face, it's a shame to leave it covered. In the Athena frieze (and apparently a common practice), the helmet is pulled up high on the head to expose the face. You can do this with the articulated design as well-- this probably would be more difficult as a single piece unless you got a close fit, and otherwise it would look oversized and funky. The articulated design gives you the faceplate-up option which IMO looks pretty cool, from both front and side profile. Plus, it goes easily to the faceplate-down position, and you can adjust the position so that the rear undercut fits the contour of the back of the head.
I decided to place the front faceplate inside the rear because this makes it possible to mount a crest along the top. It also gives me more freedom to decorate the back, since you don't have to worry about raised relief interfering with articulation. At present, I'm undecided about whether I'll put the articulation in or not, since it fits so well as two pieces. I have a good idea where the pivot points should be, but drilling holes in thin plastic is the sort of thing you want to get right the first time.
04/29/01- I thought I'd located those pivot points for the
helmet, but four trys later, I finally got a passably working articulated
helmet. That's what I get for talking before doing. It's not quite as easy
in practice, although the mechanics are elementary. Your results are reliant
on how symmetrically you've sculpted, and as I now recall, I did a lot of
additional work on GFW's helmet, after the vacuforming. It stands to reason
that the second vacuform off the same master would have the same problems.
I still haven't decided about any relief work on the helmet: I'd like to find THE decorations, but I haven't found 'em yet... on the other hand, simple is good too. So in the meantime, Medusa was an easy choice for the shield. This one's based on one of the rare artifacts where she wasn't depicted as a grotesque creature; I added the snakes to make it fairly clear who it was supposed to be. I still can't get that "Classical Sculpture" look, and all the faces I make seem to have that familiar look to them... The doodle underneath may have to go-- I thought it was a good design element, but now I see that its unfortunate placement beneath the head makes the whole thing look like one of those "Deformed" style figures. Yeeech.
To me, what's really amazing about looking back at the real historical stuff is how capable man was, such a long time ago. The Greeks were cranking out incredible sculptures over two thousand years ago. Up until fairly recently, I'd regarded those times as belonging to a different and far more primitive version of us. But it's the accumulated collective knowledge of our species that's grown, not us as individuals. As individuals, I don't think any of us would have the knowledge to kick start civilization up to its present level within a lifetime or two. It's interesting to think about, even if it does knock us down a few notches.
04/30/01- Rough Draft: This project is moving slowly and you're probably
weary of the piecemeal updates. So despite my better judgement I've decided
steal my own thunder and show you where we are. I'm not going to enumerate
all the many things-to-do, except to mention that she's not wearing any
underwear and her butt is completely bare-assed. She's that unfinished.
But as far as the show goes, that's it: This is pretty much how the figure
is going to look, overall.
I like getting to this point since that's when you're able to see the entire costuming concept. There are still some big unknowns (like how the gold plating will look) but at this point you can assess how the figure fits in with the rest of your collection.
So next comes the Herculean effort to motivate myself to complete all the finishing touches so I can move on to the final hurdle of plating the armor. That is, after the beer, junk food & TV phase...
[05/02/01- Yeah, I welded the second picture on to show her crest. The uncomplicated people of those times thought wearing a scrub brush on top of your head was a cool thing to do. Carrying around this oversized remembrance of domestic life was no doubt reassuring, but it also had a devious tactical purpose: As phalanxes of warriors faced each other waiting for the order to charge, seeing this reminded the more conscientious ones that they had forgotten to scrub their tubs, prompting them to break ranks and rush home to take care of this very important chore. Crests faded from use once "Scrubbing Bubbles" were invented.]