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Maori Ariki 1840's - 120mm

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by tonydawe, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. tonydawe A Fixture

    Hi guys,

    I've started work on my 120mm Maori Ariki (Chieftan) figure, sculpted by London-based New Zealander Callum Talbot.

    The facial tatooing (te moko) of the Maori people is a unique cultural characteristic of these proud and defiant people, and one of the reasons I bought this figure. It's a real test of the painters steady hand and a challenge for your brush control.:):)

    To make the task a bit easier for myself, I've scratched the basic patterns of the moko of a Maori ariki (tribal chieftan) into the surface of the resin with my hobby knife, prior to priming.:eek: I started first by drawing the pattern in black marker pen, and then scratched the black marks off with the knife to reveal the basic pattern.:eek::eek:

    I want to respect the Maori people and their culture by trying to get the moko correct. I've seen too many examples recently (particularly with the Pegaso Maori bust) of invented, fanciful moko designs that have no cultural meaning to Maori people.:mad: Thanks must go to Callum and John Belcher who provided me with some excellent reference material on te moko patterns.

    As usual, I'll do an SBS for those of you who are interested in following my progress.;)

    Attached Files:

  2. Hardy Guest

    I will be watching this one with keen interest. Its a great kit sculpted by a mate of mine, and Im really proud for him to see it here on planetfigure. Hardy
  3. megroot A Fixture

    Looks a great figure, so i will follow your progress very closely.
    I've read/heard that there can't be no symetrie in the tatttoo's. For instance: the left face tells a story from the father, then the right face tells a story from the mother.
    If that is so, then we seen not so many correct bust's from Pegaso.

  4. John Belcher A Fixture

    Hi Tony,great to see you have got Callum Talbots Maori Chief sculpt.Callum has done a great job on the sculpting:).I'm looking forward as you progress on this one Tony.Like what you have done so far with the Moko.:)Glad to know that the reference material is helpful.

    Kind regards John
  5. darkeye Member

    i like this!

    this is a nice looking figure Tony. where is it available(if at all) , nice size too. will watch your sbs on this.

    regards --- tim:)
  6. KeithP Active Member

    Certainly looks interesting to me.

    Not knowing much about their tattooing process, it seems to me that by etching in the pattern, this is more like the tribal scarring found in some African sub saharan peoples?

    Not sure if this makes it more difficult for you to paint either. I know for myself, a poor paint job just means a a quick strip away! :)

    Anyway... looks fun!

  7. tonydawe A Fixture

    Thanks guys,

    Hardy, Callum's done a magnificent job sculpting this figure and I only hope I can repay him for all his help by doing a good job on it.

    Mark, you are absolutely correct. Each side of the face has a separate tattoo pattern, one side for the mother the other for the father. The designs themselves also denote what occupation a person has within their tribe ie. war chief, gardener, wood carver etc. Very few of the "moko" designs I've seen on the Pegaso Maori bust have any real connection to Maori culture.

    John, thanks for all you help with the reference material mate. If I can do the moko half as well as your last effort I'll be thrilled.

    Tim, the figure was produced by Classicae, but they have gone out of business (surprise, surprise). I'm not sure where you can buy it now.

    Keith, the Maori tatooing process doesn't cause scarification as in the sub Saharan peoples, it is much closer to modern tatooing. I'm working on the basis that once the primer and the flesh colours have been applied to the surface the scratches wont be so obvious. If it looks bad, I'll start again and fill the scratches in and simply paint the moko on by brush.
  8. busso_boy New Member

    its good to see this guy out of the box and on the bench at last. look forward to finished product
  9. specmod Active Member

    Looking really good so far, cant wait to see it with a coat of paint,nice stuff mate.
    Cheers Andrew
  10. dannyk01 New Member

    He Tony,

    Thats a nice looking figure. I think it might be a bit of a relief for you not to need to sculpt for a little bit scince youve started this.

    I think i need to get back to doing my german knight because I was given a warhammer figure and i wanted to see how well I could do it. It was a little bit of practice on doing leather.

    Anyway, great start and I might see him again in a few days since ive been busy and will be for the rest of the holidays :eek:

  11. tonydawe A Fixture

    Face skin tones

    Hi guys,

    First step is to prime the face with Tamiya White Primer and then apply the base coats of the skin tones on the face.

    I started off with Vallejo acrylics Gold Brown and Basic Skin Tone for the undercoat, then shaded with Gold Brown, Red Leather and Burnt Umber. Highlights were Basic Skin Tone and a dash of Medium Flesh.

    Once the base coats were dry, I painted the eyes. The "white" of the eyes is Ivory, the pupils are Burnt Umber, with a Black iris.

    I then painted the eye brows and hair in Black, and added a very thin line of black under the upper eye lids to help define the shape of the eyes.

    Once eveything was dry, I then stained the entire flesh area of the face and neck with W & N Burnt Umber oils.

    Maori people are Polynesian and Melenesian in origin, so their skin colour is darker than Asiatic people, but not as dark as African or red like Native Americans. Obviously there is a huge variety of Maori skin colours. I've gone for a "mid" tone in colour, not too dark, not too light - somewhere in the middle. If the skin colour is too dark, I wont be able to see the moko!!

    Hope you like.

    Attached Files:

  12. darkeye Member

    nice job Tony! looks like the 'pre- carving' worked in your favour, should pick out very well. 'He' has a proud bearing. liking the skin tone very much, very rich finish with great depth i feel.
    so what colour do the Maouri tattooists use then Tony? i know little of these interesting Folks.

    all the best --- tim :)

    Classicae; oh yeah, that must have been the crowd you were yelling at a while ago, i remember a thread where you were mighty vexxed! so this was if i remember right, your Birthday present from your Wife?
  13. tonydawe A Fixture

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your comments mate. Maori tatoo inks were mostly dark green in colour, although of course they used several other colours too, including black and brown. I'll be doing mine in Olive Green oils.

    I'm certainly no expert on Maori culture (I'm an Aussie afterall, not a Kiwi), but I have done a lot of research intoMaori culture in the past two months to prepare myself for the challenge of painting this figure.

    Classicae went out of business before I even started on this kit, which was a belated birthday present from my wife. They took over two months to deliver the kit after it was paid for and repeatedly lied about when they shipped it.

    I read on another thread tonight that someone else has been waiting ages to get his kits from Bill Love at Classicae. All I can say is "good luck", because I think he'll need it.
  14. darkeye Member

    sorry to hear that but....

    another good reason to SYO Tony! (Sculpt Yer Own!):p. i like 120mm figs , nice size for AB and brush; what with doing my large anatomy practice pieces, i need to find a scale thats compatible in Military cirlces and an era or muse!
    will be watching in on this one mate.

    best regards ---- tim :)
  15. megroot A Fixture

    Great start with the painting.
    Looking forward to the step of the tattoo.

  16. Johan Well-Known Member

    Hi there Tony,

    Well I received my figure too, 6 weeks after I ordered it :) . Nonetheless I think it is a good figure, and I bought it mainly because me too I'm interested in the history of New Zealand and the Maori Wars - seems the Maori gave the British a good run for their money :) they were a proud warrior race.

    I will follow your thread with interest, as I haven't got a clue how to tackle the problem of the tattoos properly; I see so far you made a very good start on the face, keep going !

    How are you going to display him when he's finished ? Fern vegetation and a tree with a couple of Huia ? :)

    Just one or two questions about this figure, maybe you are more an expert in these matters so I'd ask you if you don't mind
    - though it's a beautiful sculpt, isn't he a bit to husky for a 19th century Maori ? Or were they always a strong race with muscular heavy build ?
    - wouldn't it be good to add one or two Huia feathers in the hair ? I heard Huia feathers were prized possessions for Maori chiefs and warriors, so ... ?
    - about the tattoos : is it correct that the face tattoo went a bit out of fashion during the second half of the 19th century Maori wars, and that chiefs and warriors would more likely grow a beard ?

    kind regards,

  17. tonydawe A Fixture

    Hi Mark & Johan,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Johan, I'm pleased you also have this excellent figure and I'll do my best to answer your questions ,however perhaps some our Kiwi cousins can chime in here and help me out, as I'm no expert. Choice Bro, Eh?

    I haven't given much thought to presentation of the figure at this time. I thought to do him standing in front of a large wood carving (a Maori totem pole for want of a better description), but I think I'll go for something very simple. Just a few ferns and some ground vegetation.

    I think this is the correct body shape and size of a strong young Maori war chief. Maori, and most Polynesians in general, are fairly well-built people, strong and muscular, particularly in the legs. If you've ever played rugby against them, you'll know what I mean.

    I think the suggestion in the instruction sheet is to add a few feathers to the end of the spear, but I don't see why you couldn't add some to his hair. I wanted to avoid any suggestion or confusion that he might be a Native American, by not adding feathers in the hair, but I don't think it would be historically innacurate to do so.

    As I said, I'm no expert on Maori culture or history, but it certainly does seem that the Maori Wars marked a turning point in Maori culture in many ways, and that the traditional te moko tatooing became less practiced among Maori in the later part of the 19th Century. This may have something to do with the British trying to colonise and "civilise" the Maori, and it may also represent the breakdown of traditional Maori tribal life as a result of war. The wearing of beards by Maori is something I don't know about. I'll do somemore research and get back to you if I can add anything to this discussion.

    The figure represents a Maori ariki or tribal chieftan from the 1840's, and according to the sculptor Callum Talbot, the leather belt around his waist would almost certainly have come from a European sailor, possibly a whaler or coastal trader, as a barter item. These same traders also brought with them diseases that wiped out thouands of Maori and introduced alcohol, which had a devestating impact.

    The figure shows this Maori at a time when his culture and his people are still strong and sovereign, but are increasingly under attack from European colonialism and European values and morality. Despite their fierce resistance, the Maori where never likely to prevail with wooden clubs and spears against rifle and cannon.
  18. busso_boy New Member

    he's looking very much like a guy that works as a bouncer at my local

    you've done a great job on his face so far.
  19. tonydawe A Fixture

    te Moko - First Attempt

    Here are a few pics showing my first attempt at painting the facial tatoos (te Moko) on my Maori ariki.:eek:

    I'll probably redo some parts of the tatoo once the oil paint has dried and then shade and highlight the tatoos in acrylics to match the shading and highlighting on the skin.

    This is an incredibly difficult pattern to paint and I'm not satisfied with the results yet, but I'll keep working on it.;)

    I've also attached an illustration of the ariki moko provided to me by Callum Talbot which shows the pattern I'm trying to recreate, and one of the colour paintings I'm using for reference.

    Hope you like. Constructive criticism welcome.

    Attached Files:

  20. Marcel Active Member

    Great start Tony, I like what you have done sofar. Good luck with finishing of the tattoo!


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