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WIP Critique Shattered Soldier, 1918 - working title only

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Dan Morton, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    I know that some members of the hobby don't like the idea of showing soldiers suffering and dying, but to me that's never made sense. I like shiny toy soldiers as much as anybody else, but so far I would rather make realistic miniatures.
    This poor Tommy has basically had enough. Enough bombardment, enough noise, enough death, pain and disfigurement. All of us have our breaking point.
    British soldier in small dugout shelter or "funk hole" in side of trench. 1/16th scale. The soldier is in a small hole dug into the side of a trench. These ‘funk holes’ were used in temporary or poorly engineered trenches for soldier rest and to protect them some against shrapnel during bombardments.

    The original piece is a museum display near the entrance to the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, UK. It is a manikin with flexible hands and fingers and wearing a wig, dressed in British uniform.
    I found a photo of the museum display posted on Pinterest, asked some questions about it on Great War Forum and Planetfigure. I thought at first it was a sculpture! A photo of the display was used by Fiona Reid as the cover to her book, Broken Men, about shell shock and similar injuries.
    The display manikin has been set up with a PH gas mask bag and haversack, slightly behind and to either side of the manikin and not visible in all photos. The conspicuous absence of a weapon, helmet and a canteen bothers me a bit.
    The clear disadvantage of this pose for sculpting is that it affords only a straight-ahead view. No satisfactory side views, etc., because the soldier has withdrawn into the smallest space possible and the space is semi-enclosed. But the pose is so emotionally evocative maybe this problem is acceptable.
    Let me thank again my photographer friend, Patrick Student and my fellow model-maker, Charlie Duckworth for their kind and patient support! I also need to thank PF member Windy and a couple of commentators on Great War Forum for their knowledge and assistance. Windy's photos particularly helped so that I could see the manikin from all angles - thanks again!!

    I cut up and used a piece of thick white plastic light enclosure to enclose the 'funk hole'. Then built the irregular soil walls using putty and started the figure. I found that since the figure is so bent over I needed to make it in two pieces - otherwise the painter might be unable to reach everything. Actually, the painter will still have a difficult time, but it should be possible. I took a head from a kit, hands and a water bottle that I made earlier and have had cast, boots from a kit, etc. I've now added a DJ Parkins helmet and SMLE rifle. I thought the scene setting would be incomplete without these additions.
    The figure itself is about 50% complete in the photos. I've since added coat sleeves, altered the hands so that the fingers in the hair look right and a few other bits.
    Looking forward to your critique and comments!
    All the best,
    Dan

    Attached Files:

  2. Nap Forum Moderator

    Country:
    England
    This is going to be brilliant looking forward especially to the finished sculpt then the painting

    Following !

    Nap
    Dan Morton and Mark Dollery like this.
  3. Elia Active Member

    Country:
    Greece
    This is great, Dan, very evocative & of course very much a part of this (and any othter) war. Perhaps people frown at gratuitous violence. After all, hinting at the tragedy rather than showing it can be much more effective but it is not always easy to find the right tone.

    This puts me to mind of WWI's broken faces (gueles cassées), men with serious face wounds (I sculpted a few of them last year using photographs as reference). Perhaps a subject like this would be considered too gory for some but I consider it my tribute to their suffering & courage.

    Anyway, not going too much off topic here, I'm looking forward to seeing how the figure turns out

    All the best,
    Elia
    Dan Morton, Mark Dollery and Scotty like this.
  4. bogusman53 Active Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Great work. The cover photograph of the book is very poignant, a fitting tribute to a lost generation.
    Dan Morton likes this.
  5. Huw63 PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Switzerland
    Brilliantly sculpted and very moving. I look forward ot seeing more as this develops.

    Cheers

    Huw
    Dan Morton likes this.
  6. arj A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    This is so different to what we normally see.
    Very well done in conceiving and creating this scene.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
    Dan Morton likes this.
  7. Jimbo A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    It's a very moving & desperate image of the Great War & one that I have always found to be very haunting, not easy to try & sculpt into a 3D figure, good on you for giving it a go, it's looking great so far.
    I'll be following this & good luck with it
    Cheers
    Jim
    Dan Morton likes this.
  8. tonydawe A Fixture

    Country:
    Australia
    I certainly prefer this type of subject matter to the heroic shiny boots and parade ground military uniforms subjects. This to me captures the true experience of men in war, its conveys both the courage and also the frailty of the human condition in the most awful circumstances. Congrats Dan.
    Scotty, Dan Morton and napoleonpeart like this.
  9. yeo_64 Active Member

    Country:
    Singapore
    Looks Awesome, Dan (y)(y)(y)(y)(y)! Kudos:D!
    Kenneth.
    Dan Morton likes this.
  10. peedee A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Well done Dan.

    It should be remembered that many casualties of this conflict did not recover, and struggled all their lives to deal with many issues.

    The invisble wounds were a burden for the whole family.

    I applaud you for this.

    Paul.
    Wings5797, Scotty and Dan Morton like this.
  11. Ulrich PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Germany
    Great work. Very good idea to remember those lost soldiers.
    Dan Morton likes this.
  12. Oda A Fixture

    Absolutely magnficent.Great idea,very good composition,nice sculpting and scenery.Will definitely follow this one.

    Oda.
    Dan Morton likes this.
  13. clrsgt A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    This looks awesome. A solemn tribute to a lost generation.
    Dan Morton and Oda like this.
  14. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Many thanks to all for your kind comments!

    I'll post again when finished.

    All the best,
    Dan
  15. Viking Bob PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I am following this one as I have seen the manikin many times on visiting the museum.
    You are doing a great service to all who suffered during both conflicts and of course present one's too.
    Wings5797 likes this.
  16. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Your comments are most generous Viking Bob and thank you! I don't think of it as a great service but it's all about remembering those who paid the price, isn't it?

    All the best,
    Dan
    Viking Bob and Elia like this.
  17. Adrian Cowdry Well-Known Member

    Great tribute and great subject.
    Dan Morton likes this.
  18. Wings5797 A Fixture

    Country:
    France
    An amazing piece Dan.
    I love not only the work you have done but the sentiment that it represents
    Good stuff My friend
    Keith
    Dan Morton likes this.
  19. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Cheers Adrian and Keith! Much obliged!

    All the best,
    Dan
    Wings5797 likes this.
  20. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    What title should this piece have? I used Shattered Soldier as a working title. I think its about time to give it a permanent name. Suggestions?

    All the best,
    Dan

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