I have a few side projects going at the moment as the weather changes. Along with the previous posts that everyone has been following I am painting two subjects that may seem a bit different from what you all have begun to expect from me. Both will be subjects of regular posts here and my desire is to use them to focus on areas of our hobby that I haven't spent a lot of time discussing in the past.
The first piece is this nice little bust from SK Miniatures, sculpted by my friend Matt Springer. I'm not sure the age of this piece but I believe it to be one of SK's earliest releases. WWI has always interested me, especially the German transformation from a colorful Imperial force to the Feld-Grau Army that typified the Great War period. I have especially harbored a deep love for German WWI Aviation. So, that being said a piece like this is of great interest to me.
August Von Mackensen (6 December 1849 to 8 November 1945) was an interesting figure, coming from the heart of Imperial Germany, beginning his military career in the Franco-Prussian War and surviving to the end of WWII. He was a true German war hero who became a supporter of conservative monarchist political groups in the twenties. After Hitler's election, Von Mackensen became a symbolic figurehead for the Nazi party despite his monarchist beliefs. He was never truly trusted by party leadership however because of his past support of Hindenburg. One of his last highly visible public appearances was in full uniform at Kaiser Wilhelm II's 1941 funeral. Quite the dichotomy I must say.
The bust is cast in two resin parts, headgear and torso/head with two white metal castings for the Blue Max/Iron Cross and Peltzmutze cockade. The photos above show the kit assembled and primed, ready to begin. Assembly was simple and straightforward with just a small amount of clean up, typical of most resin kits. A round rosewood base from Thomas Art Bases was selected to offset the color tones of the finished bust.
The subject that I will focus on first is reference. This is possibly the single most important aspect to our hobby prior to ever exercising the artistic side of things. I take a lot of joy in the research as I am an avid reader and a bit of a fuss about getting things as close to "right" as possible. Instruction sheets and painted figure photos in kits are great but I NEVER rely solely on their use. In the case of this bust my research began on the Internet as I no longer have the wealth of research materials in my library that I used to own. This will be the focus of my next post but in the meantime here is the photo that I believe was used as Matt's reference for this sculpt.
What I found so fascinating about this picture and what draws me to this bust is just what I referenced in the beginning about my interest in this period. He is wearing a great mixture of old and new, with the fur busby of the 1st or 2nd Leib-Hussaren Regt. of which he had been a part, and the Attila or Hussar jacket being in the Feld-grau of the period. This won't qualify as an extremely colorful piece but it will be a mixture of tones and textures that I find visually appealing and historically important. I would like to think that was why Matt chose the subject, but that may be presumptuous of me.