Thursday, 30 April 2015

NZ Wars - Maori (3)

It's New Zealand week again! Just over 4 years ago I did a series of posts on the New Zealand Wars of the 1840s - see here.  It's taken me a good while to return to the period, but over the next few days I'm going to do another series of posts on more Empress Miniatures figrues that I have painted recently.  My earlier series of posts described the history of the war of 1844-45 and I won't repeat that.  Instead, I'll concentrate on a few uniform and painting notes and I'll add some more factual snippets from my last couple of visits to New Zealand.

First up are some Maori chiefs that for some reason I didn't get around to painting last time.  These figures are from a chieftains pack (together with a Hone Heke personality figure) apart from the chap at the end on the right, who is from a characters pack.  Lovely figures in good, dramatic poses and, as always from Empress, very clean sculpts.  The illustrations I have seen show Maori cloaks and clothes from this period as being largely brown and beige in colour with limited woven geometric patterning.  I added some coloured borders to the cloaks to reflect the status of these men (taniko is the word in Maori, apparently).  Zig-zags and chevrons seem to have popular patterns and these are pretty easy to paint.  There are various words for the weapons used by the Moari.  The two greenstone weapons here are probably kotiate rather than mere clubs, and the former were usually made of wood or bone rather than jade or greenstone.  However, again I wanted to make these leaders distinctive and so decided to paint them green (using the Foundry "Bright Green 2"5 palette).  The long club that the chap on the left is brandishing is a tewhatewha, and it was customary for those weapons to be decorated with bird feathers.  Rifle stocks often had carved decorations and I have tried to reflect that as well.       

As explained in my earlier posts, I paint Maori skin with the Foundry palette "South American Flesh 119".  That may be a bit light, but it is suitably distinctive to my European colour scheme.  Anything darker and the tattoos would be less noticeable.  Those I paint with a dark blue colour rather than black (Foundry "French Blue 65A").  I have seen portraits and photos of old Maori whose faces are covered in tattoos.  With these figures I have tried to add a few more tattoos than I do with "rank and file", but still adhering to a "less is more" approach.

More Maori tomorrow, then the Royal Navy and British infantry.

Four figures. Painted March 2015.



Ubique Matt said...

The attention to detail puts these figures on another level. It's always nice to know the 'logic' and thought process behind a painted figure.

David said...

Very fine work, Giles! Bold to represent the tattoos. Works well I think!

Robert Singers said...

The flesh is way too light for pure blood Maori who've seen a lot of sun. The faces aren't really an issue it's the rest of the body.

But apart from that it's a lovely job.

paulalba said...

Man these figures really come to life Giles!

Chasseur said...

Beautifully painted Maori! I like the bright clean style you've used.

Chasseur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bedford said...

Really lovely work as always.


Dalauppror said...

Lovely paintwork indeed!

Lowtardog said...

Very nice indeed, I used the same triad for the Maori flesh only put a pink brown oil wash (more due to my poor painting skills than aesthetics) I had a bash at Moko but gave up very quickly, all testament to your painting, they look great