Sunday, February 17, 2019

'Water Feature' from Noel: A Walter Feature

Curt’s idea for bonus theme 4, a Walter Feature, at first seemed a little odd to me. But then I thought: it’s Curt – the strange man who annually invents three months of torture for himself; the man who paints in meticulous detail exquisite figures for some very peculiar subjects. He’s testing us. He’s come up with this theme to really sort the Guelphs from the  Ghibellines (look it up!)

I thought about Walters for a while. What about a Walther PPK? Perhaps too small for a centrepiece. Could I come up with something suitable for Walt Disney? A Mickey Mouse missile, perhaps?

Then I hit on it. Sir Walter Raleigh. Who could be a stronger character for a Walter theme than the man who invented the potato? Where would snacking by the TV be without him?

So I picked the iconic scene where Sir Walter lays down his cloak on a puddle for Queen Elizabeth I. There were rumours about these two, of course. After all, what woman could resist a man with a sodden cape and a potato in his hand? (Even if, sooner or later, he was inclined to lose his head). So perhaps the famous occasion of the puddle and the cloak occurred at a clandestine meeting of some kind.

My next problem was that I don't have a Walter Raleigh figure in my collection. Not even something close. Never one to let historical accuracy get in the way of a good idea, I postulated an evening when the Queen takes part in a masque at Hampton Court, a pageant based on Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene. In it Liz is Gloriana, the Faerie Queene herself, whilst Raleigh takes the role of the Red Crosse knight, who is enamoured of Gloriana. For the pageant Raleigh would dress in antique armour, whilst Liz herself would be in her finest garments. Then after the show but still dressed for it, the Queen of England meets up with her romantic warrior.

So for Raleigh to show proper obeisance I chose a kneeling man-at-arms from Perry’s C14th Carroccio set

The model is clean shaven, though, so I had to fashion a Raleighesque tash and beard from green stuff. This is in his younger years when he’s a little more hirsute, rather then the dapper primnesss of most of his later portraits.

I placed him kneeling by the cloak he's just laid down:

The Liz I figure is, I think, by Wargames Foundry though I’ve not been able to track it down in a catalogue, so I may be wrong. It seems to be a simplified form of the “Ditchley Portrait”. (It's apparently by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, a name which means nothing to me, dated 1592 and in the National Gallery):

I did my best to replicate that portrait in painting the model. The trouble is if you get too detailed, it easily becomes a mess.

Also it was fashionable in the C16th for women to have extremely white skin, as the portrait shows. If you try that on a 28mm model, she either looks like she’s only been undercoated or she's a wannabe zombie. So my Liz is a little healthier looking than the portrait.

The set is scratchbuilt. Thick card and wallpaper from my daughter’s crafting supplies for the walls and the Tudor arch (properly called a four centred arch I believe), scribed balsa for the door, mdf offcuts for the steps, foam from a playmat for the base, a puddle of superglue and varnish, and a cloak fashioned from tissue stiffened with white glue.

I’m pretty pleased with the result, though there are some obvious areas which could be improved. Here's a slightly wider angle:

Once I’d seen the finished model I realised an alternative title might be “Sir Curt and the Lady Sarah”, as I guess this pretty much represents their roles, as far as I can tell from the Snowlord’s posts. At least, it may well be Sarah's Choice...

I also thought of “Queen Eilizabeth and Sir Water Raleigh”. See what I did there? Making the puddle the main feature. But that seems silly.

I think that's just 10 points for the 2 figures, plus the bonus. Not sure if the terrain is worth points, as it's more of a setting than fully reusable terrain, but just in case: it's a 4" wall mounted on a triangular base of sides 10", 8" and 8".

Now I just need an idea for the final challenge. This, I think, will be even harder than the Walter challenge. Let me think: "Pillowslip"....


  1. Loved this entry - thanks for completing this.

  2. Easily the best Walter feature! Lovely little vignette!
    Best Iain

  3. Oh dear now do I have to be the spoil-sport to tell you you've got the theme title wrong? It's not Walter but "waiter"! On the positive side you can now include Baldrick.

  4. That made me laugh quite a bit. Absolutely brilliant!

  5. When I was a little girl, I had a paper doll set of Queen Elizabeth and all of her dresses, this was my favourite!
    Well done,

  6. A proud Ghibiline for sure. :)

    Wonderful (and funny) interpretation of the theme. The choice of the figure in the Carrioccio set for Raleigh was inspired. Also, beautiful work on Liz - as you say, if you try to replicate too much detail you're likely to make a hash of it. A terrific submission.

    'Raleigh Around the Flag' perhaps? One to keep in mind...