Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WIP: Scratchbuilding 300 Spartans King Leonidas:


Time to blog my latest project. More than 5 months back, right after the movie 300 was released, I began compiling photos from the movie from the web. This project was inspired by the book 'Gates of Fire' by Steven Pressfield and the movie 300.

Leonidas was a king of Sparta, the 17th of the Agiad line, one of the sons of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta, who was believed to be a descendant of Heracles. He was one of tree brothers.His name was raised to heroic status as a result of the events in the Battle of Thermopylae. In 480 BC, Leonidas went to Thermopylae with 300 of his personal guard, all with sons to carry on their names, where he was joined by forces from other Greek city-states, who put themselves under his command to form an army 7,000 strong. This force was assembled in an attempt to hold the pass of Thermopylae against hundreds of thousands of Persian soldiers who had invaded from the north of Greece under Xerxes I. Leonidas took only his personal guard, and not the army, because Spartan religious customs forbade sending an army at that time of year. In addition, the Oracle of Delphi had foretold that Sparta could be saved only by the death of one of its kings, one of the lineage of Heracles.Leonidas and his men repulsed the Persians' frontal attacks for the first two days, killing roughly 20,000 of the enemy troops and losing very few of their own.On the third day, a Malian Greek traitor named Ephialtes led the Persian general Hydarnes by a mountain track to the rear of the Greeks. At that point Leonidas sent away all Greek troops and remained in the pass with his 300 Spartans, 900 Helots and 700 Thespians who refused to leave. Another 400 Thebans were kept with Leonidas as hostages. The Thespians stayed entirely of their own will, declaring that they would not abandon Leonidas and his followers. The little Greek force, attacked from both sides, was cut down to a man except for the Thebans, who surrendered. Leonidas was killed, but the Spartans retrieved his body and protected it until their final defeat. Herodotus says that Xerxes ordered to have Leonidas' head cut off and put on a stake and his body crucified. This was considered sacrilegious.The tomb of Leonidas lies today in the northern part of the modern town of Sparta.

The figure was sculptured from epoxy putty and miliput in 1/35 scale. I completed the torso minus the cloak more then 4 months back and finished the rest last month right after the Tamiya Competition.

The cloak was a second attempt after the first one did not turn out that realistic. What I realised is that by mixing miliput and greenstuff, I have a better sculpting material. The greenstuff kept the miliput flexible when dried and the I also can sand the dried mix to a smooth finish. What I got was the best of both worlds.

I also reworked the shield and added a repeat pattern round. I managed to cast the the spear from resin. The next step is to get this sculpt painted and mounted on the display case. Anyway check out a sculpting blog here to learn about miniature sculpting.

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