Sunday, March 2, 2014

Announcing the Sixth Theme Bonus Round: 'Favourite Character(s)' & Curt's Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin


This, the penultimate bonus round, focuses on favourite characters of the Challengers and as such it has generated an amazing variety of subjects from all types of media. In the gallery you will find Chief Buffalo Hump next to Tom Bombadil, Maximus alongside John Wayne. Each of these a favourite character of one of the participants - how very cool.

Like many of the Challengers I racked my brain trying to narrow my choices down to that 'perfect character'. Like many of the participants I'm a huge fan of film, books and graphic novels so I had many ideas of what I could possibly do, but I seemed stymied as each idea didn't quite seem to grab me as a real 'favourite'. One night, a few weeks back, as I was drifting off to sleep I decided to organize my recollections of favourite characters along a timeline. So I thought of my childhood recollections of Gregory Peck's Ahab and Harrison Ford' Han Solo, meandered through my teenage fascination with Sgt. Steiner and Aragorn and then moved into my adult memories of favourite characters. It was there that a pair of personalities leapt forward. Two men whose lives intersected during the Napoleonic wars and became bonded through war, love and loyalty. No, not Richard Sharpe and Patrick Harper (though they certainly entered the pantheon of choices) but rather Patrick O'Brian's fabulous pairing of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.

For those who have not read any of the Patrick O'Brian books I heartily recommend you treat yourself to one of the most fully realized worlds in english literature. The relationship between Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin is a wonderful study of friendship between two incredibly divergent characters who nonetheless share a fierce loyalty and tender affection for one another. The 2003 movie 'Master and Commander' is an excellent film which manages to touch upon the close relationship between these two men. A frequent refrain in the books is Stephen (the introspective Catalan/Irish physician, naturalist and intelligence agent) hounding Jack (the hot blooded Royal Navy captain, rake and blunderer) to allow him shore time to gather specimens of undiscovered flora and fauna. The two often clash but sometimes things work out and both men manage to spend time ashore (which also allows O'Brian to have them adventure in exotic far-away lands).




Anyway, I needed to find two figures to represent these two diverse characters and was very fortunate to come across the perfect 28mm castings from the Napoleonic range offered by Brigade Games.





Jack, standing behind Stephen, is in his smart Royal Navy uniform denoting him as a Captain of at least 3 years seniority. His leggings are buff, not full dress white, as he would save his pristine white trousers for ceremonial occasions or for when he has business with the Admiralty. His bicorne is athwart-ships as is his penchant (being a fervent acolyte of Nelson who wore his the same) along with his blonde hair kept long, in an old fashioned ribboned queue. Perhaps the only thing I could ask of this figure is that it should be slightly more stout as Jack has a fondness of rich food and drink.




Stephen, sitting, sketching some distant subject, is in civilian dress with a sun hat and medium length frock coat. I have portrayed him in perhaps better clothes than he would be in the books as he is notorious for being very indifferent to his sartorial turnout. Nonetheless I thought I would make him a bit more natty for the occasion.  I have also given him blue tinted spectacles to help shield his eyes from the tropical sun (which are mentioned in several of the books). Also, as a refreshment, I have given him (or to be correct to the books, their manservant Killick has given him) a bottle of watered wine with a rustic goblet filled to the brim (these were made simply from rolled greenstuff).



In closing, I leave you with a great scene from the closing of the film where Jack (Russell Crowe) and Stephen (Paul Bettany) share some time playing music (Boccherini I believe) in Jack's cabin aboard HMS Surprise. 



40 comments:

  1. Outstanding painting, Curt. I've never read the book but liked the film a lot. Your painting really does both characters justice.

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  2. Thanks Nick! It's 'BOOKS' all 21 of them and they're all fabulous. The only thing is that you really need to read them in order to fully enjoy the development of the various characters. The audiobooks narrated by Patrick Tull are brilliant and can't recommend them enough. In particular his voices for Stephen and Killick are perfect.

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  3. Great job , and another inspired choice Curt. I really enjoyed the detail and period feel of the books. Good find on the figures.

    And yet another round full of interesting and different submissions. Well done all

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    1. Cheers Dave. I reasoned that you would be a fan of them as well. And yes, a wonderful cacophony of submissions this round!

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  4. These are great Curt!

    Looking at the first picture before reading the text I thought "He's even given Stephen the blue-tinted glasses!". Well done Sir. I raise my glass to you!

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    1. Thank you very much Edwin. I'm somehow not surprised that you'd be a O'Brian man.

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  5. All you need now is Jack in the bear suit!

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    1. Haha! That would be brilliant. I know that Pro Gloria has a dancing bear and it may be perfect for this set.

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  6. I think this will be my favourite round. Seeing what people choose and finding out a bit more about who they are and how they think.

    Another excellent job Curt!!!

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  7. Lovely work on these two figures Curt.

    This round has definitely produced some interesting choices of favourite character and the standards are high all round.

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    1. Thanks Tamsin, I would tend to agree on your assessment of the round - very interesting and eclectic.

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  8. Superb work Sir, I tip my shako to you. You've really captured the characters of the pair of them.

    Pip pip

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  9. Love these... but WHERE"S JACK!?

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  10. Beautiful work once again Curt!!!

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  11. Not a great fan of 'our' Rusty (he can't hide his antipodean vowels, and always comes off worse when he tries to imitate the hell-raisers of old like Oliver Reed, Peter O'Toole etc. and just ends up looking like a dick), but I thought his Aubrey nailed the character as described by O'Brien.

    Your figures are brilliantly executed, Curt, and the sculpting is wonderful: Aubrey scanning the horizon, while Maturin is engrossed only in what is right in front of him, oblivious to the realities of the Royal Navy!

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    1. Ha! A good character study there (on all accounts). Thanks for your comments Ben!

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  12. Very nice once again Curt, quite an unexpected choice from your good self I think. Can't wait to browse the gallery (for now, it's bedtime).

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  13. Wonderful work Curt - and two very good characters. I've finished 3 of the books in the series and they are best savored over long periods of time - they are required reading when I'm doing an overnight sail race!

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    1. I thought you'd like the nautical subject Miles. They get better and they progress.

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  14. Stunning work Curt. I love the novels and the film, and I think your Maturin in particular really captures the grumpiness of the original!

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    1. Yes, the one I picked for Maturin has many of his personal qualities. As I said in the post I wished someone would do a good Jack, who's a bit thick around the waist.

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  15. Very lovely paint work Curt and that shade of blue is superb.

    Christopher

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    1. Foundry French Blue triad. I think it's too dark for French rank-and-file but it looks great for officers/personalities.

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  16. Gorgeous stuff Curt and a cracking choice of subject.

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  17. Great figures so faithful to the brilliant series of books.
    Give you joy of your figures sir!

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  18. Fantastic paint work. Very well done.

    Tony

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  19. Very nice I like the way you shoot against a black background. I shall have to try it.

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    1. Thanks Clint! The black can be a bit fiddly at times but I find it can give a nice final result.

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