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.