Herne the Huntress – the PRELUDE
The latest release from BrokenToad is simply stunning, a further step up from the beauty that was SailAway, to which I had the pleasure of painting the official version, Herne the Huntress is a beautifully sculpted 1/10 scale female bust, consisting of 10 polyurethane resin parts cast in-house by Kris Toad himself. The kit is sculpted by someone becoming a household name in our little world, the incredibly talented Ali Jalali, full of details and smooth sculpting, standing approximately 110mm in height. It arrived in a square cardboard box, sealed by a sticker annotating the details of the sculpt, as usual there is no boxart, the parts are sealed in ziplock bags and nestled between layers of foam, we also receive a note regarding the build and also a clear, “holo card”, a first for what I am aware of, in the battle against recasting, this is a great way of raising awareness for the blight!
I believe this is a alternative version of the classic legend “Herne the Hunter”, who was a ghost associated with Windsor Forest and the Great Park in Berkshire, England. Described as wearing antlers upon his head, he would ride a horse, tormenting cattle by rattling chains. He was first mentioned in the work of William Shakespeare, the 1597 play titled The Merry Wives of Windsor, although it is impossible to know to what extent Shakespeare may have incorporated a real local legend or whether it was complete fabrication, though more recently Herne has been connected to historical figures, pagan deities etc etc.
SCULPT AND CAST
First impressions of Herne the Huntress, on removing her parts from the box is very good, clean up in the most part is minimal, the excess of the resin blocks pre-removed need filing smooth, then a wash in some soapy water and assembly. There are no major defects such as air bubble holes or casting slippages.
The first thing I notice when assembling mine was the incredibly tight fit of the wolf pelt around her shoulder, the whole of her torso needs to be pushed, carefully but with some force, up past her shoulders and into the fur. The fit is tight but results in a particularly precise manner meaning there is no need for any tricky gap filling around the fur. (You will see in the photographs that the torso and fur are already attached as in my haste to see how the two parts went together, they did and I am too worried to pull them apart again!).
The face is stunning with precisely rendered details, the eye area show clear and distinct upper and lower eye lids, the nose is long and slender and the mouth is full and pouting. There is an element of regal nonchalance, power and sensuality to the facial expression finished off with the long hair that tumbles down over her barely covered breasts. There is a claw/tooth fetish throng necklace that sits upon the sternum with two straps criss-crossing her chest. These details show sharp undercuts and the creasing to the fabric provides clues to the strain of flesh against material. The anatomy is perfect, slender, lithe and masculine which heightens the sensation of Herne as a huntress.
The “build guide” within the kit tells us of a trick to get a perfect fit between the pelt and the wolf head, the wolf head itself is once again really well sculpted with particularly impressive attention to detail regarding the fur and details such as the teeth configuration in the top jaw and the fur tufts to the insides of the ears. The lower jaw is separate and attaches via a square peg and hole assembly but I’m unsure why this was necessary, but when attached it looks great! The helm with extended cheek guards is a work of Art in itself, the embossed filigree is stunning and so accurately sculpted and cast, a real pleasure to behold and somewhat Celtic looking too in it’s design. There are three sockets to the helm to receive the antlers either side of her head plus one at the apex for the plume. There is also an ornate nose guard that is easily attached, take care to remove the excess resin from it’s edge so as to avoid damaging the embossed detail. There is a really nice balance between the level of texture to the kit and smoothness, to help harmonise the various elements together, for instance the plume, skin and antlers are quite smooth, almost like looking at alabaster whilst the shield and fur is coarse and tactile in it’s design.
Her left arm, locates up under the tail of the Wolf pelt, with a rather unique cut to the join which ensures there is only one correct way to attach this piece. The arm ends at the wrist with a studded bracelet that once the shield and hand is attached, will hide any join. That brings us to the circular shield which again displays Celtic influences and a wealth of texture in the woodgrain, ornate central boss and strapping.
As I have already mentioned the casting is superb, detailing crisp with minimal preparation and a rather straight forward build. Highly recommended!!
DESIGN AND ORIGINALITY
The shield arm is not tucked in tight to the body but is rather forward and to the side, this opens up her whole body and not only makes it easier to paint as a complete build but also adds a sense of dynamism to a stationery piece. The lack of a right arm could have caused issues regarding balance to the composition but this is negated by the Wolf head that hangs down from the right shoulder. Overall this is a very clever sculpt by Ali Jalali and Peyman Maleki and although the cut of the bust for casting seems peculiar the fit is spot on especially once you get past how tight it is to push the torso into the fur pelt. It is a mix of fantastical history and legend and in my opinion is the most attractive of the kits released by BrokenToad so far!
For one of the smaller companies out there, BrokenToad are building quite a loyal and large fanbase, predominantly because of the companies’ desire to do the right thing, to fight recasting, to embrace originality and to support Artists for their work. This latest bust will surely be a positive and sought after addition to their expanding catalogue.
I believe the RRP of this bust is £45 (at time of writing the site was being upgraded and refurbished) although I am sure you can probably message BrokenToad on Facebook if you’re desperate to get your hands on her before the site comes back up. The presentation is basic but the packaging is adequate and all the focus is on substance and quality.
Dates, Figures and Stuff
Material Polyurethane Resin
No of Pieces 10
Release Date Available Now
Where Can I Get It? HERE
Jason Martin is an award-winning painter, student of the arts and head honcho at Figurementors. His heavy metal listening, ex-forces exterior belies his true passion – to help you succeed on your personal journey to become a better figure painter.