PRELUDE

This time we see a welcome return from Korean sculptor and producer Dae Hyoung Kim of DG Artwork, this latest release sees a subject which I have taken a fair degree of interest in recently, the Celts! I have for the majority of my painting life been a fantasy painter but the more and more historical figures I see and truly appreciate, the more I like them, so over the coming months I will definitely be building and painting more of these.

The kit arrived in a slender black box adorned with the box art by Alex Long. the parts come sealed in ziplock bags and protected in bubblewrap. This is an eight part, polyurethane resin, 75mm scale kit sculpted by Dae Hyoung Kim and first impressions are very good!

THE CELTS

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Map showing the borders of what was considered celtic lands

The Celts were people in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages and shared cultural similarities, although it is uncertain even today, how the relationships between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors manifested themselves across ancient Europe. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is therefore disputed and vague and so a great subject of controversy between scholars and modern historians is how the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts.

The “Celtic Homeland” widely regarded as being in Central Europe is most often referred to as the Hallstatt Community, because of the vast and rich excavation findings at Hallstatt, Austria. During the period known as La Tene (450BC – 84AD), this particular culture continued to grow and migrate throughout Europe, creating disparate groups or communities of Celts.

Within the British Isles they became known as Insular Celts, in France and the Low Countries (Holland and Belgium for instance) as Gauls, Northern Italy as Cisalpine Gauls and following the Gallic Invasion of The Balkans in 279BC they went as far East as Anatolia (Modern day Turkey) and were called Galatians.

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diodorus who wrote much about early celts

Actually it was the expansion of the Roman Empire and the Great Migrations of Germanic peoples during the 1st millenium AD , that led Celtic culture and in particular Insular Celts to become restricted to Ireland, the western and northern parts of Great Britain (Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall), the Isle of Man, and Brittany (north west cultural region of France).

Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these regions emerged as a reasonably cohesive cultural entity, sharing a common linguistic, religious, and artistic heritage. Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels (Irish, Scottish) and the Brythonic Celts (Welsh, Cornish) of the medieval and modern periods.

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus suggest that the heartland of the Celts was in southern France with the Gauls to the north of the Celts, but that the Romans referred to both as Gauls (in linguistic terms the Gauls were certainly Celts). He goes on to describe them as:

“tall of body with rippling muscles and white of skin and their hair is blond, and not only naturally so for they also make it their practice by artificial means to increase the distinguishing colour which nature has given it. For they are always washing their hair in lime-water and they pull it back from the forehead to the nape of the neck, with the result that their appearance is like that of Satyrs and Pans since the treatment of their hair makes it so heavy and coarse that it differs in no respect from the mane of horses. Some of them shave the beard but others let it grow a little; and the nobles shave their cheeks but they let the moustache grow until it covers the mouth”.

There are accounts, written by philosophers and historians, regarding warfare of the Celts, some of it has been rubbished by modern historians and archaeologists, some talk of certain Celts fighting naked, others that preferred the love of a man, of fighting with bestial strength as if possessed but what is known almost for certainty is that they were head hunters. Diodorus states:

“They cut off the heads of enemies slain in battle and attach them to the necks of their horses. The blood-stained spoils they hand over to their attendants and striking up a paean and singing a song of victory; and they nail up these first fruits upon their houses, just as do those who lay low wild animals in certain kinds of hunting. They embalm in cedar oil the heads of the most distinguished enemies, and preserve them carefully in a chest, and display them with pride to strangers, saying that for this head one of their ancestors, or his father, or the man himself, refused the offer of a large sum of money. They say that some of them boast that they refused the weight of the head in gold”.

SCULPT AND CAST

The figure depicts a Celt warrior of the 1st century AD wielding a two handed spear, short sword sheathed at the waist and the traditional shield strapped across the back. It is a particularly dynamic sculpt showing him as he runs down a rocky slope, a grimace plastered over his features. The majority of the sculpt is in one piece, head, torso and legs, altogether.

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the kit in full

To this the arms attach via a peg and hole assembly and it is then a case of threading the spear through the clenched hands and attaching the sword and shield. Dry assembly shows that there will be no need for gap filling, this now gives you a further option. I would suggest that if you plan to paint patterned fabric to the trousers, then you leave the spear until the very last thing to give you easy access to the surface that will need careful planning for your pattern. You may also consider actually leaving the arms off altogether which will make everything even easier again.

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celtic traits – clothing and styling of hair

The features to the head are nicely rendered and show historical accuracy, as mentioned in the background information above, the hair is swept back and tidied, sections of it are braided and the Celt an oversized moustache. There are nice volumes and angles to the face with quite an aggressive expression.

The upper half of his torso is partially exposed and you can see the strap that will attach to the shield when it is fixed into place. There is also what I think to be a bronze torque around the neck. The shield, which I would paint separately and attach at the end, will affix to a hole in the lower back of the Celt. The anatomy that is on show is well defined and muscular, the figure looks quite tall as well, again fitting with the descriptions attributed to the Celtic people.

The sash robe is tied at the waist, to his left. To the right we have his sword, sheathed within its scabbard, nicely detailed. The waistband of his trousers are nicely cinched by a chain linked belt. The trousers display natural creases and folds, synonymous with this type of movement and bunch nicely at the bottom where they are tied. The shoes are a simple moccasin design.

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the celts weapons without spear

The upper arms sport rope like torques, the joins are very good and the torque to the left arm and the sash sitting over the right, both hide the joins further. The arms are muscular and the clenched hands display finely sculpted fingers.

The spear comes in two parts, the spear head is finely detailed and historically accurate, there are two small plugs at the end of these two parts, which will need careful removing, I suspect the spear haft is too narrow to drill to pin the spear head, so care will need to be taken to attach the two parts. There is a piece of excess resin to the blade too which will require careful removal so as not to damage the shape and profile of the spearhead.

The shield design is one I have seen a lot of, I tried to research the various elements but had no luck finding the terms of the various parts, if any one knows anything about this I would greatly appreciate a message!

The shield is nicely detailed with the leather hide trim to the solid wood spine. The decorative shield boss I believe was also wooden and secured into place by the metal band, the shield being split into quarters, will still provide ample space for a freehand pattern. Again there is a piece of resin at the foot of the shield which needs removing.

The cast is really good, I can not see any mold lines and there are no major defects such as air bubble holes or casting slippages. There are some plugs that need clipping away and filing smooth.

DESIGN AND ORIGINALITY

Outside of companies such as Romeo Models and Pegaso Models, I haven’t seen many historically correct Celts. Unlike this release those companies cast almost solely in white metal. DG have recently released some very nice historical pieces and this is another one.

The design is well considered and the composition of this dynamic figure is balanced. The pose and implied motion coupled with the grimace on his face ties in with the near barbaric description afforded the Celts by Diodorus.

The detailing is nice and natural looking, nothing has been over done as it were.

DESIRABILITY

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another angle showing point where shield would affix

DG Artwork continue to release high quality figures that are value for money, their extensive and eclectic back catalogue ensures there is something for everyone. This is an attractive kit and should be attractive to both fantasy and historical genres, fantasy because it could easily be painted or modelled as a chaos marauder, historical because of the subject and its’ accuracy.

AFFORDABILITY

I think at $45 this is competitively priced when you consider a small 1/12 bust can set you back 40-50€, the kit would make a great standalone display piece or even become an element within a diorama. Highly recommended!

DATES, FIGURES AND STUFF

Cost                                 $45

Material                          Polyurethane Resin

No of Pieces                   8

Release Date                  Available Now

Where Can I Get It?     HERE

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