I’m sure the majority of my readers will already be familiar with the blog Gardens of Hecate run by Ana Polanscak. In the unlikely event that your not do take a look at her work – for one thing you’ll probably be blown away by the skill and creativity on show and for another it’ll save me from trying to describe the indescribable. There really is very little that’s similar to Ana’s grim, folk-horror infused work so do yourself a favour and take a look. I’d been following her old blog for years and was disappointed when she made her final post earlier this year (as if 2020 hadn’t done enough eh!) but it turns out I’m just an airhead and, despite my initial fears, she’s still blogging at a new site which you can find here.
Anyway, the reason for all this preamble is that last year a kickstarter campaign ran which produced some of Ana’s original sculpts and naturally I backed it. Anyone who missed out on the kickstarter but who finds themselves with an overwhelming need for these miniatures can find them at Harwood Hobbies. I’ve been meaning to get everything painted up for a while, and even got as far as starting work on them back in the spring, but what with one thing and another it’s taken me until now to get them done. I didn’t set out to paint them for Halloween or anything like that but it’s certainly fitting that as the nights draw in and the dark forests of the imagination get even darker that I finally put brush to model and got these finished.
I should add, this post may not be entirely safe for work, depending on how sensitive your boss is, not all of the creatures having remembered to get dressed before they manifested themselves. Scroll down at your own risk.
First to be finished was this weird looking Blood Fiend. It makes me think of hoodeners and hobby horses found in various British folk customs, in which a horse’s skull is carried on a pole by a person hidden under sackcloth. Of course, judging by the look of this thing, it might not be a person under there after all…
Next up, a little gargoyle, because you can never have too many of them!
Then we have this gothic snail who looks more than sufficient to give the boldest thrush pause.
Next a Wodewose, that being essentially a wildman – hairy, forest dwelling and strongly associated with nature (so a bit like me all things considered). These individuals make regular appearances in medieval artwork and church carvings across Europe and are often symbolically linked to the Green Man, whose face is shown on the shield of this figure. From what I can gather the etymology of the Middle English term Wodewose is unclear but it may well have come from wudu-wāsa, “wudu” – referring to forests and also appearing in my username on this blog.
For anyone wondering how big these are by the way, here’s a picture of the Wodewose next to one of the Chainrasps from Games Workshop which happened to be sitting helpfully on my desk. I’ll put a groupshot at the end so you can compare the whole group but in the main they’re all of a similar size, with the gargoyle a bit smaller than the rest and the Blood Fiend markedly bigger.
Lastly we have a Demibuer. The term wasn’t familiar to me at all, and a dig around online didn’t prove any more informative, so if you happen to know anything about them please let me know in the comments. To my eye he looks like a cross between a faun and a Green Man so that’s what I went with.
Here’s a groupshot of the whole lot, looking like they’ve stepped straight from some medieval stonemason’s nightmares.
I’ve got various half-finished projects kicking around at the moment (when do I not?) so I’m planning a bit of a feet-clearing exercise over the next few days, then I’ll get my teeth in about that Orc Blood Bowl team I’ve been promising.