“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
First seen in Lewis Carroll’s, ‘Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There’, published in 1872, the Jabberwocky is, in essence, a nonsense poem, but one with a rhythm and suggestiveness that owes much to ancient Anglo-Saxon poetry. What starts as a father’s warning to his son of a mythical beast that prowls over the land ultimately, becomes a fierce battle before the boy returns, triumphant, to his father and all is returned to normality.
For me the works of the illustrator Sir John Tenniel are synonymous with Lewis Carroll’s writing and it is his depiction of the Jabberwocky, lumbering out of a dark forest to attack its latest victim, that have stayed with me into adult life. Imagine, then, how thrilled I was then to find this Reaper Pathfinder Miniature, sculpted by J. Weibe; a clear homage to those splendid Victorian Gentlemen.
Now it is worth mentioning at this point that this sculpt was a beast in itself to put together! By no means a small model there was quite a lot of cleaning up to do; I guess the moulds are not in the first flush of youth? Once prepared there was substantial pinning and filling required and the decision not to use the metal ‘slotta’ base provided in favour of a ‘Warbases’ 70mm MDF disc, brought with it some concerns regarding structurally integrity and balance. These were duly overcome with the carefully positioning of small pebbles, a modicum of luck and the occasional harsh word!
Once primed it was time to fire up the shiny new airbrush and set about the base layers, affording me an opportunity to experiment with the blending of colours in a bid to achieve a leathery, almost prehistoric look to the creature’s wings. The rest of the painting involved steadily building up the layers of paint and picking out the relevant details. When it came to the basing, I was planning to have a fairly standard woodland base, but a chance comment from the ‘Provost Marshal’ saw me adding evidence of previous victims in the shape of various skulls and bones – a chilling reminder of the ferociousness of the Jabberwocky!
Finally then, to complete the scene, I put together a suitably naïve and youthful looking squire from the ‘Perry Miniatures’ War of the Roses Command Sprue to represent the hero of the piece. My ‘Challenge’ may have been derailed somewhat by the pressures of ‘real life’, but through the bonus rounds and I am finding plenty of new challenges in both modeling and painting that give me that perfect escape. That and the continued sense of community, good will and mutual support that pervade this cosy corner of the blog-o-sphere are truly cherished – I thank you all.