I wanted something different for my standard bearer icon in the skeleton warrior core unit, something that would be unique, eyecatching but also narrative for my army.
I decided to go for a carrion bird skull, after all, Ravenstein is my Vampire Bloodline name.
There's a connection there - plus I really like the skull shapes. A good friend of mine also painted a fantastic picture a while ago with a character having an oversize crow/raven skull for a head (wearing a top hat) and I think the imagery has stuck in my mind. Well, maybe not the top hat.. but the skull is something I wanted to have a go at one day.
So after a deliberation over bits to use I decided to just go ahead and sculpt my own. I wanted something sturdy and I really prefer carving solid resin than making greenstuff bits all the time for minis. Resin carving is very easy to do and (thanks to forgeworlds generosity) I have plenty of chunks of useless resin laying around to experiment with.
It's very fast, I only need 3 tools: A scalpel blade, a pinvice hobby drill and a small emery board for sanding (although most smoothing can be done with the edge of a scalpel scraping gently.) I decided to go a little oversize so as I carved it down I still had plenty to play with. I also wanted the skull to stand out visually so I decided on measurements and then using a pair of chunky snips I tore off a chunk of resin to begin the process.
Next I just roughly chopped it to bird skully shape.. No need for precision just yet.
Next step was to drill out some guide holes for eye socket carving.
I went right through the side of the skull so I can better judge either side and socket positions were equal.. in theory!
I used the scalpel to start to define the main skull structure lines and contours.
Having a picture for reference here helps, so I borwsed many different photos of carrion bird skulls for inspiration and direction whilst carving away gently at the resin.
Next step was to work on the nasal cavity. Using a pinvice drill I again went through the skull at the rear/back of the beak on the top either side.
These little guide holes were then widened lengthwise along the ridge of the beak.
More scraping, shaping and definition added at this stage.
Starting to polish the shapes and tidy up.
Working on the symmetry..getting there almost..
Very fine polishing work and final definitions.
As this is a fiddly little piece I decided to magnetise it so it can be easily removed from the banner if required.. Totally unnecessary but I know some clumsy gamers and would rather it didn't need gluing on every time it gets sent across the battlefield by errant sleeves etc.
So this is the beaky icon..
And magnetised to the banner bearer..
It's simple and I hope effective.. just need to give it some paint..and perhaps that tophat ...
More creepy things soon!