7 Medieval Human Warriors: Polymer Clay Creations
Up until now, I’ve showcased mostly monsters and mythical beings here. When sculpting human-based characters, the rules of anatomy are important compared to creating monsters. It’s time to show you some humans from the days of old. Here are seven medieval human warriors sculpted from polymer clay.
The rules of anatomy apply
Up until now, I’ve heavily concentrated on monsters and mythical beings. There’s a pretty good reason for this. I actually created an action figure prototype toy line with many characters which includes a story to go along with them. After I created these monsters, I needed some “good guys” to combat them. I decided to create a bunch of human warriors, each one representing their ethnic medieval past. For myself, this wasn’t as easy as creating the monsters since I was much more inspired. Still, I needed to take a crack at sculpting some human polymer clay figures. The result is a mixed batch. Something of them went the direction I wanted them to go while others came up short.
One main difference between creating mythical monsters and humans is that the basic rules of anatomy apply to human sculptures. Yes, there’s a rule book to basic human anatomy and if you get it wrong, the human sculptures won’t look right. Humans have certain features some of which are very subtle yet imperative to get right. I found that good old Photoshop comes in handy when it comes to tweaking minor details, especially facial features. Indeed, human facial features are very specific and getting it wrong can mean not only having an ugly sculpture but one that’s so off the mark it doesn’t appear human. Even worse, it can appear amateurish.
7 human medieval warriors made from polymer clay
The following list compiles seven human medieval warriors I created to take part in the story The Quest for Kimel Drago. For better or worse, this is what I came up with a few years back. While the Viking isn’t included in this list, he’s without question the best human warrior I’ve created. He has his own article which you can check out HERE.
1. The Nile Warrior
The inspiration for the Nile warrior is the Nile River which runs from Egypt down past Uganda. The large continent of Africa is rich in both flora and fauna and is often believed by many as the birthplace of humankind. With all this history and stories of early civilizations the continent also has its shares of ancient warriors. My first idea for a Nile warrior came from the old Sinbad the Sailor movies from the 1950s to 1960s. I ended up making two completely different prototypes for the Nile warrior because I wasn’t satisfied with the original Sinbad inspired one. Long and lanky with a red short and blueish pants, he ended up reminding me of Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island. Instead of heading the Sinbad the Sailor direction I focused on a more traditional look. While I’m more pleased with the second version, I still think there’s room for improvement if the character was ever needed for a bigger role.
2. Cain Reapis
Besides the serpent alien looking Black Wizard Witalis Atrox I needed another classic “bad guy” leader to go along with my story only this time I thought it would be better to make him human. In fact, Cain Reapis is the only human warrior related to the camp of “bad guys” I created. It’s great for dramatic purposes. Am I pleased with him? Yes and no. I was greatly inspired by the character of Dirk Blackpool from the short run early 1980s sword and sorcery series on CBS called Wizards and Warriors. I definitely needed to make him a bit scarier than Dirk Blackpool who was actually kind of soft-looking for a leader of the bad guys. He ended up looking more like Han Solo’s son from the new Star Wars movie which definitely wasn’t the direction I was looking for. Incidentally, Cain Reapis was first created before the new Star Wars movie was ever released. It’s just a coincidence.
3. Mongolian mystic
I came up with the idea for a wizard/mystic of Mongolian heritage. He is loosely inspired by the good wizard in the second Conan the Barbarian movie that came out in the early 1980s. I’m quite pleased with what I came up with only I felt he was too young-looking. In such a rare case I used some paint to add some gray highlights to his hair. This figure definitely looks like a typical claymation character. While I didn’t need the staff to help him stand on his own two feet, I added or as a prop for visual aesthetics. To my surprise, the face came together extremely quickly and I hit the point I tried to make.
4. Turkish warrior
Liked the Nile warrior, the Turkish warrior was also heavily inspired by the old Sinbad the Sailor movies only this time I hit closer to the mark. I did struggle a bit with this one because he is larger than what I usually create and a lot of clay was subsequently used. I made a second prototype that was much smaller but I felt that the original version was better. This is a similar case to when I attempted to recreate Gulik Horridus of the Troglodytarum. So, at least for now, I’m sticking with the original. I definitely feel it has that Sinbad the Sailor/Arabian knight look.
5. Persian warrior
I knew I needed to add more female roles to The Quest of Kimel Drago. Up until this point I had only created one other female character called Nagana, the two-headed naga. Even more of a challenge was to create a human female since she needed a gentle look yet she also needed like she could kick some butt. I decided to go with an ancient Persian style warrior which I researched thoroughly. The Persian warrior was definitely a challenge and I had to use Photoshop to tweet some details, primarily in the face. All in all, I reached my goal with her but I’m definitely more keen on creating monstrous creatures over Barbie dolls.
6. Celtic warrior
For the Celtic warrior, I included a traditional kilt which these warriors wore into battle during the medieval ages. The face and body came out well but I made one major mistake. Actually, you have to give it a good look to see it but the arms are far too short. Such an over-site occurred during the construction of the craft wire skeleton and I should have caught it. The problem was I was creating human medieval warriors at the rate of an assembly line in a production factory. I don’t advise approaching polymer clay sculpture this way. Take your time because haste definitely makes waste. Maybe I’m being a little hard on myself because from an action figure prototype point of view, the basic idea is there and pretty clear.
7. The first leader of the “good guys”
The biggest struggle I had with the Quest for Kimel Drago is still ongoing. It’s trying to come up with the perfect leader for the good guys. This particular polymer clay sculpture was my first attempt which I soon scrapped after his creation. Again, I found myself looking to the old Sinbad and Sailor movies and similar to the original Nile warrior, I felt it came up short. This figure came out far too youthful looking. One interesting observation I made after it’s creation was that he looked similar to Cain Reapis and could be him unmasked. I didn’t write such an idea in the story. It was back to the old drawing board for creating the ultimate leader of the good guys. I eventually attempted a second figure and while I felt it was closer to the mark than my first attempt, I’m still not satisfied with him for the purpose I need. The second prototype came out rather bland and looks more like a second Viking warrior.
Creating medieval warriors is a great subject for polymer clay sculpture. What ancient warriors did I forget? Do you think you could create a better interpretation? You can create your own warriors or remake one of the ideas I came up with. I made a few others including a Roman and Greek warrior. There are many different kinds of medieval warriors to choose from and should give you a few ideas for polymer clay sculpture. Creating human-based polymer clay sculptures is also a challenge since the rules of human anatomy apply. Are you up for the task?