Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Ship Fit For A God - Skíðblaðnir

Hey All,

Today we have the latest instalment of my personal Norse saga - Freyr's magical Long-Ship Skíðblaðnir.

"Skíðblaðnir (Old Norse 'assembled from thin pieces of wood'), sometimes anglicized as Skidbladnir or Skithblathnir, is the best of ships in Norse mythology. It is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and in the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, both written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. All sources note that the ship is the finest of ships, and the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda attest that it is owned by the god Freyr. Both Heimskringla and the Prose Edda attribute to it the ability to be folded up—as cloth may be—into one's pocket when not needed."
[The text above is an edited extract from this Wikipedia entry.]

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The first thing that I must say about this model is that it is completely unnecessary - I could have simply represented Freyr owning a magical ship by giving him the 'Amphibious' trait in 'Of Gods and Mortals', allowing him to move over water unhindered.

However, of all the strange and wonderful creatures and creations in Norse mythology, the idea of a ship that could be folded away into the owners pocket was something that I just fell in love with, and very quickly knew that I had to do a model of.

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I think this pic' shows it best. Can't you just see how it 'folds up'?

After looking around on-line at various historically accurate Viking Long-Boat models in 1/300th and 1/600th scale, I stumbled onto the Spartan Games website and fell in love their Uncharted Seas "Thaniras Elves Phoenix Class Battleship". With its groovy diagonal hull planks I immediately 'saw' in my minds eye exactly how this ship folded up into a pocket sized parcel, and knew that I must have one!

When I got the model I was rather surprised by the size of it - its freaking huge! - being about 5" from end to end. The model came in three pieces, a one-part resin hull and two metal sails. All were nice clean castings with only a few small mould lines in the usual places. 

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I hope this shot shows the size of the thing.

I know that the ship does not really look anything like a Norse / Viking long-ship - but then again its supposed to be Magic and made by Magical Dwarven Smiths. I was careful to choose a 'traditional' (rather than 'fantastical') colour palate when painting the model to try and draw it back towards the realms of mythology, rather than high-fantasy. I think that this has worked out rather well, but I have yet to show the completed model to any of my, rather sceptical, wargaming buddies...

And on the point of the clearly different scale of the model.....oGaM is a game of colossal abstraction - with a handful of figures representing the greatest armies of myth and legend, and gods portrayed in the way that they are. With this in mind, I think I can get away with an out of scale magic boat.

Next up in the painting cue, some War-Trolls.