Sunday, 15 December 2013

Gullinbursti, the Brazen Boar

Hey Internet,

My camera took a spin in the washing machine last week so I've not been able to update with any new pictures. Rather amazingly, its now dried out - and it works!

I've been continuing with my 'Of Gods and Mortals' force since I last posted, and have something to show for it.

So, I present to you, Gullinbursti, Freyr's Brazen Boar. 

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"Gullinbursti (meaning "Gold Mane or Golden Bristles") is a boar in Norse mythology.

When Loki had Sif's hair, Freyr's ship Skíðblaðnir and Odin's spear Gungnir fashioned by the Sons of Ivaldi, he bet his own head with Brokkr that his brother Eitri (Sindri) wouldn't have been able to make items to match the quality of those mentioned above.

So to make gifts to Freyr, Eitri threw a pig's skin into a furnace as Brokkr worked on the bellows, and together they manufactured the boar Gullinbursti which had bristles in its mane that glowed in the dark.

The story of Gullinbursti's creation is related in the Skáldskaparmál section of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda;

"Sindri laid a pigskin in the hearth and bade Brokkr blow, and did not cease work until he took out of the hearth that which he had laid therein. But when he went out of the smithy, while the other dwarf was blowing, straightway a fly settled upon his hand and stung: yet he blew on as before, until the smith took the work out of the hearth; and it was a boar, with mane and bristles of gold. ... Then Brokkr brought forward his gifts: ... to Freyr he gave the boar, saying that it could run through air and water better than any horse, and it could never become so dark with night or gloom of the Murky Regions that there should not be sufficient light where he went, such was the glow from its mane and bristles." - Translation  by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur

According to Húsdrápa, Freyr rode Gullinbursti to Baldr's funeral, while in Gylfaginning, Snorri states that Freyr rode to the funeral in a chariot pulled by the boar.

The boar is also known as Slíðrugtanni (sometimes Anglicized to "Slidrugtanni")."

[The text above is an edited extract from this Wikipedia entry.]

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The model itself is a Reaper Miniatures 'Dire Boar' that I picked up on Ebay. Its about 55mm long and 40mm tall, and I have based it on a 40mm washer.

After a good deal of pre-meditation I decided to paint it with a mixture of metallic and non-metallic paints and various inks. 

I went from a base coat of a dark brown colour, and highlighted up using targeted dry-brushing, adding a pale gold paint to my browns for the highlights. At various stages in the highlighting process I jumped in with red, green, sepia and purple ink washes to try and create a deep lustre within the metallic fur.

I've never painted something in this way before, but I'm really happy with the result. The highly experimental nature of the painting made it very enjoyable. I'd love to have a bash at some more Norse automatons in the future.



  1. "... I jumped in with red, green, sepia and purple ink washes to try and create a deep lustre within the metallic fur..."

    I'd say you got past trying to create that effect, and fully achieved it. Lovely work!