Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Katniss Everdeen, an inspiration to start sculpting

Where do I even begin? There are many moments in both Hunger Games movies so far that made me pause and think ... 'hey that would make an awesome miniature model kit'. And most of these moments involve the character portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence i.e. Katniss Everdeen. Well she may yet be the straw that broke the camel's back and the character that gets me to learn about sculpting.   

Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss to perfection with that 'spaced-out I don't care anymore' look on her face. Perhaps  two other actors could, in my humble opinion, have successfully pulled off playing Katniss namely Ellen Page (who is Kitty Pride in Days of Future Past, the new X-Men movie) and Hailee Steinfeld (who portrayed Petra in Ender's Game). But that being said, Jennifer Lawrence nails the character and is how I have imagined her from the books.

Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect Katniss
Ellen Page (left) and Hailee Steinfeld (right)

So what are the moments that I feel would make awesome miniatures for painting? For a start,there is that chariot scene in the first movie where Katniss is dressed in a Cat Woman-like outfit that is set ablaze with flames. That pose would make a very cool bust sculpture. 

Costume and special effects in the chariot scene from the first book/movie

Another scene has Katniss dressed in Tomb Raider-like garb. It looks simple, which makes it a prime candidate for a novice sculpture, yet would still be a wonderful piece to have in your collection. There is an action figure by NECA which depicts her in the pose below but it comes fully painted, which might be of use to re-modellers but not really that appealing to painters. 

A Tomb Raider look for Katniss Everdeen

My favourite moment of both movies so far and the one scene in which I would most love to sculpt is the one that has Katniss spinning around in a gorgeous red dress that bursts into flames at the lower fringes. Forgive me for the overly generous use of adjectives but that costume was simply stunning, magnificent and elegant in its simplicity, made even better by the simple hairdo and makeup that Jeniffer Lawrence had on in that scene. It reminded me of a flamenco dancer in full flight.

From District 12, the girl on fire

Catching Fire, the latest Hunger Games movie, also has some memorable moments of its own that would make cool miniatures, if someone would only sculpt them. This time around, the second chariot scene had lost its 'surprise' factor but still looks impressive enough to be a bust sculpture.

Katniss in another chariot scene in Catching Fire

Similarly uncomplicated in style is the attire worn by participants to the Quarter Quell, a special edition of the Hunger Games that is held every 25 years. A good pose is one I found on the cover of Empire magazine which has Katniss holding a bow and carrying some arrows on her back.

Attire worn by participants of the 75th Hunger Games

Perhaps the most detailed and thus difficult miniature to sculpt would be the one where Katniss is wearing a wedding dress that transforms into a mockingjay outfit. While it is something to aspire to if one has some experience sculpting, this is surely beyond the ability of a novice sculptor.

Wedding dress that transforms into a mockingjay costume

So the above moments has certainly sparked my interest in sculpting (pun unintended) but I know as much about sculpting as I did miniature painting about 2-3 years ago which is close to nothing. Of what little I know sees me leaning towards learning how to sculpt with polymer clay. This is a new journey that I am looking forward to and hopefully one that will be just as rewarding as miniature painting has been for me so far. A lot of work lies ahead so it's going to be baby steps all the way.

Hunger Games the books, a short review

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

In case you have been living under a rock for the past five years, Hungers Games is a science fiction trilogy written about a dystopian nation called Panem. Katniss Everdeen, the main character lives in one of the 12 districts under the political control of The Capitol, the seat of a totalitarian government. Every year, two children (one boy and one girl) are requested as tribute from each of the 12 districts. These children are then sent to compete in The Hunger Games in which there is only one winner.    

If you have already seen the movies, would you want to read the books? The answer to that is an emphatic yes! As Suzanne Collins has written the books from a first-person narrative or point of view, there are a lot of thoughts by the main character Katniss which does not translate well into the big screen. Additionally, the books also give deeper insights into the characters although I suspect some of such narrative may be used as material for the final two movies of the Hunger Games series. Another book in a similar vein theme-wise would be Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, which also deals with young children left in a kill-or-be-killed environment that sees them descent into savagery.

Setting aside the deeper meaning that critics have tried to glean from the books, this trilogy should be enjoyed simply as being a good story told well. Characters in the Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay books are well developed, especially that of Katniss Everdeen as the books are written in her voice. And wonderful characters always make good miniatures to paint ... and sculpt.


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