Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Skelton Crew Replica Weapons update

Israel Skelton of Skelton Crew Studios released a mouse-scale replica the Black Axe last year...but that piece was only the beginning of a larger line or replica products for the Mouse Guard fans...In this post, I wanted to share a bit of what Israel and I have planned for the future of this line and for your mouse-sized armory.

Rand's Shield:
Two weeks ago saw the release of Rand's shield. I first drew a piece of control art with measurements for Israel. When I draw this artwork, I have to look at all of the times I've drawn that piece in the Mouse Guard books and come up with an amalgamation of it ignoring inconsistencies and making an idealized version of the weapon or, in this case, armor. I try and give Israel different views and suggestions of how I see details working for the replica.

Israel then makes a prototype. For Rand's Shield, we discussed what to do about the back where the straps would go. I suggested they could be cast metal that was painted, or they could be left off...as though they have rotted away. But Israel insisted that if they are supposed to be leather straps, he would make sure the replicas all had leather straps. This photo is one he sent me to show an example of the strap material against the prototype.

The final product is a pewter casting that has been plated and antiqued to look like the shield from the comic (or even better in my opinion). This photo shows a near final version of the shield, Israel had some finish tweaks he wanted to do before they went into production. And these are available through the Skelton Crew store currently.

Farrer's Hammer & Tongs:
The next scheduled item is actually a pair of items. The hammer and tongs of Farrer, the mouse who forged the mythic Black Axe. For the control art I included a scale reference to the Black Axe, something Israel appreciated and requested I do in all the new pieces. I talked Israel out of having each hammer's handle be made of real wood...however, the tongs will pivot and function as real tongs would.

Beyond these pieces, we don;t have a release schedule or order set, but these are most likely the pieces that will follow the hammer and tongs...

Loukas' Sword: 
The design of this sword started with a drawing Jeremy Bastian did for my 30th Birthday of a mouse wielding a sword like this one. I liked the drawing and sword so much, I told him I was stealing it. In the Mouse Guard comics it became Saxon's mentor Loukas' sword...which Saxon later inherits. Israel has informed me that while the hinge won't match mine, and there will be no working compass inside, the acorn-cap pommel will indeed open in the replica...even though it will be no bigger around than a pencil eraser.

Lieam's Sword:
That strange triangle sword I drew for Lieam has become an iconic weapon for the character (even though he only had it in issues #1 & half of #3 in Fall...) Because my drawings had changed so much between when I drew Fall 1152 and now (as well as the times I've drawn Lieam with this sword for spot illos and commissions) I had to really adjust the proportions and design of the sword into this version. Because the next volume of Mouse Guard will take place in 1149, Lieam will again have this sword...which will make the replica a welcome addition to my reference shelf.

Gwendolyn's Pike-Axe:
Israel requested this one come sooner than later. I designed the weapon for Gwendolyn as something of a cross between functional and ceremonial. I wanted it to be something she could 'knight' mice into the Guard with and keep enemies at a distance with. In talking with Israel, I mentioned that I knew the braided cloth would be a pain for this replica so he could scrap them if he wanted...but not Israel. He said they will all have the braided cloth for certain when it comes time to make this replica.

Beyond these, Israel and I have a long list of things from the existing Mouse Guard books (including Legends of the Guard) and future Mouse Guard books. Here's a taste of what else we want to tackle:

-Kenzie's staff w/ lantern
-Sadie's daggers
-Celanawe's sword
-Delvin's Sheild
-Delvin's sword
-Bastian's bow~
-Leaf Hilt sword
-Sienna's mace
-Conrad's spear/hook
-Luthebon's sword (weasel scale)
-The tooth horns from the Legends cover

It's wonderful as a creator to entrust your world and designs to a skilled and talented craftsman like Israel Skelton. I hope you fans agree.

Upcoming Appearances:
New York Comic Con: October 10-13


Ken O said...

I can't wait for Loukas' Sword. The others look amazing too, but I really want Loukas'.

Jeff Lafferty said...

Those look awesome man!

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