Making the Wickerman

The idea of the Wickerman isn't exactly a well documented Celtic religious object, but seemed perfect for my armies of the Undead. What with all that burning sacrifices and the like.

So I did some research for pictures of how the Wickerman is supposed to look, but all I found were pictures of the wickerman in the 1970's film of the same name. I didn't like that one because it was too ordered and square. Mine had to look like crazed, evil, undead things made it. So I went for a more lashed together on the quick look :)

I spent a lot of time pondering on how to actually make the Wickerman. In the end I actually made it as if I was making one for real (without the sacrifices of course ;). That is I bought a Balsa wood bundle for £1.99 from my local craft shop and set about cutting up lengths of wood for the frame of the Wickerman.

I started with a frame as you can see in the first picture. I cut straight lengths of wood and used the craft knife to round off the edges to make it look like an axe had been used to chop up the wood. The frame poles are different lengths intentionally, as I said previously I was going for a rough un-ordered look. As ever when using knives, cut away from yourself and be careful!
I used superglue to stick the frame together. The bond wasn't bad but a firm tug would separate the joints and given the softness of the wood I had to be careful when handling the structure. To strengthen the frame I drilled a hole through the cross piece and glued in place a piece of wire.
I then added a beam across the top for the arms of the Wickerman.

Once I had cut the frame I then spent time cutting up loads of smaller logs that I could attach to the frame. I used the same method of rounded the logs off with the knife and i sharpened the ends to a point to look like sharpened stakes. It's meant to have been made by evil people remember :)

Adding these new shorter logs by sticking them with the super glue one by one to the frame legs I was starting to bulk out the structure. This technique was pretty much how I would set about making a wickerman for real. Without the superglue of course!
As you can see the process of adding the short logs around the frame worked well and gave a realistic look to the structure. You can also see my first attempt at using some wire to make it look like the logs had been bound up with rope. Going back to the lashed together look the best example I could think of was of a log raft. The sort you see in island cast away films.

With the legs done I moved onto the arms. Cutting longer logs up this time I wanted them to span the whole length of the arms. Again same technique as the legs and bound with wire. Because I added each log one at a time I was able to stick them around the top of the frame which helped to keep it strong and not look like the arms were perched on the top of the frame. You can see the frame poking out through the top of the arms.

I then needed to turn my attention to the body of the Wickerman and a possible cage for the sacrificial victims. Also a head for the Wickerman started to play on my mind. In the end I went for a prison bar type cage and made the pieces tall enough that they would stick above the arms forming a rough human shape. Also at this point it was becoming obvious that the 40mm round base I had stuck it to was just too small.

Ok at this point I sort of decided to change some parts and the structure got a little complicated. First up came the victims for inside the Wickerman. I actually ended up sculpting parts of bodies in the same style as the existing Celtos miniatures. I've worked on a number of projects for Brigade Models who own Celtos and obtained permission to copy the style of their miniatures for this project. But you could just as easily used old miniatures and just cut them up, so you can make it look like it contains a number of bodies. In fact you could probably make it look more dramatic with arms reaching out from the cage!
You will probably have also noticed that I had to take the cage beams off insert the victims and glue the cage back on :)
You will also have noticed that I ended up removing the wire I'd used for the bound together effect and re-worked the rope binding the Wickerman together using sculpted modeling putty.

I actually did this by rolling out flat some putty and once it had cured I cut it into thin strips and used it like real leather straps.

Threading the thin strips of putty through the structure I was able to really make it look tied together.

 

So in the same way as the Hell Gate, I used an old music CD and some modelling clay to make a bigger base. With the leftover bits of clay I made some rocks, as you can see from the picture to give the base some character. Before the clay dried I pushed the Wickerman Structure into it just to make an indentation that would help later when I would stick it to the base.

Adding a few more log beams to look like the Wickerman was being supported from falling over and a few more rocks the structure was complete. Painting the Wickerman