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Okay! I finally finished that Kaya the Reaper project I've been working on forever. I think she came out pretty good. Working in ministry, I've always been impressed and shocked at the challenges of single parents, especially single mothers. The drive and determination that these women have to live life, often against their choice, is always an inspiration. I conceived this diorama a few months back, during the time I was painting Kaya the Reaper. I was curious as to what would drive this woman to pick up a spear and charge into battle. The answer came in the form of this Year of the Giants diorama and a Frost Wyrm I'd picked up to paint for my son. Kaya's story is one of tragedy and unforeseen circumstances. The loss of her husband and older son has forced Kaya to make a hard decision: either slay the monster ravaging her people, or lose herself and her son in the process. The spin on this story, of course, is Nidhogg herself, who is now a new mother. Both are acting in the best interest of their children. Kaya needs to slay the beast to protect her son as well as the rest of the village. Nidhogg required food for nourishment of the developing young inside of her. Now the two meet in the wilderness, to kill or be killed. The death of Nidhogg will bring food and safety to the village, while the death of Kaya will end her dynasty. I added the two ropes at the last minute as a reflection of broken childhood: a broken swing. The decisions we make as adults affect our children, and can either enhance or detract from their lives. Young Bran may or may not grow up in a world without a father and an older brother, and during a time of strain on a village ravaged by a beastly mother. So..... Mothers: The Beast of the North has teeth that are unseen, yet cut to the bone. She has eyes that never sleep, ever seeking to slip your soul from its mooring into eternal slumber. She has claws that rip babes from their motherâ€™s arms, fathers from the arms of their brides, and tear through the fragile bonds that bind the elderly to this plane. The North is a harsh mistress, and the creatures that survive there has been shaped by her cruel nature. Such was the fate of Kendric, Elder Tribesman of Eagleâ€™s Eyrie, husband of Kaya, father of Bran and Hrothgar, beloved of many. In the year of the two moons, his life was stamped out by one of these cruel creations of the Beast: Nidhogg the Vile, Wyrm of the North. It was the night when Nidhogg came, Seeking souls and meat to fill her venter. The dark mistress hungered for innocent flesh, Young and pure to quench her bloodthirst. Though large, crafty she was, Sliding silently though the frost-kissed glade. Through town and tent she glided, Until old Nidhogg found young Hrothgarâ€™s bed. The blood of kings this night she needed, And that of the young and pure. Two chomps and a swallow were all it took To silence young Hrothgarâ€™s cry. In wide-eyed silence stood young Bran, His turn next to die. But lo! In came brave Kendric, Blazing axe held high. Chomp, chomp went the Wyrmâ€™s fierce maw, Rage blazing in Nidhoggâ€™s eye. Kendric knew the time was short, His last young son to save. The Vile lunged, the two she desired to claim, Brave Kendric met the charge head on, The Wyrmâ€™s head he sought to mame. As time and tale doth quite repeat, Young Bran he managed to save. But lo! Great Kendric the dawn did not greet, By Nidhogg the Vile he was slain. Great fire from her form did flare, Igniting wood, and flesh, and bone. Fear, and tears, and blood did flow, Revenge did Kaya vow. The Wyrm herself a mother now, In matronly care does rest. Kaya the Ravager plots in fury, To slay the Wyrm or die. The cost to the village was great. Nidhogg the Vile, Wyrm of the North visited many that night, causing pain and destruction wherever she went. Many lives were lost, and the very existence of the tribe was in peril. Widowed and with no one to care for young Bran, Kaya the Ravager, baby Bran in tow, set forth into the wilderness. She has vowed to either take the head of Nidhogg and bring life to the village, or end the dynasty with her death and that of young Bran. I think I probably put TMI in the contest post... I tend to get carried away with writing, but I can put my thoughts up about the project here, so.... 1. I like the way this turned out. It turned out somewhere along the lines of what I had in my head. Overall, as normal, I'm satisfied. 2. I don't like snow effects. I think it works this time as the diorama is apparently in mid thaw, so the cracks don't bother me as much. I need to explore other options than the texture paste I've been using. The flakes on the Wyrm and scenery are Army Painter snow... um... snow. It's fastened with Vallejo Matte Medium. 3. That ugly baby is, I think, a Stonehaven Miniatures gnome baby, which fell in scale with Kaya. He was lying around from a gnome children's collection. The carrier itself is my attempt at sculpting with greenstuff, and I think I did a fair job of making a rugged carrier to hold little Bran. His left eye is a bit funky as there's some crazy flash or sculpting going on there. Either way, he's scenery mostly, so I didn't worry about it too much. 4. I still love Kaya! I think she's still my favorite mini to date, she's tough as nails, and can get it done! 5. The cliff is, of course, cork. I love cork. We're friends... With that said, I wish I would've had time to carry the sculpt to the side of the plinth. It looks kind of funny how it just cuts off rather than blends back into the plinth. It's just a personal preference, but oh well. By the time I started looking at it critically, there was already milliput, wires for the tree, and a bunch of other stuff on there. 6. The Wyrm gave me fits painting. I think there's a WIP of what it almost became... LOL! Yep... I like the way she turned out after starting over on her. Those "eggs" are actually mini marbles that I had to order online. They're actually a cream color, and held in place with something called Liquitex String Medium. I added Liqitex inks into the string medium by dipping the end of a brush in a drop of ink and dragging it through the medium. I then took forceps, picked up a marble, and drug it through the medium and line of ink, placing it onto the Wyrm. The medium held the eggs and ink well without becoming a blended mess! This idea came from nature as mother centipedes will coil around their eggs to protect them. 7. The basing material is potting soil from various pots around the house. The "trees" are some scenic sticks I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I felt very silly for buying sticks, but I didn't have time to go out, harvest sticks, and dry them out. Time is money, money is time and all of that... 8. The tree, of course, is wire coated in milliput then sculpted to look something like a tree. I had maple leaves to add to this tree, but it's winter's end, so there wouldn't be anything on there. I used birch pod things as blown leaf litter. 9. I added some realistic water in various places to simulate run off, but it doesn't come through in these pics as the places are small and honestly, I had a hard time taking pics of this diorama. That tree adds a good 25% to the overall length of the scene, so I have to keep the light and camera off at a distance to capture it all. I may take a few close-ups with my light bent in crazy ways to see if I can capture it better. 10. The swing ropes are baking twine, weathered with dips in various colors of ink and a wash of MSP Walnut Brown. I weathered them with my fingernails... They're quite stiff after the weathering process. LOL! 11. The tiny plants are Army Painter Tundra Tufts, or something like that. The reeds are the hair things that came in a kit. Ah well, that's about all I can think of right now. Please, please! Leave questions and comments! I'd love to hear opinions and such. For now, I think I'm going to take a few days off then probably tackle all of those minis from Super Dungeon Explorer. It's been a fierce month of miniaturization between this one and the Dr. Who diorama... HAPPY NEW YEAR! -K