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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

"Goodbye Old Man"


Dan Morton
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"Goodbye Old Man" is the title of this illustration by Fortunio Matania, a Great War period artist and illustrator. Sometime ago, on PlanetFigure and this forum I mentioned that I might work on this. I put it aside, but never forgot it.

I found a good 120mm Verlinden horse from an OOP Napoleonic kit. I cut the saddle and harness off and such like. Worked on the horse filling and changing the pose, doing prelim groundwork and put an armature for the British artilleryman together. Just getting started, but your opinions, as always would be valued! I've never converted a horse - so that part is all new to me and I'll welcome all the help I can get. I've put the big fella in about the right pose on the groundwork. As always, I don't feel the need to exactly copy the horse's position and pose of its limbs from the Matania illustration. I'm after the same 'effect', but not a copy. I would like the horse to look exhausted and like the artilleryman has just pulled the harness off him. So there should be streaks in his coat and indentations showing where the harness laid, of course. Sound right? The artilleryman should be cradling the horse's head to his chest, so I'll work on that. Other than that...any suggestions would be welcome!

For these photos the artilleryman figure is just stuck on with photo mount. I want to finish the horse and about two-thirds of the ground work before I do anything more with the figure. Due to space limits, I'll post pics of the model separately.

All the best,

Dan

post-4473-1193505513.jpg

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Dan this is going to look astounding when it's finished

It looks fantastic already

Great work

andy

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Excellent so far...........well done indeed.

Like Andy I can't wait until it's finished.

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Dan. Another great piece of work in progress, thanks for sharing this with us.

Best Regards Rob.

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I am a huge fan of Matania and have a signed copy of the print in question and a small pencil sketch by him. The artist was a superb draftsman of a type which has now dissapeared. Every success with the model. I will watch future postings of your 'hommage' with condiderable interest. The best of luck with it, it looks great.

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Many thanks David! I'm envious of you. Would love to have a Matania original! ;) Today I hope to work on the horse's tail and hair a bit, smooth the surface a bit. Late yesterday I removed the ears and sculpted ones that were laid back like the illustration.

All the best,

Dan

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Dan,

As you know I am a great fan of your work and this one looks to be every bit as good as the rest of your masterpieces.

Keep the pictures coming again.

I was glad you picked up on the ears as I think they say the horses feelings well in the illustration.

Ian. :D

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That print reduced my good lady to tears the first time she saw it, she now hates it and finds it far too emotional for her to view which I think was just what Matania was trying to say.

Gareth

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Many thanks Ian and Gareth for your kind comments and encouragement. Still looking for photos of horses lying down that clearly show the thigh, belly and shoulder musculature. I think Matania might have gotten that a bit wrong and would like to make sure. I tried searching online but couldn't come up with anything clear enough. I'll try the military horse forum next - www.militaryhorse.org/ . An absolutely first rate site for those with an interest in the cavalry, horse-drawn transport and artillery, etc.

All the best,

Dan

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If you can get your hands on it, either by library or contacting me, the book, Equus, The Creation of the Horse, by Robert Vavra, should be of enormous help to you, re Horses. Also a search through the art work of the Australian War Memorial of horses, should help.

http://www.awm.gov.au/database/collection.asp

put horses and variations of siad, in search , with WW1 and it will give you photos and artwork.

"Bringing up the guns" is one of my favourites.

I am glad you decided to realign the ears. Although the forward ears suggest listening to the goodbyes and the emotional contact between man and horse, the laid back ears suggest pathos and pain, which is the emotion I think you are trying for.

The flanks of your model are too rounded, suggesting a well fed horse, not one under the duress of war conditions.

Under war conditions, I reckon Mantina got it pretty close to being right, also remembering the style of drawing, or painting of horses, at that time.

I am waiting with anticipation towards the final of this one, as you have done such wonderful work previously, I have high expectations that this one will be excellent.

Cheers

Kim

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Absolutely fantastic work and as a horse owner it has already tugged at my heart strings. Ears back and slightly flat sideways donate an unhappy, frightened, tired or fatiqued horse as does hanging the head down although I know his master his holding his head up. The front legs are usually tucked well up in a laying horse, as in the original which has it's head and shoulders higher than it's belly.

I have a picture of my little mare lying down at home ( although she is very well rounded!!) that may help you. I will try and send that through this evening.

Keep up the excellent work

Diane

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Hi Dan,

If you could send me your e-mail address I will send the photo straight through to you this evening. Had problems with Tiscali last night so couldn't get on the internet.

Diane

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Granddad was a Driver with the 267 and 245 Bdes, RFA. And both before and after the War worked with farm horses. Apparently, the wounding, and general rough conditions for the horses was one of his key memories of the time. Oddly, I am told, not the killing. Sad though it was, it was, with the lucky ones, quick. It was the suffering that he could not stand. I know what he meant.

Never owned a horse, but that picture surely touches a chord. I appreciate the art, but it's hard to look. Cheers.

Colin

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Dear Colin - I know what you mean...

Right now I'm trying to convert the rather well fed model kit horse I started with into a very tired, underfed, suffering horse. Not as easy a task as I thought it would be because I've found some very sad photos of abused horses online. It's not easy to use them as reference material.

All the best,

Dan

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Good for you Dan for choosing such an moving subject, i am a keen modeler myself. I wish you luck with the project, it should look stunning when finished.

cheers

Rod

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There have been threads on this picture before: it is owned by my employers, The Blue Cross, to whom Matania gave it to raise funds for their war-horse relief work (particularly with the French army).

I can't wait to see what the final result looks like. We'll discuss the copyright fee later.

(Looks for tongue-in-cheek smiley).

The memorial to the 58th (2/1st London) Division is extremely similar. I think it's at Cerisy, or somewhere similar-sounding, on the 1918 Somme battlefields.

Joking aside, it looks like another winner from the Morton stable!

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Rod, Steven and Bob - Many thanks for your comments! Certainly no intention to void your employer's copyright control, Steven. :) I'm just a modeller and a sculptor wannabe, Steven. Mr. Matania is the artist and the one with the real and original inspiration. As for the larger version at Chipilly, could someone post a photo of it? Approximately what size is the statue? Who was the sculptor?

All the best,

Dan

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