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Old Maori Warrior, New Zealand 1890's - Euromilitaire 2006 Gold Medal Winner

After seeing some great old photos of Maori taken in the late 1800s I was inspired to create my figure. Many photos that I looked at had a great contrast in them, and this was the wonderful tattooed faces or Moko in Maori, and that contrast of European clothing. When thinking how I wanted to create the old warrior, I knew that I had to pose him just right so he would give at a glance the proud look of his status. I studied many old photos and paintings of old Maori before sculpting the face. It was important that the shape and structure was definitely Maori. Sculpting the age of the face was very important too, he had to look like he was in his late 60's. When it came to the Moko I had to try and make the Moko look like it was carved into the face, because that was the way it was done, so I had to highlight and shadow it to give the illusion. Not that easy on such a small area. It was a good challenge.

I decided to sculpt the figure at 120mm. I used MagicSculpt and Duro epoxy putties. The painting was done using Vallejo and Maimari acrylics. Ground work was sculpted from MagicSculpt, painted and a variety of small plants were used. I also used some photo etched ferns which I felt just gave it the New Zealand forest look without overpowering the figure.

I just recently had my figure at Euromilitaire. I was very honored to receive a gold medal for him at this very prestigious show, and must again thank my good friend Les Smith for taking him and entering him on my behalf.

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  • maori_warrior_3
  • maori_c
  • 1800s_maori_011

About the Author

About john belcher (9961)


I had the luck to see this figure in life and it's even better then on picture. A gold medal is well deserved for the sublime piece of art. Well done John!!! Greetz, Gino
OCT 04, 2006 - 03:12 PM
Congratulations once again, John. I liked that figure the first time I saw it. Excellent work.
OCT 04, 2006 - 04:07 PM
John my friend what can I say -Great figure and your photography is magnificent - Congrads and finish that old Sam Elliot sooon Ian
OCT 04, 2006 - 06:35 PM
Hello John..you already know what I think of your lovely scratchbuilt piece..but I wanted to say congratulations once more on this great achievement, your first gold at Euro...may this lead to many more in the future..and hopefully you'll be able to get over yourself one day too. It was great to see how popular it was in the competition room with many people commenting on it's originality and how very special it was and what an unusual subject it was. For me, the most important thing about it, was not the beautiful attitude of the figure, or the exquisite painting..but the fact that when you got up close to the old fella, you just wished you could sit down alongside him and listen to his stories...He sure looks like he could tell a tale or two. Really well done mate...top marks for emotional content alone
OCT 04, 2006 - 08:42 PM
Hi Guys,I am just over whelmed with the response to my Old Maori Warrior.Many thanks to all of you for such kind and generous words.
OCT 04, 2006 - 11:56 PM
Hi John, Once again congratulations on your well deserved Euro gold its a pity you were not there to receive it yourself - maybe next time eh. It certainly was one of those pieces that everyone had something to say about, all complimentary I might add. The other good thing was it was original. Steve
OCT 05, 2006 - 12:58 AM
Remarkable work...it deserves the greater award...this work inspires!Thanks.
OCT 05, 2006 - 01:26 AM
Beautiful work. Well deserving of all the compliments. Cheers, Charles
OCT 05, 2006 - 03:21 AM
Hi John, When i first saw this figure posted awhile back i was left speechless.Congratulations with your award and i'm sure you'll be winning more medals with this fine work! cheers,Shay
OCT 07, 2006 - 01:40 PM
Congratulations for the Gold Award. The figure has a beautiful expression. Claude
OCT 08, 2006 - 02:53 PM