Of all the great Native American Chiefs, Red Cloud stands out at the only one who was truly successful in dealing with the white man. Both as a negotiator and as a warrior Red Cloud displayed an ability to out manoeuvre the US Army time and again. Much has been written about him and I heartily recommend even the most basic research into this great man. Lee van Quang has yet again demonstrated his unerring ability to reproduce stunningly accurate three-dimensional portraits with this lovely bust of Red Cloud. He is depicted wearing a very famous war shirt owned by the Ogala Sioux, which is to be seen worn by several prominent warriors (including Red Cloud) in many period photographs.
The kit comes in the usual stout cardboard box with good colour photographs of the completed bust from several angles to assist in painting. The kit comes in only 4 pieces, the head and shoulders, hair and 2 feather hair ornaments. Quang has, as appears to be his standard practice, included an extra feather in case of damage etc. The bust is completed by the inclusion of a suitably sized wooden base and a printed wooden label.
Naturally with such a simple kit, assembly is not a major step, the painting being where this kit stands or falls. All the moulding plugs and faint (all most nonexistent) mould lines removed, the bust was prepared for painting.
The face and war shirt should be painted prior to fixing the hair. I paint in oils glazed over an undercoat of Humbrol enamels. In this instance the face was painted in a mixture of Humbrol "Flesh" with a little Burnt Sienna oil paint mixed in. When thoroughly dry the face was glazed using flesh tones based on varied shades of my basic "flesh" mix of Gold Ochre, Titanium White and Burnt Sienna. I also "borrowed" a tip from the inimitable Ron Souza - I blend in a tiny amount of red (Cadmium Red) below the cheekbones, on the temples, below the corner of the mouth and just behind the tip of the nose, this really brings life to a face.
The bust as I said depicts Red Cloud wearing a very famous shirt but most of it is hidden behind a hair pipe breastplate. I have two areas where I am always unhappy with my efforts and that is painting bone and feathers. I undercoated the hair pipes in matt white enamel and then painted in the "gaps" with a fairly heavy wash of Burnt Umber and Sepia. This dried; I then glazed each hair pipe in virtually "straight" Titanium White with just the merest hint of Sepia in it. I was quite pleased with the result for once, but judge for yourselves. The beads on the breastplate were painted red and then over painted in Windsor and Newton Gold oil paint to give a copper/brass appearance.
I recently started experimenting with pearlescent acrylic inks and over painted the shell neck ornament with silver pearlescent ink to give an effective Mother of Pearl finish. The beadwork on the war shirt was painted as per illustrations on the box. In addition to Quang's pictures an excellent colour photograph of the war shirt can be found in the book "Plains Indians" by Colin F. Taylor. The face and war shirt completed, the hair was painted black, highlighted with Sepia and Titanium White, the hair ornaments painted and the feathers attached. The whole bust was permanently attached to the wooden base and the name plate stuck on.
Quang has done it again with this bust, the likeness is exceptional, but a quick look at any of historical busts will convince you of his frightening ability to reproduce a 2D image in exact 3D. Red Cloud was a noble and important figure in North American history; this bust will provide you with ample opportunity to bore all your friends with his story. It is easy to do a good job of painting such an exceptional likeness, I certainly enjoyed it. If you have never tried a bust or fancy a colourful change from WW2, why not try something from PiliPili's range?
This bust, together with all the PiliPili range, can be purchased from Historex Agentsand viewed on their web site.