For this passing Christmas I sculpted for my father a Viking themes chess set. Not to be confused with Hnefatafl - an old Nordic game that resembles chess and is super fun to play - this is a regular chess set played on a standard board. The pieces go as such:
King - Odin's helmet with a one eyes eagle flaring it's wings atop it. Instead of going for the helmet you usually see with wings sticking straight out of the sides I decided to take it a little further and do more of an amalgamation instead of an inspiration. It's said that Odin would often turn into an eagle and scour the land below.
Queen - Odin's concubine (or sometimes wife) Freyja. She is a fierce warrior and keeper of the key to Asgard. To own the key to your home was a great thing to achieve and is seen as a sign of power. Both the King (Odin) and the Queen have Odin's triangle as the shape of the base to set them apart from the others (which have a basic round shaped base)
Bishop - Thor's hammer, Mjölnir. The bishop is an aggressive piece so it seemed natural to associate it with Thor's hammer, defender of Asgard.
Knight - A viking ship. Definitely important to the culture, I will admit that I decided on the viking ship because it already resembled the traditional knight figure.
Castle - The tree of life, seen as a giant tree with the nine realms surrounding it.
Pawn - A viking helmet and shield. Honestly it just seems like having something that signified a human viking warrior was apt for the pawn while the more mythical figures sit behind them. After all, what were the vikings if not the pawns of the gods? Inside the helmet of each pawn is a blue marble which hovers off the base. It served as a good base to build while still being a neat aesthetic addition.
Each piece is made out of air-drying modelling clay with a wire skeletal structure inside. They are spray painted with both ivory and antique brass spray paint and have a felt adhered to the bottom. I was going to put a spray varnish on them but I didn't want to add anymore shine. I mentioned it to my father that he may want to put a coat on them since they belong to him now. The whole production from brain to paper to wire to clay to paint took about 4 months. If I had to guess I'd say that I put 200+ hours into them. I've added in a small image of what the final schematic looked like in the corner of each piece.
Soooo incredibly glad this project is done, but now I've forgotten what it's like not to have something demanded my attention so ferociously.
Also, I know some people are going to look at these pieces and read their description and post things starting with "Actually, Odin did blah blah-" or "Freyja was this, not that-" or something and I'll just say that this is what I came up with from the research I did and conversations I had with other people. It's all just stories now, isn't it?