2019-07-28

Nissa Revane

It's time for another Magic the Gathering build. This time the subject is less obscure. Nissa Revane is a member of Gatewatch, which used to be group of main characters on the story. She is an elf planeswalker from Zendikar and centered on green mana; And green is definitely my favourite MTG colour. I had had an idea of building Nissa earlier too, but it was finally triggered by the War of the Spark card and its wonderful art by Chris Rallis. The image had some real power of it, raw elemental strength of a mage who can rouse huge elementals from the land itself. It''s hell of a fun card to play with, too.


There are fortunately plenty of art on Nissa, as she is such an important character. On addition to Rallis's version this was particularly inspired by two Kaladesh versions, by Clint Cearley and William Murai. I like how those two versions are very different in terms of perspective and light colour, while still bringing the character together beautifully. Nevertheless, there are still variation on Nissas by different artists and that left me some nice space to adapt her in the brick form. 
I began with the face, with its distinct green markings. Green rubber band (from Bohrok, of course) was a friend here, though fiddling with it was quite tricky - It's very tight. It was the only way to make the thin little markings, and fortunately it set itself in a way that doesn't strike the jaw out very easily. The eyes are lime green, which made the contrasts of the face bit more mundane than I'd like, but bright green eyes are iconic trait of Nissa's design and thus felt obvious to include. The elf ears are couple of baby bows. Her braided hair uses old palm tree trunk parts. I think I have almost half a meter of them, and I've been wanting to use them as a hair for some time. 

Nissa's outfit is a mix of different material and pattern. He has a bodice of dark green and brown leather and bit of a white shirt under it; and a flowing green cape and skirt. I made some leather plate details on the bodice with cheese slopes stuck inside two-brick-high panel. It's a trick I've been using since Balin, one of the first major character builds, back in early 2013. It's slightly off center, but it captured the feel of the material nicely. A bit similar pattern on the side is done using "grilled cheese" pieces in brown. Above them, the bust offered some challenges, as I wanted to show bit of the skirt between bodice and the skin, while keeping the proportions balanced and realistic. Regular green of the cape distinguishes it from the dark green leather of the bodice.

The cape is bound on the front, goes over the both shoulders and flows on the back. I usually tend to avoid capes like this, as they are heavy and make the posing hard; Kushana from Nausicaä manga was a example of this problem. However, it was years back, and cape seemed an integral part of Nissa's design so I gave it a go. I think it's quite dynamic, and didn't affect the posing much in the end. More problematic are the shoulder parts, which fell of easily. Their studless surface differs from the cape, but fits the green are over the bust. Looking back the process now, I wonder why I didn't just build the upper torso in green. Maybe I though the cape too concretely, as something that is worn over the body; now there is the tan upper body and the cape over it. But it doesn't look bad, actually.

Nissa's gloves are brown leather with some green cloth trimming. They took couple of tries to get right, and compared to the cape, they have not been thought concretely. There's dual T-bar joint for extra mobility. It's not that realistic, and maybe not even accurate, but the proportions are relative right and they allow dramatic poses. The fingers are unfortunate black droid arms again, an issue I wrote about couple of posts back

The skirt was an interesting build and I'm satisfied with it. I don't have that much green wedges and such - it's not a colour that would especially catch my eye when browsing bricks. So I gathered all somewhat flowing green parts, and began assembling them. Most of them were single-sided wedge slopes, I think they are from Chaos Pick-a-Brick fifteen years back. But they got their redemption and formed a nice, folding skirt with help of some hinge pieces. I also like the belt and its army man base knot. The legs look quite natural under the skirt, too - this isn't usual, because the skirts on my figures tend to be quite thick, making regularly wide thighs inside impossible. This is a good skirt!

On Nissa art, the colour of the trousers was a bit unclear. It was clearly green in some, but the regular Kaladesh version showed it in more mundane brown shade. I went with a brown for better contrast: Green on the skirt, brown on the trousers underneath. The thighs are brand new design - no recycling this time - and slightly fragile near the hip. The wide selection of curved slopes in dark brown made the shaping easy, but in contrast there are no plates between 1x2 and 1x6 in that colours. Black substituted them, as usual. The knees have some dark green, I think they represent metallic armour, but I'm not sure; the odd curved slopes with "lip" are used there, I like those parts and use them a lot. Their shape flows nicely. 

The boots are based on design of Grata of Kontrabontempi's boots - those boots were actually inspired by Nissa's boots, as Nissa had been on my imaginary shortlist for creations quite a while. I'm especially happy with the dark green gaiters and the tooth pieces at the heels. Nissa was completed with her staff. It doesn't held the sword blade, but you can't have everything. The knobby end is quite close to the design I made for Gandalf's staff in 2014. It's not perfect, but the best I got with my "little brown bits". 

The next build will be an active contest entry, and then I'll continue chasing myself with a very very late was-supposed-to-be entry for a Speeder Bike Contest in April or May; so it's a person and a ride. 

-Eero























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