The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #329: Toymaking Updates, Aurora Inspiration -“Saving the Best for Last” by Daniel Horne, and Reading the Howard the Duck Movie Novelization Part 15
This week, we’re discussing a few toymaking updates, discussing one of the inspirations for one of Aurora’s outfits from The Thirteenth Hour, and reading the next section of the Howard the Duck novelization.
As I was preparing the first run of Thirteenth Hour action figures, I was reminded of where one of Aurora’s outfits came from. Back when I was a kid, you’d occasionally see fantasy art used in advertisements for video games and TSR Dungeons and Dragons material. This was one that I think was used in an ad in this copy of a tattered DnD magazine I think that was called Dragon. I’m not even sure it was credited, so I didn’t know the name of the painter or the painting for decades. But I loved the painting – the tension, the imagery, the fact that it tells so much in just one picture. Eventually, I somehow learned the name of the painting (I think by eventually figuring out who painted it), and learned it was done by Daniel Horne, and the name of the piece is “Saving the Best for Last.” The title, too is perfect (referring to the archer’s last arrow. I can literally feel myself tensing up internally seeing the threat looming up in front of the archer and the fact she has no more visible armament left). Here is the transcript of an interview I found with Daniel Horne back in 2011.
And if you like this picture, you can buy a copy of your own on the artist’s website (just like I did).
I recall sketching the hell out of this picture when I was a teenager, trying to capture the dynamic nature of the story depicted in the painting. I was inspired by the setting, her outfit, her bow, the big hair (it was 1987, after all), the “oh, snap” expression on the archer and wanted to pay homage to this painting and how much it meant to me in The Thirteenth Hour, just like all those other 80s influences I’ve talked about ad nauseum on this podcast and website. This character in Daniel Horne’s painting is probably the only other visual inspiration I had for Aurora other than Beverly Switzler’s hair in Howard the Duck. Even before I had written this part of The Thirteenth Hour, I had already created the scene and background for it in my mind and sketched out an early draft of the picture that would later become the one that would show up in the book below:
The same outfit showed up in the magnet dolls I made about a year ago (I still have to figure out what to do with these; I think some will come with a future Thirteenth Hour special edition album).
This was the first custom action figure I attempted – a tiny rendition of Aurora in her archer’s garb, the same one in the picture with the dragon above and, of course, the one inspired by the archer’s outfit in “Saving the Best for Last.”
And here is the Kenner-style 5 POA versions I’m in the process of painting. The parts are primed so far, so it’s just sanding, painting, repainting, and the final process of fitting the pieces together.
You can now find the Aurora and dragon picture as a 4″ x 5.5″ flexible magnet on The Thirteenth Hour Arts store.
On the same store, you can also find the Thirteenth Hour mask combo package I recently put on Etsy. This fall, it became really hard to find good quality masks for our kids as they were going back to school. There are still long wait times for some of the companies we like best, so I thought, why not try to find an alternative? I eventually settled on the triple layer masks available for printing on by the company Flashbay. They were one of the few companies I found that were transparent about their third party safety data (Junior: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Junior_REACH.pdf?v=1617870020, Adult: https://static.flashbay.com/images/certificates/Sky_Performance.pdf?v=1603078812), which is nice. I was impressed by how well these masks performed on the filtration tests, even after repeat washings. Also, I really liked how both the ears and nose piece could be adjusted for a good fit.
The Thirteenth Hour mask combo also comes with Thirteenth Hour hand sanitizer! (But of course)
We are also reading the next section of the Howard the Duck from the movie novelization.