Everyone says that the show in Kulmbach is the Mecca of the flat tin figure world. They are right, but it is not a show that features flats only. There were plenty of full round figures and full round figures for sale in the tent. One of the pleasures of attending the show, perhaps the greatest pleasure, is meeting the sculptors.
Engravers and sculptors live in a world of talent very different from anything I can imagine. A number of years ago I tried helping my grandson sculpt a dog, but it looked more like an elephant. A master sculptor friend, Dave Whitford, counseled me, “That is when you say it is supposed to be an elephant.”
George Moschakis was one of the sculptor/venders at the Kulmbach show this year (2015). What a pleasure it was to meet him and his wife, Eva. We were also able to visit at dinner when a dozen or so of us met after the show one evening.
I know this site caters to flat tin figures, but I also know that many who visit the site and who are devoted to flats, also appreciate full round figures. For that reason, I am including an interview with George Moschakis from Athens, Greece.
What is Akritis Miniatures?
Let me tell you a small story. It was around 1995-96 when during a conversation with a partner-friend who was casting metal toy soldiers, he related to me the idea of creating a small miniature firm. I was painting and sculpting toy figures for him then. During the conversation he also gave me the idea for the logo. Osprey’s title “Byzantine Armies 886 -1118 ” was on the table and without to many thoughts’ he chose present logo. Saint Demetrius ivory (Byzantine, 13-14th c., Moscow Kremlin). I instantly agreed.
As you are going to see I am a fanatic lover of the Roman – Byzantine Culture, and I like very much medieval history.
However, meanwhile, I had started working as a land surveyor engineer and I this idea (Akritis Miniatures) was in the back side of my head until 2012, circumstances forced me to do my hobby as part of my professional life. My long love and passion for historical miniatures led to the creation of AKRITIS MINIATURES. This effort is aimed at people with a passion for creation and history, modelers and collectors
The purpose of the founder and his associates is to create high-quality miniatures with unusual historical topics to be covered by comprehensive research and documentation. Our goal is to enjoy the handmade artwork that we share with you, and make your collection richer with more artistically created figure.
The term Akritis has the following meaning:
Akrites called by the Byzantines the border guards, who at the time were called “tips”. The akritai replaced the “milites limitaneos” the imperial age of Rome, which Roman emperors had installed permanently to shield the country from shocks and invasions of the barbarians.
An “akritai” donated land to cultivate and they were exempt from taxes, with the sole obligation to keep the border from the raids of Arabs and vine (medieval thieves). It was a kind of permanent mercenary guards and soldiers. The word “Akritis” comes from the Greek word Ακρη “Akri” that can be translated in English as , the edge or the border. Akritis therefore is a border keeper.
At the time of their glory (7th-10th century) the akritai fought unceasingly against the Saracens and Deport. Their life was eminently military and dangerous, especially in the border regions of Asia Minor, Pontos and Cappadocia. This contributed to the development of the heroic spirit (similar to the medieval West), in which he explains the genesis and development of poetry eminently heroic, the so-called “frontier of.” Relics such we have to this day in our traditional folk songs and especially the surviving medieval manuscripts’ epic of Digenis Akritas Kingdom. ” But we must not forget other heroes exymnoumenous akritai as, Andronikos, the Armouris, Bardas Phokas, Nikephoros, the Petrotrachilos the Porfiris and others.
You can read more here:
How did you get involved in sculpting?
I got involved in sculpting by my modeling needs. During 1994-95 I was dealing with military dioramas and armours in1/35 scale. That it is my favorite scale. I wanted to make something different so I started a Waterloo diorama, and what I had available at the moment was Airfix, plastic soldiers in 1/32 scale and some historex parts that a friend had given to me.
I wanted to put about 40 figures into the diorama and I had only 1 pose. So I had to make transformations, to create the new poses. At my first transformations I had used plastic clay, but it was difficult to combine it with plastic. Things change when I discovered milliput epoxy putty !!!!!! Then it was the beginning of my sculpting adventure until know days. Since then I have made many creation, using generally epoxy putty (milliput, Magic sculp, Aves, A&B etc.) My first creation was a major transformations for myself and toysoldiers as commissions using milliput white and yellow grey.
Tell me more about the figures you sculpt, how you choose a subject and pose. How long does it take you to sculpt a piece?
I also like history, and there is a huge bank of subjects to choose. I like Napoleonics , medival subjects, WW1 & 2 etc. There is not any special period I like. If the subject is nice and attractive to me , with many colors, I will choose it. I like historcal subjects, but there are also some fantasy that are in my space of interest. They have to do with my spiritual interests, or because I feel that a good work will be the result.
The time to sculpt a piece depends on the difficulty and sometimes on the time I spend on this work. There are figures I sculpted in a week and others that took me years to finish them. Banovic Strajinia, for example was started during 2006 and finished during 2011 to go to World Expo 2011 at Montreux. http://www.akritisminiatures.gr/index.php?ID=8&CatID=10&ProdID=119
Usually commission works finish quikly because there is a special dilivering time. But when I build a subject for me usually this gets formed in my mind for a long period before I start creation. If it is historical, I like to know the last detail of the story, so that I can be as accurate as I can. And this is something that satisfy me. Because good construction must be accompanied by historical accuracy, the maximum possible in the historical miniatures, or it otherwise ceases to be historical, and enters the space of the imagination and hypothetical history.
Where can people go to order figures from Akritis miniatures?
Do you have other sculptors who contribute to your line of figures?
What else can you tell me about your company that you think readers would find of interest?
The long love and passion for historical miniatures led to the creation of AKRITIS MINIATURES. This effort is aimed at people with a passion for creation and history, modelers and collectors. The purpose of the founder and his associates is to create high-quality miniatures with unusual historical topics to be covered by comprehensive research and documentation. Our goal is to enjoy the handmade artwork that we share with you, and make your collection richer with more artistically created figures.
Akritis miniatures is not only one shop that sells Figures. It is a laboratory that designs and constructs historical miniatures, dioramas and models for collectors and other figure manufacturers. Also, in the past we have dealt with the subject of historical illustrations. It is something that will become a main part of my effort.