Spear me the details

I was going to make a joke about a dull spear, but I didn’t see the point…

Next, I was assigned to do spears. These were my favourite to model! There was a bit of conversation with what type of spear to model at first with the research team. It was decided to go with fishing spears since there wasn’t much evidence of other types of spears for Huron- Wendat precontract times. The reference images used for modelling are given below.

Two bases for the fishing spear were created based on the two designs in these reference images. The first shows a fishing spear made with bone hooks on opposite sides with a sharp dagger like bone spear head in the middle. The hooks would prevent the fish from wriggling around and escaping once speared. The second design also prevented fish from getting away by having a detachable arrowhead connected to the spear shaft with a rope. The bone fish spear head designs seemed to overlap in all four reference images, so I made versions for each type of base spear with different spear heads.

(I found the fish trap design in the first reference image, especially fascinating because it is very common to catch fish in shallow waters with such a contraption in villages of Bangladesh, where I’m from, which is completely on the other side of the world!  Little FYI!)

Like the arrow, this model had a few components to it. So, each component was blocked out separately in Maya and then transferred to Zbrush for detailing. I made sure that I made two versions of each spear head, one with a hole for the rope version of the spear and one without for the hook version of the spear.

Once in Zbrush I had quite a bit of fun texturing the spear heads. Since they were made of bone, I tried to achieve a more organic look that also showed decay or damage over time. Bone can be polished till it is smooth, but it is also porous and being a fishing spear, I took the liberty to imagine water damage over time. Also constantly spearing an animal with scales and bone is bound to create damage on another object made of bone.  

I used this image for modelling reference in addition to the other reference images. The first is not related to Huron-Wendat but it did give me some reference to bone texture. The second image although taken from the Royal BC museum learning portal website, does not mention where the tools are from, by whom or when.

Image 1: https://americanindian.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/patagonia/142274.html Image 2: https://learning.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/pathways/can-you-dig-it/deercannonbonetools-2/

I used a couple of brushes to achieve this porous organic degrading effect. A combination of different alphas (Alpha 16, 20 and 31) on the standard brush/flat brush created that porous effect. I did have to use either a spray or the drag dot function to control the degree of porousness on different spots. The ‘dragdot’ function was especially useful when using the noise brush because the degradation could be place on specific spots.

For the spear with hooks, I tried to tie the bind around it like it would have been tied. First the sharp spear head would be bound around the bamboo or wooden shaft. The hooks would be bound on top of that, making a little pyramid of binds.

Double bind on Spear with hooks

The rope finally for the rope style spears was taken from my ‘bow’ earlier and manipulated to make it look free flowing and organic.  Variations were made by using a different spear head for each spear model. A few are shared below. They were made with a lot of spear-it! 😀

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