Monday, May 18, 2015

The Rabbit of Caerbannog

Killer rabbits have been part of popular culture since the Rabbit of Caerbannog was introduced to audiences in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. However, long before the film, foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodents were illustrated in the marginalia of medieval manuscripts as a darkly amusing inversion of roles between the hunter and the hunted.

Look... that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!

For gaming, the Rabbit of Caerbannog led to the creation of the Vorpal Bunny in Wizardry, and has been statted up by countless DMs for use in D&D.

The first place I checked for 1/72 compatible rabbits, was with manufacturers of HO scale model train accessories. I found a rabbit hutch made by Preiser (28099) that included several rabbits in brown and white plastic.

I broke open the hutch to get the rabbits out, but they actually turned out to be accurately scaled at 1/87, so appear very small next to 1/72 scale figures. Next, I decided to search OO scale accessories, and found candidates from Dart Castings and Langley.

The Preiser rabbits come in three poses. The ones in white plastic are hard to see in the picture, but they are about half the size of the OO scale rabbits. The next three rabbits come from the Langley Wild Animals set (F146), and the final two rabbits (or rabbit and hare) are from the Dart Wildlife Selection set (A31). Dart also has a standalone set of rabbits (A6), but the image on the website is not particularly clear, so I could not determine if the pose matches either of the ones in the comparison photo, or if it is something entirely different.

None of the rabbits were in the particular pose I wanted, I so decided to just sculpt one on my own. The ears were made with flattened staples that were shaped with a file and then attached to the head. The head is a separate piece since I was thinking about casting some more of them up.

With the left over Kneadatite, I decided to sculpt one more rabbit that would fit with the killer rabbit theme. Or more explicitly, I decided to sculpt the mask/head of Frank the Rabbit from the film Donnie Darko.

The original sculpt came out too much like a human skull, so I built up the maxilla to protrude out  a bit more. New teeth will be added at a later time.

Richard Kelly (the film's writer/director) says that Frank was influenced by the rabbits of Watership Down. Personally, outside of the Black Rabbit of Inlé or perhaps General Woundwort, Frank's image is about the last one I would come up with with respect to envisioning the rabbits of Watership Down.


Paul´s Bods said...

Busch also have an HO set with rabbits/hares
I dread to think how small the bees would be!!! :-D

I like your §frank the rabbit" ..much more scarey than the film one

Robert Audin said...

This looks sweet the world needs more killer rabbits.

EY said...

Hi Paul,

I don't have the Busch rabbits, but I have some of their rats, which look to be the same size as those rabbits in the picture. They're somewhat smaller than the Preiser rabbits IIRC.

Thanks for the comment on Frank.

@ Robert,

Don't forget Kill Kittens either (from Arduin Grimore). I actually have a blister of "Vorpal Kittens" from the Macho Women with Guns miniature line.

1Mac said...

There are two rabbit/hare poses in the Busch set. One is indeed about the size of the rat, the other is about twice the size, which is still super tiny. The bees, rest assured, are not to scale!

Sam Wise said...

Interesting post ! not easy to find some small animals !
I've some in resin (I've forgotten the manufacturer!) which are the same poses than the three metal ones in the middle (2 rabbits, 1 hare )

EY said...

@ 1Mac

Thanks for the info on the Busch rabbits, and thanks for commenting!

@ Sam Wise

Langley and Dart Castings have a wide variety of small animals, though they are primarily creatures of the English countryside. Most work for 1/72 scale, but some appear over-sized.

1Mac said...

Dart Castings! Great suggestion, EY. Any US sellers you're aware of?

EY said...

Hi 1Mac,

I don't think Dart has a US distributor.

I purchased directly from the UK, but the £6 shipping was a bit painful.