Around the World in 80 Models: Central Africa

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Hop on board as we continue our journey Around the World in 80 Models! We began our itinerary at Sketchfab headquarters in New York and are working our way through Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, and North America. To catch up on past destinations, check out the rest of the Around the World in 80 Models series.

This week we’re in Central Africa, where Tula State Arms Museum exhibition designer Mikhail Kadilnikov tells us about a trombash from the museum’s collection.

Central Africa: Trombash

My name is Mikhail Kadilnikov, I’ve been working as an exhibition designer for Tula State Arms Museum since 2012. Apart from creating temporary displays from our own collection as well as numerous exhibitions from our partner museums across Russia, I started a process of digitizing the most significant objects nearly a year ago.
Being a complete amateur in 3D modeling and photoscanning I was learning the very basics of 3D modeling, UVW mapping, etc. mostly through Youtube videos which took me about two years to understand the process clearly. It was an enjoyable trial-and-error process and, eventually, it was worth all of the effort.

This trombash was one of the first objects we wanted to digitize as it highlights our oriental arms collection represented mainly by knives, swords, axes and shields. It was used as a weapon and as a tool of labor for clearing land for crops or for gardening of the banana groves by Mangbetu people living in the northern Zaire and Zande people inhabiting the territory of the Sudan and Zaire on both banks of the river Wells.



King Munza of Mangbetu people, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing by Georg Schweinfurth. Picture was taken from:

In order to capture a 3D model of it I used the photogrammetry technique and took 35 images from different angles which were then processed in Agisoft Photoscan. Unfortunately, we do not have a professional photo studio where it would be possible to set up the appropriate lighting and take decent photos, so all images were taken in one of our exhibition halls near the window which was the main source of light. We also used a few spotlights pointed towards the model to decrease shadow from the window. But despite the lack of proper equipment the software managed to create quite decent model which after some Zbrush sculpting became very convincing.

The whole point of our Sketchfab account is to allow people from all over the globe who are passionate about arms history to get in touch with our collection and explore it for free in a virtual world. Whether you are a researcher, a student or just a casual visitor we hope that you will find something that meets your interests be it education or entertainment.

To see more of the Tula State Arms Museum’s models here on Sketchfab, check out their profile!

About the author

Abby & Néstor

Abby and Néstor are Sketchfab Masters.
Abby Crawford, Ph.D. is trained in and passionate about Roman Archaeology and works as a freelance artifact illustrator and 3D scanner in California.
Néstor F. Marqués is a virtual Heritage & cultural diffusion researcher, and an enthusiast of ancient Rome’s culture.

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