Hyrule’s deep forests and high mountains become momentarily deserted as the cast of the Zelda videogames make their way to a flatter, rather more checkered geography instead.
This gorgeous Zelda-themed chess set was sculpted on commission by Benjamin Howard (a.k.a. Fizz Man Industries). Ben is a self-professed videogame-character-lover and he’s done Zelda’s justice here. As he states on his website, each one of the pieces that make up the set is unique and was carved from scratch, without using any molds. This, I’d say, takes up about a thousand notches the level of craftsmanship involved, and is probably the reason why it took Ben three solid months to put the whole thing together.
The figures were made with polymer clay and painted with acrylics. The Zelda characters have suffered many different physical incarnations throughout the years; Ben’s choice to model his pieces after their “Toon” versions wasn’t so much stylistic as it was pragmatic: Those were the versions he felt most comfortable reproducing on a technical level. The end result certainly shows off his skills in this respect and to cap it off, it’s through-the-roof cute. Unlike in traditional chess, there’s no White and Black sides here but rather, a Good Side and a Bad Side.
The King of the goodies is, naturally, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule. Princess Zelda has been promoted to Queen and the posts of Knights have been taken up by two renditions of hero/protagonist Link: One is the iconic blonde haired and left-handed Link we’re all used to; the other’s a more modern, brunette, right-handed Link.
Some of Zelda’s most popular recurring races complete the goodies team: Two Zoras (donning clothes for the occasion, very much unlike their usual selves) fulfill the roles of Bishops; a couple of Gorons are Rooks (quite an appropriate pick given their sturdy build) and a group of Deku Sprites are the Pawns. There’s a variety of green-leaved and red-leaved Dukes and no two look the same, which in a way gives each their own distinctive personality and adds to their charm.
The baddies are of course led by evil King Ganondorf and Veran, the Sorceress of Shadows. Wizzrobes are Bishops, Moblins are Knights, Oktoroks act as Rooks and many-colored Chu Jellies as Pawns. The choice of characters for each position, be it on the Good or the Bad side, makes perfect sense and even though I’m not much of a chess enthusiast, I feel compelled to try and like it just to be able to make a few neat moves with this wonderful set.