Turns out I can't stay away.
Actually, I'm finding that, despite my best efforts, the clay seems to be drying out at an alarming rate, and it's becoming clear that I need to get this done it becomes unworkable. I wanted to work in clay for a number of reasons, and I'm glad I did, but I'm definitely getting a sense of why sculptors generally prefer plasticine. Having a large clay sculpture turns out to be like owning a dog; you need to pay attention to it every day or it's going to die.
Anyway, here's Wednesday's efforts. The form is essentially done. Now it's all in the details. You can see on the helmet where I'm trying to figure out how to approximate engraving, without actually engraving. This is the problem with detailed realism. If you're not Evan Penny or Ron Mueck, at some point you're going to need to figure out where to draw the line. Fingernails, yes. Cuticle, no. Seams, yes. Engraving, no, but...there can't be nothing there, either. It's an interesting question.
All this aside, I remain excited about the direction the small relief is going, and am hoping to work out some of those ideas on Monday. As for the plates- screw 'em. Maybe I'll get to that in August.