Ahoy hoy! Today I’m going to talk about the art of minis. Not how to paint them but asking why some seem to grab your attention despite their simplicity and some can be technically good but leave you a bit “meh”. We’ve just done a couple of unboxings which you can see here and here. There’ll be more to come but I chat a bit about composition and such (not that I know what I’m talking about) so I’ll be going into a bit of detail in this post.
Right, so above we have the Games Workshop Sylvaneth Tree-thingy and next to it we have a pair of Thornwind for Dark Age. At first glance we might assume that the Treething is super cool and the Thornwind are just another pair of blah minis, but look closer. Sure, the Treething is huge with loads of detail but what does it tell us. It’s a monster that looks a bit like a tree. The pose is a bit odd, we’d expect it to be static but the arms look robotic. The “thorns” it’s shooting out of it’s hand look more like tentacles that vines. The mismatch of tree-centric details don’t make it look like a tree at all, an Ent it aint. It also matches a bit too closely with the rest of the army. Just a bigger treeish thing.
Let’s have a look at those Thornwinds now. The shoulder capes blowing in the wind, the goggles and the gear all tell us that they’re in a windy desert. The pointing and goggle lifting suggest they could be scouts. They have unique weapons which help stand them out from the rest of the army. The lady is feminine without being all t&a. All from a couple of one piece sculpts, lovely.
Here we have another three minis from Dark Age, some older sculpts from the Skaard faction. From left to right we have a Grafter, a Worm Shepherd and a Sister of Charity. The Sister I can take or leave, the Shepherd I quite like but let me draw your attention to the Grafter. The dainty pose of the sewing hand against the oddly-shaped power claw on the other arm. The showing of female flesh with the strange cybernetics. One side of her covered by a cloak to make you wonder what horrors lie beneath and her face behind a mask to dehumanise her. There’s a story there. It may be a mini in need of an update compared to modern sculpting but it holds up thanks to the feel of the piece.
Is it too much to ask to get something like this from all our minis. Not that all minis should be unique and beautiful snowflakes but give more thought to what they represent. The Nasir Ashmen from Wrath of Kings look like the duellists they are and the Kairai from Bushido drag their undead limbs behind them as they shamble forward. You can tell what Guild Ball team youre playing against even if you’ve not seen them before. Yup, cleavers and knives, Butchers it is. When was the last time you saw a Space Marine with a story to tell.
Let me know if you’ve got any examples of well composed minis in the comments.
Until next time gentle readers.