Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Saga of the Paint-effect Elves - Part II

In my first post on this subject, I smugly joked that now that I had found a paint that gave a convincing chrome effect, I should make sure I bought enough tins. Well, with predictable tempting of fate, I finally got round to buying some tins (18 months after writing that post) and discover that Dragon Colour chrome paint is no longer in production.


So it's back to square one. Not quite square one actually, because in the meantime I've been building up a collection of high elf models from ebay and have amassed quite a collection, all waiting for their shiny new chrome job.

So what now? Well, I do another google search and discover another technology that I missed last time. There is now a chroming process that is applied like a paint, but is a chemical process (akin to the silver mirroring solutions used to create mirrors). The results are really impressive...

Furthermore, you can use the process on anything. You can buy the chemicals and do it at home, but you'd need a spraying setup like a car body shop, which I don't have.

You can purchase a non-spraying, bath type of rig where you pour the chemical over the object, but in either case the chemicals are really, really expensive.

And how they deal with detail is unclear - I haven't seen anything as detailed as a miniature silvered in this way.

So if I'm going to look into this further I'm going to have to ask a professional and get a quote from him. That involves approaching someone who sprays cars all day for a living. Like, a real man. I can't describe the sheer terror I feel for approaching a burly, tattooed gear-head and introducing him to my pathetic little hobby of collecting little stupid toy soldiers. Imagine his confused and disgusted face when I tell him what I do. Picture his contemptuous incomprehension when I show him a sprue with silly little toy soldiers on it. And not even actual military soldiers (he'd probably like that), but babyish Harry Potter rubbish. Imagine his bearly-contained anger when I correct him: "actually, they're elves, not goblins".

Email would normally be the perfect medium for this sort of enquiry - anonymous, distant, easily escapable. But real men who wear spray masks all day for a living don't really do emails, do they?

And I know what they'll say... £100 per sprue (or whatever). There's no way this is going to work out cheap. And therefore, there is no way this will work out.


Saturday, 14 December 2013

A sketchbook begins

You can count the number of posts I made in 2013 on two fingers (three if you include this one). How rubbish is that?

So while I haven't been posting much, I have been doing a lot of sketching an doodling and thinking about what I wish I was doing in my hobby. That's as close as I can get to actually doing my hobby at the moment.

So as a kind of early new year's resolution (and we all know how those turn out) I'm going to try and post up a few of those doodles and sketches. They might not make much sense at this stage, but I just want to get them published in some form or another as a kind of online sketchbook. I can always come back to them at a later date and explain what the scribbles mean.

So in hoping to start as I mean to go on, here's a sketch I made. I'm not going to explain it much - that'll come later - but in the interests of building up a sketchbook, here's a sketch...

Bonegrinder giant - concept
That is all.

Dark Elves are dead! Long live Dark Elves!

These last few months saw the release of a new Dark Elf book and new range of models.

Let's go back in time to 2001. Who's that ugly, sweaty loser collecting dark elf models? Oh, it's me (nothing's changed). I've just bought a hydra. This ugly piece of dog mess...

In fact, I've bought two because everything counts in large amounts, right? I'll add it to my growing collection of dark elf models:

  • some ugly spearmen with huge hands like bunches of bananas
  • some 2-dimensionally posed witch elves with ugly hair, crudely-modelled fishnets and ankle boots
  • the most laughable statue in the warhammer world (that thing is supposed to move around the battlefield, and is supposed to cause terror - how it achieves either of those things is beyond me). If I was Khaine and someone made a statue of me that looked like that, I'd smite his ass.
    You cause terror, you say? We'll just have to take your word on that.
  • Lots and lots of crossbowmen (which are the same as the spearmen). I know I've mentioned the spearmen, but... the skirts. Have you seen their skirts? Could they be any more uncool? God those models are awful.

I knew they were ugly when I bought them. So why did I buy them?

Well, because the idea of dark elves is cool. We've all seen Legolas - he's the coolest, right? Well, imagine an evil Legolas. Riding a Manticore. And then think of every sexy, bikini-clad, impossibly-huge-breasted fantasy woman on every heavy metal album cover ever.

So let's give a coolness score to the concept of any given Warhammer race, and then give a coolness score to the accompanying range of models, and lets call the difference between those two scores Delta_Cool. Well, for years now, I'd say the warhammer army with the highest Delta_Cool (and thereby being a massive let down for everyone) would be the Dark Elves. Just about every model in the range was really badly designed. I mean, case in point: close your eyes and conjure the terrifying notion of a manticore charging towards you. Now open them again and look at this...

Rrruff... Put 'em uuuup... Put 'em uuuup....

A friend of mine who used to work at a GW store said that all the staff referred to it as the "Doom Baboon". Enough said.

To be fair, we later had Cold One Knights and Corsairs, which are some of the best models in the game. But the good models were woefully thin on the ground.

Okay, okay, so the old models are poor, but now we have new models... hooray!

Or is it hooray? Well, it's a hooray with a little tear in one eye. Certainly the new range look a billion times better than the old models. And thank Khaine for that, but there are a few things I'm having real trouble getting used to. Most notably:

  • The dark steeds and their funny teeth
  • the unfeasibly impractical monowheel chariots
  • the slightly awkward cauldron on rickety, vagina-shaped staircase
  • the swordsmen having swords thicker than their arms (compared to the beautiful weapons of the corsair models)
  • the slight move back to an older aesthetic for the dark elf helmets. I'm not a big fan of the big sticky-out things on their foreheads
  • and of course (sigh) the hydra, which I think GW are doomed never to get right.

The new hydra from Games Workshop

But listen to ungrateful me. This model range now holds its own against others in the Warhammer world, and also against other rip-off model ranges that had previously been filling the vacuum. And crucially we now have plastic Witch Elves, and they look amazing.

Sadly for me, the collection of dark elf models I have (many of which are some of the only models I have painted in the last 13 years) are now redundant. I should keep them, but what can I say... I'm a stupid games workshop whore. Pass my wallet, would you?