Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Valhallans: First Platoon, Squads 1-2

These are the first two squads of First Platoon in my fledgling Valhallan army. After waiting patiently for some considerable amount of time, two more squads (pictured in the WIP from Sunday) have finally been primed and are coming along nicely in a similar manner to these guys. After introducing the test models from yesterday, I thought today might be a good time to have a look at the actual product that they ultimately inspired.

In the post yesterday, I identified a few “problem areas” that I wanted to be certain that I addressed in an almost entirely metal Valhallan army, and so on:

1. Orthopedics: The models need to be built up slightly so that they don’t appear oddly shorter than any contemporary plastic Cadian or Kasrkin models that are currently being folded into the army. The trick for me was to do with this without making the model look like it was being propped up for that very purpose. Snow is the answer. I’ve tried to use the snow here to elevate the base a bit, and to keep the models from slumping while also invoking an appropriately thematic element to the figure. For the next two squads, I’ve gone heavier with the snow only because I feel that the muddy bits make the snow seem too sporadic. It’s a process, this hobby. No doubt.

2. The Winter Palate: In the models yesterday, you’ll note that I tested two basic color palates, one with greenish armor and one with baby bluish-wintry palate. Each had a basic tan-ish khaki for the fatigues. For the final result, I abandoned the khaki fatigues (oddly the easiest color I’ve ever painted due to the glories of Devlan Mud), and decided to fold both colors together rather than isolate them. Each unit, then, uses one basic color (green or snowy bluish gray) as its base and the other for its accent. By proceeding in this manner, I’ve been able to work on all 20 models at the same time, more or less. It also kept the two units oddly unified despite the fact that they are fundamentally different color palates. In the end, this contrasting approach has been a key part of the next item…

3. Distinguishing one unit from another: As I mentioned yesterday, an older attempt at a Cadian army left me rather vexed because I had painted all 60+ models more or less identically (in a mad assembly line debacle that I will never attempt again), and while lined up on the bookshelf, this looked great. On the tabletop, however, this became an absolute nightmare. So, the alternating colors keep the units distinct with unmistakable ease. It also helps support another thematic element, in that I want my Valhallans to appear weary, worn, and heavily campaigned. As it stands, these units look as if they’ve arrived from disparate, scattered elements of the army and worked into the army in an “ad hoc” fashion. Perfect. As importantly, the fact that each unit has a slightly different variation on the basic theme of colors (hopefully) keeps them coherent as a whole, but also distinct when two squads are placed close together or (heaven forbid) get locked into the same assault.

I should also mention that the visually aggressive (high contrast –stark white / muddy brown) bases carry some of this unifying weight as well.

Finally, the next two squads that I’m painting (as well as the command squad, which we will see later this week) work within the same basic guidelines; however, rather than alternate colors again, I’ve simply tweeked the existing palate so that the command squad, for example, goes significantly lighter with the gray and also has some white elements around the detailing and cuffs (why wouldn’t the command squad have nicer uniforms). Again, this should keep the unit coherent but distinct.

ok. one more final note. These guys were painted hastily even by my sometimes impatient standards. They are tabletop quality, no more, but no less. As with any IG models, I feel that the real effort has to be directed toward command squads, characters, and, of course, tanks.


Col. Corbane said...

For tabletop quality, they're very good mate. Kudos to you.

Grizzled Gamer said...

Excellent models.
Although I personally prefer the desert to the artic. :-)
I really like the fact that you are using an older GW line of models. I am a bit tired of all the Catachans and Cadian models.
Eagerly await the rest of the army.

Brian said...

Thank you both, Col. and Magilla. IG armies really are quite challenging because of the amount of painting necessary, but the Valhallan sculpts are tremendously evocative to me and generally worth the pain.