The following four figures were created as “test pieces” for my Valhallans (and I always recommend test pieces even if your actual army ends up looking nothing like those test pieces)… and of course, they are not actually Valhallans, so you might be wondering why on earth I chose these random dudes as a means for thinking through a project to which they are clearly not participants.
On the one hand, the answer is simple: because they were there. But that’s not really the whole story. Yes, I chose these models because they were sitting around from other projects (some of which I had completed, some of which I had abandoned), but I also chose them because they represented a decent spread of what’s out there –(very) old and new IG. At the time, I was considering the old metal Valhallans, and I wanted to have a look at some IG from that time alongside the newer Cadian plastics.
So, I know that these models will never see the tabletop alongside the Valhallans that they helped inspire, but that’s hardly reason to cast them aside. Indeed, they reside in a place of honor next to the main army on the bookshelf. With test models of this nature, I tend to take a decent amount of time (but not too much), treating the model as an individual. I try to forget that it’s only a test and that, in all probability, won’t see deployment on the tabletop. For that reason, the models tend to stand out in my mind, and when I look at them now, I see all the little experiments and kinks that I was thinking through while making them. It’s a kind of conversation with myself, I suppose.
The point of these models was a) to experiment with GW’s (at that time) new washes, b) to test various lighter and possibly “cooler” colored palates, c) to figure out a viable snow recipe, and d) to examine my willingness to create an “old school” metal Valhallan army, which would be a bit antiquated, and metal...
Some points of interest:
This fellow is a bit of a mystery to me. Where does he come from? Is he even a GW product? His armor makes me think, yes. His gun makes me think, no. Regardless, he was fun to paint and an interesting way to think through how I was going to differentiate between squads. I have on older “blue cadian” army, which became a bit of a nightmare for me after painting sixty-odd Cadians and realizing that I had no way of telling what belonged where. Even with shoulder markings that I added later, I was constantly getting muddled up with those guys. Well, this figure was a nod to that debacle; however, it also brought one other item to my attention. The old metallic IG figures are short –particularly when they crouch, as this guy does.
At the end of the day, it’s a shame the meltagunner won’t see any time on the table. He’s a very cool figure, and I like the narrative that his base creates in particular. More than simply telling the story, however, the base was designed to compensate for the slightly short stature of these old metallics compared to the current plastic IG. As you will have seen, I’ve incorporated this kind of base (although mush less dramatically so) throughout my Valhallans. Here, I wanted to see if I could build the stature a little without letting the figure look too obviously orthopedic.
The two Cadians were primarily a test of Dehneb Stone and Devlan Mud. I’m certainly not the first person to celebrate the virtues of Devlan (to be candid, when the haters start venting spleen on the internets about GW, I generally want to write two short words about its contribution to the hobby as means of reply: plastic, devlan. I challenge you to name one company that has done anything so beneficial, innovative, and thoroughly useful as that).
The Cadians were also a test in the cool palate mentioned above. Obviously, the baby-blue armor is a bit twee, but that really hides the more important aspect of the models for me –which is the use of skin as a primary accent color on an otherwise muted model. I added a bit of orange and brown the skin in these models to move away from more pinkinsh skin tones, and to really make the color stand way out from the rest of the colors on the model. This technique I later adapted for my Storm Troopers, whom I discussed initially here and again yesterday.
p.s. you may have noticed that the meltagun was painted before Rob Vo5 came up to Chicago at the new year and taught me how to sort this out (see: "melta, melta, melta" post on right column). Because I still really like this model, I may have to go back and... well... sort this out.