Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Top Ten Models.... according to me: #9 Ghouls



I suspect that this choice may be something of a surprise or, at the very least, unexpected (-perhaps controversial even?). I ask only that you hear me out before consigning this list to the heap. Please do.

If the lesson from the last Top Ten model revolved around understatement, then today’s selection(s… and yes, this is a two-for-one deal) takes that basic premise and moves it one tremendous step further into the ditch.

Less is more.

Certainly, there is little of dynamic flair worth note on either of these individuals; however, where the Magus is stagnant yet imposing as a result of that insincere modesty, these figures gain their menace from their utter lack…



They are a bone, a loincloth, and disquieting emaciation. Full stop.

That is all. There is, quite simply, nothing to them. Granted, the sculpting could be more dramatic, but to ask for such is also to miss the complexity in their respective poses –specifically, I am thinking both of the gesturing in the hands (the right hand on the green and orange model suggests classical sculpture to me) and the way each model actually stands with weight in the pose. Each has a formal balance that I find appealing, and which is made all the more so by the fact that the only details to speak of are found in the corporeal figure itself.

Well. Given the simplicity and the simple aphorism less is more, I painted both of these fellows with a consciously limited palatte.

The first fellow was a test run on the theme of limiting palatte; he is basically two colors with a third blustering its way onto the base. He was also an experiment in variation within a single color –as I tried to make the hands and feet more ruddy than the rest of the skin tones. Likewise, I chose the purplish-pink skin deliberately to offset the yellows in the bone and cloth (which are, in fact, the same color). I will let other decide how well this worked, but I feel compelled to note that this experiment could/would likely only happen on such a stripped down figure, both literally and figuratively. 

The second effort is an obviously more ambitious and complicated treatment of the other figure in the blister (indeed, this figure made the first cut at Gamesday once upon a time, which is just about as far as I might reasonably hope). This time, I was keen to work up from a common base/shade color toward the otherwise opposing colors, green and orangish. I think only that base color holds those colors together, but in the end the effect may come off a bit contrived (I am not certain –but suspect this is particularly true in areas like the loincloth and bone?). The total effect is gathered together my both shading and highlighting the disparate color with the same selections –shades in purple and highlights in a bleached bone(ish) mixture blended into the actual hue be it green or orange.

In sum, I was and am extremely fond of the model.  


And once more I must reiterate that this experiment could only work on a model so stripped and simple. Moreover, I should also mention that neither of these fellows has a practical role on any army that I own. Neither has spent a single second on the tabletop (though I might like to press the round-baser into service as a zombie overlord or somesuch if I ever... oh, hell. That won't ever happen). I purchased and painted them because I felt utterly compelled to do so -for the love. I realize that the "because it's there" disposition may be a nebulous criteria for a list such as this but it is, nevertheless, a significant one. I painted these guys because I had to, because there unnerving form offered the opportunity to be creative, and because the bare bones poses already tell a very interesting story (to me. I hope to you as well).  

So that is two down and eight more to go (not including the honorable mentions that will appear here and there). I hope you have enjoyed these first installments. 

p.s. I am learning how to use the photobox slowly and slowly. I am not sure about the blue background that comes with it, but have yet to discover a simple remedy. thoughts?

3 comments:

The Inner Geek said...

I think you put a lot of thought into your models. Wordy wordy thoughts. Or maybe you just articulate much better than I. I must admit that while I'd have just summed up with "cause they're cool", your descriptions do add a little something in the way of detail! I look forward to the next eight installments.

Von said...

I'm just glad someone else rates the old undead figures as highly as I do. These, and those marvellous metal armoured skeletons that have so much variety in their gear and yet are posed completely identically, are some of the best minis I think GW have ever done for the undead.

Brian said...

@ The Inner Geek. Ha. I do spend entirely too much time thinking about these things... but it gives me something to do while sitting on the train in the morning.

@ Von. Solidarity.