Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CSM: cry "Havoc" and let slip the dogs of war...

First things first: you may note that this particular squad is a dramatic mis-match when considering the visual theme that I’ve cultivated for the rest of my CSM army. It’s tragic, admittedly. But to put it plainly, I am so tremendously enamored with these Red Corsairs that I couldn’t possibly have left them on the shelf just because they’ve been painted in colors other than rust.

At the end of the day, the Corsairs work reasonably well on the table (again, visually speaking) if I also field my Bloodletters of Khorne (I mentioned them last week, and we’ll hear more from them tomorrow), because both squads bring that shocking, bold red into the mix. Anyway, it’s Chaos, and I’ve thematically justified the choice by imagining that they are a squad of mercenaries or somesuch. I just have to remind myself: Chaos.

Before I go any further, I must issue one very important DISCLAIMER: I did not convert these figures. I only painted them. I bought them almost two years ago modeled and primed from a really nice fellow named Tim B., who I believe lives in Australia. He’s an absolute legend. The thoroughness, detail, and imagination that is evident in the way he modeled these Red Corsairs is simply stunning.

Thank you, Tim. If you see this, I sincerely hope that my work here has adequately complemented your own.

The painting was rather straight forward, as the script for Corsairs is pretty well established. There are, however, two matters of interest here from the painting point of view.

First, this was my first time painting those clean-lined highlights on black, and the technique is deceptively challenging. My highlights kept drifting a bit and consistently looked a bit thick –not at all that clean, sharp look we see so often in White Dwarf. I found that I had to spend quite a lot of time going back with the original black, and with the first shade, in order to clean up after myself and to keep the highlights from “graying out” the blackness of the armor. This was time consuming for a relatively subtle effect.

Second, the banner bearer. I love this model. I really tried to push my abilities with the free-hand work on the banner. The skull imagery nicely complements the skulls on the top of the banner, in his hand, and on his knee and belt.

As important as the aesthetics, I really enjoy the narrative component that the banner introduces: I imagine that it was pried out of the cold, dead hands of an unfortunate Black Templar after a particularly grueling struggle, and now these Corsairs gloat with the looted Templar Banner as a means of taunting the Emperor’s deluded minions. I’m not sure this has any effect during actual game play, but I’d like to think it resonates psychologically somehow.

One of the simple pleasures I take in this hobby is the way in which the narratives have so much depth and complexity. I try to engage that dimension of the whole hobby as much as possible by having many of my figures reference other parts of the 40K universe apart from their own humble corner. More on this idea in future posts.

p.s. Thanks again, Tim.

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