Saturday, May 28, 2011

Top Ten Models.... according to me: #8 Haemonculus

The previous entry earned its spot on the combination of its unflinching adherence to the principle “less is more” and its classically evocative pose.

By comparison, this model retains all the postural elements (notice the way its weight sits more heavily on one imagined foot) but reverses the premise of less is more by adding formal complexity and buckets of fiddly details. This is still a relatively flat one-piece model, but because of that flatness, we can observe some interesting new principles in action.

Details first. The entire Dark Eldar range (old and new), in my humble opinion, is designed to stretch the painter’s abilities. There are, inevitably, too many details to grapple without committing hours and hours on every single model. This can be both a blessing and a curse –as you can see my rather ham-fisted attempt with the myriad of gruesome tools hanging on his belt; I opted instead to hide some of the detail with equally gruesome viscera and thereby avoid having to sort out visually what-is-what in that mess.

In a similar vein, I have not done proper service to the skin mask stretched over the Haemonulus’ face (who came up with that? absolutely horrific). As such, the tremendous level of detail here (in complete reversal of last week’s entry) will always reward more and more and more attention from the painter. In this effort, I sincerely feel that I have only just started to tick away at the lengthy checklist of items the sculptor included for our delectation. It is a complicated affair, and all the more compelling as a result. Indeed, I would like to paint a version of this character every few years as a kind of measuring stick, a manner to gauge the progress of my painting abilities etc –an interesting experiment that I will almost certainly never get round to as I have way too much on my plate already.

With regard to the formal complexity I mentioned earlier, I would like to point out the way that the folds in his robe mimic the exact angle of his scimitar and therefore pull the eye straight up that angle until the very top of his sword. In addition, the hair at the back also mimics this angle to the same effect –and likewise pulls the balance of the model in that direction. The bend you find at the top of the scimitar, apart from adding an element of cruelty to the weapon, pushes the eye back across the model, through his head, and toward the box in his right hand (I forget what that thing is meant to be). The redirection is amplified further by the force of the model’s wild staring eyes, which are again focused directly on the box. The Haemonculus’ arm then brings one’s eye back down the model in a gentle slope toward the body from where the gaze drops further along with the weight of the hanging utensils … and from where the process starts over once more.    

This makes the model visually complex and stimulating –and therefore rewarding to look at.

[note: I mentioned previously that this list has been amended on the fly. True. I have re-re-revised it in light of some recent developments and the then reconsidered those revisions. Certainly, my opinions are not stagnant, and the highly subjective nature of this project must mirror that. For that reason, the next installment will be our first “honorable mention” for a model that has not quite made the top slots, but who almost did so and who deserves attention all the more in light of the shifting circumstances of the web. More soon.]


Porky said...

I'll admit I was surprised by this one, but you justified it brilliantly. Your write-up is what's really making this series, and making it stand out among top tens.

That's a heck of trailer at the end too.

Brian said...

Thank you. I was a bit concerned that I'd droned on with this one. They get better, I promise.

Von said...

You continue to show solid taste with these. I owned one, in the Day, and the paint job was the first that I held up and could say of "by me, that's a bit good". You're right' it's definitely a stretch to work with.