EccentricCircle Posted September 28, 2021 Share Posted September 28, 2021 So this has been being discussed on and off in other threads, and I think it deserves its own topic. (Especially as its currently being chatted about in the NDA thread, and I can't really be bothered to keep reading that one at this point!) So, obviously this has the potential to be a slightly controversial topic, where people are going to have radically different opinions. I'm about to argue that this is really, really subjective... so basically everyone should try to think before they type when replying. You can love GW to bits and still dislike their artistic direction, or hate their guts but acknowledge that they make nice toys. So this doesn't need to become an argument. So it is often said that Games Workshop make the best toy soldiers around. Generally this is said by GW, but a lot of people seem to believe it, and it has more than a little basis in fact. Others have been asking "so who else is as good" and a lot of the responses can point to other companies which do a better job than games workshop in one or two areas, but maybe not all of them at once? The current batch of warhammer models are really impressive, both on an artistic level, and a technical one. They have a lot of very small, crisp detail which just wouldn't have been possible even a few years ago. The poses are more dynamic than ever before, and the shift to digital sculpting has clearly allowed them to push the medium. However, there are numerous independent (or just smaller) sculptors who are doing equally impressive things (artistically speaking) as part of stl download packages and other computer aided design projects. I'm not a 3d printing expert, so I don't know whether even the best, most detailed STL can actually match what GW can do with injection moulded models when printed on a home set up. I'd be interested to hear someone's thoughts. In a digital space though, a lot of that stuff is stunning, and shows a level of creativity and risk taking which GW maybe doesn't always match. Art is massively subjective, though. One person's best thing ever is going to be another's garbage. I'm pretty sure I'm on record here as saying that while I appreciate what GW are doing with their art, its not always to my taste. I think that a lot of the newer sculpts are actually too detailed, and overworked. I kind of prefer a "less is more" approach, and like the classic themes better than some of GW's Newer, more experimental ranges. That doesn't mean that they are bad though, just not my kind of thing. However, a toy soldier isn't just a sculpture. It has to stand up as a piece of art, especially when it serves as a basis for painting competitions, hobby projects and the most creative of conversions. However, it also has to work as an enjoyable model kit to build, and as a functional gaming piece. This is the point at which I feel GW are actually lagging behind their rivals, and for me, the drive for artistic excellence is actually hampering the other aspects of the model's intended purpose. I have models which are so thin and spindly that i've broken them while trying to build and paint them. The end result is a great display piece, but not something I would want to put on the table and game with. A lot of people on here complain about transporting and storing their models, so clearly this isn't just me being curmudgeonly. Its a downside to the dynamic models which a lot of us struggle with. They are also increasingly complex to build and paint. The instructions are often challenging to follow. Often the models are impossible to paint well except in sub assembly, and at the end of it you have a basic monopose model which could have been cast in three pieces if they'd wanted to, instead of ten. Newer kits lack a lot of the customisability and interchangeability of their predecessors, and while that makes them nicer models to look at, it detracts from the fun of building them, at least for me. This is also going to be very subjective. I'm sure some folks really love their models to be a really complicated 3d jigsaw puzzle, and if so then that's great. I find it frustrating though. Then we come to painting. The quality of GW's art is generally seen as being a fixed value. We all look at the box art, and the golden demon winners and judge a model by that standard, even if we could never match that standard ourselves. However, warhammer models aren't just for golden demon winners, they are supposed to be built and painted by everyone who wants to participate in the hobby from little kids on up. I'd wager that the majority of people who paint a given sculpt never come close to being able to make it look like the box art, and adding ever more fiddly details just moves the goal posts further away, and makes trying to improve one's skill level frustrating. I know this is personal and anecdotal, but I've spent months banging my head against a wall trying to paint some of the new warcry models. They are sculpts which I love, and when I bought them I thought they were some of the best GW had made. However, I've really soured on them, as I've realised that I have no hope of making them look as good as I'd like them to (at least without another ten years of practice and skill development I guess). The other week I needed to paint up some old 90s metal goblins, and a crew of Reaper minis for Stargrave. I expected them to take forever, just like the warcry figs, but actually shot through them and realised that I was enjoying painting for the first time in months. I hadn't previously realised just how much I hadn't been enjoying the process before. I think I'll be sticking with reaper and osprey models for a while, and reminding myself why I like this hobby before I try to go back to the Games Workshop figures. So what do you think? What criteria are most important when you assess the quality of a model? Is it all about the art in its "purest" form painted by professionals? Is accessibility and usability an important factor too? Do you love hyper-detailed models? No one is right or wrong, but by discussing this, we can find out what the zeitgeist is in our bit of the hobby and maybe re-examine what we like and don't like about these models! 9 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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