Classic, or Current?

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Games Workshop are producing some fantastic models, that’s something that surely isn’t in any doubt.  They’re technically close to perfect, due to the sculpting being done on computers.  I wonder if that perfection might have come at the expense of character though. *

I painted a Space Marine Chaplain the other day, that surly looking chap at the top of the page in fact and it’s a sculpt that comes nowhere near the technical perfection of modern GW.  The skulls are basic, the pose is that static stance that anyone who’s been into the hobby for a while will recognise and there are a couple of detail voids in the hard to reach crevices.  Despite all that though, the imperfect little bugger has personality.

There are a few reasons for this I think and the biggest one is the difference between sculpting by hand and sculpting in a computer.  When sculpting by hand all the imperfections come through; the little mistakes and idiosyncrasies of the sculptor.  If you’re familiar with the work of a person, it’s often possible to identify their work without being told that it belongs to said individual.  Whereas that all seems to be erased from the process when using a computer.  Any mistakes are easily corrected and the personality of an individual sculptor just doesn’t shine through in the same way.

I’m not saying that Games Workshop should ditch their computers and go back to sculpting by hand.  The current method allows them to turn out the best plastic kits they’ve ever done, at a rate that couldn’t be matched using traditional methods.  Entire editions of a game could come and go without entries in an army list getting models to represent them.  As far as I know that just doesn’t happen now.

On balance, I think the hobbyist gains more than they lose with modern sculpting techniques, but those old metals were something special.  Never-mind, I can continue to satisfy my craving for classic lead, from Ebay, while going to Games Workshop for my top-notch plastics.  I get to have my cake and eat it and I’m a guy who likes cake.

 

*I’m not going to pretend I have anything but the most basic layman’s knowledge of modern sculpting techniques, but I have opinions and I’m not afraid to use them.

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Riding the Hype Train

The new edition of Warhammer 40,000 is released in a few days and I’m really looking forward to it.  Whereas it’s always cool when something you like is getting a new release, the new edition of 40K has really caught my attention, unlike any of previous edition, since third.

Second edition was awesome and it worked well for smaller scale scraps, so well in fact that the ruleset was almost completely reused for Necromunda, with a stripped back version existing to this day as Shadow War Armageddon.  It was somewhat unwieldy for larger battles though and third edition was the answer to this.

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The third edition boxed game was a real step forward for Games Workshop and was a big deal.  It saw the release of the multi-part Space Marine kits, which was exciting because up to this point all we’d had for a few years were metal miniatures that were limited, as far as options were concerned and snap fit plastics.  It also contained the plastic Landspeeder, a kit which is still kicking around to this day.

New Space Marines weren’t the only thing to get excited about as the release also debuted an entirely new race, the Dark Eldar.  I’m pretty sure these kits aren’t the ones that’re on release now, as they were very basic, but they were super cool at the time, purely because they were new.

It also contained what I think may have may have been Games Workshop’s first attempt at plastic scenery.  There had been cardboard ruins and the like previously, but nothing like this.  Ruined buildings and rather strange looking modular jungle trees.  Rather basic looking by today’s standards, but ground-breaking stuff then, with the buildings still usable to this day.  The trees however were rather fragile and met their end long ago.

Despite all this, as far as I’m concerned third edition ultimately turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.  I wasn’t fond of the codices, due to the lack of background material and they went much too far when it came to de-cluttering the rules.  Folks may well disagree with me, but that’s how I felt about it.

What came after the release of the boxed game in no way diminishes the excitement that I felt for it upon release however and this is precisely how I feel about the imminent eighth edition. All new models, a completely new ruleset and more new background than you could shake a range-ruler at.

Will it be the perfect game? Almost certainly not; nothing’s perfect after all.  As with third edition though, what comes after the initial release in no way diminishes how I feel about my first dip into eighth edition.