Minifig Madness and Ranting About GW Figures

I’ve always admired minifigs (not the Lego kind, although I am partial to those too), I’ve admired their wargaming prestige for being some of the oldest sci fi and fantasy figures around. I’ve only just recently bought some though, it was probably the price that put me off for so long and I’m sad I hadn’t taken that plunge sooner. Caliver books now sell them, but they’re still at the same site as before:

http://www.miniaturefigurines.co.uk/Home.aspx

They were an absolute blast to paint, and it can be hard to put into words why a figure can be fun to paint, whereas another figure can be a complete slog. The slog kind are generally sold by a big company that seems to have a store in every UK town (not naming any names). Warhammer (whoops!) figures are often slogs for me because they are clogged with unnecessary details and trinkets that serve no logical military purpose and would more likely hinder any real person in combat. What that does is double the amount of time it takes to base coat a model, the sloggiest part of the painting process, which across a squad compounds and across an army makes things even more time consuming. Extending the amount of time between starting a project and that little endorphin boost you get when you realise you’ve gotten something done is the killer of any hobby project.

I suppose you could argue that Space Marines are a speedy faction to paint, I mean they’re just a suit of armour some additional details and a gun. You’d be exactly right in one sense (assuming your only talking about the basic marine) because once they get chapter specific or elite the trinkets start piling on. The sense you’d be wrong in is that the marine shape makes faster painting techniques more difficult. The fastest technique for highlighting is undoubtedly the dry brush, unfortunately marines are too rounded to do this effectively and have it look good. Had Games Workshop designed marines with more angular details and sharp corners (more like space marine vehicles) then they would be easier to use this fast technique on and would look better when you use the dry brush. Rant about that other company over.

These older figures are covered with detail, especially the Samain Squad but the detail comes from sculpting textures rather than trinkets. If you were going to update these miniatures they would still be a breeze to paint and would look incredible, because all you have is a suit, some additional armour the face and the gun. You wouldn’t need a tutorial on speed painting these guys because any method is quick. I had a similar good time painting up some Vikings for a Darkfell warband not too long ago, they consisted of cloth, fur/hair, metal, skin and a little wood. They did not have skulls tied to their belts, pendants and bandaged arm wraps, scarification on the skin, trim on the armour or big billowing top knots with spikes (although admittedly that would be somewhat historically inaccurate). The increase of textures over trinkets can also help weaker painters make better looking figures. Chainmail and fur will look basically the same whether you’re a veteran brush slinger or just a novice hobbyist. Basecoat, wash, dry brush. Rant actually over now.

So here’s a gallery of my minifigs so far on my Darkfell board.

6 thoughts on “Minifig Madness and Ranting About GW Figures

  1. I grew up in Southampton and one of my earliest wargaming memories is walking down to Minifigs Graham Road factory for some Ral Partha figures that they were producing under license.

  2. As a teenager I had these sci-fi figures and found them quirky but interesting. I wonder if anyone wrote a back story about all these fascinating figures and their planets etc?
    What I collected in earnest was the Mythical Earth range and enjoyable many a game when at school. One notable one involved my trolls being caught in sunlight crossing a bridge, turning to stone and effectively blocking the bridge for the rest of the game. I can’t recall what happened to these figures but I bought some replacements ( originals) a few years ago . I regularly game with Minifigs, find them great to paint and continue to buy them.
    P.s the scenery you have created is very effective.

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