Thursday, 1 May 2014

Inq 28 - Scibor Miniatures

Greetings one and all, something that may have been of note is that there has been an awful lot of Inquisitorial warband figures painted lately but not a whole lot of actual Inquisitors, simple answer is that I've been saving the Inquisitors as treats for when the bulk of the work is done but this warband - for reasons that will become apparent - needed their Inquisitor painted at the same time. So without further ado I present a man so clad in bling that he can only be an Inquisitor Lord:

I was kinda pleased to be painting these, I'd long mused on Scibor mini's range and how useful it would be for me. I'm afraid that pleasure turned to ever lengthening irritation as the project went on though. More on that later with the acolytes. First we must turn our attention to the Lord. As you'll see in the pic above he is massive. He's actually been designed - I think - to be a Space Marine in "truescale" and he isn't far off on the size. To warn you, this chap towers over terminators, so think hard before adding one to your Astates. For our purposes, I think we can assume he has had some form of genetic modification. Probably a low-gravity world (thus tall) plus some kind of not-quite-Space Marine enhancements.

note that the Scibor shoulder pads have been replaced with plastic terminator Inquisition ones.

When I was musing on the colour scheme for this chap I went through several options. Gloss black was one, decorated steel to give him a utilitarian vibe was another. But one option just stood out. Gold. This is a man so pimped out that he has three vassals just carrying extra wargear for him. He is wearing ridiculously ostentatious armour and is carrying a sword the size of the M42. He is not a subtle man. Gold then. To get a nice rich gold I started from a Rhinox Hide and AP Greedy Gold mixed basecoat. This was then highlighted by carefully drybrushing about seven increasingly bright layers of gold, increasing the amount of AP Shining Silver in the mix each time until it was essentially a white gold for the top highlight. Two highlights in I re defined the shading with Agrax Earthshade and then thinned Druchii Violet. A purple glaze enriches the gold. I noticed that the washes were behaving a little oddly but given that the next few layers of highlighting obliterated all but the deepest tones it didn't matter. To contrast all this, black and a rich red seemed the win. The client brief for the linking colours between the Inquisitors was essentially "Belgian flag", yellow, black and red, with yellow mostly being represented by gold or polished brass. Simultaneously I moved on to painting the minions as I needed the gold to be the same across all of them.

Now, before I start, I should say that I like these models in terms that they have a lot of character and help tell a cool story. In concept, they are fine. The execution is terrible and unfortunately gets worse on the next group. I'll save most of my ire for there and instead explain the problems painting them here. Like the Inquisitor, the gold went on fine. Washes were a little prone to pooling but sorted that. Then I moved on to the rest of the job. The idea I had was that the robes and even the men themselves should fade against the magnificence of the wargear they carry. I basecoated the robes in Karak stone, applied a wash of Agrax Earthshade and watched as it pooled across the whole model exposing the horrendous cast texture. These are such rough molds/sculpts that washes actually sit in the texture and show it up. I had wondered why Scibors painters used such cartoony styles. Now I know. If you use washes and attempt subtlety you show up the casting flaws. You kinda have to obliterate it under layers of brightly coloured paint if you want it to look good on camera. In my case I just started afain and re-basecoated the whole lot leaving the wash only in the deepest recesses. But then:

books containing sigils of warding and banishment, scrolls transcribing the Inquisitor's pronouncements and journals of his deeds. Cool concepts.

You may have noticed that the faces aren't as defined as normal? You can't use washes or glazes here either. Not because of the casting texture this time. No. This is because the lines on the faces are so deep that any wash creates a ridiculously sharp contrast. It looks like you are drawing a comic version, all black lines and colouring in. So much as I wanted to make the fat fellas in the second group look florid and unhealthy with gentle glazing I couldn't. Because every time I got near them with anything thinner than normal paint the lines just eagerly lapped it up and you ended up with purple and red lines all over the place. Grrr. I painted the faces twice in the end. Once with a combination of glazes and fury and a second time working up from Bugman's Glow up.

Before I go though, I must have one final gripe and the reason I will not be buying these myself. The sculpting. In places it is ace. But in others? Hands are the particular problem here. They're different sizes on the same model, they lack definition, in some cases they are absent, just stubs of fingers leading into a wrist. This is often because of Scibor's apparent determination to cast one-piece figures. Understandable, saves a lot of time and thus money. But you end up with horrible chunky details (that feather is almost 3mm thick in places, doesn't sound a lot until you remember 28mm is about 6 feet, that feather is almost six inches thick in scale). The one piece casting also forces those absent hands or muddy detail where cloth blurs into metal and you have to fathom which is which. Add that to one of my least favourite design crimes which is slapping details on without thinking how they work or what they do and the result is a bit of a mess.

Like I say, I wanted to like these. They're the sort of models I wish there were more of. Strong, characterful, story driving. But the execution is very disappointing. Of course the real reason I'm so bummed about them is that I don't think the result is the best work I can do. Just the best work that the medium allowed. If you are a high contrast, cartoony painter then consider Scibor. If like me you like the down and dirty? I can't recommend these. Having said that and to be completely fair. The weapon bearers are better than the scribes. Caveat Emptor as almost no-one says.

More soon! I've been busy. This was supposed to have gone up on tuesday by the way, but Blogger had a moment and refused to do so for whatever reason. Elysians commandos coming next! Until then


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