+ inload: Diversity and uniformity +

+ Diversity and uniformity +

+ One of the most appealing parts of collecting and painting miniatures is that you can invest each one with character. Part of this character, of course, may rely on uniformity to suggest discipline – but rarely do you want literally identical figures side by side. How do you balance making models look like part of a group without making them boring to paint or look at? +

+ The modern dwarf models are a great case in point. They are very similar in pose and equipment – they're differentiated by little more than having four styles of heads and four weapon options across two boxes. It's quite limiting – particularly when I've been spoiled by the sheer cross-compatibility of ranges like orks, marines and guard. +

+ Both of the dwarf infnatry kits are, as with most multipart kits of their vintage, cross-compatible within the range. The Hammerer boxed set, for example, also builds Longbeards; but both Hammerer and Longbeard heads fit on the Ironbreaker bodies from the other box. +

+ You can introduce a measure of variety to a unit by including heads from as many different groups as possible. This gives a believable lack of uniformity to the unit – after all, if you call up troops from your lands and tell them to bring their gear, you're unlikely to have them all equipped with the same style of helm. It also adds some welcome variation in faces and heads, something that often makes multipart plastic kits less characterful than their one-off metal sculpts equivalents. +

+ That doesn't get you too far, however, and it can create an additional problem that you can no longer distinguish between different types of units within the army. This is where you can distinguish between functional differences – perhaps the particular weapon a unit uses – and purely aesthetic differences, such as the pattern of Space Marine armour, or design of a shield. +

+ As long as you avoid mix and matching the functional differences, playing around with aesthetics is great for visual variety. It will also hopefully be useful when playing games, making it clear where one unit begins and another ends. It's not just about bringing in elements from other kits, either – such differentiation can be made by intentionally limiting your options. +

+ Here, for example, I've used an ancestor face designs for all the shields, and further linked them with a yellow colour scheme. If you know you're going to be building an army using multiples of the same kit, pre-planning might be worth it. Picking a particular design of shield (or weapon, or helmet, or body style) for a unit offers a nice way to add some subtle character – and if you plan it carefully enough, using bits from different kits doesn't mine your bits stash: you simply use the bits left over from the first kit on the second. +

+ You often don't have to be completely exclusive; there are often sub-variants – the standard dwarf kits include a few ancestor head variants. Similar enough to hang together, but not completely uniform. +

1 comment:

The Responsible One said...

This is the sort of thing I often try and do. The big challenge with it is that it encourages you to buy All The Kits At Once when you might be better served buying one kit, getting it assembled and painted and then getting another.

My "Fallen" project for 40K is using an obscene amount of kits and its an intimidating pile of plastic and resin... What we do for our creative visions!