Over the last few days I have been busy completing the mage from the Island of Blood set and the custom prince/noble. I can now move onto the Phoenix Guard. These are the new plastic models from Games Workshop (a Christmas Present). I think £25.50 for 10 plastic models is a little steep but I'm not opening the can of worms that is Games Workshop's pricing policy... what I want to rant about is the number of tiny bits of plastic that make up each model!
Don't get me wrong, I think the quality of the plastic kits is really impressive. They are a pleasure to paint and having the detail modelled onto the standard means you don't even have to free hand. But these are half the sprues (the set contains duplicate sprues to make the 10 Guards) for the Phoenix Guard set...
Nothing on it resembles an actual 'elf'. Chip away, watching that the removal of the flash doesn't clip the actual model part and you start to see the miniatures coming together:
We have legs, cloak and back torso, front torso, head, right shoulder and rest of the cloak, right arm with weapon... I then stopped cutting... missing is the left arm, a small satchel to go on the models waist and his hand weapon (a sword). And that's just for the rank and file. The musician has some drums and 2 drum sticks to add to that.
OK so this number of bits means 2 things; 1) that the final model looks gorgeous with a flowing cloak wrapping around the main body of the Guard and 2) some hefty customisation with different arms, heads, shoulders on each model... really good advantages... or so you would think.
Although having a great looking model is great, it makes painting it really difficult. If you stick the model together initially there are just too many nooks and cranny's which would be unreachable with a paintbrush that occupies the same 3 dimensions that I and the model exist in. Especially to a decent standard. For example, if I stick the legs to the back torso the inside of the cloak and the girlie eleven skirt are visible but far to close for comfort to paint. Gluing the front torso to the back obscures the neck area. So the only option is to paint such pieces separately and glue together afterwards. This makes them annoying to paint as you are messing around with very small pieces which with no base are difficult to hold etc. But it's what I'm having to do... starting with the easy bits the legs.
Once painted we can stick them together with ease and create a nice custom looking regiment... No again... I quickly discovered that where each little bit joins another bit, Games Workshop have not opted for a Universal fixing, so those right shoulders that complete the cloak... out of 5 possible shoulders only 1 fits a particular cloak... same with the arms and weapons.
This could take a while...