Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time and Opportunity

Many table-top systems allow for a model to change over the course of a game, and that seems like a great opportunity for some visual storytelling..

The concept of daemonic possession, is what made the 2nd edition Chaos Space Marine codex all the more exciting to my teenage brain.  If a champion of chaos had performed up to the expectations of his chosen god, he could be replaced in-game with the greater daemon model that would possess his body.  I liked the idea of the models telling a story, and not just being a static representation of a character frozen in pewter (and probably too much lead).

I have seen players model the underside of a vehicle to display battle damage, so the model can be turned over and show a new state of disrepair in-game.  Naturally this works better with models like rhinos, which can safely rest on their roof, but the idea is the same.  One guy in my local club used to carry a few clippings of a rubber drive-belt of an RC car, to represent the thrown-track of an immobilized tank.  The Flames of War smoke and flame bag can be fun, especially when mixed with some flickering LED tealights. 

I recently had the opportunity to build one of Wyrd's Seamus models, as well as his avatar.  I saw this as an opportunity to view the models over the course of time.  The Malifaux character Seamus can "power-up" and become an avatar, replacing his model in the process.  Beyond just the physical change of the model, I saw this as an opportunity to play with the temporal mobility, but also keep something constant.  There were lots of basing materials scattered on my desk, and inspiration struck.

Here is Seamus at the beginning of a game of Malifaux:

Ah, Victorian horror.  The mind boggles.  Anyway, with Seamus being something of a serial-killer and pimp, the addition of the street lamp seemed appropriate.  This lamp will be painted as if lit, with special care taken to gloss the glass panes.  After a few turns of slitting throats and just generally being Jack the Ripper, Seamus shifts gears and goes all Mr. Hyde:

In case it isn't obvious, I have added a street lamp to this model as well, but pinned it into his fist.  Seamus looks like he has ripped the lamp from the very cobbles, and already bent it over the body of some unfortunate victim.  Naturally, this lamp will be painted to be extinguished, with a sparkle of broken glass and blood on the street.  Crushed glass on the street, and cracked resin panes in the lamp itself should help sell the idea.  The remainder of the now-broken lamp is still attached to the curb behind him, drilled in anticipation of adding a bit of frayed wire or piping to the end.  I could also use a broken pipe sticking out of the lamp housing  to look like a broken GAS lamp, so long as I can figure out how to paint the optical illusion caused by the escaping gas.  Perhaps by distorting the lines of Seamus' back...  or the pattern on his jacket...  which I could certainly try...  Hmmmmmmm........

The point here is, narrative through model work.  These details seem a bit more thoughtful than just interesting application of ideas; here those techniques are now tools to tell a story.  I appreciate the opportunity to work with materials as inspiring as these, and I am glad I have enough hobby experience under my belt to create what I see with my mind.

I am in no way taking credit for such an observation or approach, I just thought I would share what I find enjoyable about the hobby.


  1. Very nicely done. I do like the maulifaux models, and the use of the streetlamp is subtle and awesome.

  2. Quite nice, I look forward to seeing it painted.

  3. "These details seem a bit more thoughtful than just interesting application of ideas; here those techniques are now tools to tell a story."