21 February 2010

Strike a pose!

It was the image of the new Blood Angel Tactical Sergeant (below) that stirred up an issue I have with many of the space marine models that have been on offer over the years – the lack of really dynamic poses AND the inclusion of some very awkward and rigid body shapes.

I appreciate that perhaps the simpler the pose the easier the casting process (regardless of material being used) and the less chance of imperfect reproduction and thus wastage, and as a consequence money.

However, in my eyes, not to mention the novels and artwork produced, Space Marines are warriors of great skill. They are the masters of war and dynamic by nature – seeing a marine in action would be like witnessing a perfectly choreographed dance piece, be it accompanied by tear-jerking finesse or sheer animal brutality.

Why then are we offered very static/awkwardly posed models to represent these very dramatic individuals?

It seems to me that in many cases you could replace the pistol and chainsword with a cigarette and pint of beer, such is the static nature of the miniatures on display.

It must be possible to create more movement in a figure sculpt because other companies have done it and continue to do it. HQ models seem to be the biggest problem, with many of our heroes running around on tip toes or looking so inactive they might be hoodie-clad teenagers hanging around outside a local Tescos. Other regular poses include the "feet stuck in quicksand" look. The trick is to look at what the feet are doing – if the feet look inactive the rest of the model often does too. Even if the model is not in full flow, I'd like my heroes to look a little more...heroic.

When we have such a wealth of inspiration in terms of space marine artwork, why do the finished models not match the vision?

Thank god for plastics! These kits allow anyone with a tiny bit of imagination to create something much more dynamic, and those with the modelling skills to produce something truly heroic
( I hasten to add the Scouts plastics are excluded from this statement, with their awful knife/pistol poses and heads that look like Odo from Deep Space Nine!).

So when you're deciding on an HQ to lead your troops into battle, would you rather have someone who looks every bit the legendary leader, or someone who looks like they can't really be bothered?

I implore you not to take models as they come off the shelf – swap a head, swap an arm, swap a leg! – add your own thumbprint to them and make them individuals....make them look like heroes!

Any thoughts?
Am I talking absolute rubbish? Being over-dramatic?
Are there particular models that you love/hate?

Just a few quickly gathered examples to illustrate my point...

Games Workshop

Privateer Press

Rant over, normal programme will resume tomorrow.


  1. I kind of agree/disagree. I don't want a shelf of acrobats, but you're right some of the poses are awful (both static and dynamic).

    Of the examples you've given I mostly dislke all of them, though not always for the poses. The marines, for example, have so much bling these days that they're more comical than anything else (just look at that Salamander *yuk*).

    I like the manhunter and one of the Ultra masters (2nd from left), some of the examples are merely ok, the rest I dislike.

    As for the BA, when I first glimpsed it I thought it looked nice, but after 2-3 seconds I decided it looks like even more of a dwarf than the standard marines. Maybe it's the big head.

  2. Yes, we don't want a load of wannabe Harlequins, but I'd like my models (or hero models at least) to look like their fighting with some conviction and passion, rather than passive observers.

  3. I completely take your point about that BA srgt. He's entirely too flat-footed. And the Chaplain, in particular, has that exact same kind of "hand in the air, flat on the feet" look about them. I'd never been able to articulate what rubbed me the wrong way about these models until you pointed it out.

    p.s. I'd like to borrow/adapt your BA Red technique in a future post if you don't mind. I'll be sure to give credit and link it, naturally.

  4. No probs B, feel free to use whatever you like - this is a caring, sharing blog heheh!

  5. I agree with you that GW has put out a lot of I'm-a-statue poses but it only seems to be for 40k, take a look at the fantasy range, or better yet the LoTR range. So it isn't like GW doesn't know how to do dynamic poses, but for some reason choose not to for 40k.