19 September 2012

GW Design-Fu Strikes Again

So yesterday a lot of new photos appeared on the net. The new look White Dwarf was seen for the first time. As a graphic designer I have to say…finally, some nice design executed in GW printed matter (though I bet they still don't proofread it).

This whetted my appetite and, off the back of some superb models in the Dark Vengeance box set, I was really looking forward to the imminent Chaos codex and host of new models.

As the day wore on we got to see some more covert photos from inside the new White Dwarf showing off some of these new models.

The sound of my chaos bubble bursting could be heard for miles around!

I wrote an article a couple of years ago about the static or awkward nature of a lot of the poses with 40k models and two years later things are the same…

This guy wouldn't look out of place in Michael Jackson's Thriller video or on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing! Ridiculous pose.

This guy was called a space badger on one site I visited yet, whilst I think it's a rip off of models like the Rackham Hybrid, it is the best of the new stuff I've seen so far.

His more static, gun-toting brother doesn't do much for me really but it's ok.

The biggest offender by far is the new Chaos flyer, the Helldrake. Now, I wasn't a great fan of the Hell Talon that Forgeworld did – it was a bit too Battlestar Galactica and not enough clunky 40k Chaos for me – however, it was a ton better than the latest addition…

This model is ludicrous. Someone obviously had too much Mountain Dew one Friday evening and had a Zoids/Transformers DVD marathon weekend. This just doesn't say Chaos to me at all. Dark Eldar maybe. It's not clinical enough to belong to the newly turned Chaos Marines and it's not mutated enough to belong to long-term Warp dwelling Chaos Marines. It'll also be a nightmare to transport. Why can't we have something a bit more straightforward with mutated bits on it?! Or a different design for each Chaos god!

The thing that kills me is that, compared to the Chaos models in the Dark Vengeance box, some of these are terrible (I'm looking at you Helldrake). Surely they were designed at roughly the same time but don't seem to have any of the same design principles applied to them.

That's my knee-jerk reaction to them (and it is a knee-jerk reaction to be sure). They are covert photos and the paint jobs may not be helping so I'm going to sit tight for White Dwarf before exploding completely.

At least it means I will get to do a lot of converting and scratchbuilding alternatives if my opinion doesn't change… and that means more funky blog posts for you lovely people!

To be continued.

+++++ UPDATE +++++

All Hail Natfka!

Go over to his site now for a stack more photos and see if they sway your opinions.

(Loving the new Raptors!)


  1. I heard that the poses come are done in more 2D shapes as this is cheaper to produce and has less waste/miscast compared to more interesting poses

    1. I have wondered about this. The only problem I see is that they did a really good job with the Dark Vengeance models, so what happened here?

  2. Much agreed on your comment about White Dwarf's design. The cover looks good. They really needed to do something about that, so it's great they have. Let's hope the layout is suitably improved too.

    But how is the Maulerfiend a rip-off of ("models like"?) the Rackham Hyrbid? I mean look at the silhouette: there's so much mass and bulk to the Mauler whilst the Hyrbid is a lean and wiry thing. The Mauler is a mix of simian and canine shapes while the Hybrid is some sort of wiry, lanky humanoid or EVA unit. With the Mauler there's much more of a interweaving of biological elements amongst mechanical elements, while the Hyrbrid is much more delineated in that respect. The Mauler appropriately has massive forearms while the Hyrbid... you get the idea. It is not a rip-off of the Hybrid, at least.

    1. You need to take into account that the Hybrid has a few years on it now and was for a different scale. There was also the Nemesis Hybrid and Dasyatis Clone – permutations on the theme who all looked a bit like this. I'm speaking purely from the perspective of a concept. No doubt GW would put their thumb mark on it to make it theirs.

      All I know is that as soon as I saw it I thought – ooh a Hybrid in heavy armour!

    2. Years and scale: how does this matter?

      The Nemesis Hybrid and Dasyatis Clones are the results of mad alchemy and are perfect hybrids of human and ocean-dwelling sharks/nasties (as the fluff said). The Mauler/Forgefiends are demon engines spat out by the Warp.

      I think the similarity you're looking for is in the achetype. The Hybrids and the Fiends are all unholy and unnatural combinations of flesh and machine, designed for death and destruction: the darkest kind of Frankenstein monster. Apart from that, the similarity is tenuous.

      GW make have no qualms about utilising archetypes, and are entirely conscious of the fact. It's one of the their strengths, I think, and one of the keys to their game world's appeal. As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. But the design languages are unique and are about as tight as it gets.

    3. You clearly have thought a lot about this and have a very different opinion from me, which is great.

      If by using the phrase "rip off" I have offended you then I apologise. As stated, it was my knee-jerk reaction to seeing these new things for my 40k army of choice.

      As I said, I looked at them and thought it looked like a Hybrid in heavy armour.

    4. No offense taken :-) I look forward to seeing these in the flesh (plastic).

  3. I really don't see the similarity to the Rackham Hybrid, one is a 6 limbed bulky beast with armor similar to a bloodcrusher, the other is a spindly vampire looking thing with razor fingers.

    I also have heard the Helldrake comes with a bunch of different poses/bodies in the box so you can have it dedicated to different gods and posed differently. We wont know till the kit is out though.

    1. As I said above, I speaking from the perspective of a concept and the Hybrid variations who all had heavier armour.

      It's just my initial observations all round. As you say, we'll have a better picture once the kits come out.

    2. No I agree with Dark Templar my first impressions immediately were Rackham and Sedition Wars - Strain; it is lacking in GW-ness...

      I am so far not a fan I suspect your first impressions are the correct ones; but we'll see.

  4. Glad to see someone else who dislikes the helldrake

    1. I think I'm going to get one of the other flyers and Nurglize it!

    2. Sounds good to me. Storm talon already looks fat ;)