mercoledì 19 ottobre 2016

Review: GW High Elf Prince and Noble (1/2) - The Prince

This is the first pure plastic miniature I purchase and may I say "I do miss the metal ones".

I mean, what are the benefits?
Are they cheaper? No. They cost exactly the same as before, if not more.
Are they more handy? No. They have almost no weight and are easy to topple.
Are they stronger? No. They break at any gentle pressure.
Are they durable? No. Try to remove the paint with some acid and you'll remove the plastic too.
Are they more environmentally friendly? Granted, lead was poisounous, resin was a bit better, but don't tell me plastic, a byproduct of oil industry, is green.

For the consumer there are really no benefits. There are, of course, a lot of benefits for the seller. First one, plastic is way cheaper if manufactured in large quantities. A plastic moulding machine is expensive, but plastic itself is really cheap; there are huge fixed costs, but the variable ones are almost nothing. And that's why small companies are still using resin, and the giants like GW moved on to plastic. The second benefit is that plastic is really light, and that matters when you ship stuff abroad.

But here we are, opening the box of the High Elf Prince and Noble (Product Code 99 12 02 10 008, year 2013). Inside the box there are two sprues, containing all the pieces for two miniatures. The first thing I really like is that there are a number of double pieces, namely heads and weapons, but also cloaks, to let you customize the miniature. This makes a lot of difference, and I really like it.
I'll be starting with the mounted Prince and leave the Noble for a later time.

It takes some time to put together the final thing, but at last we get there. On one side, the horse; on the other, the Elf Prince. It takes a long but pleasant time to paint this miniature: there are plenty of small details and the structure makes it relatively easy and fun to paint them. Well done, Martin Footitt! But then one thing happen: the horse breaks. For the first time.

The thing is that this bloody horse is jumping, and is connected to its base by a single leg, a plastic leg. If you hold the base with a finger and the tail of the horse with another, no matter how gently, snap! It's broken. So it's glued again.

I decide to keep it simple and use red and white as the primary colours of my Prince, modelled after one of the PCs of my Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Celebril of Caledor, Knight-Errant, Noble and Bane of Chaos. I paint the armour as shining metal, with a steel base and silver highlights, using gold on details. The horse will be white as well, with a light golden tail, replicated on the helm of the hero.

The interesting part is the blade. In the WFRP campaign, Celebril wields a magic sword, the Gayvenderel or Crystal Sword. To give the effect of crystal, I painted many layers of glaze going from black to white with a glass colour in the middle, a mix of Vallejo Pastel Green and Grey Blue. I finished with some parallel strokes to represent the uneven structure of crystal. Overall, considering it's a first try, I am quite pleased. Less pleasing are the spikey grasses I add on the base - could have been better, but at least they match the colour of the horse's tail.

Isn't it a beauty? It is, after I glued the leg of the horse twice more.

Final judgement? The miniature looks great, but it is so weak I am really afraid when I hold it, and also I will never let my kids (or clumsy friends) near it. Using it in a game is out of question. This kind of miniature can be only kept on a shelf for display, and that goes against my idea of having miniatures. So it's a 5/10. If it was metal, it would be probably an 8, but the stupid fragility of the thing is unforgivable. Dear GW, make your miniatures in metal again or, if you don't want, consider avoiding jumping poses. I know I will, with your future products.