mercoledì 26 aprile 2017

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

A few month later, we conclude the Review on GW High Elf Prince and Noble, talking about the second miniature of the box, the Noble (the link to the first part is here).

Like the mounted Prince, also the Noble is highly customisable with different heads, shields, banners and weapons. And that's very good.

One thing is clear from the beginning: besides being sculpted by the same guy, Martin Footit, this figure is very different in two interconnected elements. First, whereas the Prince is a very dynamic sculpt, the Noble is extremely static: feet to the ground, arms to the side, looking forward, almost waiting for a faraway enemy to approach. It reminds me of the very old '80s High Elven infantry of the early editions, in a way, and it's obviously related to them. To me it's not so enticing: Elves are supposed to be nimble, fast, not statuary, but that's me.
Second: the Noble is as solid as rock. Once you put it together, it's unlikely that it will break or snap, like it happened several times with the Prince. It's plastic alright, but it withstands manipulation and this makes me very happy since I'm planning to use this figure in my next D&D game as a PC.

The PC in question is my Noble Elf Fighter (right, what a surprise!, you might say). Valandur Isirmo of the House of the Ivory Tower of Elventown in the Mountains of the Stars.

Don't you recognize me by the colours of my livery?
Valandur is a young Elf. Not young by Human standards but, as Elves reckon, he's just entered that age when young Elves discover the world and act naively and stupidly and recklessly and just as a Human male on the last year of high school or the first year of university.

Valandur is a nobleman, of course, from a prestigious house of a prestigious city of the most prestigious race, the Elves. The Sun Elves, of course, not the other lesser ones. But in spite of his origins he's not a cunt like everybody else where he comes from. 'Right, not as much as everybody else in Elventown. In fact, Valandur is on a quest to prove himself.

It so happened that he quarreled with another young Elf of his age, the odious Prince of the Elves, none other than Legoland the Handsome, son of the King. If you look on an elven dictionary at the word pharagrand (high elvish for "cunt") you will see Legoland's portrait. He's just this guy. Valandur hates him.
Long story short, one day as Legoland was coming back from a hunt with a dead wyvern as trophy, and people were throwing rose petals at him from the balcony, words escalated and Valandur said killing wyvern was for noobs, and that he could easily slay a dragon. Legoland's reply was a slap on the offender's face with his pailette-covered white glove. Challenge issued.

Young Valandur had no choice but to go, especially since the episode happened right in front of Morwen Elentilas, the proud lady whom everybody was courting and whose attention none was getting.

And so Valandur hit the road, and he started a life of adventures along with other valiant companions - Rothgar, a Dwarfish barbarian; Negal, a halfling assassin; and Loras, a half-elven rogue. It was a hard life of travel through the wild lands and battles with monsters and outlaws. But it was fun, and soon Valandur developed a reputation for being as easy to provoke a challenge as he was in spending all the money he had. Offering toasts at all the patrons of inns was one of his favourites, especially right after a bar-fight. Expensive clothes, fine food and wines, fancy accomodations and the expensive love of an elven princess-turned courtesan, Ahlahna of Neverwinter, made sure he money never stayed long in his pockets, but everybody knew his name, though, and that was the important thing!

At last, the party met a Dragon, a green one, and by sheer luck they slew it. Valandur had the head preserved by a taxidermist and turned homewards. As soon as he arrived in Elventown, he was welcomed by the people with cheers. He rode on a cart, covered in shining armour and garish clothes, the Dragon head behind him held by a stuffed Owl-bear. He threw coins at the crowd getting even more cheers.

Legoland didn't like it, and liked it even less when he got his own glove thrown at his face. The King had to accept the gifts graciously and commended the valour of Valandur. It was the elf's moment of glory, but it wasn't finished: the elder Elves, less interested in showing off and more into power-mongering, made it so that Valandur and Legoland were both candidated at the position of Speaker to the next Great Moot of Elves. And how would they settle the opposition? By vote? By a speech? By a gallant joust?

It is SO on.
Valandur and Legoland were so high on testosterone that they could only choose a fight. The two rivals met each other in the Arena, each covered in tight, bright garments, shiny pieces of armour and battle make up (rimmel, phard, bright-red lipstick and random hearts and spades drawn on cheekbones). Their nervous, darting muscles had been oiled with the special glitter-oil of the Elves.
Valandur was obviously better with the spear, his fighting technique mimicking a dance, but Legoland was a spellcaster and could strike at his opponent without even touching him. But eventually it was Valandur who had the upper hand, and Legoland found himself disarmed. Proudly refusing to yield, the Prince choose to fight without a weapon: in return, Valandur threw away his spear and jumped at him with his bare hands - well, not so bare, since he had Gloves of Ogre Power. A few good strikes, and Legoland was thrown to the ground, where he bit the dust.

The crowd exploded with cheers. Valandur was raised and paraded around the Arena by his supporters. When even Morwen threw her scarf at him, he jumped on the terraces and rewarded her with a full kiss that drew even further cheers (and a few deadly stares by her relatives).

And so the legend of Valandur began.

It wasn't easy to capture the full razmatazz of a character like Valandur with a static miniature like this. I decided to go for few, bright colours - white, blue and green, with some touches of yellow. The first hand was disappointing.

Even though I started with dark and dull colours, the figure isn't really helping to look lively. It needs a certain effort. I painted the armour in metal with black details, decorating some elements in green (the green dragon). The clothese are blue and white. In order to avoid too many colours I kept the gems as mily opals and onlu added some ochre yellow here and there. But before the end I had to add some gold here and there to brighten up the whole.

After a general wash and at least two layers of highlight, something started to come out. But it was the third highlight layer that did the job.

Final vote: 7/10. Good, but not great - there a lot of better miniatures for Elves, even in the GW range. I really do hope that AoS will refresh the image of the Aelves by more than adding an "A" in front of the name, but looking at what they're doing lately, I must say I am very hopeful. We shall see!

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