Monday, 6 June 2011

I’m a sucker for the old school. I like reading fluff from before I started collecting (some of it is before I was even born). I hoard details in text like I horde possessions; it’s something in every one of our natures – the compulsion to horde, categorize, contextualise, and fixate upon. I do the same with images, and models. Writing OOP after a model listing for ebay will quadruple the amount of viewers you have on an item guaranteed. However, after years of lusting after the models of my youth, the reality of owning these models can be a bit of a let down. Older models, especially from the eighties are often a lot smaller and thinner than their contemporary counterparts. So, what is important when modelling is to recreate the archetype of the model.

The word archetype incorporates the Greek word arche, meaning origin or source, and it’s meaning derives from Plato’s idealist philosophy of perfect forms. Plato theorized that all physical objects have a perfect form that exists outside of our physical reality, and all physical matter is moving toward replicating this perfect idealistic form. So all apples, are in effect, an imitation of the perfect, archetypal apple.

If your still reading, you may be wondering, ‘what the hell has Plato got to do with collecting a chaos force?’ Well, like hoarding OOP fluff, I horde images. By saturating my consciousness with images of what I think comprises Chaos , I can begin to independently formulate the look of my army. I can create and convert the army to closer resemble that perfect ‘other’ of chaos that exists on the metaphysical plane of human consciousness… yeah even I think I’m stretching it with that last statement.

[b][u]Images of Hell.[/u][/b]

I’ve been compiling images for a while now, so nearly all of these images (models and art) go unaccredited. Sorry for this, but I mostly use Google and, as well as old rulebooks and white dwarf articles for reference. I doubt there is an image here that cannot take five minis to find in a good search engine.

I want to start off my comparing two images, and explain the difference between, what I feel is, an archetypal image, and an illustration.

[u][b]Archetype[/b] [/u]

John Blanche:


A name I think we are all familiar with, love him or loathe him, Blanche has a very distinct style that has helped established the visual world of Warhammer. Below are sampling for the conceptual sketches done for the Vampire Counts project. Although not originally planned for general release or public viewing, they none-the-less reveal some interesting facets of the GW think tank.

I remember reading an article in White Dwarf, where Jervis Johnson was explaining how the GW team goes about designing a new army. For starters, these images aim to generate archetypal images, they don’t have to be finely detailed, draughtsman like images: in fact, the looser the better. This argument follows a line of art criticism that is beautifully illustrated in Scott Mc Cloud’s, Understanding Comics, and can be found here:


The illustration above falls somewhere between the cartoon, and the abstract, on The Big Triangle; an image that we can impress our interpretation onto, and interpret. I will refer to this method of viewing an image as reading it.


First of all, a definition: Illustration, noun; a picture that complements text, a provision of pictures accompanying text, something that helps explain something. I think the majority of us can agree, that the above image is pretty damn cool. Perspective is spot on, light sourcing, movement, and detail, all compact into what is a recognisable Chaos warrior. However, what we gain in clarity, we lose in interpretation.  We cannot ‘read’ the image with as much personal input as we can a John Blanche picture. It is an image that was designed to illustrate, not necessarily inspire.

I couldn’t find out who made this image, but I suspect that it was generated as promotional fluff for Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, the video game. If this is the case (and please correct me if I am wrong), the artist has done a superb job of distilling the messy conceptual detail that is seen in Blanche’s work, producing an image that is illustrative of all chaos warriors. He has presented the viewer with a typical chaos warrior, not an archetypal one.

 So what are Chaos warriors? What is the perfect vision of that archetypal chaos warrior look like? That depends, person to person, but I think this image comes closest to my ideal:


This armour looks Grecian, or, perhaps, it would be fairer to say, the armour is based on classical designs. The word classical is a fairly broad term for ancient civilised cultures such as the Romans, Greeks, Mongols etc. If Salvador Dali had designed Greek armour, I believe it would look something like this; albeit without the massive helm that would have undoubtedly looked like a phallus.

So, I have a rough reference point. I’m also going to use Ian Miller (look him up through Google, you’ll know who I mean). It’s good to draw inspiration from fantasy artists, but it’s even better to go to the source of their inspirations. Below, I have put a link to another photobucket file full of images that I will use as reference for the imagery of the army. Since The chaos realms would figure at the top-most pinnacle of McCloud’s Big Triangle, it seems appropriate to draw from surrealist artists, as well as the work produced in the Renaissance, which always inform GW imagery.

[u][b]The Gates of Hell by Auguste Rodin[/b][/u]


Here's a wiki link about it:


Images of torture and damnation are, I think, wholly appropriate to the Chaos theme. I'll have a go at sculpting details depicted on Rodin's The gates of Hell into the armour of my warriors. I'm planning on including some big guys in my force, giving me lots area's where I can sculpt armour and personalize.

Here's a link to my photobucket page of reference (check out the Flesh hounds chucking up blood):


There is another batch of images I have drawn upon heavily for the manufacture of my models, but I want to keep these a secret until I can post up some WIP shots. Must warn you though, this secrecy of mine is the kind of secrecy used in Dan Brown books; its an obvious scam to keep you reading until the end of the book, and you think it wasn’t even that good of a secret anyway.


Post a Comment