Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Malifaux 2E - a hobbyist's perspective

As anyone who follows this blog know, I'm more of a painter than a gamer. The release of new edition of my favorite tabletop game (and also my favorite range of miniatures) has caused widespread discussion. While there are many people who are generally in favor of this, many still feel hesitant. Needless to say, these have not really been my main concerns as I'm mostly happy about the fact that we'll get to see old crews re-released along with some entirely new ones. So here are the key elements that I personally think are essential when talking about the plastics.
New challenges
As I've written before, I'm a big fan of Wyrd plastics.Don't get me wrong - I love the old, classic minis and they were the main reason I became interested in Malifaux. However, the new plastic models opened a wealth of opportunities to work on painting skills for me.
Different aesthetics
First of all, the plastic sculpts are different than the metal ones.The way I see it, they are less bulky and look like they have more finesse to them. They are significantly smaller and their limbs are thinner. I'm not saying that the older metal versions were too static. By no means, DM and Witchling stalkers are two obvious examples that immediately come to my mind. What I mean is that what was the feature of some of the metal sculpts has become a tendency with the new plastic ones.
Durability
Another thing I really like about the plastics is their durability. It may seem like metal is the best material to cast them as it ensures that they remain intact. I don't think it's the case. As I've written at the beginning, I'm not much of a gamer but each of the few times I transported my minis (using a very solid Battlefoam carrying case) has meant a need to retouch the models I used for games. Paint gets rubbed off easily from protruding elements like weapons/horns while taking the model out of the foam and it chips off easily when the minis I use for gaming get knocked down (not necessarily as far as from table to the floor). I use basecoat in spray and apply two protective layers of varnish (brush-on and in spray) but it's either my bad luck or it is simply all too easy to damage painted minis. I've never had such problems with plastic minis.
Digital sculpting
One more thing that I really enjoy while working with plastics is putting the miniatures together. Digital sculpting makes it possible to cast the model in several separate parts that fit together perfectly. No need for pinning as good glue softens the plastic, even melts it slightly to ensure stronger link. And the plastic that Wyrd minis are cast from is of the strong type that doesn't break easily. I read somewhere that it's pretty much the same stuff LEGOs are made of and after seeing my minis fly from desk to the floor and remain perfectly intact, I can believe that.
Smoothness
The overall smoothness and larger flat surfaces are what some may see as a problem of plastic Wyrd minis. And I can agree with that - there is definitely less texture on them. This is particularly noticeable on areas such as trousers, shirts and faces. However, what many see as a problem is a challenge that I really enjoy dealing with. This forces me to pay more attention to thin down my paints when applying layers to these areas, something which I felt I was able to neglect while working on metal minis without cutting too many corners.
New art
And last but definitely not least, let's talk a little about the new artwork. It's significantly different than in books 1-3 and while it took me a while to get used to it, I have to admit that I came to really like it. With the technology that Wyrd uses, the 3D renders are very similar to the concept art and the cast are also pretty close, without a significant loss of character and detail. What's more, the new artwork seems to reflect changes that take place in the narrative that is a significant of the whole Malifaux phenomenon. At this point I'd like to talk a little more about the new artwork. It's been available since the release of beta rules so it's nothing really new. I've recently came across this nice gallery put together from new card graphics by Nix from The Dead Tau Project and I thought I'd write a few words about it here too.

The Gremlins look... awesome. 
Brewmaster
Apprentice Wesley
Moon Shinobi

Ophelia
Rami
Pere Ravage
With the addition of new crew, the greenskins are ready to start our as a separate faction. The Brewmaster and his minions have a nice oriental feel to them. The combination of elements such as ninja, bayou, madness and... whiskey is bound to make for an interesting crew.
Ophelia'c crew looks much more serious, especially the master. She looks like she means business. Pere lost his Elvis suit but... his pig got goggles. If a pig wearing sticks of dynamite and goggles isn't cool than I don't know what is.
Other than that they look a bit different than the old metal sculpts. Somehow thinner and maybe a bit taller but that's probably just their overall thinness. The clothes that they were wearing to make them similar and as powerful as humans looks more worn out and this just adds even more character to gremlins. I really like the artwork here, the quality is amazing but it also seems to be reflecting some process of growth in these characters.

Here are some other artworks that stand out the most to me:

Bishop
Copycat Killer
Seamus
Madame Sybelle
Mortimer
Sebastian


Punk Zombie
Nurse
Vulture
Steampunk Abomination
 I think that Ressurectionists have benefited a lot from the new art. The look much more serious and gory. Rather than creatures from a cheap horror they now gained a more realistic look while still looking grotesque enough not to be mistaken for humans. Madame Sybelle is a very good example.She looks like a humanoid but her large legs and muscular arms make her look like a monster. Sebastian may look like a friendly simpleton at first glance but the impression doesn't last long. His head is oversized, his body twisted and bulky and the saw he's holding is enormous.
I put Bishop here as he reminds me of one of my favorite movie characters - Eric Draven from the Crow.If I ever have a chance to work on this miniature I'd try to put it on a larger base resembling rooftop and use black colors for clothes with white makeup on the face.

Those are the ones that immediately caught my attention. There were also some that I didn't really like that much...
Viktoria of Blood
December Acolyte
Desolation Engine

Joss

Killjoy
Myranda


Rusty Alice

Viktoria of Ashes

Student of Conflict





I'm not really sure about the design of Viktorias. The look like a rat tag group of mercenaries who have been there and done that and that's cool. What I don't care for much are the hairstyles as they look a bit too neat and clean. Rusty Alice has a completely new look that I also don't really like, she looks... too elegant. Student of Conflict has weird proportions (or maybe it's just the position she's in). The same goes for Myranda. There's something about the pose of December Acolyte that I don't like. She seems both static and dynamic at the same time. Killjoy and Desolation Engine are both huge monsters that fail to look serious with their round shapes. Joss also doesn't seem to benefit from the new art style as he's lost his Indian look in favor of a utility worker. While this goes nicely with the fluff (he had his arm ripped of by Rasputina as a message to Ramos), I'm still not sure about the new look of Joss.

And last but not least a few words and some pics of my favorite faction - the Guild.

Death Marshal
Enslaved Nephilim 
Francisco Ortega
Governor's proxy
Lady Justice
Lone Marshal
Nino Ortega
Papa Loco

Perdita Ortega
Samael Hopkins
Santiago Ortega
Scales of Justice
Sonnia Criid
The Judge
Witchling Stalker

I had initially only thought about getting LJ crew during this year's Gencon but after looking at the art I think I'll get all the starter boxes. I really like most of these with some strong favorites that have gained a new, more serious and generally better look in comparison to previous artwork. I love the look of all Ortegas, their characteristic features have been nicely emphasized. Only Perdita is a slight disappointment but them her original model is by far one of the best in the range. Samael is a huge improvement, really like his angry cowboy look. The flaming skulls on Death Marshals are something that I'll have to get used to but I really like the dynamic poses.
The only one I'm not happy about at this point is Lady Justice. She somehow looks much younger and it seems her measurements have changed significantly (particularly in the upper half of the body ;) Still, I'm reserving my final judgement until I've seen the actual model or at least some better pictures of the miniature.
And that would end my ramblings on the hobby aspect of M2E. Be sure to chek out Nix's blog and his gallery (links at the beginning). Congrats if you've read that far and if you haven't, well, at least you got to see some cool artwork.

2 comments:

  1. Indeed.

    I'm a big fan of the new Gremlins and Rezzers. At first I was sure I'd be taking Seamus, the Doctor and Nico, but as more Gremlin art got revealed I fell in love with the green bayou folk. Seems like the Rezzers will have to wait.

    I will also be getting the Viktorias and Schill for my brother. I'm not impressed by the new Viks either, but I like the Student.

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  2. The new Rezzers look fantastic. I'm tempted by Mcmourning, especially now that he's dual faction :)

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