Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kings archive?

So it occurred to me today as I was looking at some Fraser Gray pics in an old white dwarf that he subtly converted all his minis.
Things like, adding real chains to goblin fanatics or having a skull impaled on the big brother grim orcs helmet.  Small tweaks,  but nonetheless ones requiring damaging the mini.
It occurred to me that I really have this archival mentality.  As a collectior I want my figures to have all the original bits.
Now that's okay for, say, action figure collectors where the figure comes completed,  but it poses the question what counts as complete for minis?  And more importantly,  why should it matter to me?
Take for example a horse and rider.  I cut off the tag to glue it to my bases.  I then file down any flash, and drill and pin the model together and fill gaps.  Now... Why stop there?   After all... I am lucky enough to be at the stage where I can pretty much resculpt anything.  At this stage the model can be dunked in dettol and sold again.  The moment I cut bits off the value falls.

So do I plan to sell them again?   No.  Its my collection.  So why keep them intact?

Besides, what do I care if I change stuff to my liking?  Its my collection.   I have to look at them.

You see the interesting thing is that,  somehow,  in a part of my brain, I am archiving these figures by painting and posting them.  I am a museum.

Should that be so?   Why should I only convert my doubles?  Who am I saving this figure for?

And when you check off figures from your mail order catalogs- does a broken figure count?   Should I check off my champion of slaanesh even though she was missing a weapon hand?

What's your thoughts on this people?   Archive or enjoy?


  1. Well, I have to say it took me quite a while to realise I am (we are?) both. The archive work tends to be done automatically because the stuff we loved in the WD is still there in the pictures and can't be changed, that's also true for catalogues of all periods which are here to tell these models once existed.
    I posted about all this a while ago :http://leadplague.blogspot.fr/2013/05/heresy-heresy-heresyyyyy-what-is-hip.html

    We all started as enjoyers and only became archivers with time (mostly after a hobby break because of hormones, ladies and parties). We changed, the models didn't...
    And I believe the fact models are now out of production shouldn't be relevant about how we feel about them. If you were OK to drill, file, saw and alter them back in the day, then you still should be now. Some models are just so good that we won't touch them but I believe it's not because of an archive attempt but just because it's good the way it is.
    If you like collecting untouched models to complete whole series, enjoy them this way, if you like to use them like you used to back then, then go ahead and feel no regret about it.

  2. I say go for it. The thing that appeals to me most about all those classic Eavy Metal showcases is that in many cases the modellers did whacky and unexpected conversions. The fact that they were created from labouriously hacking and sawing apart metal figures instead of swapping a full compatible plastic arm (ala modern "converting") is an artform in itself, and there's joy in the results!

  3. I say go for it. I was about to also say that if it's a very rare figure then think twice, but if you're going to keep it anyway then do what you like with it. See if I care ;-)

  4. I know what you mean. I would be very reticent about converting some older miniatures. That said, if I thought of something I really wanted to do, I could work up the courage.

  5. This is such a worthy blog topic. . . and one I have struggled with time and again. My initial reaction, like most of those above is to convert away, even when/if you're talking about the more rare or collectable pieces. I mean, look at your own archive of blog posts, Dave- time and again the minis you seem to champion are the weird and wacky Blanche creations, the Fraser Gray subtleties. The best figs in your own collection, in my opinion, are the ones you've augmented with your own style of Nurgle-esque sculpting additions. But all that being said, this is YOUR collection, and museum archivists do have a very important job. There are only so many Sandra Prangles out there, yes? So do what you feel is right. . . you've done an admirable job thus far.

  6. I hear you brother!

    Been through exactly the same, well kind of, without as much of the actual painting part n'all.

    In the end I concluded that the moment you decide to put brush to figure all bets are off, you are taking the 3D leaden canvas and putting your mark on it. So go nuts, whatever you do is fine because it's what you want.

    Joe Thomlinson

  7. The collector in me says leave them alone, but the artist in me says create, you make them better! The original artists are usually constrained in some way, such as the moulds or GW getting involved, but I'm sure if the sculptor saw what you do, they would say, THAT was what I was trying for (see this guy gets it!)

  8. I love the citadel ranges from 20 years ago. I do sometimes wonder how many copies there must be out there of the miniatures that I really want. There must be thousands still. If you modify a few of them it's not the end of the world. You've bought them at market price. If someone else wanted to buy them and keep them pristine they could have done! You own them, you enjoy them the way you wish!!!

  9. I've had similar thoughts, as I work mostly on old Squats that I convert into Chaos Squats and old Chaos Dwarfs that I convert to Chaos Squats as well. Some of the old Iron Claw and Marauder minis are rare, but you need to Chaos them up.

    I often do conversions where I only add to the miniatures rather than cutting anything off.

    Here's an example, the Marauder Chaos Dwarf with separate Cross Bow bit:

    Plenty added, nothing taken away. But I'm doing Chaos to old miniatures. Old miniatures often have less detail or ornate bits than newer minis, and Chaos mutations can be of the additive type instead of the removal type.

    On the other hand, this one is a mash-up of a bunch of old miniatures - http://chaossquats.blogspot.com/2010/09/khorne-in-kitchen-master-of.html

    But really, in the grand economic scheme of things, very few miniatures are terribly expensive. Compared to the fetish I used to have for 1980s GI Joe action figures still in the packages, even most unreleased minis are bargains. And compared to a night out to an upscale restaurant that turns into a long voyage through bars and clubs... we can be in resin 40K Titan scale expenditure.

    Finding an intact addition for the archive could be tough, but it's mostly a matter of waiting. It took me about 20 years to find the proper backpacks for my Chaos Squats in Power Armor, so I can wait. And wait.