Formulating and establishing main characteristics,
getting a clear vision of what I want to achieve, helps tremendously on the rest of the project. This does not mean setting everything in stone. Many strong characteristic you will like will come at later stages of the process and you want to remain open minded to include new ideas. But I recommend to take the time to figure out the initial inspiration, the main characteristics.
|Armies are composed of many miniatures in a variety of sizes…|
|…often combined in units, where rather the unit gives an impression, than the individual model in it.|
Those are all facets that influence our take on readability:
|There is much going on in an army, so we should make it easy to distinguish interesting areas.|
The most important tool we have to draw attention is “contrast”.
Contrast means a difference or opposition. We can therefore draw attention to an element by making it different in an otherwise homogenous group. This can be implemented in many ways, like, colours, shapes, sizes, dynamic, etc.
|I had the idea to include “kelpies” in my army. Undead horses from viking mythology. To make them draw attention, I chose models in dynamic poses to give the impression of a wave and held them in a bright blue color, while the rest of the army is rather held in greens and reds.|
The other important element to use contrast for eye-catching is model size and position. The larger the model is in comparison to the rest of the models, the easier it s to draw attention to them. And these are the models we want to carry our best ideas. And also the models we want to spend most of our time on.
With same-sized models organised in units we want to concentrate on front-row models, as they are easier to see. On models in back-rows we can develop several subtle areas of interest on the upper halves of the models, as the lower halves are not or hardly visible. This is not as extreme in games with loose formations, such as Warhammer 40k or Age of Sigmar, but the concept translates nevertheless. Models in the front will be catching the first gaze of the viewer and his gaze will wander off to the rest of the unit from there.
|These are models from a chaos- or barbarian army inspired by the game “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice”. I placed the detailed ideas on the big models, while the barbarian unit incorporates the base ideas of tribesmen with facepaint and blood rites.|
|Most detail and interest is placed on models in the front row|
There is, however, a tightrope walk with all the contrast, as we generally want our army to give an impression, that they belong together. Too much contrast, especially regarding colours, might interfere in that. My suggestion here would be to implement a feature or color that connects every model of the army. In the Draugr army for example, I gave all models an orange glow to connect them visually.
Of course there are many more ways to draw attention, other than contrast, but in this article, I just want to commit to one further, important way, as we are mostly dealing with humanoid models: Faces.
In our social life we are subconsciously trained to concentrate on faces and interpret facial expressions. This transfers also into the miniature world. Whenever we look at largely humanoid models, our gaze will always be drawn to the face. And we will try to interpret much of his story through his expression.
This means, in our concept, we should plan to lay detail and effort into faces and facial expressions. This is also a good way to place subtle areas of interest into back-rows, as faces will be quite visible in the back rows:
I also used the blue face paint to connect models in the army. For example this “Forsaken One”, a mutated beast, that was once a man and also the “wretched ones”, lesser mutants, are still painted with warpaint, as they are still regarded as a members of the tribe:
With this I want to conclude with my take on the, in my opinion, most important aspects of the concept and planning stage of an army project. I understand that this article was more applicable to armies, but I hope that also players of skirmish games can use the one or other thought of it and apply it to their next warband.
I hope you like it and will stick around for the next part of the series,
when we have a look at basing a whole army…
Thank you for reading and until next time,
You want to support Massive Voodoo?
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.