Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Renaissance: Thoughts on miniatures

A post over at Grognardia about the nature of the renaissance in terms of sculptures made me think to my own game table. I worked in a comic book shop in high school and as a bonus, received a large number of obsolete miniatures and games that simply would not sell. Thus even though I prefer not to use miniatures when I game, the large number I have means the gaming group inevitably makes me pull them out (even though they have minimal if any mechanical value beyond a token to say which zone you are in). Something about the tactile feel a miniature generates its own fun.

None of this is really the topic of this post however, this deals more with the specific nature of sculptures in the renaissance; The abandonment (even if unknowing) of the garish and bright painting for the elegant and pure look of white marble. The classic look of the unpainted sculpture makes me think of a trend with my own miniatures. I have been leaving my own miniatures unpainted as of late, originally due to laziness but I find I really do prefer the simple and elegant look of finely carved pewter to even the most masterful paintjobs.
This may only be a recent option due to the growth in casting technology over the years (allowing more detailed sculpts) as well as the switch from ugly lead to shiny pewter (and we know how important shiny is). But maybe it isn’t. Does anyone else out there PREFER unpainted miniatures to even the best paint jobs? And if so, how long has this been the case?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. My kids use the pre-painted plastic WOTC minis (and sometimes Heroscape figs or whatever else happens to be around). Back in the 80's when i played with people my own age, we rarely used minis at all (i seem to remember Legos being customized quite a bit though).

    All that being said, i like the look of the unpainted mini. I recall reading something somewhere that black and white photos have more 'emotion' than color ones because each person mentally assigns there own color to the picture... Perhaps something like that happens with the unpainted minis too.

  3. Unpainted works best when it is a shiny mini that is a single cast. Anything that requires gluing together often has some unfortunate gaps that need filling in. This means greenstuff. Also, the shine goes away with use. You'll need to at least clear coat it.

    It also doesn't work real well with plastic minis. They're just ugly unpainted!

  4. Before I was confident enough to actually paint my figures, I followed the advice in one of the painting guides (from a Heritage paint & play set, or Grenadier Action Art set?) to "pewterize" your figures by just giving them a black wash to make the details stand out. You could do that. And cover putty or glue by painting the whole thing silver and then doing the wash.

    I always entertained the idea of painting a set of Call of Cthulhu investigators black & white like a noir film too but never did. I saw a great set of pictures online once where another guy did a set of zombies and survivors in B&W like the original Night of the living dead.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Wow 楊儀卉, that's some deep insight there.............................