Monday, 13 December 2010

Compliments, complements, earth and Mars (2)


Here be musings inspired by the earthy and unearthly landscapes a few posts back.

You might have noticed that Ork miniatures are often shown by Games Workshop on an orange-brown desert landscape and have matching bases. A lot of players seem to do the same. I've always assumed it's because of Gorkamorka, a great game in which Orks fought for scrap on a remote planet after the space hulk they were travelling on crashed. It was a desert world and if I remember rightly, the colour change was first seen then.

Of course, colour theory may have played a part too. Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel are called complementary colours and these provide great contrast for each other. Orks have green skin, which means they will naturally look better on certain backgrounds, tending towards the red. Who says GW isn't smart? When it comes to design they know what they're doing. You can easily apply the same thinking, whatever the dominant colour on a given miniature. Unless the colour is octarine perhaps...

I was reminded of all of this recently by a discussion at diceRolla on a Raptors test model. The update in the next post and something seen at A Gentlemen's Ones then set me thinking more deeply about miniatures, landscape and roleplaying. I saw that rather than the base being an extension of the miniature and a link with the tabletop, the miniature is actually an extension of the base, and the base is a part of the game world.

This is definitely a subject big enough for the next part of 'When lives co-world'. It'll be along just as soon as I condense my thoughts. If you have any, I'd love to hear them.

8 comments:

b.smoove said...

Thank you kindly for the nod. I'm looking forward to the rest of your thoughts, condensed or otherwise.

Dave@RollWithIt said...

I think basing is an aspect that is usually ignore, abused or both.

To me the idea is that the base should be the link between the miniature and the terrain, but that it should go unnoticed. To achieve that illusion there has to be a subtle blend. In the same way that a lack of texture and colour on a base can make a mini look bad, so to can an over-the-top exaggerated base which draws attention to all the wrong parts.

To be honest I think you should never actually even notice the bases are even there as they don't represent part of the 'world' you're looking at.

Papa JJ said...

I've never considered the relationship between miniature and base in such a way but I'm now fascinated by this dynamic. It may be a subtle distinction but something which I think could become very significant to how I approach painting in the future. I'm excited to see what more is illuminated as you delve further into this subject, it's very gratifying for me to have played a part in launching this investigation. Thank you, Porky!

Porky said...

@ b.smoove - I get a lot of inspiration reading your posts. I think you can probably guess what it is that I saw...

Anyone who's never had the pleasure should head over to A Gentleman's Ones to see what the fuss is about, and hunt down that very special model-base combo... The clock is ticking - I'll put up the post eventually.

@ Dave@RollWithIt - I agree. At first I thought I didn't, but you're quite right that the base itself should be invisible, or reasonable, proportional or relevant to the model. Here I'm really interested in the top surface of the base, what emerges from it and how that interacts physically or otherwise with the model. I personally prefer simpler bases, and there are certainly bases which go overboard. In my view, one thing that especially harms a model is extreme highlights on base texture. This can be found everywhere, but I notice it most often on the sides of movement trays. Even a block of infantry can get a little lost. For me you've hit the nail on the head with 'subtle blend'. That's just the idea. The trouble is, while your Dead Suns make this kind of thing look easy, my attempts are still ham-fisted! Practice makes perfect, practice makes perfect...

@ Papa JJ - This is a project which is getting out of my control, and I get the feeling I'm going to have to join you in leading by example. You've played a part in launching a few investigations and for that I'm thankful to you!

The Happy Whisk said...

Hi Porky: Thanks for dropping in. And thanks for putting me on your blog roll. I've got you on my Jelly Roll too.

Happy Winter :-)

Porky said...

Thanks and no worries - it's such a happy place to be! Not to mention all those pics of fantastic-looking food..!

Cursed13 said...

When I first started I ignored the bases too. But now I've gotten into a proper modelling mode, so I use the bases to tell the history of my models. Each of my armies, 40K, Warlord and soon Warmachine, are all decorated with a base from their home world. Well, except my Tau force, but that was an experiment.

Porky said...

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled if the Eldar bases are anything to go by.