Saturday, 16 August 2014

Making bones about Nagash

The 'leak' is here for the new official miniature for Nagash, the necromancer in the Warhammer setting. It looks like a sleek, comfortably variable plastic kit, nipped and tucked neatly using CAD.

The previous one gets a lot of stick and seems widely regarded, online at least, as one of the worst ever Citadel miniatures. There's mention in this thread of the idea the skull was badly sculpted on purpose. If true, not badly enough for me. I've always been quite fond of the model, and I'd argue the skull's the key feature.

So this is an alternative perspective, a reappraisal for posterity, or possibly Midhammer.

Let's start with the body that frames it, which may or may not be clownlike, but has a dense presence and menacing bulk, a tone of assured aggression and hidden depths among the folds and bones and calm mastery in the pose. The robes especially imply initiation and dark arts, classically fantastical turned up to 11; old school Warhammer fantasy, with less of the newer embellishment that seems to suggest an over- or faux- seriousness or uniform design cues, a need to tell, tell, tell, over every square millimetre.

Oddly, but naturally for what is a head, it's the skull that brings it to life, and suggests undeath more than just superficially. It's brutally massive and wickedly macabre, with the grimace going beyond even the restraint in the pose, into a keener and more deeply suggestive horror. A lesser model might be shouting or even screaming, releasing the tension; not truly horrific at all, and maybe more a parody of horror, or deliberately cathartic, blowing off steam before it can affect the viewer - who might after all be a child.

But this model has its teeth clenched, the jaw tightly closed and the eyes staring all the more intently for it: as if the scream won't come, or can't; is being bitten down on. That intensifies that sense of density, malevolence and dark depths, the deeper mystery of existence in this aspect of the Warhammer world. That is what Nagash is about after all.

So I say job done, but I realise it might take time and maybe need better pictures of the new mini for contrast. It remains to be seen if the new can improve on the effect, or even come close to it. But that's fine, especially if it really was accidental the first time round.


Kelvin Green said...

I am quite fond of the original model too. In many ways it has more character than the new one and its continued existence was a sign that GW hadn't lost its sense of humour completely.

marjedi said...

It is a rubbish miniature.

Looks like a cheap childs toy.

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Porky said...

@ Kelvin Green - Given how old even some of the more mainstream 40K miniatures are getting - there's a partial list here - and with 40K being a supposedly far bigger-selling set of lines, it's open to question how much it's sense of humour and how much some unknown constraint. I'm confident we'll know one day, when the 40K research gets nearer the level of the D&D - competing documentaries and all.

@ marjedi - It's not clear which one you mean. The previous miniature or the new? I'll assume you mean the new given some of the discussion of more recent releases has made reference to action figures and Saturday morning cartoons. But that could just be that we're all ageing, while the average age of the customer may be holding steadier, making them seem more like toys with every passing year.

@ Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD, the Roamin' Cat - I can't help but think you're in the right place on some level.

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