Assembly and Painting – Composition in Practice

Well, my chosen model for my year long entry is going to be the Genestealer Magus.  Why?  Several reasons!

First, I just love the mini, so hopefully that’ll give me the enthusiasm to power through doing it just as well as I possibly can through the year.

Second, a brilliant painter, Vidpui, has painted an altered version of the Magus for me, exhibiting lots of the points about the composition of an individual model and narrative for the theme.  Its a good thinking point for my own entry. Take a look at some photos of the Wakandan Magus.

Third, I can pick up the Magus for £12.  That’s not too expensive to do several versions over the year to improve step by step.  With a larger model, I’d have to do a single model, at best stripping it between versions.  

Fourth, its a really strongly posed model.  Assembled without any conversions, the Magus oozes character, from the pose marching forward, the balance between the staff and the off hand skeleton or skull.  There are large areas of cloth allowing both texture and freehand.  There are large areas of skin for smooth flesh tones, which with genestealer influence could be a range of interesting shades off normal.  There are solid ridged areas that could be painted as artificial or matching a tyranid hive fleet.  Flowing streamers convey movement, and gene stealer logos form the base of a triangle defining the model with the potent determination in the face as the third.  Lovely!

In terms of the composition, lets look at the standard GW image from the front.  First off, look how the curved tip of the dagger points back to the staff.  Its a brilliant touch in terms of the composition.  The staff runs down, so your eye is naturally drawn back to the centre of the model.

The staff points down at the base, as does the streamer, bringing the attention down to the ground and back into the striding feet.

The overall pose has a clean line of motion straight forward, and is centered by a triangle of  gene stealer logos and the face.

The composition is balanced, strong, and clear.  The base allows reasonable space to customise it without needing to go bigger, and will look good on a plinth.  We could set the base up to look like a tyranid infestation, the red dust of a mining colony, or the inside of a hive world corridor.  There are lots of options, and we can select something to contrast or enhance our overall colour choices.

With the cheaper model, we could possibly do colour trials before settling on a final choice, and we can certainly do a zenithal prime on a model to indentify where the highlights fall.

Given the need to tell a narrative straight from the core canon of 40K, We want to look at colours that highlight the links to classic gene stealer blue and purple.  GW seem to use red as a unifying spot colour and for gene stealer iconography, with a blue colour for hybrid clothes.  Green, as we can see from Vidpui’s terrific model, is a fantastic contrast to reds and oranges, and orange would be a fantastic link to traditional mining colours.  Lots of food for thought, and we need to look into colour theory and light in more detail to make some informed choices.

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