The Penultimate Vanity Project is an irregularly scheduled, ongoing attempt to add miniature versions of myself to the various settings that I prepare miniatures for and to put photos of them up for show on this blog.
This serves a number of whimsical purposes:
- It adds some humour to my gaming (which makes this the most important function)
- It gives me yet another project to obsess about that can be adapted to fit whatever theme is in vogue at Sho3box Towers at the time
Obviously representing a specific real life human in 28mm is a tough prospect. Only the very best miniature sculptors are able to render a 28mm scale face that recognisably looks like a real life actor or historical character (Andy Foster from Heresy is probably one of the best around in that regard. Check out Dr Hugh for example). As anything like that is very, very far beyond my sculpting “skills” I plan to take the route used by the more modestly talented of us: caricature.
As an average height, slim build, thirty-something male that should do more exercise and cant grow a beard, I am not the easiest to physically caricature (although my lack of distinguishing features means that I would probably make an excellent spy). I don’t even have a distinctive haircut or eye-patch or anything.
As anyone who has put together a “Mii” for their Wii or an Avatar for Xbox Live can attest, it’s a lot easier to caricature overweight/bald/hairy/short/tall people than it is to caricature the rest of the population, of which I am a member. So I have had to fall back on a few things to make my miniature avatars recognisable:
Spectacles: the fact that I wear glasses helps recognition factor a bit. By adding specs to… lets say for example an intergalactic despotic Ming the Merciless type figure, the end figure looks just a little bit more like me. This is a design element of the project that will be regularly repeated and will feature on the majority of my mini-mes.
Clothing: the miniature versions of me will be painted so that the miniatures apparel roughly approximates apparel that I wear. As the first of these that I did was back in 2007 the clothing items worn work a little like a snapshot in time from then. Although I am very far from a slave to fashion, what I painted myself wearing a few years ago will in all likelihood not match what I paint myself wearing today, which is mildly amusing in itself.
If the figure is wearing something that doesn’t feature in my personal wardrobe (a lycra bodystocking for a superhero me perhaps. Or thigh high fuck-me boots for swashbuckling Musketeer me maybe. Also, buttock-less leather chaps don’t occupy any space in my closet, which is totally unacceptable for any miniature post-apocalyptic future Road Warrior type me) then those items will be painted to match the colours of existing real life clothes in some way.
This of course will mean almost nothing to most people, seeing as the majority of people seeing pictures on this blog have not met me, but it does help with recognition factor in company when people can see real life me in right in front of them.
Headswap: as an effort in “branding” the 28mm versions of myself I will be regularly using one specific plastic miniature head to represent my own real life head, as pictured below.
Hes a good looking fellow isn’t he? I of course would be too modest to have picked such a windswept and interesting, elvish vision of loveliness to represent me myself, but it was suggested as appropriate by a gaming colleague. The ability to pick up individual heads from GW kits on Ebay meant that I could pick up a few of those heads quite easily. Add to that that attaching tiny bits of plastic to represent glasses to a plastic head is much easier than to a metal head and we had a winner. Haircuts and hairlines come and go, but as an approximate lookalike that head is tolerable and convenient.
Although some miniatures will not have the head swapped out for the one above for any one of a number of reasons, a lot will. Hopefully that will help to increase recognition factor.
Cats: I like cats. I have four pet cats and I obsess about them a bit. As a card carrying Crazy Cat Person most of my acquaintances eye me with a mixture of confusion, disdain and amusement as they watch me vainly try to fill the gaping void at the centre of my existence with affection from predominantly affectionless animals.
Putting my personal need for therapy aside for a while, I figure that adding a cat related item or motif or whatever seems appropriate for some of the PVP figures.
As time goes on I hope that the cats, specs, head, clothing and colouring will all combine so that when a number of those features are seen on one of my miniatures that my gaming group will immediately recognise it as me. And then the PVP project will be considered a success.
At the time of writing I have three completed PVPs, one from 2007 and two done in the last month or so (October 2010). I also have a number of others in varying stages of assembly and hope to get them done as I work my way through the various projects connected with them. In the pipeline are the following, amongst many others:
- Ork me
- Zombie me
- Space Cowboy me
- Eldar Farseer me
- Necron/Terminator me
- Colonial Marine me
- Mobile Infantry me
- Inquisitor me
- Hybridised Tyranid/Xenomorph abomination me
Etc, etc. You get the picture.