Whether it wants to or not, our brain loves patterns. This can manifest in a multitude of ways, from organising things with labels for easier categorising to tidying up or at the extreme end, lining up our belongings with an neurotic need and accuracy.

In terms of our hobby, this can be both beneficial and as far as I’m concerned a right thorn i my side sometimes. Its helpful when i need to say, grab 10 cultists with auto guns from a collection of 40, where half have close combat weapons (more on that shortly). It can help me spot, at a glance, which of my 3 Carnifexes aren’t quite finished being painted. A bit like “spot the difference”, remember that when you were a kid, looking at two pictures with slight differences?

You probably remember how models used to and often still do look, in a fixed, single posed cast. Before models it was cardboard tokens on board games so not really a problem, these a there just as representation of the characters we imagine are there. We don’t expect them to look realistic or move, and in their uniform wrongness they are fine.

Then technology advances and we try to push the boundaries of whats possible. This is where holes appear i the patterns. I remember playing ASCII games as a kid, where the pictures and levels were made of computer characters and symbols. The graphics were so bad, that much like a book, most of the games were imagination. 20 years later playing Dead or Alive on the Play Station and the high poly models with realistic movements convey realistic impacts for more immersion. But that made the mistakes stand out more… They apparently put plenty of effort (possibly too much) into bouncy boobs, but couldn’t stop that same woman’s dress passing through her legs when she fell over

The first time I saw a pose-able mini and it blew my freaking mind. In was assembling skeletons, from Advanced Hero Quest I think. This one was defending, that one was thrusting, the one next to it was stabbing. Different combinations of shields, swords and spears made for practically infinite range of possible poses. Now Games workshop leads the way in the field of war gaming in terms of model range, variety and pose-ability/customisation. I think this is one of the reasons that i haven’t got into the minis of other popular war games. I know that the limited poses would get on my nerves. Weirdly this is not something the bothers me with board games. For example, Star Wars: Imperial Assault has a variety of decent quality minis with duplicates but because its a board game, I’m happy with the uniformity, like chess pieces.

Games Workshop isn’t though, while providing many great opportunities for variation in models with the same battlefield role, isn’t perfect. There are instances where they provide models that only fit together one way. Commonly the models in their starter boxes are like this for ease of putting together and playing sooner. Some of these models are then released later with pose-able kits. Sometimes there are models that only have one option, that fits together one way.

Two pairs of twins in the same squad? What are the chances if that! Amazing…

I just cant handle it. Especially on nice high detail minis. Ive already touched on fighting this duplicate menace before with my Lictors and Possessed. Here some other examples of ways I’ve tried to combat these strange clones…

Jokaero Weaponsmith – the one on the right is the original single pose mini. I straightened the back and lowered the arm of the other space monkey.

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Tyrant Guard – The one on the left has very limited posing, so i made a more aggressive and dynamic, striking Guard. Since I got these fine-cast models the newer kits were released that contain 3 pose-able plastic Tyrant Guard.

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Chaos Cultists – AAAAAAHHHH!!!!…

Ok… so the cultists were an Ebay purchase from the Dark Vengeance box set. One whole DV set and a separate bid for 20 cultists left me with a total of 40 cultists, each unit of ten having a champion, heavy weapon and 8 cultists. Until that time my only Troop choice were Rubric Marines… Which meant very small armies, no fodder and difficulty filling force organisation charts.

I thought this was a great idea… Then i saw the models. Even though half of the basic cultists have auto guns and half have close combat weapons. I realised, each 10 man unit consisted of 4 identical twins. With two sets… I had 9 sets of identical quadruplets and thats not even including the two pairs of twin champions.

Nnnoooooooo!!!…

I had my work cut out for me. I figured my cultists would be recruited from all over the place and taking clothing from wherever on their travels, so one way to vary them would be by their random clothing colours. I wasn’t happy with that alone though, those exact same poses would annoy me. So i built one of each model normally… Then did some very rough kit bash conversions on the rest. Swapping heads, legs, weapons and all sorts. I think only one model has a piece not from the kit.

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Ive tried to group all the quadruplets as best i could for easy comparison, then the two pairs of twin champions together in the last picture.

After taking the photos i can see that i didn’t really try very hard to paint them so i may give them a going over using their existing colour as a base.

Anyway, let me know what you think, do they look different enough? Was it worth it? Does this sort of thing bother you or do you prefer the endless sea of identical poses? Have you tried to fight the close wars with your own light conversions? Do you remember the first models you were able to customise? Let me know!

~Pandora’s Bitz Box~

15 comments

  1. Yes, I think they look different enough and as for being worth it I guess I’d say it was if you had fun doing it. While I understand that GW wants to keep their costs down for the boxed sets, especially with cheap troops, I find myself saying, “Chaos Cultists – AAAAAAHHHH!!!!…” myself when I see that I’ve received two sets of exactly the same mini, lol. So I applaud your attempts at individuality!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh great, im glad you think so, i think ill definitely give them another round of paint though an maybe do some update posts though. One of the things i really don’t like about the paint job on these models was that a load of their shading is glossy. I was so convinced id contaminated my wash with varnish i threw it away… Only to later realise when it happened again that it was a result of not shaking the pot 😔

      Im very mindful to shake the pot now. But also i have the dilemma that i dont really want them all the same scheme but i also want them to be linked somehow. I dont know, maybe im asking to much. Also i didnt necessarily want their clothes to match, as if they each grabbed clothes from anywhere, but that just makes it look like i painted them before swapping all the bits!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is an interesting balancing act, trying to vary guys in a unit while still unifying them. I ran into that myself for the first time when looking at WW2 Soviet units with the fact that their uniforms weren’t exactly standardized to the level you might expect from some of the other combatants.

        One solution a painter I read about did, which seemed to work well, was he painted groups of them with the same uniform and then another group of them with something different. So to apply that to our cultists, he might have done the first ten in variant A and the second ten in variant B, or if he wanted even more variety maybe four groups of five. This also (especially the ten) has the advantage of making them very easy to tell apart in games but still unified enough where you can put them altogether in one unit too, if you want.

        Still, I think your scheme is working out fine, though that is a good caution about not shaking up your washes.

        Death to the False Emperor!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a gamer but as someone who likes doing dioramas I’ve experienced the exact same problem. Ì will adjust the odd figure myself but I’m not heavily into conversions so find myself doing a lot of research to find compatible but different figures from different suppliers to achieve the result I’m looking for. People are different and for that reason I want each of my figures to be. Nice work on making each one a little more personal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, yeah i also look at other mini ranges but i do often struggle to dind something that has a similar enougg aesthetic as what i have or want. I did get 2 infinity models as GW Vindicare assassins and just modified the guns slightly. Its a bit trickier when it comes to individual, characterful models as they normally have a very recognisable details and poses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah i dont mind that if you buy multiple packs of numourous models, that there are copies, but it was frustrating that the cultist units already came so many copies

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you’ve done a superb job on the cultists- they do look different enough and the alternating colour schemes help to separate them even more. It must have been quite the undertaking painting all those fellas though, give yourself a pat on the back for that alone.

    On another note, the difference thing bothers me too. Not so much with the starter kits, as you get some models in different/unique/odd poses that you might not have conjured yourself necessarily (and, like you say, they are for the purpose of snap-together-and-play!) With the full kits, I like how you can customise the poses and add bits from other kits to make them stand out from their comrades.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As i said to Ann, they would look a lot better if i hadnt forgotten to shake the brown wash i used on them. Apparently not shaking it and dipping straight into the top layer hive you something that dries glossy… So they have what i can only describe as greasy shadows. I really need to fix it. They arent actually painted well, just varied. They mostly have block colours, and i painted those on by picking a paint and then grabbing a few guys then alternating thebitsm of clothing i painted with the same colour and repeated. So thanks, im glad it worked!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They look fine to me. When you’ve got multiples of the same model, you can either mod them or paint them differently (or both). Modding though needs both an appropriate material (HIPS works, metal is good when you can repose with a slight bend) – though I’m finishing a trip of Bones models right now that would be more trouble than they’re worth to try to repose – and that’s where I suspect a mass of 40 cultists would fall for me, at least if I tried to paint them all at once! 😉
    Yours actually look far worse in terms of repetitiveness in the photos above than they would on the table, simply by virtue of how you’ve photographed them in lines, with their clone-mates side by side in a lot of cases. In a couple of units on the tabletop, I expect that would pretty much vanish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah i know it makes them stand out a lot more but i obviously had to do it to as i didnt havr a photo of each original to hand so there was no frame of reference. Some of them the difference is very subtle. Painting them wasnt too bad, making them all weird colours, but i obviously just wanted them to have some sort of colour on them so i think they deserve a bit more effort. I think i will come back to them at some point, maybe do 5 at a time for some mini blog posts. The reposing, while daunting… Soon just becomes no bother to me at all, i just really enjoy it and time loses all meaning to me as i work on one model, with an unreasonable amount of effort for something so insignificant… Like my friends bloodletter (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/krakendoomcool.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/i-bit-off-more-khorne-than-i-could-chew/amp/).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, placing them side by side like that is a good way to call attention to the modifications and kitbashing of them. Once they’re squadded up and on the table they’ll be much less obvious! 🙂

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  6. I know what you mean about the cultists. Same with Poxwalkers. I have to say I’ve spent a small fortune on aftermarket conversion parts to try to get some variety in my cultist/ renegade guard miniatures. Its a common thing when they make you desire big units, but make these limited/single pose models. One of the things I’ve always loved about Space marines is the options in the multi-pose kits. Even with a bit of cutting and gluing you can get some real variety. While I think many of the new GW kits are beautiful, they seem to be making the job a bit harder on the converter. Its likely because they are aiming at the younger, less experienced market- which is perfectly fine, but as a hobbyist I still prefer the options. One of the reasons I started to learn to sculpt. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I need to resort to sculpting because i simply don’t have appropriate part for the specific circumstances. That’s why i find the kitbashes by people like Krautscientist so impressive. He seems to treat the parts like lego, i look at the models and cant help but think… How big is his bits horde, how much variety is there, and how long does it take him to find the bits he needs?!

      Like

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