Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Blog 005 – A new look at an old friend

This is far from being one of my first conversions (although it must be almost 15 years old) but I think it deserves a showing. Years ago I decided that I wanted to do a force of Chaos-aligned Eldar – there was a line in an old codex that roughly went “no more certainly damned is an Eldar who has given his soul to Slaanesh” and it really caught my imagination. For the most part the small force was composed of the old lead/tin Eldar (including one of my favourite GW sculpts ever – an Eldar with an absolutely huge pistol), but I wanted to have an appropriate leader for the force. Rules wise it was going to conform to the standard army list, but I wanted each figure to be themed (the phrase ‘counts as’ is just wonderful when it comes to army building) so I thought I’d see what I could do to the Avatar to theme it to my army.
In the normal rules the Avatar is a big construct animated by the will of Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Eldar god of war and murder (good to know that they’re as messed up as the rest of the Universe), but that wouldn’t make sense in a Slaaneshi force. An Avatar animated by a demon however… Now that sounded right.
I knew that I’d need to warp the Avatar’s form to some degree, but at the time my sculpting ability was nowhere near as good as it is now and I only used miliput – both of these were limiting factors. What I decided to do was what you can see. The legs were modified to give extra height as well as to conform to one of the classic Chaos images and I snipped away the bulk of the head.
As it’s the focus of the figure (indeed of almost any figure) it needed to be changed, not least to remove the great, big Eldar rune-shaped horns sticking out of it. I also liked the idea of giving it long hair, a touch of much-needed femininity (an attempt at giving the torso the iconic single breast was abandoned – the result looked malformed and misaligned).
Looking back at it after all these years the severed heads on the hip were a mistake. They don’t fit with the rest of the figure either in theme or in sculpting style, plus the head with the facial-hair was taken from one of the old Time-Lord figures GW produced in the early eighties and I really wish I still had them to play with.
What would I do differently today? Well a couple of things come to mind. I’d certainly change the sword into another weapon (I always like the spear version of The Doom That Wails so that would seem appropriate) and I think that a little more Slaaneshi-goodness would make sense. I’d probably revisit the idea of adding the single breast and see whether a few years of experience could get it to work, plus I think that sculpting a claw to replace the empty hand would add to the general Slaaneshi feel. At this moment of writing I also think that I’d look at giving the piece the four-armed aspect of both the Keeper of secrets and the death-goddess Kali – I reckon that the end result could look rather impressive. And I do have a couple of spare Avatars somewhere so I might just have to give it another try and see what comes out – time permitting, of course.

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