domenica 19 febbraio 2017

My first miniature - Metal Magic Elf Archer w Cape

It was sometimes between 1993 and 1995, I guess. There was this shop, Pergioco, on the back of piazza Cordusio in Milan. It looked like a tiny shop, but there was a stair leading downwards into a very large room packed with boardgames, role-playing games, miniatures, dice and such. It was Saturday afternoon paradise, for an early teenager like I was.

Not that I had the money to buy anything. The subway tickets to the city centre took away about 40% of my weekly budget. But still, a few months after playing my first session of RPGs, I decided to buy a miniature. It was though deciding which one, but finally the choice fell on this one.

Elf Archers with Cape (1033e, 1992) from Metal Magic, a brand at that time owned by Hobby Products, a German manufacturer. To this day, I consider this one of the finest miniatures ever produced, and one that has shaped my aesthetic taste in fantasy. Truly, Josef Ochmann did a hell of a job on this one.

Take the perfect dynamic pose, for example: this Elf is loading an arrow and is set to shoot at a distant point, aiming slightly upwards to achieve a longer range. He has a distinctive elfin physique, slim but proportionate. Then there are the details: the trimming on the tunic, the fishlike scales of the armour following the shape of the chest, giving the idea of a lightweight armour and not a heavy one falling vertically. The sword on one side and the quiver on the other. High boots and a long cape. This is the hyperuranic elvish adventurer.

This was, for a long time, Haldir, the Sinda warrior from the Grey Havens, whom I played in MERP. Too bad I had no idea how to paint it and no budget to buy the expensive sets for painting at the time.

So I gave it to one of the guys in my playing group, because he claimed he was good. He held it for about 6 months and, after repeated requests to return it, gave it back with the lousiest paintjob ever. It was, quite literally, a clumsy brush of pink on the face and hands, one of grey on the armour, and one of green on the cloak. End of it (WIP, he claimed). But what made me really mad was that I made ONE request: that the cape was to grey. Haldir was a Grey Elf, after all, and having read the Silmarillion quite recently, I was adamant about it.

Years later I found another friend (I had left the old group since, and wasn't playing MERP anymore) who could paint, and graciously offered to paint my miniature. He did what you see now, a very nice paintjob, at least for a teenager from the 90s. We didn't have much money fro colours and brushes, and we didn't have any access to GW's paint courses or youtube tutorials. Everything was perfect, except for one detail: the cape was, again, green.

If you want a job well done, they say, there's only one way to do it. So I did it myself. Meanwhile the GW shop had opened in Milan, I got myself a set of colours, and painted the cloak in grey. And that's how, over the course of several year, this miniature got painted.

What was your first miniature? Any interesting story to share? Let me know in the comments!