Greetings from caves so deep they’re almost in another dimension, fellow rogues!
It’s funny sometimes, the conversations you get into while in the midst of battle. Take today, for example – we came across a whole bunch of mindflayers and thought ‘Uh, oh, here we go…’ but most of them just rolled their eyes at us and hopped back into their dimension (there must have been free brains on offer somewhere).
One of the mages stayed behind, however. He seemed different to the rest, that is, he didn’t immediately try to suck the consciousness from our crania. Instead, he struck up a conversation with our sorceress about the nature of beauty! While most of us had our eyebrows in our hairlines and our hands on our daggers, Eilhana (who is the definition of unflappable), gamely joined in.
The debate rolled back and forth for quite a while, So I’ll summarise: the unlikely pair were discussing what beauty actually is, and how it changes depending on who’s looking.
Eilhana is generally considered to be classically beautiful (Hilarion certainly looks a little hot under the armor whenever she’s adventuring with us!), while the mindflayer is…not. However, this particular one is considered to be rather devilishly handsome amongst his own people, which just goes to show that not everyone has the same set of ideals when it comes to beauty! He, for example, shudders a bit whenever he sees a creature without facial tentacles (having a visible mouth is terribly indiscreet, you know).
Both of these characters are on the 28mm scale (not including bases) – that’s just one inch to pack in all the details. Eilhana pointed out her particularly fine and crisp detaiing, including the finely chiseled features of her face, and the chains hanging from her belt that are fully detailed depsite being about the width of a human hair (she’s a little bit vain, but then she is a sorceress…). The Mindflayer countered with the fact that he himself has some very fine detailing on the cloak of his robe, and reminded her that while she has been cast in metal, he was cast in Bonesium, a plastic material that cannot reproduce quite the same crisp detailing. He also mentioned (can mindlfayers snicker?) that her metal makes her rather heavy to hold, while he is light as a feather.
You should have seen her face! The moral of the story was, however, that you can’t help the way you were made, but your form may have more advantages than you think! Learn to appreciate them, and you will be a happier adventurer all round.
Next, the debate started to heat up a bit over… exposure. The Mindflayer was a bit dismissive of Eilhana, because her clothes are, perhaps, a little skimpier than most. He believes there’s no point flashing all your bits around when a nice warm, covering garment will help you focus on more intellectual matters. While acknowledging that a rather depressing majority of female fantasy miniatures are grossly oversexualised (sculpted by men for a predominantly male market), her ‘bits’ are all inside her clothes, her pose is sexy while still being believable (dancing/weaving a sorcery), and her proportions are not hyperexaggerated. She also countered that if you’ve got it, and you like it, you might as well flaunt it (within reason), and pointed out that the fact that she has breasts in no way diminishes her intellectual capacity. If her enemies choose to underestimate her, then they’re going to pay the price for it.
She did acknowledge that a cloak would be nice right about now, though. Caves are cold, people.
Finally, the conversation turned to time. How long does it take you to get to the point where you feel ‘beautiful’? Eilhana once again came under fire for the fact that not only does she have to be primed all over before she can be painted (the white stuff on the surface of her figure is primer – the original mini is silver coloured metal), but the fine details on her face and clothes are going to take forever to paint in before she’ll be considered ‘finished’. The mindflayer, on the other hand, is a much more simple proposition – the type of creature that gets up, runs a wet cloth over their face and is basically ready to go (give or take some shading to get the colour effect you want).
The debate more or less ended here on a shrug from both parties – it was decided that while each system has its advantages (speed over details, perhaps) everyone’s little beauty rituals take a certain amount of time, and so long as they don’t negatively interfere with your ability to go about your daily life and get stuff done, you should do whatever makes you happy!
The debate ended thereafter – I feel like it probably would have continued, but the dimensional portal opened up and a couple of the other mindlfayers popped through and hauled their conversational friend back to whichever plane it was had the free brain buffet. Eilhana strolled back over to our group with her usual nonchalance, and suggested we head back up to the surface for some nice warm soup.
The moral of the story is: beauty comes in many guises, and has many different priorities. Choose yours, and respect others, and we can all be beautiful (inside and out) together!
The verdict: Fantasy miniatures are awesome, and there are lots of good producers out there for 28mm (1 inch) scale. Your preference will change depending on your price point, preferred painting medium, desired level of detail and how many you want to be able to carry around with you at one time, but both Reaper’s Bones line and Guild of Harmony metal offerings have lots of fabulous things to choose from, including steampunk characters.
The practicalities: Phoenicia (the min’s name) The Arcane Spellcaster, sculpted by Sebastian W. W. Archer, costs AUD $10.50, and is available from www.guildofharmony.com.
The Bathalian (‘Mindflayer’ is actually copyright to Wizards of the Coast, the makers of DnD), sculpted by Sandra Garrity, costs USD 2.49 and is available from www.reapermini.com
Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!
I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!