I always considered myself a GW fanboy. I've been known to buy overpriced sand, gravel and other ridiculous items from their stores out of some strange sense of brand loyalty. I used to be seriously down on aftermarket parts and considered anything non-canonical to be non-legit. However, in the past few years this rigid attitude has thawed dramatically for many reasons and I can happily say that it's made the hobby loads more exciting and rewarding. Let me take you on a journey,...
|Go away Xander, you're ruining the photo!|
As well as being into little men, skateboarding and other assorted lameness, I'm also a massive fan of
Willow Rosenberg the TV show Buffy. When I discovered that Hasslefree had created some sculpts that were (in no way) related to the show, I had to have them. They are the very first non-GW sculpts that I had ever laid my paws on and it was strange. It felt a little like blasphemy. The scale was slightly different, the details finer and more realistically rendered. In short I was smitten by the design and effort put into the figures.
|Buffy Summers and Mr Pointy.|
If you've never painted any of the Hasslefree range, I whole-heartedly recommend you pick one of their figures up. The casting is perfect with minimal trim or cleaning needed. They're also really sturdy for small figures too, so no worries for people like me who have been known to damage brand new models before getting the chance to paint them. Buffy was a joy to paint and suited a super-thin, multiple layered wash style of painting to make the textures a little more realistic.
|Blurry Blondie Bear.|
Not the greatest picture, which is a shame because this sculpt is fantastic. It's must be easy for sculptors to get lazy when it comes to things like long jackets, but thankfully, this figure is a massive exception to the rule. The coat is full of subtle curves at the back and the fineness of the detail is stunning.
|Vampire Willow is best Willow.|
Er,..yeah. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't into Vampire Willow. She's the bestest. Really love the proportions on her hips and the outfit is spot-on to the show. I must admit the facial sculpt is probably the weakest of the three, but it's still a great model.
|Buffy and Spike talk about hatesex, whilst Vampire Willow |
thinks about throwing matches on things.
So that's Hasslefree. As for other rad companies, one that's recently come to attention is Slow Death Games, who are producing a 'Warriors' esque game using rad looking gangs based on musical genres as inspiration. So far, only Sid the crusty punk has been cast, but there's so many amazing looking greens on the production line - especially an amazing selection of goth girls which look like the most fun to paint. Here's Sid!
|Tuff guy bad end.|
This figure is great. The proportions are great and it's a really nice to paint someone holding a realistically sized weapon. There's a great picture floating the around the web of this guy with a Conflict back-patch which has come out loads better than my attempt at a Crass logo. Kinda wish that I'd been a bit more adventurous with the colour, but it's not my fault that crusties like black denim! I ended up buying two of these models, so I may paint the next one up as a Juggelo and sculpt a little staffie for him.
|Sid and Buffy discuss bands they've seen at the Bronze.|
So yeah, I can no longer claim to be a GW purist and I think it's a good thing. I'm quite sure that the universe of 40K will always preoccupy the forefront of my daubings, but it's nice to know that there's alternatives out there when things get stale. I've already been scouring the ranges of other model producers to track down a suitable Giles to hang out with the Scoobies. If anyone else out there is having second thoughts about exploring other ranges then do yourself a favour and get in there!