Sunday, August 15, 2010

Best Painted Army at the NOVA Open: Eric Furman's Eldar

Today is Sunday and I am feeling that 40k hangover one gets after tournaments. I went into this tournament knowing that Best Painted Army would be tough to claim with players coming from all over the place. My small pond just got way bigger. There were some spectacular armies on display at the Open. I was lucky enough to claim best painted single miniature, named the Well Beyond Crayola Award. This is not to say I was upset by not winning Best Painted Army because I was soundly beaten by a worthy opponent. Eric Furman's Eldar are immaculately painted with flawless blending, bright colors and intense detail. See for yourself. (click on the images for larger pictures)

Eric's Eldar have a wonderful color choice. The colors of the army compliment each other well, while still providing for variation from unit to unit. His Fire Dragons are a great example. Even though they have lots of red, the hue of red matches the gems of the other miniatures which ties them together as a single force. You'll also notice he's used the same hue of blue on the Fire Dragons as you can find on his other models. It's a subtle way to create a more interesting army, without sacrificing unity in the force.

Another feature of note in this army is that Eric has managed to bring the highlights of the army up to near white. Look to the curves on his models on the war walkers in the back. I bring this up because he managed to achieve a blended pleasing result that gives the army, what I can only describe as a "cream-like" pastel quality.

Simply gorgeous. Congratulations, Eric! You deserve it.


sonsoftaurus said...

Very nice.

The weapon platform jetbikes are a nice idea too.

Student Teacher said...

Wow, just wow! Those are awesome. I agree with sonsoftaurus that the weapon platform jetbikes are a very nifty idea!

tim said...

almost makes me want to start a eldar army. by the way, did you beat jawaballs?

Cobalt Cannon said...

hmm Nicely painted, and good blending technique. However I would like to see the other competition for this before I would typically offer an opinion, but.. NOVA judges, I disagree. What I am seeing here is comparable in my opinion, of choosing a particular style over another rather than a comparison of overall composition, etc.
Eric's blending technique is well practiced and executed. However this is what I am seeing from an artistic aesthetic perspective:

He continues the artistic problem that Gamesworkshop has created for the eldar. That is, the flamboyant use of varying colors within the force cause the force to not be distinguishable as a cohesive unit, rather than several smaller independent units. I am not getting the impression of an army here, when I look at these eldar.
The other two largest problems for me with the judges' choice, are the lack of attention to negative space, and lack of detail painting.
To explain what I mean: His board looks like a random terrain board. It's construction is good, however it adds nothing to the overall presentation of the force. It's just a dirt field with snow.

In contrast, your board OSH, when you look at it, it tells a story. There is depth there, and that makes the board part of the overall composition.

The details that I am not seeing in these eldar are the classic eldrich runes(other than decals) and scrolling linear designs that are usually adorning eldar craftwork. I think the artist was afraid to attempt these in fear that he would make a mistake. I base this observation on the shakey and inconsistant quality of lines in the leg designs on his Halaquins.

As a lifelong artist myself and having spent many years in colleges and universities studying art, I have seen this type of judging happen among the "artiste community." (artist groupies and pretenders) Those that aren't trained in seeing visual art miss important details, and become enamoured with a particular subject matter or technique and therefore are blind to all else.

An artistic creation is much more than any particular part of it's creation. It takes more than one pretty note to make a symphony.

Now for this criticism to be constructive, how could Eric have fixed these problems?
1) Replace the purple detailing on the warlock platforms with the army's blue. The blue in the warlocks under-robes would have linked them enough to the force if it was carried onto their platforms.
2) Add the army's blue and some Iyanden Darksun or whatever his color choice was on his vehicles and armor into the fire dragons. Painting the fire dragons' armor blue and the ribon red would have been a better choiceto tie them with the force and distinguish them as a special unit. They don't have to be red because Games Workshops does it that way.
3) Add eldar details to that board or some kind of detials that make the board part of that army.

I am truely not biased in my critique. Seriously, the eldar have some beautiful curves and lines in their appearance, but I utterly disagree with the judges on this one. Your work is better OSH overall.

Kirby said...

Those are very nice. Love the Wraithguard particularly.

Can we get a picture of your best painted or is there one already on the blog?

Alexander said...

eldar Always seem to get best painted.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Colbalt Cannon,

I appreciate your comments and compliments. Thank you. I am grateful to have the support.

These pictures really don't do the army justice. When you see it in real life the army really "pops." so much that you can't look away. I really think this guy deserved to win.

I'll explain why I didn't win: I had two unfinished models in the army and my kroot had a few details that I had to rush (all the hooks of meat, grenades, etc) so that to the judges my army was incomplete and therefore should not win. Totally understandable. I came to the tournament with a list I wanted to game with so I had to rush a few models to do so. So my couple models being not done, made a tough decision easier for the judges.

That aside, I agree with you that our painting styles are vastly different. Eric is a more technical painter, as shown by his near-flawless blending. I am more messy when I paint. I aim for realism, while Eric's style is more...I dunno, cartoon-ish? more CGI-ish perhaps. I try to make people imagine the models as existing in a real world. One that isn't far from our own. I like grittiness, and I can see from this army, that Eric likes cleanliness. So you're right about style and unfortunately that is only a matter of preference. This makes it an extremely tough call for the judges. So the solution to judge based on technical skill, which Eric has got me beat on.

I think I have some good shots at the other contender. There were three top armies (maybe more, I'm not sure): Eric's Eldar, My Tau and an Ork Blood Axe Army that was also top-notch. (I'll check and see if I can get photos up for you.)

Thanks again and I hope this clears it up for you. I think the judges did a good job and I am happy to see Eric get the prize on this one.