BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Art & Making of Fantasy Miniatures’

 

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Reviewer: Michael Keith

Title: The Art & Making of Fantasy Miniatures

Author: Jamie Kendall

Total Number of Printed Pages: 238

Rating Scale (1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent): 8

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The author, when writing in the volume’s Introduction, notes that ‘…You should view this [volume] as an art museum exhibit in book form. You move through the gallery peering at the…figures in their display cases…and standing next to them, providing commentary and insight into their creation are your tour guides – the creators themselves’. It is an admirable precis’ of what is to follow.

The aforementioned Introduction is placed immediately behind the Contents page. As indicated by its full title (Introduction: Standing on the shoulders of (Miniature) Giants) what  the reader is about to view is based on what has gone before, a fact alluded-to within the section; the author referencing earlier games and figure creations as being the precursors of what is about to be revealed. The nine Chapters which form the main part of the book now appear, with each of these being dedicated to a specific fantasy-miniature manufacturer / game. In arrangement, the Chapters tend to follow a standard format; a Title page, followed by a second page listing the important individuals within each organisation, while a  third page of text provides a short company history and methods employed in the creation of the figures the organisation manufactures. Chapters IV (Guild Ball) and VII (Rumbleslam) do however carry additional pages of text, these being specifically-related to the creation and printing of 3-D models. With the credentials of the organisation thus-established, the pages of text are followed by the Chapter’s pictorial section. This is essentially a catalogue of the statuary and machinery that the individual organisation produces, with each group of models being sequentially numbered and  accompanied by a faux-parchment side-panel giving names to the numbers, and, if necessary, providing additional information about specific items or the series they are part of. Where appropriate to the narrative, concept drawings and art works of various sizes also appear. These are variously monochrome or coloured images and provide supporting and background visual effects to the models, while also placing them in context within the games for-which they were created. It must be noted however, that many of the images are of the ‘Blood and Guts and Gore’ genre which is seemingly de rigueur for the Fantasy Wargamer community, and as such may render the volume unsuitable for younger readers.  The volume’s final page (Acknowledgments and Additional Image Credits) is placed after Chapter XI (Kings of War (Mantic Games)). Its’ title is self-explanatory. Despite the numerous and varied miniatures with the volume, no Index is provided for either these, the games they represent or the organisations that manufacture them.

This reviewer found the volume’s lack of an Index frustrating and severely limiting, forcing him to search through its’ every page in pursuit of a figurine with a title possibly incorrectly recalled. In a work attempting to be a ‘Work of Reference’ it was a serious ommission and reduces its usefulness and ‘accessibility’.

This is a well-written, informative and visually-outstanding book which, despite its lack of an Index, may well find favour amongst the Fantasy-gaming community. Non-gamers may also find the art work and figurines etc. of interest, the previously-mentioned rider concerning image-suitability for younger readers notwithstanding.

On a Rating Scale where 1: Very Poor, 10: Excellent: I have given this volume an 8.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Art & Making of Fantasy Miniatures’