I recently got my hands on some Marvel 10th Anniversary. As I look over what I got my hot hands on, I have to say that some look awesome. Some don't. I've noted quite a few things in sculpts over the years that I think would fit together nicely in a little guideline for our developers out there. So come on in and have yourself a chuckle as I present; The 10 Commandments of Sculpt Design.
Ask anyone their opinions on sculpts and you'll find there are many points of view. I've gathered those points right here and created the 10 Commandments of Sculpt Design. See which one of these fits your experiences the most!
1: Though shalt not block the dial: It seems to me that being able to read a figure's dial is just a little important. I could try, but I don't think other players would appreciate me guessing that my 10th Magneto has a 19 defense. Mag's isn't the worst offender though. That honor goes to Prof. X as in just about every Prof. X ever made (except maybe 2). Just look at him from GSX. Every time I have to look at a dial sideways I feel like I have crane my neck for good measure. I also wonder if WizKids/NECA realizes that not all of us have eyes like eagles? My eyesight is fine, but not everyone is so blessed. Other offenders, Human Torch from Captain America, Sabretooth from GSX.
2: Thou shall not give us skinny minnies: You know how some pieces are connected to their base by extra thin ankles that break just because you looked at them? Take Lois Lane Superwoman from Superman. I've had to glue five of her so far. And Livewire from the same set, don't even get me started on her. No figure should be attached to their base where fingers wind up squeezing tiny strands of plastic, oreo dial or not. Those oreo dials can be tricky for people with coordination problems. I admit I have clumsy fingers. So help us out, make that half moon they stand on a bit thicker. Then you can make skinny mini attatchments, or maybe not.
3: Thou shalt not fudge thy paint jobs: You sure can tell some of these pieces are hand painted. You can also tell that whoever painted my Skrull Captain America was late for an important date. What was the practice for his Avengers Assembly line? "Splotch splotch, NEXT!"? There have been worse paint fudges to be sure. I know many of you are nodding your heads that you've seen them. How about the ol "goggle eyes" technique? Don't look too close at my trenchcoat Thing from 10th or you'll think there's a goldfish under that hat.
4: Thou shalt not ruin cool sculpts with clumpy features: Have you ever pulled a figure out of the box and thought "Wow cool!" and then taken a closer look and went "Aww man!". That's how I felt about Mistress Death from Galactic Guardians. From a distance she looks absolutely awesome. But then you take a closer look and the whole image is just ruined by the clumpy face and hands. Such a great idea if only the execution could have turned out slightly better. Get it? "Execution"? "Death"? Okay nevermind.
5: Thou shalt avoid the bends: I can't tell you how many figures I've pulled grumbling because it's doing the "lean back" or has it's head firmly buried in the dial slot. Skinny minnies are the worst for this offense but I've seen better sculpts take the dive. Fortunately, it's a fairly easy fix with heat and cold use but that's beside the point. You know, if it already looks KO'd, it seems like bad luck to play it. Examples are far too many to mention.
6: Thou shalt not overuse poses: Remember the Hellions from GSX? If I play them I have to keep looking at the dial just to see who I'm using! Of course I don't play them because I don't feel like getting totally murdered on the table. Would it have been so bad to pose each of them just little bit differently? One realizes that there are only so many ways to pose a body before you start seeing the same general thing over and over, but sometimes it just goes too far. Try all the Hulks from Incredible Hulk. Either way, the Hellions get the prize.
7: Thou shalt learn size proportion: Black Tarantula is a cool figure. It's just too bad that he's so enormous compared to all his buddies in The Hand. Yep, gives them all an inferiority complex. Did he get dipped in plastic steroids before packaging? Truthfully, size proportion has been a forever complaint, but that's why it gets it's place as one of the commandments. It can't be perfect and there's bound to be variation, but it would be nice to avoid the downright ridiculous. Another prime example is Green Lantern from the Darkest Night set. Just call him "Tiny".
8: Thou shalt let the sculpt match the dial: I can't help it. I just think if you're going to give me a sculpt wielding a sword (Wonder Woman in Streets of Gotham) there should be at least one click of BCF on that dial! It's not a common snafu so I guess it's a "forgivable sin". Remember Lily from back in INDY? Two machine guns in her hands and no range!
9: Thou shalt not make detatchables so small you have to buy extras: So how many of you still have your shield attached to your double based Captain America from the set of the same name? How about your little red falcons and brown squirrels? I tell you what, those things can hide anywhere! I don't remove those pieces because one bump of the table and they're gone. I use a token instead.
10: Thou shalt strive to give us what's in the pretty pictures: Let's face it, the digital is always going to look better than the actual figure. But try this: Did you get Marvel Girl from 10th? If so, go get her and her card. I'll wait. Got em? Okay, look at the image on the card; now look at the figure, repeat process until either your eyeballs fall out or you get what I mean. Seriously, what the heck happened? In a set that produced amazing figures like Emma Frost and Storm; we get bow legged clump attacked Marvel Girl? I can see that violet flash thing trying so hard to save her, but it just can't.
No, it's not a perfect process and there's always something that will bug us or bring out the critic in us. You just have to hold on to the fact that it's still a great game. Then hope that your dice roll truer than your sculpt turned out.
I would like to see more raised terrain sculpts (like GG Thing or 10TH ANNIVERSARY Phonebooth Superman) for the Dial Blockage problem...
The Bendy figs are the worst. My Zamarons and their queen look instantly unapposing when they enter the field. I think the energy fields (ala HULK Bruce Banner is an interesting fix for that).
My buddy showed me the Black Tarantula and says "is he supposed to be twice the size of everyone else? i didn't read any of that book.". It's an incredible figure for play, but the size discrepency makes me reluctant to play probably the best team I've had in awhile (JL52 Batman, 2 x Black Tarantula)...
My biggest pet peeve (and I know most of you don't feel the same) is terrain that shouldn't be able to move with the figure but does. Walls, chimneys, mailboxes, etc. just annoy the heck out of me. Stuff like smoke of Green Lantern objects are fine. I can see them following the character. If you have to do this at least make a non-terrain fig I can swap it with.
Emphasis on #3: I never even noticed that Mistress Death's base was textured with skulls, until I saw your photo.
That actually isn't always the case. There's a human faced version also (she's portrayed as either fairly evenly). I pulled the human one. Once I found out there was a variant, I thought for sure the skull version would be the one people went after. But I guess the human one is the rarer of the two?
1: Though shalt not block the dial: Yep. Yes, WK, that is a very lovely sculpt. What's his move? Dunno... 2: Thou shall not give us skinny minnies: This one is not so bad but it either leads to the snaps or the bends 3: Thou shalt not fudge thy paint jobs: Remember Jesse Quick? I thought the sculpt was ugly. Then I stripped the paint off one and, oh, the detail! It is actually a very nice sculpt when she is wearing gloves, not oven mitts 4: Thou shalt not ruin cool sculpts with clumpy features: Washed out details 5: Thou shalt avoid the bends: This has happened with a lot of 2D poses (waiting for the bus but with legs akimbo) as well 6: Thou shalt not overuse poses: I don't have a problem with re-used sculpts, as long as they are not minor repaints 7: Thou shalt learn size proportion: Would that they did! The corrollary is 'though shall not sculpt a brobdingnagian figure and not label it giant' and 'this lilliputian folk is a larger folk? In what portion of your slice of Morpheus' Realm, may I ask?' 8: Thou shalt let the sculpt match the dial: Tiger Lily could slice you up with her twin mini-uzis 9: Thou shalt not make detatchables so small you have to buy extras: Yep 10: Thou shalt strive to give us what's in the pretty pictures: Yep
I would also add When you add a motion indicator, choose one that does not convey a disturbing image This is in referenced to Hairball and Lockjaws forehead cancer and Taskmaster's ability to spray mucous from his sword
Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum <- my view on gun control
oderint, dum metuant <- my view on foreign policy
Alea jacta est <- my view on taking back declared actions