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Junior Modelling
Warhammer Figures

by Iain McDonald


Warhammer Figure

images and text by Angus McDonald

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Us old grizzled modellers (please accept my apologies if you are neither old nor grizzled) often wonder about the future of our hobby. Is it to be lost forever to the computer game, the text mobile, and other more intoxicating and distracting pastimes? Well, if my son and his friends are anything to go by, the answer is no. Are these young children building planes, ships, cars and trains? Well, no, not really. So what are they building? Well, they are building Warhammer models from the Games Workshop.

My son is now 12 years and 2 months old. He started the models photographed in this feature when he turned 11. He is largely self-taught picking up techniques from the internet, books andÖ

wait for itÖ

hang on to your britchesÖ

donít fall off your chair nowÖ

by interacting with his peers!

They talk to each other, they chew the fat, they go round to each otherís houses and have group builds, they swap and discuss techniques. Good God! What is the world coming to!

Right, pick up your jaw from where it has made a dent in the floor. I know mine did when I learnt this.


Now, before you dismiss this fantasy stuff out of hand, I think you really should take a close look at the photographs I have taken of my sonís latest models. Apologies for their poor quality, I hurriedly shot them late Sunday evening, with only one light. Remember also, these models were painted by a self-taught eleven year old. He does them in between: swimming, watching videos and DVDs, playing computer games, homework, eating like a horse, sleeping late, growing up like a bamboo shoot, etc, i.e. all the normal things children get up to.

These kids (remember his friends build them as well) apply every construction and painting technique to these models. Itís awesome what they get up to. Many of the figures in this article have been converted. If Iain doesnít like a particular pose or model, he whips out his modelling knife, hacks bits off various figures, and re-combines them until he is happy.

I have incredibly sophisticated conversations with him over modelling techniques. From the start he has applied washes to his models. We talk about the properties of glues, the difficulties of some paints, applying PVA as a base, the flatness of varnish sprays, etc. He was unhappy about the drying time of pre-mixed filler he bought from a DIY store. He even told me about various methods of modelling water using PVA!

He employs all sorts of ingredients, and comments on their uses, limitations and strengths. He uses base coats. He uses various highlights and shading. He has employed dry brushing from the word go. And then he goes on to build dioramas, raiding the house for whatever he needs. The grass on the dragon (snake) diorama was obtained from his Guinea Pig bedding!


The winged dragon itself has been kit bashed. The neck, body and tail come from a Wood Elf dragon. The head is a Kroxiburg while the wings are from a Great Eagle. The whole lot is held and blended together with a combination of super glue and green stuff.

Personally, my gob is duly smacked.

The great thing is, there are loads of kids doing this. Warhammer really is a phenomenon which appears to have caught the imagination of young boys (not being sexist here, but for the most part girls donít seem interested in this stuff). The Games Workshop outlets are always packed on the weekends and during the school holidays. If the kids donít like the modelling they do the war gaming or vice versa or both. I visited a new (yes, new, recently opened!) model shop in Camberley. Wisely the owners sold Warhammer models (in addition to an excellent range of planes, ships, cars, and trains), and had installed two war gaming tables. The shop was heaving with kids! Some were gaming with Warhammer models. Others were gaming with some sort of Warhammer card game. It was quite interactive, a far cry from your Ďnormalí model shop.

Other aspects I have just realised of the Games Workshop phenomena. First when you go into a shop there is usually someone making and painting the models. They make them to a high standard, and are very friendly, very willing to show kids (and adults) how to achieve various affects. Secondly is they have built and painted models on display, again built to a high standard. The kids seem undaunted by such professionalism. Quite the reverse, if my son is anything to go by, they just go off and try and emulate the standard.

Now, if you take a close look at my sonís models you will notice one or two modelling slip ups, which will normally draw a sharp intake of breath from us seasoned cronies. Mould and seam lines have not bee cleaned up! Some of the gaps from his kit bashing have not been fully filled. Some of the paintwork, especially is early efforts (e.g. the horse mounted figures) is not as good as it might. Do the kids care? No. Should we care, pointing these defects out to them?


For the most part, kids donít notice these things. That comes later. Though I must admit I did point out the mould lines to him, only as an observation, in a non-critical and light manner, but under no-circumstances did I tell him to clean them up.

With Games Workshop, I think the future of our hobby is safe. These kids will, at some stage, turn their hands to Ďtraditioní planes, boats, cars and trains. Especially as other ranges in the Games Workshop repertoire contain such vehicles.

I have included a British £1 (one pound) coin for size reference. A £1 coin is a little smaller than an American quarter, and roughly the same size as a Euro.

What you canít tell from the photo of Iain is his size. He is 5 feet 9 inches (1.76 metres) tall. Judging by the size of his hands and feet he has a lot of growing to go. In a couple of years heís going to be my minder!



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

 Model Copyright by Iain McDonald
Images and Text Copyright 2003 by Angus McDonald
Page Created17 November, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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