About driving and contrasts in miniature painting

What can driving teach you about painting miniatures and improving contrast in your paintjobs? Let me tell you about an interesting experiment that I read about:

The experiment

Drivers were asked to drive at a constant speed of, let’s say, 60 km/h. Then they were supposed to speed up quite much – to 150 km/h, and then to slow down to 60 km/h again but without looking at the dashboard. Now what was the result?

About driving and contrast

Most drivers slowed down only to 80-90 km/h, yet they felt they were driving at 60 km/h already. Their senses got so accustomed to higher speeds, that their perceived level of “normal speed” increased.

I had a very similar feeling today. After driving fast for some time I had to slow down to 50 km/h and when I checked the dials of my car, I noticed it was not 50 but 70 km/h. You must know the feeling too…

But how to apply it to miniature painting?

The common complaint

When you browse dozens and hundreds of miniatures presented by painters looking for feedback, you will surely notice that a common problem is that their paintjobs look boring, monotoneous. So the commonly offered piece of advice is “more contrast!”. But what you hear in return is “the paintjob is contrasted enough already”.

So what’s the deal? Is it that the painter doesn’t want to hear criticism and advice, or maybe they cannot see what’s wrong?
Usually it’s the latter. But there’s an easy trick to make them see!

Pandadosmares’ story

You surely recognize Pandadosmares from our miniature painting forum. This Portuguese painter kept receiving the same advice and no matter how he tried, he couldn’t get it right. And then he came to Poland to Hussar 2010. This gave him a chance to see works of other miniature painters and what he realized was that regardless of his previous convictions, the contrast of his works was still insufficient.

This live demonstration allowed him to make progress in his hobby again, after some time of experiencing a problem with making any improvements. One of his repeating comments after the contest was that he was surprised how strong contrasts were used by better painters. And the kind of contrast we mean here is not using contrasting colors, but strong chiaroscuro – deep shadows and strong highlights. And no, the contrast doesn’t have to be abrupt, it can be smooth – it just helps emphasize the sculpt.

Sculpting with light

One phrase I picked up from Ana is that painting is a lot like sculpting with light. And this is true: miniatures are small, so natural chiaroscuro is not very intense. If you exaggerate it a bit with your painting of lights and shadows, you will make the miniature more dramatic, more interesting and more eye catching.

Now think, which version of this paintjob looks more eye catching? Not realistic, but more interesting:

How to increase contrast
No, these are not to different paintjobs on the same model. It’s a digital simulation only, but it gives some idea, doesn’t it?

I used a picture of one of my older works. Now imagine you see them both on a gaming tabletop or in a display cabinet. Which one catches your attention easier? And on the second look, you pay attention for quality of the paintjob, but that’s another story…

So you want to do a little exercise?

Speed up and then slow down!

Remember the experiment from the beginning of this article? After driving at high speed for some time, drivers had altered perception of what normal speed was. When they slowed down, they thought they were actually driving slower than they really did. Why not try it with miniature painting?

So do it in a few simple steps:

  1. Assume that the level of contrast you actually use is your normal contrast level.
  2. Take a new miniature. Not necessarily a valuable one, it can be something as common as a simple plastic goblin. It’s just a subject for the exercise.
  3. Now paint it with extreme contrast, and by saying extreme I really mean it. When shading – shade to black. When highlighting – go up to white. As I said before, no need to do it abruptly – if you enjoy smooth blending, keep your style. Just be extreme with your highlighting and shading.
  4. The miniature is painted. It looks exaggerated and cartoonish, doesn’t it? Probably not very realistic, but when placed in a display cabinet it would attract attention, at least from distance, wouldn’t it? Now you’re driving at high speed, so to say…
  5. Do you feel comfortable with the “speed” already? If you do, move on to the next step. If not – maybe you should practise a bit more, paint another miniature this way? You’re not doing this exercise for us, but for yourself!
  6. Now slow down and return to your normal speed. Oh wait, I didn’t really mean driving but painting 😉 I meant returning to your normal level of contrast. Paint a miniature with your normal level of contrast now.

And what do you think? Did your perceived level of contrast you were comfortable with shift, just like the level of speed shifted for the drivers?

How to increase contrast
And again I used my old paintjob to depict what the whole exercise is about…

The exercise can be repeated once in a while. Whenever you feel you would like to push yourself a bit further – give it another go.

Results? Shifted “normal” contrast level

I am curious if this method worked for you. Why don’t you share your results with us and discuss the method in the comments or on our forum?

No, we’re not saying you should be only painting exaggerated highly contrasted paintjobs now, not really. It was only a tool to solve the situation of being unable to push your contrast that one step further and becoming comfortable with it. Just another tool in your miniature painting toolbox.

I hope this post was helpful or at least inspiring for you. :)

— Mahon

Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting

There’s a saying, which is often said to be a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. Whether it’s a true Chinese curse or not, it doesn’t matter. But one thing is sure – we’re living in interesting times, indeed. Many new technologies made it to our lives and hobbies. Digital sculpting is one of them…

Many people are sceptical to innovations and refuse to treat them on par with the old methods.

Just like with most new technologies, there are as many people fascinated with the new possibilities as others – criticizing it. Not only being critical and sceptical about it, but also refusing to treat it on par with traditional sculpting. And we’ve had an interesting discussion about digitally sculpted miniatures on our miniature painting forum, but let’s start from the very basics.

What is digital sculpting?

You surely know what traditional sculpting is: The sculptor takes a lump of putty or clay and shapes it with his hands and/or sculpting tools. You know the kind of tools used for sculpting, right? You surely do.

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Traditional sculpting tools

Now with digital sculpting, the artist forgoes his “physical” sculpting and tools to use a computer and create a “virtual model” with it. You must have heard about 3d modeling – you can see digital 3d models everywhere: in movies, in computer games, on digital artwork, on posters, in advertisements… Often it’s difficult to tell if the object or person was a real one or is it only a virtual creation.

Now one can create such a 3-dimensional model and then “print” it, using one of many 3-d printing services. Or maybe create a mold and produce copies of it. It doesn’t really matter – the clue is that a virtual creation is turned into a physical, tangible object. In our case: a miniature. That’s what digital sculpting of miniatures is all about.

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
ZBrush – One of digital sculpting tools

I bet you see the difference: “Traditional sculpting” creates a physical object from the beginning, and “digital sculpting” creates a virtual model first, which is given a physical form in the next step(s). And what are the consequences of this difference?

Traditional vs digital sculpting

Digital sculpting can use many benefits of working on a virtual object, many that we know from inage editing software – like “undo”, “copy-paste”, easy texturing, etc. When a sculptor makes a mistake, he can press “undo” and correct his mistake easily. When he wants to create another arm, sword, head, etc. – he can use “copy/paste” and modify the newly created copy. He can also “stamp” textures onto surfaces of his models. There are many many other options in popular 3-d modeling software, but I only wanted to give you a quick insight into the choice of tools the sculptor may use in his digital sculpting.

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Copy – Paste: the digital way and the traditional way

On the other hand, traditional sculptors have similar options, but they’re not as easy to use as in digital sculpting. Sure, he can “undo” his mistakes – by cutting off, sanding off, or scratching off the parts he’s not satisfied with. It takes more work than pressing a button, but can be done. Of course, he can “copy and paste” an element he sculpted: he can create a mold and cast a few copies, or maybe create a quick print in greenstuff… But it’s more difficult and time consuming than pressing Control+C Control+V. And yes, he can also stamp textures: create a small textured “stamp” and press it against surfaces before they’re cured. But it’s not as easy and convenient as doing it the digital way.

So what? Does it make a traditional sculptor a better artist (or craftsman) than a digital sculptor?

Text processor vs pen

Is a miniature good because of its creative concept or the tools chosen by the sculptor?

Let’s think about a poet who writes a poem, or a novellist writing a book. Many of them moved on to using computers and text processing tools now. But doesn’t it make their art less impressive? They can use copy-paste, undo, and spellcheckers now. Their friends using pens or pencils do the same, but do it the harder way. Does it make their art better because they had to put more effort into it.

Or is it more about creativity than the choice of tools?

Wait, there’s another example, because the first one was a bit too controversial. Let’s take a painter with oil paints and canvas, another one with a photo camera and traditional darkroom plus a choice of retouching tools (traditional, not digital), and another one with photoshop and computer. They all create images, visual art. They all can create pictures of landscapes.

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Was H.R. Giger a worse kind of artist because he used an airbrush?

But is the painter more of an artist than the photographer? And the digital artist less of an artist than the painter?
Or do they create different kinds of art? Although they are all kinds of visual art, they’re all pictures, they’re difficult to compare at all…

Errare humanum est

Or: “To err is human”. Errors and mistakes are a part of our lives and also of our creations. Some say, that imperfections make works of art even more impressive and admirable. You must have read many comments that digital sculpting creates sculpts which are too perfect, too clean, too artificial. That they lack the human touch, the personal touch of the sculptor, which is given by traditional sculptors to their works. Do you agree with this opinion?

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Digital model vs. actual casting – Ivanka Kurganova from Raging Heroes

When you take a look at traditionally sculpted miniatures, many of them bear marks of some sculpting imperfections. Sometimes surfaces are not perfectly smooth, details not perfectly symmetrical, and shapes not perfectly modeled. And that makes them special, that makes them unique and gives them the magic touch of the sculptor.

Is it the same with digital sculpting? If people complain it lacks the imperfections of traditional sculpting by the sculptor’s hands, maybe it is the case? Or maybe it’s simply the lack of mastery of digital sculptors? Maybe there are many great traditional sculptors already, because this art (or craft) has many years of tradition already, but digital sculpting is fairly new and people use it not because of the possibilities of creating great sculpts it offers but because of the benefit of saving time and thus increasing productivity? And when time is your priority, it’s difficult to pay more attention to quality.

It’s just a tool

So is digital sculpting a completely different kind of art/craft, or is it only a different tool for sculptors to use. If it wasn’t for progress and innovations we might be still sculpting our miniatures in clay or chiselling them from stone. But now we have many kinds of putties, all with different properties. We have modern casting facilities, we have precise sculpting tools. So maybe digital sculpting is the next step on the same path? Some will move on, some will stay with the techniques they’re more familiar with.

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Progress is unavoidable

Just think about painters. Some are still painting their paintings with brushes, some moved on to airbrushing. I bet it was simiar when somebody invented a brush. Some traditionalists must have complained that painting with brushes is not real art, because it’s taking a shortcut, and they kept painting with their fingers or wooden sticks. 😉

Just like every tool, digital sculpting has its disadvantages, too.

And just like with every tool – digital sculpting has its disadvantages, too. You only get to see the physical object when it’s printed. Until then you only see a virtual image of your sculpt. And you see it on a 2-dimensional screen. Now recall all the complaints that there’s no way of depicting a 3-dimensional painted miniature on a computer screen and a flat image. Translate it to sculpting and you know what I am talking about.

Then there’s the frequent complaint about lack of sharpness of digitally sculpted miniatures. Is it a matter of the sculpting or the printing process? I don’t know, but it seems many companies fail to get it done properly for any reason. So as you can see digital sculpting is not the perfect solution to every sculptor’s woes.

Next generation or degeneration?

Will the transition to digital sculpting result in decrease of sculpting skills?

If we think about digital sculpting along the lines of “next generation of sculpting tools”, we may start to worry if it won’t start a process of degeneration of sculpting skills of sculptors who move on to the new tool. Just like many airbrush painters wouldn’t be able to achieve smooth blending on their canvas using only traditional brushes. And just like many photographers would be unable to create a realistic portrait in the way artists of old did it – drawing or painting it. But do they have to?

Do photographers really have to prove they’re skilled painters? Do people who create great art using airbrushes really have to prove their skills with brushes? And do digital sculptors really have to prove their skills with traditional tools and putties?

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Does he really have to prove his acting skills? Or better not…

I say: no, they don’t have to, but their art shouldn’t really be compared with traditional art as far as technical perfection goes. When you compare creativity – feel free to do so, but technical aspects are hardly comparable…

Clash of the titans

I am yet to see a digitally sculpted miniature which will impress me more than some traditional miniatures did.

Now there’s a good question: If we compared a great digital sculptor with a great traditional sculptor, would they be able to create comparable works? I mean: equally impressive and appealing to us, miniature painters? I must say I am yet to see a digitally sculpted miniature which will impress me more than the best miniatures sculpted in the traditional way.

There are many great sculptors, who work in the traditional way. Many that I really admire. Kev White with his characterful models and realistic proportions, Tom Meier with his unbelievable skills at detailing his sculpts, Raul Garcia Latorre with his recognizable style, and many more…

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
Tom Meier – master of detailing. Just look at the decorative patterns he sculpted on a 30mm scale model! No digital sculpting here…

I have seen many great digital 3-d models (many were really awesome!), but I don’t know of any digitally sculpted miniature which would make me go “wow” as much as many traditional sculpts did. But maybe you have seen such miniatures?

Time will tell…

Now we don’t know which way it’s going to go in future. But we can be sure we’re witnessing and experiencing beginnings of a new trend in our hobby. Digital sculpting made achieving many results so much easier, that it’s going to be pursued for many years to come. But will it completely take the place of traditional sculpting in our hobby?

It is quite natural to look for more optimal tools, ones which will allow you to improve your creations and which suit your needs and style better. It’s a natural process, and it can’t be avoided. But let’s think: should it?

Photo: Digital sculpting vs. traditional sculpting
It’s natural to look for more optimal tools

I am really curious what you think about the “digital sculpting vs traditional sculpting” subject. Why don’t you share your comments with us. I am sure they will add many new facts to the topic. Thanks in advance!

— Mahon

Worst miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

And so we’re finally here… Voting for the first 25 candidates to the title of the worst miniature ever made is closed, and we know the winners. We know the losers, too….

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

Let me keep the tension high for a moment longer  to share a few remarks with you. The original article caught attention of many readers, made many of them leave comments or suggest their own candidates. Many people had fun, some did not. I felt a few words of explanation were deserved, so instead of a commercial break let me tell you something more about it.

What’s the deal?

Some people expected the list to be very serious, objective, unbiased and complete. It was never the intention.

Some people expected the list to be a very serious, objective, unbiased and complete list of the worst miniatures of all time. Unfortunately it was not the point and it was never the intention. The idea was to come up with a tongue in a cheek poll, which would collect  those miniatures which make somebody say “oh my, this one is bad”. Not just because of poor sculpting skills, but for any reason, as long as you can explain it somehow. A kind of inside joke, which grew enough that we decided to share it with others.

It all started in a forum thread, starting with such invitation:

I believe many of you have your own candidates, and even now a few manufacturers keep trying to make the worst miniature in history.

Feel free to post pictures of the worst/silliest/ugliest/etc. miniatures ever made. And if you explain your choice – it’s even better.

Yes, be subjective, be biased, be sentimental, be nostalgic. Show no respect! :)

The only rule: don’t post THE MINI, we already know many of you don’t like it. we’re looking for alternatives 😉 It would be boring to see it over and over again…

Now does it sound serious to you?

I hope it doesn’t, because I hoped it was obvious I exaggerated it enough to make it clear it’s not a serious thing. But we all know people only skim the internet, not reading the whole articles, so I am not surprised many people only checked the pictures (thus missing the wider context). Sorry, but I can’t help much if one doesn’t really want to read the whole thing.

The list was created from submissions posted to the original thread on our forum. Everybody could post their candidate, and no candidate was rejected.

Yeah, I could have made it clearer, but I didn’t. Maybe it was a mistake?

Well, now to another point: many people mentioned ” the author of the list”, which only proves they haven’t really read the text. The list was created from submissions posted to the original thread on our forum. Everybody could post their candidate, and no candidate was rejected. We even accepted candidates suggested on other platforms. So no, it was not objective at all, and no, there was no single author of the list. But yes, I was the person who turned the list into an article based on information gathered from several relaxed discussions.

Some people complained that some miniatures are on the list, while many other worse miniatures are missing – yes, that’s where you can help and post your own submissions. They won’t make it to the first poll, but still over 10 candidates can be entered for the second one. And now you can understand the idea much better.

Moving on to another subject:

Sculpt = miniature?

One common misunderstanding was that the worst miniatures are actually the worst sculpts. Not necessarily, miniature is more than just sculpting. It begins with a concept, often only a description or subject, then it becomes to take shape and ends at the final stages of casting and assembly.  So for us the term “worst miniatures” was much wider than “worst sculpted miniatures”. If you check the list, many candidates were entered not because of quality of sculpting, but the concept that was considered bad by the submitter.

Miniature is more than just sculpting. To use movies as a parallel, when one has seen a movie and says “man, the movie was bad!”, it can have various meanings. It can be because of the script, the story, special effects, acting, or just because one doesn’t like the genre. And what if you think about miniatures this way?

Now you may say it’s all wrong. Yeah, it would be wrong for an objective and serious ranking. But wait, think about it this way:

You go to the movies, see a movie and say “man, the movie was bad!”. This can mean something different to everybody. One will complain because the script was poor, another one – because the story was boring, yet another one because of crappy special effects, somebody else – for poor acting, and somebody else because he simply doesn’t like the genre. Right?

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

If you think about miniatures this way, you may find that one calls a miniature bad because he doesn’t like hentai, another one – because the sculptor did a poor job of translating 2-dimensional concept artwork into a 3-dimensional miniature, another one – because of poor casting quality, and another one – because he had bad time painting the model.  Got it?

Publicity for free

Now some people fail to notice how much attention was brought to some sculpts, sculptors or manufacturers because of this list. With thousands of views it means that those candidates were displayed thousands of times. And I would be completely surprised if it wasn’t reflected in increased activity and traffic at their websites. I thought that some of the readers would actually go to see more miniatures from the manufacturers we mentioned, driven by their curiosity. This would be a little reward for having their miniatures listed here… Call it free advertisement, free publicity. And if you want your website linked in the original article, just let us know!

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

Some comments

Comments motivate us and point to some things which could be improved. My biggest thanks go to people whose miniatures were submitted, yet they commented on the article.Thank you very much and huge respect to you!

Some people got the idea of what we were trying to do and added their own candidates to the list, and we’ve been collecting them not only at our forum, but also in the comments to the original article and on our Facebook page. Whenever possible we included their original comments, because it was what the list was supposed to be. At the moment we’re in high 30s of the list, and if we ever reach 50, we’ll make another poll. Then the winners of both polls will be rivalling for the title against “the mini” (yes, another inside joke from our forum).

Somebody at Tabletop Gaming News (and even in a comment at our website) suggested that I should be nominated as a candidate to the list of worst humans ever. Well, thank you very much. As surprising as it was to me, I appreciate the nomination. I may actually be the only miniature painter in this ranking. :)

On the other hand there were many other comments, too. Both defending and attacking the list, and we appreciate them.Such comments motivate us to do what you enjoy or expect, and point to some things which could be improved. Thank you!

My biggest thanks go to people whose miniatures were submitted, yet they commented on the article. Moreover, they didn’t complain, but often either said that they found it entertaining or even provided additional facts on these models. Thank you very much and huge respect to you!

Would painters appreciate a list by the sculptors of what they thought were the worst Chest of Colors paint jobs? I would appreciate serious feedback, and would hope that unserious comments would at least make me smile, even if at my own expense.

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

Now this reminds me of an interesting comment made by Patrick Keith, who asks if painters would appreciate a list by the sculptors of what they thought were the worst Chest of Colors paint jobs? Well, I cannot respond for others, but I am sure many of my works would make it to the list and I wouldn’t really mind it. I don’t have problems with receiving criticism or feedback and am aware that some people might like to make jokes of my paintjobs. Well, we do it all the time, so I am not very sensitive about it, maybe until some kind of a line is crossed. If the list was made with serious comments – I would appreciate the feedback, if it wasn’t all that serious – I would hope it would make me smile at least, even if at my own expense. But it may be just me… So if you guys feel like making such a list, let me know and I can even publish it here with full credit to you 😀

Now without any further delays, let’s announce the most important information:

The winners are….

  1. Nagash with 14,80% of all votes
  2. Sunbathing orc with 12,85% of all votes
  3. Minotaurs with 7,10% of all votes.

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

Yes, the old skull-faced clown owned them all. Even the nude orc was unable to beat the king, although he was pretty close.

The losers are…

  1. Musician (0,55%)
  2. Dimitri (0,65%)
  3. Archaon on foot (0,75%)

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one


We are sorry, guys, you didn’t steal the show. You tried, but you weren’t convincing enough. 😉

Odds and ends

We received votes from nearly 900 people within the last two weeks. Probably it’s not enough to make the poll objective, but enough to show some trends and tendencies.

The most controversial entries were Wild Dunger from Ramshackle Games and Wet Nurse from Kingdom Death. None of these miniatures were actually bad sculpts. Technically speaking they’re both fine, yet they were on the list. No, none of them won, so they must have collected less than 6% votes each.

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

So can they be called bad minis? Objectively speaking – no, subjectively speaking – possibly yes? It depends on who’s talking. But don’t forget that the amound of support these sculpts received proves how solid fan-bases both manufacturers have. And it’s something to be proud about!

The villain

Before a new wave of comments starts, let me tell you something about the bad guy who published the original article. As some of you may know (and many of you don’t have to), I am very open to different styles and genres in the miniature hobby/industry/business  – call it what you like. I’ve got some really “special” (to call them in an euphemistic way) miniatures in my collection and very often enjoy painting such models much more than latest popular bestsellers. Let’s call my taste for miniatures… uncommon, and it’s often a subject of jokes in our hobby community.

Maybe the list should be named “miniatures so odd, weird, ugly, awkward, silly, ridiculous, badly sculpted, oldschool, etc. that only Mahon would enjoy painting them”?

Oh, wait, I might not be a great fan of the hentai-porn style of some Kingdom Death releases, yet none of them were my own nominations. And all the miniatures I nominated would be precious additions to my collections and I bet I would enjoy painting them a lot! Yes, I excluded “the mini” from the poll not because it was painted by me, but because it was already such a popular and obvious candidate to the title, that  it would ruin the concept. “The mini” is supposed to be the ultimate opponent for the winners, and we will see how strong its position is. 😉

But why am I telling you this? Only to make you realize, that Nagash, the winner of this poll and my own candidate, would be a real gem in my collection. So would the sunbathing orc, and so would the lowly wild dunger… These miniatures are very amusing and entertaining to me. If I was really negative about them, if my taste for miniatures was more mainstream, I might not start the whole “worst mini” idea. Yet I did, believing that people notice how silly and unserious the concept is, and will enjoy it.

So maybe the list should be named “miniatures so odd, weird, ugly, awkward, silly, ridiculous, badly sculpted, oldschool, etc. that  only Mahon would enjoy painting them”? Maybe it would make my concept clearer? 😀

The good, the bad and the ugly

What makes a good miniature? What makes a bad miniature? It can be a subject for another post.

I think we all kind of agree that naming this list “the worst miniatures” was not really accurate. That’s right, I admit it. But bear in mind it was not supposed to be a serious list, so the name was a bit provocative maybe? Well, it caused hundreds of comments over the internet, so maybe it was not that bad a choice? 😉

But yes, if it was supposed to be a serious and objective list, the name should be different… Moreover, a serious ranking would require some kind of defined criteria, a common set of rules to make all entries comparable. After all we all should know what a “bad mini” really is.

Photo: Worst Miniatures? Winners and losers of round one

Yeah, that’s a good question! What makes a good miniature? What makes a bad miniature? But allow me to leave this for a subject for another post. And I hope you’re going to share your opinions on this subject, so we can take them into consideration in the planned post.

Your opinions are always welcome, thanks for sharing them. Thank you and enjoy!

— Mahon

25 Worst miniatures ever made?

People often discuss which miniatures they like the most, which releases were the coolest, and what they would like to paint. Now we had a totally different idea!

Throughout the years many ugly miniatures have been made. Not only ugly, but also badly sculpted, or based on bad or ridiculous concepts. It’s time to find them, collect them and to find the worst one of all! 😀

When we started the discussion at our forum, it seemed obvious that everybody’s first candidate was Nagash. Some must have even wondered if there can be anything to beat this ugly model. But we have good news for you! We collected 25 miniatures which will compete for the title of the worst miniature ever made! And believe me – Nagash cannot be so sure of keeping his title!

We created a little poll for you to vote. Please review our candidates, and choose your favorites. The winner of this round will compete with a few next winners for the title of the ultimate Worst Miniature Ever Made!


Candidate #1: Nagash [Games Workshop]

This used to be unrivalled favorite in the ‘worst miniatures’ category before some other candidates were found.

Taking a quick look at the original artwork and comparing it to the sculpt reveals all the horrbile truths about this model. What was supposed to be the most sinister lord of the undead, became a poorly sculpted clown. Unfortunately there are many others, who try hard to earn the title of the worst miniature ever made!

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #2: Sunbathing Orc [Metal Magic]

If you don’t have a strong mind, better don’t check a full-sized photo of this miniature. It’s a challenge to your sanity! You will see an orc with all the anatomical details, and it’s not a pretty sight. Well, you’ve been warned… It’s great that sculpting quality isn’t too good on this one. 😉

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Sunbathing Orc

Candidate #3: Ariel [Games Workshop]

Some people claim the model is not bad at all. But some can’t accept this huge butterfly lady as the queen of wood elves. Although Games Workshop’s sculptors often proved they see female beauty in their own special way, this is one of the times they outdid themselves! Just look at Ariel, the Queen of Athel Loren and behold the fullness of her beauty!

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #4: Wet Nurse [Kingdom Death]

OK, this is a strong candidate. Maybe not bad as far as sculpting skills go, but the concept is controversial at least. Some say it’s offensive with all the private parts exposed here and there, some say it’s only ridiculous. If you want to see a penis-nosed snail in a shoe, check this miniature out. You will get a raping tail and lots of arms and boobs as a bonus 😉

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Wet Nurse

Candidate #5: Infant Sunstalker [Kingdom Death]

Kingdom Death again! This time with a vomiting toad of many arms. Need to say more about how silly this concept is? Or is the photo enough for you?

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Infant Sunstalker

Candidate #6: Mezoghoul/Ezoghoul [probably Target Games]

It wouldn’t be all that bad if it was a small miniature, but this beast is not small. Call it a classic if you want, but it’s difficult to defend such a sculpt. Here it goes – for your viewing pleasure :)

UPDATE: As we learned from the comments left by our readers, the model was labeled “Mezoghoul” by mistake. Probably the author didn’t want to give it a second look, which would be necessary to correct the typo. 😉

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #7: Musician [Rackham]

Although Rackham was famous for their great sculpts (and poor business decisions), they had several memorable pitfalls, too. This musician os one of them. General concept and composition make it one of their classics for sure.

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #8: Archaon on foot [Games Workshop]

Now we’re back to Games Workshop’s models. Although some people stand in defense of this model, we will not try to ruin its chances of claiming the title! While the mounted version of Archaon became a classic (especially for its monumental pose and excellent steed), this one is just an opposite. It looks like a quick and poor conversion of the mounted version. The legs look a bit awkward and the general proportions don’t help – huge and massive legs plus a tiny head are a killer combo!

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Archaon on foot

Candidate #9: Great Space Ape [TinMan Miniatures]

Unless you’re much into retro sci-fi, you may find this concept disturbing or at least weird. Maybe it will be enough to make it a winner for you?

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Great Space Ape

Candidate #10: Mind Eater [Reaper]

Reaper Miniatures presented many surprising sculpts in their catalogue. This one became a candidate for the title of the worst miniature ever made. Isn’t it cute in its way? So what is it? A brain on insect legs with leaf-shaped claws? If it isn’t enough for you, take a look at the amazing sculpting quality and behold the mind eater!

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Mind Eater

Candidate #11: Dark Elf Witch Elf [Games Workshop]

Games Workshop must have mastered the art of making excellent female models! Here they are again with dark elf witch elves. Fantastic and well sculpted haircuts and beautiful faces are what these models… surely don’t have. And anybody who thinks weapons should be at least usable will be surprised with the funny objects they carry…

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Witch Elves

Candidate #12: Barbarian [Assassin Miniaturen]

If you’ve never been to a body building contest, you will reconsider any chance of seeing one after taking a closer look at this barbarian. His muscles must be the example of beautifully built masculine beauty. The question is only: Is he human, or some other species? No human I’ve ever seen looked like this. But maybe barbarians have different muscles than us, modern humans?

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #13: Tiki the Wood Golem [Reaper]

Now, focus for a few seconds: It’s not a toy, it’s not a cheap toy. It’s a miniature from Reaper. Just take a look at those wonderful proportions, great texture of wood and excellent facial expression. Add to this its great body shape, stance and you have another candidate for our title!

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Tiki the Wood Golem

Candidate #14: Minotaurs [Games Workshop]

If you know what smoked ham looks like, you don’t have to look at those minotaurs. Or maybe take a minotaur and put it on your sandwich instead of ham? The official paintjob didn’t help those guys, but if you take a look at the way their muscles are sculpted, you will be amazed how creative the sculptor good. Or maybe they live on the same planet as candidate #12?

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #15: Dimitri [Taban Miniatures/Eden – rejected]

Taban Miniatures and their Eden line of miniatures are most likely known for nice miniatures in post-apocalyptic theme. They ooze character, and generally look cool. But sometimes you want to ooze too much and look too cool. That’s what you get for trying too hard:

UPDATE: Thanks to information from Mohand we know that the sculpt was rejected and wasn’t released. Good decision, guys. But we can’t allow this little gem to be unknown by people 😉

Photo: 25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made

Candidate #16: Etoile Mortant [HeartBreaker/Target Games]

We can’t recall the name of this model, but it’s a good miniature from the Warzone game. The face is another interesting approach to sculpting female faces, but this time the sculptor was pretty successful… at making her look like Whoopi Goldberg. Is this enough to make it a good miniature? Don’t think so…

If you can tell us the name of the model, it will be very helpful!

UPDATE: Thanks to Thomas Schadle we know the name of this model now.

Photo: 25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Etoile Mortant

Candidate #17: Imperial Rams Air Cavalry [Target Games/Heartbreaker]

Fortunately this time Warzone gave us another chance to show something remarkable! Take a look at this soldier and compare it to the original artwork. Don’t you see real combat stress and exhaustion on his face. Boy, it’s a real war face! Or should he be given a latrine instead of the rocket? 😀

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Imperial Rams Air Cavalry

Candidate #18: Dusk Realm Demon [Target Games/Heartbreaker]

Are we done with Warzone? Are we done with Target Games and Heartbreaker yet? No! Without this dusk realm demon this list wouldn’t be complete! And to give you some explanation of how horrifying this thing is, let me quote this description:

…the Dusk Realm Demon is a brute in every sense of the word. It exists only to kill and maim and while it is given to fits of blinding rage, it commands a keen intellect. These Demons seem at home in the utter dark of the Under Realms and the sweltering twilight of the deep jungles. So hideous is the presence of a Dusk Realm Demon that it causes abject fear in all who encounter it and like its smaller cousin, is capable of devastating attacks with its horned head. A charging Dusk Realm Demon has been known to be able to withstand the charge of a Bull Myrmadon…..

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Dusk Realm Demon

Candidate #19: Stygian Venom Spawn [Target Games/Heartbreaker]

Shouldn’t this miniature be called “Stygian venom spider spawn” – it will remain a mystery. But even without the mystery you can see that it’s a really uncommon sculpt. A model which will have its place in the history of miniature painting hobby.

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Stygian Venom Spawn

Candidate #20: Bad Girls [Fenryll]

Fenryll must be one of the masters of creating mediocre sculpts and presenting them with mediocre paintjobs. But sometimes they do something that really shines. Something that will change your concepts of ugly and nice. Just see what their bad girls look like. Most likely they won’t need any further comments…

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Bad Girls

Candidate #21: Kaos Monster [Acheson Creations]

Why would one sculpt such a thing? Why would one buy such a thing?
And no, it’s not a small mini. Can’t justify it with size. It’s big and it’s memorable. It’s even unforgettable. Solid candidate to the throne!

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Kaos Monster

Candidate #22: Wild Dunger [Ramshackle Games]

This one will be haunting you in your dreams. And prepare for some worse news: There are more of them. And a huge version of a dunger, with lots of crew on platforms, nicknamed a “fork lift with idiots on top”. Are you brave enough to see it, follow the link to the thread on our forum. Yes, you need to see all the pages! :)

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Wild Dunger

Candidate #23: Wight Lord [Heresy Miniatures]

Mr. I-believe-I-can-fly, or maybe a gymnast? Or maybe he’s dancing zbójnicki – a Polish regional dance? Aside from the pose, sculpting quality alone would be enough to impress us! Just take a look at the armor he’s wearing. It’s some plate armor and… no, it can’t be chainmail. Chainmail doesn’t look like a cloth with holes. Or does it?

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Wight Lord

Candidate #24: Drakon Riders [Mantic Games]

If Mantic Games were supposed to release a wargame with 10mm miniatures, these would be decent dragon riders for the scale. Unfortunately they’re not 10mm and they’re not cool. Enjoy or watch out..

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Drakon Riders

Candidate #25: Lurking Danger [Assassin Miniaturen]

Nameless already described this model so well, that adding anything would be ruining this description which already reveals all the assets of this model! But read it by yourselves:

Please note the pretty face, cool anatomy, street lamp with height suitable for a dwarven city and clever use of that lamp to create the flight effect… guys, stop it, she IS FLYING…

I’ve just noticed two… spherical objects (no, I will NOT use word “balls” here) in a very unfortunate place, right under her left palm…

25 Worst Miniatures Ever Made
Lurking Danger

Vote for your favorites

This poll will run for a month, which means it will be open until the end of November. Until then you can vote for your favorite three miniatures from the list. This will allow us to find out which miniatures are the worst of them all. So…

UPDATE: We removed the poll, because it is closed now. The results were posted in a separate announcement.

That’s (not) all, folks!

The subject is so wide and there are so many gems to be found, that we decided to allow more candidates to be entered. When we have 50 candidates, we will allow to vote on the next 25 (candidates #26-50). And after a few such polls, we will make grand finals, to find out the ultimate winner of the title of the Worst Miniature Ever Made.

If you would like to add your own candidates to the list, feel free to add them in comments here, in the respective thread on our forum, or respond to one of the Worst Miniature announcements on our facebook page. Thanks a lot!

And in the meantime, please vote for your favorite candidates. Support the worst miniature of your choice! 😀

PS – most photos were found on the internet and used without permission of their respective authors. If you are one of them and want your photo removed – let us know and we will remove it at your request.