Whilst working on the latest batch of Raging Heroes models, I happened to spot Canoness Veridian on the shelf at our local FLGS and snapped her up. It struck me that besides being likely to end up in the same army, she had a lot in common with one of the RH models, Ardanna, the Pillar of the Faith, so I thought it might be fun to work on the two at the same time. (They've even both got one foot resting on something, come on, they're practically twins...)
This isn't really an attempt to decide which model is 'better' because with any piece of art that's a deeply subjective thing, but let's take a look at each model as we go through the process of building and painting them.
Preparation and Assembly
I don't have WIP shots other than the pic above since I thought of this a little too late for that, but lets take a look anyway because there's a fair bit to talk about here. Overall, this is a big win for Veridian, which won't come as a big surprise to anyone who's seen me write about the Raging Heroes 'Trollcast' material before, but it goes a little deeper than that. Firstly, Veridian comes with full assembly instructions and her box features a full-colour picture of the model painted. I wasn't planning to paint mine in the same scheme, but a colour pic is incredibly useful as reference, especially when you get one of those mystery nubbly bits and can't work out exactly what it's meant to be. By contrast, Ardanna comes as a sprue in a bag, and to figure out her quite fiddly assembly involves Googling her to look at the Kickstarter concept sketches, which is less than ideal. (I should mention at this point that Ardanna was a Freebie from the second TGG Kickstarter and even if I had paid for her, would have cost less than half what Veridian does, so this difference in presentation is understandable.)
Veridian went together fine, though I'm not 100% certain I got her sword completely straight. On the other hand, Ardanna's sword was definitely curved, and due to the way the model is designed it has to be exactly the right length. Eventually, after heating and bending it several times and having no luck I gave up on the damn thing and replaced it with a spare sword from a Sister of Silence, by trimming off the top of the guard where the sister's hand usually is. This had the benefit of adding an Aquila to the model, too.
I was a little disappointed with the sharpness of the detail on both models. On Veridian, some of the fleur-de-lys details on the robes were very weak, and similar symbols on Ardanna's robes were even worse. I tend to rely on drybrushes and washes early in my painting to resolve details, and as we'll see, not all of it did. I'm sure more technical painters would achieve better results. Finally, whilst the GW model required a bare minimum of cleaning, the Trollcast was, as usual, an utter swine to prep, resisting multiple baths in fairy liquid and scrub-downs. Apparently there was a batch of models in which the mould release bonded with the resin to produce a mini that was damn near hydrophobic, and I can believe I got one here!
Anyway, let's see them painted..
|Veridian's definitely giving us the stink-eye|
So, they came out OK, though they could be better, but any painter who doesn't think something could be improved is probably wrong. Let's look at them both from all angles.
Veridian painted up pretty easily, overall. She's nominally painted in the scheme of the Order of the Valorous Heart:
|I know the side-shot at the end is almost the front shot. Meh.|
As you can see, some of those infernal fleur-de-lys designs defied me. There's not really space on her sleeves for an Order symbol, but one could probably go on the lower robes if you're a freehand ninja, which I am not. Other than that, though, the rest of the detail came through pretty well. I'm really not sold on the pose, however- I think the angle of the raised leg is just a bit off . You may or may not be familiar with the John Blanche painting that inspired her:
|Image presented through blatant theft and without any right to do so.|
I think in that image the upper body is slightly better positioned, moving the figures centre of gravity to a more natural position. The actual mini to me looks like the skull is almost about to push her backwards. Still, overall it's a pretty decent figure, though not as nice as a certain other recent release for the Sisters... moving on.
I've painted Ardanna in the red, gold and white scheme used for Celestine and the Geminae (and there I was diplomatically not mentioning them...) My plan, which I know will outrage some, is to use her as the Emperor's Champion and have some of the Raging Heroes sisters in the same colours as a Black Templars Crusader Squad. I'll explain this as them being a particularly militant Minor Order whose faith manifests in a slightly different way- they won't actually be female Marines. Anyway, picture!
So, I think we can call this 'interesting'. I had some late drama with the Trollcast still repelling paint in the hollow by her foot, but finally beat it into submission with a small drybrush and some brush soap. As we can see, the detail on the lower robe, especially the fleur-de-lys, proved tricky to bring out- if I were doing it again I'd probably go with gold and try drybrushing the hell out of it. The gargoyle also lost some detail, but since it's meant to be a statue I put that down to intentional weathering.
In general, some of the very fine details like her crossed hands and the bare foot, were very tricky to pull off. This is a model whose pose screams 'paint before assembly' but that assembly is so fiddly as to make this very difficult too. The robes do at least have some nice dynamic folds in them, especially at the rear, and the face and hair are as beautiful and full of character as we've come to expect from Raging Heroes. I had no idea if the backpack was meant to be stained-glass or something else, so I'm looking forward to seeing the official painted model on that one! Overall, though the pose is initially a bit confusing I do like it a lot, more than Veridian's, and I like how she's looking at us over the pommel of the sword. Let's see the original concept art:
As we can see, they got pretty close, with the only real difference being the position and size of the pistol- and since exactly how to attach it was a bit unclear, the position is down to me. You might notice the sword is different, but that's due to the swap I did.
A Winner is You
So ultimately, which is the 'better' model? In purely technical terms, it's Veridian- the issues with Finecast are well-documented but at least the paint sticks first time and in general, it's an easier model to build and work on. Ardanna, though, is a really bold and exciting design which gets my vote on an artistic level. Your mileage, of course, may vary...