Salamanders Chaplain XavierGames Workshop miniature, painted in 2001 and revisited in September 2015
This model is the first of what might be a few "miniature makeover" projects where I convert, touch up, or otherwise improve something I painted long ago. Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to take a "before" picture of this figure, which would have shown what I've done this time around. Suffice to say the first interation looked a lot like the revised version, but with brighter colors (especially the gloves and cloak), no weathering, and an extremely simple green-flocked base.
The model itself is a long way from my favorite sculpt (“dislike” might not be too strong a word), and I wasn't originally planning to post it online (hence the lack of early photos), but the improvements and nostalgia won me over. I certainly like it more with the touch-ups, and it helps remind me that not every project needs to be a display model.
I originally painted this figure around the turn of the millennium when the Salamanders received their first army list in Codex: Armageddon. One of my friends started a Salamanders army and asked me to paint this mini - the only chapter-specific model available then. I did what I’d consider a solid tabletop paint job for him and this figure went on to wreak a truly appalling amount of in-game devastation once it was loaded up with his maximum allotment of wargear.
Time passed, and the first owner switched armies and played fewer games, as sometimes happens. Depending on whom you ask, Xavier passed through as many as three other sets of hands before coming around to another mutual friend.
The new owner isn't planning to game with this mini, but asked if I'd swap out the base and maybe touch up the paint where it needed it. I agreed and started planning the new base and the things I'd touch up. And because I am easily distracted, a year drifted by before I actually set to work on the model again.
The list of possible conversions started small - a new hammer, a new crozius, maybe a pistol - and got increasingly involved - a new pack, a new cloak, a new rosarius, new arms, new shoulder pads, etc. When I began seriously considering a new breastplate and new legs, I knew I'd gone far, far outside the scope of this project.
I am not renowned for my ability to leave miniatures well enough alone. Indeed, I've been known to convert models I’d earlier sculpted from scratch. But after talking to my friend, we agreed that this wasn't the project to pour a lot of additional effort into and decided to limit the work to just the improvements shown here: a new base and some fresh (and decidedly less garish) paint.
The base became a bit of a project-within-a-project, as I always like to hit as many birds as possible with each stone. The basing elements are primarily pieces from Az-tech bases produced by Dragon Forge Designs and embellished with a few skulls I've sculpted. The base is notable because I've been friends with the owner of Dragon Forge for over a decade, too. He liked the base when I showed it to him, and I told him he's welcome to add it to his line or use it in whatever way he liked. There has been some talk of it becoming part of a "sampler set" of bases from hobbyists he knows, which I think would be very cool.
In the end, my work on this model has been a good turn for one friend initially and two more since, which I find a very satisfying use of my hobby time.