by: Andras [ ]
I always loved the dark, hopeless world of Warhammer 40K (look up Grimdark when you have some time).
This is an universe where even the good guys are worse than any actual historical monster you can think of: a collection of xenophobic, genocidal maniacs in different shapes of forms -and that's only the Imperium of Man. Superhuman, gene crafted soldiers who think themselves as actual Ubermensch, the Imperial Guard, an armed force that throws millions into the meatgrinder without a thought, and of course the shadowy and all powerful Inquisition that oversees the civilian aspects of life in the Imperium. Add to this all the external threats: aliens, renegades and heretics, and you have an empire that is held together by tape and strings, threatened by multiple external and internal forces each of which could spell its doom it by itself, let alone together. So what's not to love?
There's a huge collection of books published by Black Library set in this universe; and a large portion of them are frankly no better than some badly written fan-fiction. However there are gems which are great on their own rights, and they are absolutely worth reading and re-reading. The Eisenhorn Trilogy is one of these book series which is a really, really good story regardless of its origins. (Space fantasy tends to be looked down upon by the "purists" of the SF genre, hence the second part of the sentence.)
The series detail the journey of an Imperial Inquisitor, Gregor Eisenhorn from a young idealist on the path of corruption and ruination. Due to external circumstances and small, seemingly unimportant or small actions and choices of his own he becomes something he would have recognized (and executed without a thought) as a heretic in his youth. The story is complex, and quite an interesting one; after all, the same path is trodden by many people who acquire power. Why I like the story (apart of the quality of writing, of course) is how easily it can be transposed onto our own real world: very few people start out with the intention of becoming corrupt, or do evil. Corruption comes gradually with seemingly small and insignificant steps, yet it will twist the person beyond recognition.
Since I love the story, I wanted to make an Eisenhorn figure, of course, which can be an issue in WH40. In case of this specific character there is an "official" figure, which is pretty good. (It seems like everyone and their mother are shouting and pointing at stuff in the grim future.) In this case the pose is actually quite nice (and he has his signature sword), the proportions are good, but -and this is a big one- the figure is out of production and hard to acquire. Not to mention it depicts our favourite inquisitor towards the end of the trilogy; I prefer him in his prime.
Enter the blooming resin industry. There are several companies producing alternatives, conversions for the WH40/Warhammer (and other similar) games; these are miniatures that are not nearly enough similar to the originals to be considered as copyright infringements, but they are close enough to be clear what they supposed to represent. A lot of these conversions and figures are produced because there are holes in the market (if there is no available set by GW; for example conversion sets for space marines for specific legions or chapters), or straight-out replacements. I've took a look at the Chaos Rhino conversion by Grim Skull Miniatures before, and now we have Eisenhorn himself, produced by a Russian company, Artel W Miniatures.
The figure comes in a very impressive package: a box wrapped in brown paper with a wax seal... I have to say I felt quite reluctant to open it, because it had this really nice, exclusive feel to the whole set. It's a feel definitely something you don't really get when you get a blister pack. (Admittedly it's not a priority when you buy something, but still. I was impressed.) The paper covers a cardboard box, which contains the few pieces of the model itself, sealed in ziplock bags.
The name of the miniature is very close to the original's, so it is abundantly clear who it refers to, even if you don't know the iconic painting of the inquisitor (which actually inspired the books according to the author). The figure essentially copies the artwork: we have Eisenhorn strolling forward with a gun and some sort of tube in his hand, his runestaff mounted on his back. (This setup puts the figure to the last few chapters of the second book, or the first chapters of the third.)
The model consists the torso with the cape, the lower part of the body, the two arms with weapons in them, and the runestaff. His iconic power sword is not included, but to be fair it's not on the original artwork, either. Regardless, he should have Barbarisater on his hip. (Quite possibly the tube could be replaced with a sword.) Despite of the small size of the figure the detail is very fine and impressive; the chains, the folds of his clothes, the inquisitorial rosette, the gun are all very well defined. The expression on his face (which is anatomically well proportioned) is quite grim, but this is the only appropriate expression for him, as you will learn from the books if you have not read them already, so that's quite on the money, too.
The assembly is very quick. There's very little cleanup required: mostly the parts where the torso meets the lower body. There is no flash on the resin bits. The arms fit into their slots well. (I used blue tac to attach the runestaff as I will paint the figure first.)
Basically, that's it. It's a high quality miniature of an iconic character from the WH40K universe; if you missed the "official" figure, now is your chance to get one for your collection.