Thursday, 10 March 2011

Apple minis aftermath... My opinions...

So, that's the Apple miniatures idea. I've spelled out what I think that Apple's thought process would deliver in the minis world. I like to try and think a bit 'Apple' myself and I'll admit that these thoughts are along the lines of my own. But not entirely. As I followed the thought process I thought sometimes that certain points didn't feel right. So, here as a final addition to the Apple blog posts are my criticisms...

The miniatures -

I largely agree with the ideas but this whole 'all plastic' issue. I agree as a general principle but the extremely tight nature of the product line throws up a sterilty to the line for me. I like the uniformity but that uniformity would be even stronger by a small number of very specialised figures that break the design mould at least a bit. These are the figs that you'd only ever have one of in your army and they are best served as metal or resin. I'd keep all the same design ethos but just a few metal figures would help enormously to the 'character' of the range and no pun is intended. If they wished to keep the number of products right down these could be released in multipacks instead of individual blisters. A single metal box per army perhaps?

The Apple Painting System -

It's funny that I spent quiet a time thinking this up and not really agreeing with it as such. I ended up with this system as it felt very Apple and it throws up something about Apple that is not a major issue in their current market but would be especially detrimental here...

Apple are a company that push creativity. Well, they do on the surface. So many of their products are about creating and you always have that 'you can make beautiful things' idea from them. However, in my experience it's a bit of an illusion. Apple like you to think that you're being creative but they try to do the work for you so everyone gets a good result. They like to use a template based system. Take their software iWeb. You make your own site but it's always based on their templates and with a lack of flexibility. Your site is beautiful by default and has your content but, in the end, it's like everyone else's. The Apple painting system I describe is kind of like this. It pushes everyone to paint in a certain way and the paint range is focused towards this with the colours chosen to auto-complement. The downside is the range is difficult to use to get another result. If you want a bright and vivid figure with heavy contrast you'd need to use a totally different paint range. It's too narrow and it smacks of the kind of control that Apple like to have. I kind of like that in their media products as it means they' just work' as is famously said but in my miniatures hobby I think I need my ability to explore outside the boundaries and I'd like the creators of the line to be supporting and encouraging this. Games Workshop have introduced many painting products that allow a system rather like this to work for their range with Foundation Paints and the new washes but they are not at the expense of the greater paint range and just add options rather than strangling them...

All-in I think that the whole Apple Miniatures idea feels a bit 'contained' and the product of a control-freak and perhaps it shows how Apple are not really the company to be doing this sort of thing. That's great as I'm sure they haven't even the slightest interest in doing so. But it's been an interesting road to explore. I know it's got me thinking in different directions and that's always good because I think the Apple thought process is a good one. It's just we need to know when we should apply it and when we should not.

So, I think we can leave Apple to their own iDevices...


  1. um - knights in space - elfs, dwarfs,orcs, achievable paint systems - lots of plastics with premium figures - kindaof sounds familiar really .......

  2. Well, certainly... you don't reinvent the wheel.

    Of course, if I was actually doing the start a game/minis range myself (whether it be plastic based or not) I'd do something more fantasy than sci fi and, as mentioned on the blog before, I'd jump towards gothic fantasy horror as a basis.

  3. I think Apple would want to re-do Squats.

  4. Your multi-day Apple "thought experiment" has been an interesting read and fun to follow. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Apple wouldn't be the only ones Kev...........anyone want to hazard a bet that Mantics first SF plastics will be space dwarves?

  6. I bloody hope not. If I find a spare £20K I'll be doing them myself :)

    I think Ronnie would think a human faction would be more bankable. Anything else makes a new range too niche, and niche limits sales.

  7. All you need is dwarfs!

    I reckon that Mantic's first releases for their plastic sci-fi range will be some kind of human faction. Storm trooper type armoured figures would be popular I expect. I will be interested to see it they produce a rules system as well for the sci-fi ranges they produce.

  8. Nice take on Apple's mindset translated to the miniatures' hobby. Interesting read none the less.

    The painting bit concerning to colors and style reminded me back when Rackham came in the biz with their studio signature paintjobs (grayish non metallic metals, corc rocky bases and colorful yet muted pastel like color choices) noticeably different from others'

    Next post would highly benefit from having pics. With minis on them. :)


  9. You know, I've always thought the Infinity range have a whiff of Apple in their DNA. Wonderfully smooth lines, always shown with lovely paint jobs. Very, very clean.

    And then I think of that McVey 'sky surfer' figure - for some reason it feels like it could be an Apple product!

  10. imagine a whole gloss white Tau army .......

  11. Gloss White Tau army sounds nice. Right John, your idea. Get to it :)

  12. sorry VC duelist's have to hold swayye - i can combine fantasy and sci fi and pick the figures i like from a multitude of sources and with a bit of imagination convert awayye - but time to do such is so short an army is way beyond mi leisure time availability ......

  13. VC duellist's sound very interesting. I would love to see pics of some completed miniatures.

    Gloss white tau would be great too. Battle damage and weathering would show up great on these minis.

  14. ill send some piccies to steve when im not showing anything new - but theyre shaping up very nice - the odd mad building to .....

  15. Gloss white Tau army you say? Couple of cans of white primer, and a tub of varnish and I'm your man :p

    I'll even through in a pot of blood red to dot the helmets! Can't scrimp on details ;)