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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ~ Edmund Burke

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Joy of Sprue Fluff

The fun in models for me has always been the ability to create something unique and personal by using parts that are (typically) designed to be constructed in only one way. Without too much effort but with a lot of creativity I can make things that stand out and turn heads for all the right reasons, and I’d encourage anyone to do the same as you will find you start to think outside the box for inovative solutions in other parts of your life as well.

With that made clear I feel compelled to point out that the best model kit for me is one that contains ‘Sprue Fluff’. The term ‘Sprue Fluff’ can be defined as any model component that exists purely to either:

A. Give the modeller the opportunity to lavish his models with additional detail (a good example would be the variety of heads available in the Space Wolves kit).
B. Allow for the modeller to repose his model’s more dynamically (pointing hands and kneeling legs fall into this category, especially if standard hands & legs are provided also) and finally the most interesting category 
C. Pieces that exist purely to occupy remaining space on the Sprue.

Category C parts are what I wish to focus on as the reasons behind their existence vary dramatically. In early kit’s the existence of Sprue fluff was low primarily because it meant more work for the sculptor, on the odd occasion that you did find it, it mostly consisted of things such as knives for Catachans and Space Marine Scouts,  small runic symbols for Eldar and tiny piles of bullets for Ork’s. I specifically mentioned 40k races as early plastic fantasy kit’s were typically devoid of any Sprue fluff and although the fantasy kit’s now contain (in my opinion) the better Sprue fluff of the two game systems it also still has the largest amount of kit’s with dramatically empty Sprues (take a look at the Tomb Kings chariot kit for a perfect example).
As time has gone on Games Workshop has tried to provide Sprue fluff of all three category’s and in the process created fantastically evocative and detailed models that are often overlooked. These include but aren’t limited to the range of Knoblars available in the Ogre Kingdoms kits as seen below,

The dying Orc and Powder Monkey models from the Empire Archers and Musketeer kits respectively,

And even the Zombie Vulture from the Tomb Guard kit.

So when next buying models do a bit of research into what you’re getting aside from just what you expect and do what I do, browse eBay and obscure websites for more fun bitz! After all how can you call any model good if it doesn’t have a racing snail on it!

In time I hope that both Warhammer 40k and The Lord of The Rings game system kits come to contain the same high quality of additional parts just for the fun of it instead of all those grenade pouches and knives nobody ever uses (well unless you wish to stick grenades on to your Uruk-Hai I suppose).

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