Monday, February 7, 2011

Proxies - Dispelling the Illusion

Proxy models. I'm sure we've all come across them in our time. Many of us have used them too, if necessity demanded. I've always found them a little...depressing, and this is coming from a fellow who has had to resort to this practice himself. (Egad, I'm talking about myself in the third person, that can't be good.)

Delving as little deeper, there are times when proxy models can't be avoided. If you want a game and just can't get the models you need, or can't afford it, or it's currently on the workbench, fair enough. You might want to try out a unit or character before you go and buy the models. Again, no worries. It goes without saying this applies only to friendly games. Try turning up at most tournaments with an inappropriate proxy model. This is NOT the same as counts as, in my book. Counts as allows players to let their creative juices flow. I've seen great themed armies with superb counts as models, such as Dan's/Nyhil's wonderful skaven as dark eldar at Ten Inch Template . I play an undead cyclops as a vargulf. Now he's on the correct size base, is about the same mass, my opponent knows the score, so all is good. Proxies tend to be hasty stand-ins.

"That's a what now?"
Where I do have a problem with proxies is where they are repeatedly used, where the gamer plays the unit often and just doesn't bother fielding the proper unit, or an unassembled or unpainted model. A good friend of mine has more than once planted an empty 50x100 base and informed me that this is a stegadon. It is even more annoying when the invisible stegadon tramples over my ghouls. I went so far as to track down a model for the man. This kind of thing kills the illusion. This is why we paint the models, build the terrain and so on. It creates a very pleasing illusion. Nothing shatters that faster than a big unit of silver minis tacked to their bases with blue tack.

Which is exactly what I've been doing with my skeletons. Sigh. The ghouls are on the bench to take over, but every game the silver skellies make me wince.

I think it ultimately comes down to a respect for your opponent as well as a desire to build a beautiful army of miniatures. If they are willing to play you with their painted army, fleet, warband, legion or giant robots, then you should answer with the same, if you can.

Back to those ghouls...


  1. I think proxy lists have a place - its no fun to buy a whole unit or army only to decide you don't want or like them.

    I prefer to only use proxy pieces in small amounts and with the prior consent of my opponent.

  2. Randriod: I'm pretty sure mrsaturday is saying the same thing as you, but regular use of a proxy in an army that isn't 100% proxies (i.e. you're regular army) can get irritating for your opponent.

  3. I've gotten to the point where I won't play against people that do this on a regular basis. Thankfully where I am most of the players are doing good stuff and it does not happen too often.

    The other thing I and couple of others in my area do, is that we try give tutorials every so often for those that are struggling in painting, or theme ideas, or modeling/sculpting. It has helped a number of people and can be useful in encouraging people to step up their game a little.

  4. @PsychosisPC: the painting tutorials are a good idea, painting an army can be daunting for some folks and a little help can be a big encouragement.

    I think gamers feed off each others enthusiasm, and each part of the hobby promotes the other elements. You see a well painted army, you want to play against it, you play a good game, it inspires you to finish off that unit etc.

  5. Lol, is that the Stegadon I think it is?


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