Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thoth, Anax of ÝDron

What the fuck is an Anax?*

Nevermind. This is me talking about this mini and why I like it;

It's by Mierce Miniatures and you can find it here.

Big image here.

As you can see from its page, the concept is by Robert Lane and Tim Fisher.

Artist Beth Hughes.

Sculptor Oliver Nkweti

Painter Sebastian Picque. (But I don't think we can see a painted version yet.


Gonna call this the wave hydra because the whole thing is like a tsunami of movement.

The snakebody is a classic compressed 'S' shape. This brings in feelings of power and dynamism.

The wave of the cloak is arranged so that the line of the staff strikes directly across it, the fluid shape leading your eye one way then a strong interrupting line.

The straight line of the trident actually has a leather band or strap with a bow of fabric. The straps break up the line of the staff and highlight its length and the hanging bow of fabric is yet another curve opposed to the staff.

There's like a ray of spikes haloing the model from left to right from the tail-trident to the helmets of the three heads to the held trident of the weapon.

The rule of three gets repeated three times across these spikes. Three spikes on the trident, three heads and another trident, (this one actually has five, or even seven spikes but three are larger and more dominant.)

So the mini goes:

- 'S' curve snakebody
- 'Wave' curve cloak
- '/' strikethrough staff
- ')' bracketed strap
- '^^^ ^^^ ^^^' halo of spikes rising and falling from left to right

You sense this all at once. Cuve-wave-strike-loop-and-spikes-haloing-everything.

None of these alone are super-original effects for a war-mini, but their collection and arrangement here is powerful and bold, I think, and they unify and react with each other very well.


Counting from the tail of the mini to its head, here are all the individual 'things' or artifacts I could see.

  • Tail-trident spike.
  • Possible lower-tail-covering.
  • Leather belts.
  • Armour of some kind with leather pleats.
  • Wave-shaped dagger in sheath.
  • The trident itself has serpents embossed or etched on it at its head.
  • Shoulder caduceus/trident symbol.
  • Artificial lizard scaled embossed on the forearm guards.
  • Symbols or figures on the hand guards, possible snake-around-staff again.
  • Its there again in the cloak clasp, you can just see it under the heads
  • The cloak itself,
  • Necklaces or neck-bands, thongs or torcs with visible fastenings. Three or four on each neck. 
  • The helmets, with neck segments to allow the presumably sinuous movements of the snakelike form.

The helmets spikes are a little like crests and a little like waves, or sails. The waves return us to the sublimated sea-theme in the figure, never explicitly stated in its form. 

The crests remind us of the lizard-like nature of the creature, but are also versions of the crests we might find on Greek or roman helmets, and are also like the kind of ritually-reproduced bodyform that humans put on armour, except this is for lizards. 

People put enhanced versions of their human musculature on breastplates, or enhanced humanoid faces of the front of helmets. By doing this they take symbols of strength, vividness and selfhood and reproduce them on the outside, isolating and projecting the energy. A real-life lizard person might have head crests that present in times of threat and the crests of the helmets could be enhanced versions of that in the same way the muscly-torso breastplate might be for a human being. The super-scales on the forearm guard might do the same kind of thing.

The line of the alien flesh is continually being broken up by lines and straps. Could these be 'kinetic greebles', marks across a moving flexing surface made to draw the eye to the nature of its movement so that is can be more explicitly registered?

(I would have maybe put a scroll on.)


Ah skulls. The old 40k classic.

Uses of skulls in minis:

- Demonstrates both martial potency of character and also savagery, savages keep skull trophies, civilised people just kill and leave the bodies.

- Illustrates scale of model even with no other model nearby. We know how big our skull is, when we see one on a mini perhaps we imagine it as ours and thereby contrast the size of the mini without own size in a subconscious way.

- Skull is a beautiful object in itself.

- Symbol of death or deadness perhaps increases liveliness or livingness of mini in a point/counterpoint way. Like, this piece of plastic simulating a living thing with frozen movement, seems more alive when there are tiny symbols of death included in it. Death being the shadow to life. A shadow cradles mass so the stillness of the skull highlights movement and expressiveness. 

- Brings symbols of enemy factions into mini in another point / counterpoint manner to highlight cultural 'selfness' of model. This is more true of helmets really, which are a kind of skull-shell, with more boldly expressed cultural information than a skull. Skulls symbolise humanity in general, the empty helmet expresses a particular culture. So a little piece of the 'enemy' culture on this model makes you feel its 'home' culture more fully.


The Whole model is a snake around a staff, a Caduceus, and versions of this symbol are repeated again and again on its armour. The Caduceus was the symbol of Hermes, Hermes may derive from, and has often been re-combined with, Thoth. The name of the character is Thoth. So there you go.

This is a monster, but also a person. Animalistic and human-culture aspects are arranged in a dissonant but interesting pattern. 

This is presented the opposite way to a standard futurist sci-fi/fantasy mini. In those the face and shape presents human-level information, story and character information, and the strange weaponry suggests inhuman or more physical information. Like, the space marine Sergent's face is a human face but his weapons are much more inhuman.

But with this guy, his (her?) face is deeply inhuman. The personality-based information is in the objects attached and the story they infer. And the most person-like part is the way she is holding the trident, the cluster of shapes around the hands and staff making another yin-yang sign right under the heads. That looks like something a person does.

The heads themselves are disturbing and monstrous with no capacity for human emotional information. So there is dissonance. The story information , the information that says 'this is a person in a  particular set of circumstances' is not where we would expect it to be so you 'read' the sculpture in an unexpected way, yet one that ultimately resolves as it should, with you knowing all the kinds of things you feel you should know.


I think maybe I take pleasure in the extremely wide range of information drawn from, of so many different kinds. Shape. Detail. Character. Use. All meshing together in ways it never could in a naturalistic sculpture, because the range of information wold be limited, or in a more abstract sculpture, because the social and human-level stuff like the 'story' and the Greek helmets and the use wouldn't be the same. I like my art to bring its world with it into mine, sometimes at least.

The machismo perhaps. I'm generally an easier sell for a mini that's about to fuck something up and looks like it could kill me. Maybe I want to own things that could kill me in miniature form?


Details of the design process, right from the first idea all the way to creation. There are five people mentioned above and they all interacted to produce this.
All the stuff you will be familiar with from my previous posts about how design and an imagined race and faction and world combine. Stuff about how it matches or meshes with the rules. How the design brief was given. Did anything change during the creation process. How was it manufactured and how do the tolerances and requirements of the mass production process impact the aesthetic effect. All the usual stuff.

(* I looked it up.)


  1. I really like your analysis of this mini. You're right, it's a marvelous study in aesthetic principles.

    ...but what the fuck is a snake doing wearing belts?

    1. Well it doesn't have pockets so it needs somewhere to ... put .. things?

      Aesthetically I think the sense of a single line around a round limb works a bit like indian sculpture of hot girls where it highlights the depth or fullness of the limb or something.

      This is pre-colombian but similar thing

      Practically? I don;t think this guy would work as a living thing for even a 10th of a second. Like how does he move around? The weights and masses of his torso and pushing-tail parts don't seem to work. He's rising up like a cobra but cobras have a big long body underneath them when they do that and his doesn't seem long enough.

      Thoth you do not work.

    2. Good point, on some level it's silly to try to introduce logic into the process. I just can't help but laugh that there's this epic snake creature and he looks like he's totally going to rip the players a new one, but I think they'd all just crack up when his belts slip off as he tries to attack.

      ...Maybe he could tie things to back spines or something to store them? Or have a backpack that hitches around his shoulders?