Less is more...?
One of the latest social networks trends is Italians who get angry seeing their traditional recipes cooked by foreigners.
I know, in your eyes we probably exaggerate, but you should also consider that, for us, food isn't a mere form of subsistence: it's pure love.
And, believe me, I'm not exaggerating: one of the main ways to show your love to someone, in Italy, is through food. Our grandmas and mothers usually don't need to tell how much they love us: they simply cook tons and tons of lasagne (or just our favorite dish).
I'm not saying that this is a healthy way of dealing with emotions, but that's the truth, at least here.
For this reason, when we see you brutalizing our traditional recipes, we take it ridiculously serious.
I am incredibly thankful of having an international audience, because it allows me to share my culture with so many other ones: for this reason, I thought that it would be interesting to briefly explain to you how to proper understand those crazy people known as Italians.
To really understand the essence of our cucina (=cuisine, please understand that I can't use a French term to refer to one of the last Italian prides left!), you have to consider its roots. The vast majority of Italian recipes (or at least the most famous ones) have a poor, humble origin: they were born when there wasn't too many ingredients and above all the luxury ones were not accessible. So people had to take the best from what they had. Think about, for example, the Lampredotto, or the Gricia (a kind of Carbonara's ancestor), or just pasta: few humble but delicious ingredients, exalted by the ingenious of my ancestors.
I often see that, in the international versions of our traditional recipes, you miss this important point, complicating something that has to be simple: adding cream or onions to a Carbonara, or adding too many sauces or spices, for example. You're looking for something that you don't need, because you already have everything you need for.
Don't get me wrong: I love extra-filled hamburgers, I love sauces. But if you want to conquer me, or just an average Italian guy, two slices of a good bread with some good salame inside it's pure heaven, because (again) when you have a great ingredient, you don't have to add too many "frills". This is, in brief, the Italian approach to food, and, consequently, to life.
Interesting fact: during my travels I found a similar state of mind in Japan, so if you are Japanese, I think you'd easily understand my point.
So, what does all this have to do with miniatures?
When I had to design the Redcoat Admiral, I tried to apply a sort of Italian gastronomic approach to it.
I'm not telling that I hit the target (it's up to you to judge my work!), but at least that it was my main goal: to design a "high rank" character, with few...ingredients!
When designing a fictional character that should represent a "special" one, like for example a general, or a chieftain or whatever, the most easy and effective way is to take the base-concept and just upgrade it at the maximum level possible.
A dwarf lord is that guy with the biggest axe/longest beard/fanciest armor of the company, for example.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this approach, at all: it's always cool to work on intricate details and try to design something that amazes you all with its awesomeness!
And after all, it's true that in warfare, a common way to underline a high rank/status, has always been related to the quality and complexity of the various equips.
With my Redcoat Admiral, however, I wanted to take another path, trying to design a high rank character whom "status" was easily recognizable, but without upgrading too much her equipment: I wanted, in brief, that you recognize her as an "important soldier" just by looking at her mere presence.
For this reason, for example, I decided not to show any kind of weapon (usually, the more a character is important, the more is weapon is big/exotic!) on her sculpt, and I kept her equipment just a little fancier than that of normal soldiers.
To catch my idea of "presence", I looked at one of the coolest characters ever designed: Batman.
I confess: I'm not a great passionate of Batman series, but I've always found incredibly catchy how the dark knight is able to radiate an aura of grim stateliness, just with his mere presence.
For my Redcoat Admiral I wanted exactly that kind of "aura".
Obviously, it wasn't easy at all to translate these ideas to a 3d sculpt, and Valerio (the sculptor) had beside him a really tough challenge. In fact, he had to work with only three ingredients: a right facial expression, a right proportion between the details you see and those you don't see, a cape that should have covered basically 80% of the character.
With these guidelines, you may imagine that he really had to push himself beyond his limits (PLUS ULTRA!), to sculpt the right character, and not simply a boring one.
So, here is the result, in all its (well, her) majesty.
I'm quite happy because the Admiral is exactly how I imagined her since the beginning: I immediately perceive her authority, even if she literally doesn't make anything to show it.
Her armor and equipment are simple, after all: her armor is just a bit more detailed than the Redcoat Soldier's one, and, apart from the fur on the cape, there aren't details that distract us or just shout "leadership, guys!!".
But yet, I think that it's quite obvious that she's not a mere soldier.
I wanted a "simple" design, to catch an out-of-ordinary character, and I think (and I hope you think too!) that Valerio just nailed it: to resume my initial statement, you don't need 100 ingredients to make a great sandwich!
I know that this post may seem too self-referential and complacent, but indeed this sculpt warms my Italian heart and I'm proud of it (and of Valerio, of course!): so, please, be patient!
I really can't wait to see this character painted by you: with few ingredients, you will be amazed about how many recipes you will be able to do, and indeed I think that this character, more than my other ones, is ideal to create a lot of different versions.
Just like adding egg yolk and black pepper to a Gricia, gives you a Carbonara.