Okay, one more to do after getting Minthara out of the way...
Previously, there were two hand crossbows available in the game - one on a dead adventurer just past the petrified drow in the underdark, and a second one on one of the dead duergar neat the skiff in the underdark. Unfortunately, a terminal bug existed that meant that if you dual-wielded the two hand crossbows, then, even though it did work, and you got the off-hand shot skill, stowing the weapons, bringing them out, changing equips or interacting with them at all in any way after that.... wold generally cause the game to crash. Getting them unequipped and un-breaking your save file was difficult. I had meant to include the dual-wielding poses in this analysis, because at the time the off-hand shot was using the 'throw item' animation... however, it seems that as of the most recent patch, the second hand crossbow has actually been removed from the game; at least, it was no longer there on any save file I brought tot he duergar ambush to retrieve it.
The crash was reported by many people who were excited to dual-wield crossbows, and so I'm sure it's being fixed, and this removal is the temporary fast solution to prevent the game crash while they sort it out. Unfortunately, this means I can't do the dual-wielding break down right now. With any luck, by the time it comes back, it'll be fixed up and refactored properly as well, fingers crossed.
So, just a single hand crossbow today. Of note, and others have pointed this out elsewhere too, but because of the way Larian have coded and designed the weapon-wielding interface right now, we can't actually use a hand crossbow and a shield - this is a viable and useful combination and absolutely something that we can do in the base rule,s and should be able to do here; it needs to be put in so we can, and hopefully if and when they do, we'll get nicely aligned and posed animations for doing so. Not yet, however.
Let's look at human-sized models first, as they're straight forward and easy In each image, the first pose is the ready animation, and the second is the recovery animation:
All poses are animated with no statics, and the alignment of the weapon is pretty good across the board here. As usual, there are slight but distinct pose differences between the male and female stances; males are broader stances, and sharper, more dynamic, while female poses are softer and more fluid. It's pretty subtle, and only the fact that there are some actual arm position differences make it certain that that differences aren't just incidental to the models. The hand under the elbow doesn't sit right, and is floating, but other than that these poses are pretty good. Quite acceptable really.
For small-sized models, it's less neat and clean, sadly:
The weapon alignments are pretty off across the board - not wildly so, compared to other weapons ,but distinctly out of alignment all the same. the first images in this pair are the ready poses for male and female halflings... or they might be. They adopt that pose for a fraction of a second when you ready to shoot, but then 'snap' down to the second image - a pose we all recognise. This is clearly just a code bug causing them to drop to a place-holder pose; we've seen it elsewhere, and it's clearly not intended, especially when the pose they go to before that, for a moment, is actually a hand crossbow pose. That said, there is no difference at all between male and female here, not even subtly - this seems to be another place where female halflings are using the male set by accident. The hand misalignment on the elbow is worse than it is for human-sized models, but other than that, this pose and animation looks pretty good on them... if only they'd actually use it.
For male halflings, they move cleanly to their recovery pose (the third image) after shooting - complete with cute little sheathing animation - and from the front angle it doesn't look bad, though again, hand misalignment pushing their hand through their arm instead of supporting it. Female halflings move from the sheathing animation to the pose shown in the third image for them, which looks a lot like the human-sized female recovery pose, however, they only hold it for a fraction of a second, before 'snapping' again to adopt the same pose as the males... or almost the same pose?
Beacause here's the thing: as much as this looks like the female halfligns are adopting one pose made for them, and then snapping to the male pose by mistake... let's have a look at it:
Scratch! Scratch, I love you and you're a good boy, but please get out of my screenshots while I'm working!
Even though female halflings snap to this pose after a moment, and it doesn't seem like their intended pose, it actually works a LOT better on them than it does on the male halflings. Male halflings look okay in their recovery pose, from the front and slight side angles - which they were probably reviewed from - but if you look side on, we can see that they are grossly over-balanced. This is not a stable pose that they could actually hold, no matter what side you look from, it doesn't work. Their centre of balance is miles out. They either need to bring their centre of gravity forward, over their feet, or the foot stance needs to be moved back to give them better balance; having them lean forward slightly, while shifting the feet so that one if substantially further back then the other would more or less fix this, as one suggestion.
But if we look at the female halflings, it's not actually the same; Their pose is solid and firm, their centre of gravity is excellent: they look Good in this pose.
So, it's hard to guess at exactly what's going on here. Honestly, I can see that the female halflings briefly use a version of the human-sized female recovery pose... but the one they snap to afterwards actually looks better on them and I'd prefer it. On the males, it doesn't work and needs to be fixed, however.
That's it for hand crossbows, at least as much as I can test until we get a second hand crossbow back in the game. Overall, these sets are pretty good; they don't need a lot of work at all, certainly not compared to others.
That's probably all for the small-sized model animation and pose break downs for now; short of finding more anomalies in particular cut scenes, which I'm still scanning for, I think I've covered everything else, but that may be it until the next patch gives us another update on things.