Thursday, 26 November 2015

What's in the Box - Necromancy in a package!

That's right folks, it's time for another "What's in the Box", the column where I open up something news (and miniature-centric) for your viewing amusement and edification.

This time, we've got a surprise model all the way from Australia, a limited edition resin model made as a proof of concept by someone from one of the older Rackham boards and subsequent exile-filled forums. He had a run of 100 models made, based on some art regarding a model that Rackham never released in pewter, but whose plastic prepainted release he felt was far underwhelming.

And so, without further ado, here's my unboxing (unpackaging?) of Rhea de Brisis.

First up, just as with Anakron's parcel, this model came in through a bubble mailer.

Inside was just the blister for the model, the production casting written in Sharpie on it.

Funnily enough, it wasn't the usual blister foam that was in the blister, but a square of non-slip rubber. Useful to keep the resin from moving around so much!

The model itself came on a long tab, with one arm having come free in transport (thank all miniature gods that the piece wasn't as small as some of the original Rackham models'), but otherwise no visible damage.

 Above: Some pictures of the loose arm.

Above: Pictures of the model on its tab.

I'm sorry for having shrunk the pictures (hopefully they'll expand if you click them), but I figured it'd be neater this way and would make the whole thing easier to read.

As you can see. The model is pretty clean, with no visible mold lines. There's a bit of flash to be removed, but nothing major or which could cause a piece of the model to break.

The model was priced at 25$ AUD (that's about 24$ CAD, or 18$ USD), with an extra 17$ AUD for shipping (which is fine, as shipping to/from Australia is always super expensive). At that price, it's worth a buy, though I have no idea if the model is still available (make sure you use Paypal if you can, as my bank charged me an extra 30$ fee to wire funds for the purchase). Even despite that additional fee, I don't regret it for such a gorgeous model.... almost makes me nostalgic for the glory years of the Red Dragon...

See you next time when I unbox something totally unexpected (again!).

Edit (Dec 8th 2015): Was just confirmed today that there are still some sculpts left, and that shipping is now a flat 10$ AUD (about 7.25$ US) worldwide (except for New Zealand). Now's the best time to snag one of these beauties if you can!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

What's in the Box - THIS. IS.... Halloween?

That's right folks, the column's back for a second round! For those of you who haven't read the last one (and why haven't you? It was AWESOME!), these are all about looking at a model or models from various manufacturers (those that I can get my grubby, paint-stained, hands on) or other miniature-related items, and in doing so taking a closer look at the quality of the sculpt or product.

The item we'll be looking at this time came in as a surprise - a parcel arrived straight from France, from what I could tell it was just a normal bubble mailer, but the sender was David, from Anakron Miniatures... So it could only hold awesomeness.

In all fairness, I've known David for some time - he's an awesome sculptor and painter, and his website is filled to the brim with really useful tricks and tips to become better at this hobby. I've helped him in the past with the translation of articles on his site, or subtitles on his how-to videos, and since then, every once in a while, he sends me really cool stuff when he has new goodies up on the sale section of his site. (And yes, we'll look at all of those in due time).

But what could it be this time? A look inside the bubble mailer reveals... A post card? It looks like something from Raging Heroes.

But what's this? Something written on the back? Hmm...

And what about the actual goodie? *GASP* Oh, my Goth! A pumpkin-headed bust!

Cute little packaging too! The image is a printed sticker stuck on the blister, whereas it was a piece of paper in the blister with older releases... (more of that when we get to them, honest).
But what about the models' quality though?

Huh. This is the resin model straight out of the blister, there's no flash, no air bubbles, no resin webs. If it weren't for that slight mold line on the right side of the stem where it really doesn't matter and that tiny bump on the vine right above it, it'd be pretty much perfect. As it is, I want to say it's as close to perfect as I've ever seen a sculpt. A quick dip in soapy water and a quick toothbrush cleaning, and he's ready to be primed as is.

All in all, for a sales price of 12 Euros (12.95$ USD), such a detailed 45mm bust is spot-on in regards to bang for my buck. And, as I've said publically (which is the reason for the note behind the postcard), I'll be painting mine as a punk.

'Til next time! (Don't know what we'll be doing, but it'll be fun!)

Friday, 16 October 2015

What's in the Box - The Owls Are Not What They Seem.

Welcome to Xenon's new column, tentatively titled "What's in the box" (here's to hoping I can find more gifs based on that meme). Where I take a look at models and other paintable miniature-related items that find their way to me.

For this first article, I thought I'd open the ball with something fun and nice, as the Kingdom Death: Monster kickstarter arrived recently, or going more indie, like a model from Anakron or Imbrian Arts, but I finally settled on something else.

So to open up this new column, I thought I'd take a look at a couple of blisters from Knight's Models' Batman Miniature Game, which became popular around these parts recently, and which I was convinced to pick up for myself.
Looking at the models available, I chose to pick up the two blisters from the Court of Owls, the only recent Batman villans to have caught my attention. So first off, we have the actual "Court of Owls" blister, followed by the "Gotham Butcher" one.

So, without further ado, let's open up that box and find out what's inside.

So the Court of Owls blister contains four models (Strix, William Cobb, Benjamin Orchard, and Xiao Loong), each with the Batman Miniature Game 30mm textured bases. You'll have to apologize for the crap quality pictures, as I don't have an actual photo setup in place yet.

So this is the picture on the back of the blister, courtesy of Knight Models:

And now, here's a quick selection of pictures of the bodies:

So, as you can see, the bodies have some clearly visible mold lines, with some having flash issues.

And now, for a selection of hand weapons, heads, and other small assorted bits:

The smaller parts, such as arms, weapons, or heads, are also showing visible mold lines, and clearly show signs of requiring heavy cleaning before even thinking about assembling the models.

And, as if that wasn't disappointing enough, the tabs on three of the four models don't actually fit the slots on the special BMG textured bases (you'd think that if a company was making custom textured bases for its game, it'd at least make sure that the tabs of its models were made to fit, right?).

In short, for a 47$ (Can) expense, it's a bit more expensive than it should for the quality of the casting - it has a rough equivalent to Games Workshop's casting quality on an under-par day. Not quite a bad day, just not a good one. Fixing these would probably be a full-weekend project at the very least, especially if we factor in our next model for today, the Gotham Butcher.

Here's the Manufacturer's page:

So he's a big one, coming with a 40mm version of Knight Model's textured base. And right away, we run into issues: he's a hollow model. That's right - not only is he in parts to make it easier for packing and shipping, but he's also hollow. I can see the experienced modelers reading this wince and make pained faces, as they'll know what it means: the model will have gaps where the parts fit, be less solid and more prone to falling apart, and will generally be a pain to put together, as none of the parts will actually fit in properly with any of the others.

Let's take a look at the damage:

So not only do we have gaps and ill-fitting pieces, but, once again, we have mold line issues, as well as some glaring flash issues (as you can see under the head's chin, along one of the arms, and a few at the bottom of the chest, causing trouble when it comes to fitting it to the legs).

Once again, for its 36$ (CAN) price tag, it's far too expensive - other manufacturers have proven that it's possible to make such large models with much less issues when it comes to putting it together. The mold lines are bad, but not outrageously so, while the flash will also require an inordinate amount of time to clean up, considering that it requires to be removed in order to fit the model together (and removing it blindly could just make the model even more ill-fitting).

So the lesson to be drawn here for today's What's in the Box column? While the game sounds like a blast (that'll be for another column, for sure), unless you really have a hankering for a specific official model, at the price point they're offered, give them a pass.