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.