Product review: Prodos Games Amazon Riders

15 04 2016

IMG_8807

It’s no secret that I gave up on Games Workshop a while ago, with their constant re-doing of their codexes, the new edition of 40K dropping while I still hadn’t taken all of the previous edition’s pieces out of the box, and their just downright egregious pricing of the new plastic minis cemented the demise of GW for me. That and the fact they still hadn’t done anything to the Sisters of Battle range, which was still apparently because of issues they were having with the details.

Well, bollocks I say.

Anyhoo, I’m not here to lament the downfall of a company I used to love, but it’s a good segue into the new miniatures I picked up recently after discovering them through the Aliens Vs Predator – ‘Bug Hunt’ game my friend ordered.

Prodos are based in Warwickshire, UK, not too far from my hometown. I was pleasantly surprised by this, always nice to know that there are other companies making minis that are in your own backyard. Now Prodos and the AVP license they secured are a somewhat of a bone of contention with quite a few fans out there, essentially regarding the Kickstarter for that game and various issues that have followed since the funding of said game. I’m not going to go into all that, and if you’re really dying to know, just google it and do some research, but I won’t be taking any more space up here discussing it.

Prodos have quite an extensive line in support of the Mutant Chronicles game (for those that remember that in it’s original incarnation from the early 90s), and the figures are cracking! I seem to remember Praetorian Stalkers from back in the day, I wonder if they’ll make an appearance again?

They also make a game called ‘Space Crusaders’ (notice the ‘s’ on the end there), which I know little about, but it appears to be a small-scale skirmish system they have developed. Also in support of this game are also a line of miniatures, which is where we come to rest with my product review (thanks for sticking with me through the wall of text!).

I’ve been looking for figures to use as juves in my Judge Dredd game, as some of the Warlord Miniatures ones are a little clumsy, so I wanted to look elsewhere, such as reusing Clan Escher figures from Necromunda. I found these minis and I thought they’d make an excellent fit, so I picked up a box of Amazons on bikes and also a box of ‘Mabs’ as well (just for something different to paint). A peruse through their online store and you’ll see some definite influences in the designs, that’s all I’ll say. So let’s take a look at these ‘ere bikers…

Seen here against a Judge on his Lawmaster bike

Seen here against a Judge on his Lawmaster bike

I forgot to take a picture of these ‘in the box’ so here are the Mabs, which will give you an idea:

MABS2

First impressions: the ‘resin’ they use is lightweight and durable. I’m not sure what the overall differences in resins are to be honest. I know there are different grades and whatnot, but my knowledge is limited. A cursory glance at the pieces showed minimal flash to be removed (yay!) and only a few vent pieces that needed trimming off. This resin has a different ‘feel’ to the resin Forge World uses, and has almost no air bubbles that I can see, which is refreshing.

Figures are well packed and the box art is pretty neat. One thing I would’ve liked on the box is maybe a little background as to who these girls are. Even though I’m not using them for the game they are intended for, a little back story is always cool. What are their origins?

3

Assembling these minis was no hassle at all, and went together really well with superglue gel. They come with bases and even have ‘smoke’ you can add to the rear tire to suggest movement. This reminded me a little of how GW are adding similar details to their plastic miniatures lately too, except the ones you get in this box are optional. After assembling this trio, I was left with some extra bits, which looked like shoulder pads although I’m really not sure, and I’m not sure if they actually go on these minis.

There is some incredible detailing on these figures, with delicate filigree edging and chaos emblems on the bikes and the armor that the girls are wearing, as well as skulls and fleur-de-lys as well. The faces have character too, although they look a little odd in their unpainted state, they’re going to be full of attitude once they go under the brush.

7

Two of the Amazons are obviously on the move, and the movement is captured really well, with the long hair trailing behind the rider who is hunched down adding to that motion. The third is obviously at a standstill, or taking a breather, as the relaxed posing which has her sitting back on the seat would suggest.

6

The bikes are suitably chunky, but not too crazy, and are balanced well with the build of the riders, making them a ‘believable’ match up. Guns mounted either side of the front wheel obviously mean business! These girls wouldn’t look out of place in a scene from Akira as they have a great cyberpunk feel to them that comes across well in the design and execution of the final models.

8

1

My only ding against these figures, and indeed the Space Crusaders line is that with the range being predominantly female, they really make sure you know that they are women, really more than is necessary. GW hit a good medium with their Sisters of Battle range: you knew they were women in power armor without having to resort to exaggeration of certain parts of the anatomy, something Prodos should take into consideration if they are looking to create more figures for this game. Having a woman in power armor only to have most of her torso exposed not only makes you scratch your head with questions like ‘how on earth would this armor protect her’, but can look tacky. You have to be very careful with that line between aesthetically pleasing and just cheesecake for the sake of it. Prodos have seen an gap in the market that needs attention: a lack of female figures for futuristic battle games such as 40K, which GW have only made wider with their lack of support for that line, only to possibly shoot themselves in the foot with the female demographic that also enjoys this hobby.

I’ll probably paint body stockings on my Amazons to veer away from the fact they appear to be wearing cyber-bikinis. Maybe even some harlequin style leggings or something bold that you would see in the pages of 2000AD.

In summary: Prodos are proof that GW are just bullshitting about their reasoning for not turning their attention to the SoB line and giving the miniatures the much needed overhaul they deserve. They just simply want them to fade away or get ‘squatted’. We can clearly see by the miniatures above that making sisters in resin or plastic is very doable, and because they (GW) can’t be arsed to do anything about it, companies like Prodos will be happy to step in and take the money. That said, if they can move away from the objectification of the female form that seems to pervade the miniatures, I think they would make a killing, as they are showing they have the tools and the talent.

These ladies will be up in the gallery once they are painted! Thanks for reading!

 





Judge Dredd Miniatures Game – out of the box review

27 03 2014

Hello my friends! It has been too long since I last paid my faithful blog any attention, but I intend to remedy that! I started this blog nearly 6 years ago now, and I can’t just let it go now, can I?

Although I have not been blogging, I have certainly been keeping up with the hobby on a number of fronts. I finally completed my Flames of War British late war forces, which was a herculean effort, I can tell you! I now owe the wife a sushi dinner for letting me finish it lol! I’m very happy to report that my initial battle with my ‘stiff upper lip’ force resulted in a victory for the Tommy’s, but only just, it was bittersweet for sure. Also, Dethtron recently picked up X-Wing, or as it’s affectionately known now: “X-Wang”. Of the 4 games I have played, I’ve won 3 of them; there truly is something to be said for the Dark Side… a lot of fun though! I’ve come to realize that I’m a fan of Tie Fighter swarm lists.

Anyhoo, back to the meat and potatoes of this entry: Judge Dredd!

A while back I downloaded some test rules for the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game (a Warlord Games/Mongoose Publishing collaboration) and that was it, I saved it to my computer and pretty much forgot about it. At that point the only people making 2000AD miniatures was (and they still do make them) Wargames Foundry. Initially I was going to put together a couple of factions, but then realized that it was going to cost quite a bit for the miniatures and so put it on the back burner. Fast forward to a couple of months back, I saw a copy of the starter set at my FLGS and thought “fug it” and bought a copy. Not cheap, I will say, coming in at a cool $120. I’ve seen it about $100 on ebay, but guess what, yep, they charge you $20 for shipping, so do the math. So what do you get for your money? Is it worth it? Let’s take a peep in the box (hehe):

Get playing, CREEP!

Get playing, CREEP!

 

  •          Hardback copy of the rulebook – This is a beauty! Full color from beginning to end. The rules themselves only take up a small portion of the book, the rest is all breakdowns of the different factions, characters, scenarios, stats, lots of color photos of the miniatures and everything you’ll ever need to put the beat down on the perps of Mega City One.
  •          Academy of Training quick-start rules – just like the label says: a leaflet-style set of rules to get playing pretty much straight outta the box, you can’t miss it, it says “READ ME FIRST” in big red letters. It basically works as though you are a cadet on your first day on the streets and gives you a simple overview of the game mechanics to get you going before you embark on the more in-depth version of the game.
  •          Exclusive starter set miniatures – Definitely one of the incentives to buy this package: it comes with 2 figures only available with the set. A heavy weapon Judge and a Street Gang member.
  •          Metal (yes METAL) miniatures – The set comes with 2 boxes of miniatures: a set of 8 Mega City Judges and a set of 8 Street Gangers! 18 metal miniatures in total! Certainly nice to get some metal figures in an age when everything is plastic. This definitely appealed to my nostalgic side. It’s also where I have my one negative point that I have on this set – continuity. I took the judges out of the box to take a look, and one thing that jumped out at me pretty much off the bat is the proportions of the sculpts. Now I know that not everyone is the same height, weight, build etc, but I feel that there should have been some effort made to keep certain things the same. There is a lot of variation in sizes of shoulder pads, knee pads, guns etc. Some of the shoulder pads are super thick and wide, while others are thinner and less defined (look at my painted examples below). Some of the helmets are a little odd proportion/symmetry wise, but I have a feeling this is more due to the limitations of casting in metal, which also would explain the depth of posing on a couple of them too. Aside from this, these miniatures took me back to the very early 90’s when I would buy Judge Dredd miniatures made by Games Workshop, so I was practically surfing on the waves of nostalgia. The Street Gangers look great, and are full of character (and I’ll possibly pull some of my Necromunda miniatures in to bulk up the numbers a little).

 

One thing I did think was a little odd – as this is a starter set, with quick start rules etc, I was hoping that a set of dice and maybe some rudimentary measuring device (like the measuring stick that comes with the Warhammer 40K box set) would be included, but surprisingly not. The game runs on a D10 system, which would make sense to include, especially as it’s not a regular D6 driven system.

 

 

The crime issss liiiiifeeee!

The crime issss liiiiifeeee!

I recently also picked up the Dark Judges set because they are hands down my favorite characters in the 2000AD universe. You get all four of the bad guys and they also come with their spirit versions as well. Warlord Games makes quite a comprehensive line of miniatures to support this game, all of which are available through their website: http://us-store.warlordgames.com/collections/judge-dredd/  seriously, check out just how much they have, it’s great!

 

Mega City Judge

Mega City Judge

 

PSI Judge I just finished

PSI Judge I just finished

I am concerned that the miniatures are a little pricey. The set of Dark Judges came in at the $50 mark. While I know that makes the figures $6.25 a piece, which for metal ain’t bad, it could put off casual gamers or first-timers. I’m not too sure if the figures are available as singles through retail outlets (they are available this way through the website). It might be a little easier to swallow if you can walk in off the street and gradually build up your factions through single figure purchases if you don’t have the money to drop it on a box set all in one go.

So the bottom line: is it worth it? Yes! Zarjaz! I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who is a) a fan of 2000AD and likes tabletop games and b) those of you out there who like smaller, more intimate skirmish games with smaller amounts of figures.

I haven’t had a chance to have a game yet, but I’ll do another review on the mechanics when I can organize it.

Until then…

Squaxx dek Thargo, Splundig Vur Thrigg!





Double Whammy – Finecast Review and SOB Rumors

13 06 2011

Honestly, I can’t believe where time is going. June already?? wtf? Apologies for those of you who frequest my humble pigeon hole in the intehwebs for my lack of posting lately. Work has been grinding me into the ground, and i’ve been more absorbed with playing Indiana Jones Lego on Xbox. While i’m on that subject, Happy Birthday Indy, who, 30 years ago today, graced our screens in Raiders of the Lost Ark. My 3 year old has just started getting into Indy, so as a father and big Indiana Jones fan, this makes me very happy. For 30 facts and unusual trivia about Raiders, clicky here: http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/06/12/raiders-lost-ark-30th-anniversary/

Citadel Finecast

Anyway, down to business. This weekend I picked up my first Citadel Finecast miniatures, a box set of 3 bow wielding Ushabti for my Tomb Kings army. The sticker price of $49.50 made me cringe a little, but considering 3 metal ones would have been nearer to $60, I didn’t feel so bad. Of course the first thing I noticed when I picked up the box was ‘is there anything in this? did I grab a display?’. The material is very light. It is apparently some kind of plastic/resin hybrid.

As we have had a spell of cooler weather, I wanted to get these assembled and undercoated without the fear of fuzzy paint (eff you, humidity!) so Saturday afternoon, hung over from the show I played the night before, I set to work. I was intrigued as to how this new matrial would be. It’s quite flexible, meaning if you inadvertently knock it off the table, chances are the only thing that will need repairing will be your underwear.

If you haven’t seen the presentation yet, the new Finecast minis come on a sprue, thus:

At first glance I thought ‘balls, I thought there was supposed to be minimal flash and cleanup?’ Well, this stuff is actually really easy to work with. You need virtually no pressure with clippers to take the mini off the frame, and there is actually not that much in the way of cleanup. A mold line here or there, or a bit of flash but because of the medium, it’s effortless. Literally within 5 minutes, my forst Ushabti was ready for assembling:

 

Gone are the days of shitty lugs that won’t fit into the holes they are supposed to, and also the days of you holding metal pieces together for 10 minutes with superglue with no effect. Gone, also, are the days of weak joints. The lightweight nature of this makes this a dim and distant memory. This resin is superglue’s best friend. Assembling took literally a couple of minutes:

Within a half hour, I had all three assembled….

The only negative point I have so far is with the chap on the far left in the picture above. His hand obviously has been miscast, and a portion of the cowling behind his head is missing too. Hopefully this won’t be an ongoing problem for Finecast. I left it, with the train of thought of ‘its an ancient statue, and the Necrotect has’nt got to him yet to repair it…).

Then, onto prep for painting, using Duplicolor Sandible Primer:

…and voila! ready to be painted!

From box to fully primed in less than an hour, quite impressive, in my opinion. It shows just how user friendly this new material is.  You don’t need to wash it in soapy water before priming, and apparently is not toxic like Forge World resin (not that I would advise eating/inhaling it anyway). I’m personally quite excited to work with this new medium, although some of the prices did shock me a little. Individual characters are now pushing the $20 mark, while I noticed that a certain Lizardman kit that was $49 in metal is now $66 in resin.

I guess the proof is in the pudding, and we’ll just have to see what happens with Citadel Finecast.

Sisters of Battle Rumors:

Pathtyphon/TastyTaste over at Http://bloodofkittens.com has given up some rather tasty rumors regarding new Sisters of Battle rules. Sadly enough, it does appear that they will be a ‘White Dwarf Codex’, but i’m not going to rule out that a new book will not be forthcoming. Here is the info:

‘As always let us start with the easy ones that pretty much everyone figured was going to happen.

Allies gone
Inquisition gone
Faith streamlined
USRs updated to 5th
Cheaper Unit costs
Inquisition elements gone

So let start with the big one and perhaps most controversial change to Sisters of Battle: Faith

I am amazed reading around the Net how quite few people had great guesses on how the new faith works. One caveat about the faith rules: I only have most of the story so let us hope someone else can pluck the rest from the aether. The only thing that really stays the same is only faith producing units can use faith. Gone is the over and under rules based on model count and gone is faith powers that everyone can use. It is replaced with every unit has its own unit specific act of faith to call upon.

So for instance Repentia Act of Faith allows them to always land an attack even if they are killed before they can swing. They are little bonuses like re-rolling to wound and hit, no USRs. Now this if fine and dandy if you just pop a faith point and bam! power goes off, but not so fast. Acts of Faith require that you roll 5+ to activate . This makes faith much more unreliable… maybe. In addition every unit that can get faith generates 1d6 faith points per turn. This also means that a new faith pool is generated each turn with no storing of past faith. As well faith can be activated in multiple phases of the game, so for instance you can re-roll to hit in your shooting phase or in your assault phase. What is not clear is a few things. Like how many dice can you throw at a single act of faith? How many times can you attempt to activated a power? If you get an act of faith to go off in one phase does it carry over to the next phase? If you fail an act of faith does that mean you cannot try again in another phase? I don’t have the answers, but what do you think?

Random tidbits

All Faith generating units get +6 invul save
All units that can get transports get Immolators or Rhinos
Assassins gone (Death Cult still in)
Wargear with the same names as GK wargear stay and get changed over. (e.g. Psybolt Ammo)
Karamazov gone
Priests in, pretty much same as before.
No change to the general Bolter, Melta, Flame concept of the Sisters

Specifics

Sisters have about 5 HQ choices including Special Characters

St. Celestine: Same price as a Grand Master you get 2+/+4 saves, WS/BS 7 Jump Pack, Fleet, Power Weapons always wounds on 4+ Has the power to come back like GK Thawn if killed.

Confessor: Takes the slot of the old Inquisitors. Cheap HQ (Warboss). Can create a henchman band using most of the henchman found in the GK codex. What makes the Confessor extra deadly is the ability for it to re-roll hits and wounds for her and the squad. This is the translation of the rumor matrix. So think for one second about her and the Death Cult together?

Repentia: Cheaper close to SM cost. FNP, Rage, Fearless, 6+ invul, no transports

Battle Sister Squad: Cheaper 10-20 unit size (no combat squads), but has access to Immolators which begs the question… Immolators either get increased transport capacity or Sisters break the rules concerning model count and buying transports. Multiple acts of faith.

Exocists: Pretty much same as before.

This is it for now gents and dames. If you have any questions let me know I can see if can get them answered sometime this week with another post.’

So there you have it.

Until next time…





Product review – Scibor Monstrous Miniatures

13 07 2010

Product review – Scibor Monstrous Miniatures.

I happened upon this company some time ago when I saw some one off custom Primarch sculpts they had produced. I was also very interested in the excellent sculpting articles that they have too (check them out!) Scibor appear to be a small independent company based in Poland who are relatively new to the marketplace. They seem to be gaining a lot of momentum with their own lines of Dwarves, Goblins, priests, beasties and conversion bits (amongst a plethora of other products), and it’s easy to see why people will shop with them. Quite simply, their products are great!

I had been meaning to purchase something for a while, and with me wanting to personalize my Black Templar forces, I figured Scibor would be the place to start. I placed an order on their snappy and rather slick looking website for some ‘Big Templar shields’ and some ‘Templar shoulder pads’ to get the ball rolling. The ordering process is nice and simple, and they accept PayPal, which is also very convenient. The prices are very reasonable, and the standard of the detail means you’re getting a pretty good deal all round. After my order was placed I got a confirmation email from them, which unfortunately I couldn’t understand a word of, due to the language barrier, but I got the general gist of it.

It took about a month for the order to get to me, which is not so great, but then it is coming from Poland, hardly just down the street! I did notice on the site it says they mail out orders seven days after receiving payment, and that it takes two to three weeks for delivery.

After receiving a ‘final notice’ slip from the post office (even though it was the first one I’d received, weird!) I picked up my order. It had been sent in a small bubble pack envelope, which was pretty flimsy. Inside were two little baggies, one with the shields, and one with the shoulder pads. Two of the shields had been broken, which I am sure is a result of USPS taking their upmost care in handling packages, and also a chunk had snapped off one of the shoulder pads. This was disappointing, especially after waiting for a month for it to arrive.

Initial disappointment aside, it was nice to get this stuff in hand to get a good look at it, and I have to say, it’s really nice quality workmanship. The resin that it’s cast in feels quite substantial and pretty heavy duty. The breaks were clean, so I’m sure I’ll be able to repair them with no problem. I’m looking forward to having some plastic Sword Brethren now!

So, in summary:

  • A great company with some really nice products.
  • Some incredible sculpting talent.
  • Some nice tutorials!
  • A little slow on shipping (but this is a variable that you can’t control unless it’s through a carrier like UPS or something).
  • Scibor could take a leaf from Forge World’s book on shipping. Ship breakable stuff in boxes, not mailer bags, with plenty of cushioning, if you have to charge more for shipping to do so, do it! People will still buy your products!

I’ll give Scibor 3 ½ mortar shells out of 5 for now. I will be purchasing more from them soon. In the meantime, check out their website at:

http://www.sciborminiatures.com/