Well bloody hell, November already? was July really the last time I posted on here? Yikes. I really need to take a little WCF time out here and there a little more regularly.
While I may not post a lot on here, I do still do a lot of painting and gaming (I really hate the term “hobbying” which seems to be the term that GW have made their own). I haven’t picked up a Space Marine in forever, and strangely I haven’t missed it one bit. Instead, I raided the ‘drawers of shame’* and pulled out some miniatures that thought they would never see a bristle or a drop of paint. First up? Cybermen!
Classic Tom Baker era Cybermen from Blacktree Miniatures. They’re sort of whimsical, and charming in their own way. The proportions are a little off, but they only took literally minutes to paint. I think the bases took longer! I have some more to do, including some later era (from about the time of Earthshock/Silver Nemesis) which will be getting the treatment shortly.
Staying on the Doctor Who theme, I painted up ‘my’ Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Doctor. Now, recently I had molded and cast a TARDIS from the old Dinky Toys die cast metal toy (available from Lord Chaos Creations ) . I cast a bunch up in resin, and thought I’d paint one up, as it’s almost perfect scale wise for wargaming miniatures, check it out:
I have a bunch of the metal Daleks to paint up as well. I’m thinking of incorporating them into my Judge Dredd game as illegal alien entities. Might be fun to have the judges of Mega City One square off against Daleks and Cybermen!
Speaking of the Judge Dredd game, I picked up a Chronoscope miniature that I thought would be quite good to throw in as a street punk, but as I completed her, I thought she seemed more disciplined than that, and have since decided to use her as a Wally Squad Judge (Wally Squad – under cover cop). Reaper make some beautiful figures and I’ll be picking up some more to add to the denizens of Mega City One:
And, with us just celebrating Halloween, I painted this cheeky little number up as a gift for my wife:
I’ve also picked up some new units for my late war British forces for Flames of War, a Commando Platoon and an accompanying mortar platoon. No paint on those yet, but I’ll have another update soon (promise!).
I’ve been having a lot of fun just picking random miniatures to paint, it’s bought a little of the excitement back, unlike looking at ranks and ranks of >insert your pain point of choice here< and thinking AARGH! I also recently picked up a Keeper rulebook for Call of Cthulhu too, and have been devouring the contents ever since. I’m going to have my first game very soon. I’ve never been a GM/Keeper before, so this should be interesting… gulp!
Toodle pip for now!
*Drawers of Shame – draw with unpainted miniatures. Not an underwear drawer with speedos in.
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…
I forgot to take a picture of these ‘in the box’ so here are the Mabs, which will give you an idea:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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):
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.
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!
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.