Posts Tagged ‘Ainsty’

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Salute shopping

May 20, 2013

I promised to do a breakdown of what I bought at Salute, so here it is – a month after Salute due to all sorts of hassles. I’ve also listed my intentions for their use, to show they were perfectly sensible purchases aimed at use in games of Utopia. As photographing them all would’ve been a bit of a chore, I’ve used photos from the manufacturers’ websites.

In no particular order:

Time Lift Security by Crooked Dice

I’ve liked these miniatures since their release, but never got around to buying them. They’ll be painted with a paint scheme more toned down and less retro scifi, and they’ll be used as generic security guards.

Click for a larger version, photo © Crooked Dice

Click for a larger version, photo © Crooked Dice

Click for a larger version, photo © Crooked Dice

Click for a larger version, photo © Crooked Dice

Get the Time Lift Security here.

Station crew by Ainsty Castings

I’m always on the lookout for good, generic scifi civilians, and these guys fit the bill nicely. They’ll find plenty of use, milling around scientific complexes, battlefields and other places they’re likely to be shot at or otherwise attacked.

Photo © Ainsty Castings

Photo © Ainsty Castings

You can find the station crew here.

Eisenkern rifle squad by Dreamforge Games

This is another set I’ve been eyeing for quite some time. These heavily armoured shocktroopers will probably become high class PMCs or Union of Terra special forces. I’m not too keen on the whole space nazi look, so headswaps are probably on the way.

Click for a larger version, photo © Dreamforge Games/Wargames Factory

Click for a larger version, photo © Dreamforge Games/Wargames Factory

The rifle squad is available here.

Troopers, officer and inspectors by Heresy Miniatures

Yet more sets of miniatures I’ve had my eye on for a long time (starting to see a pattern here). The troopers are a welcome addition to my pool of generic scifi infantry, the officer was nice enough to warrant a spur of the moment purchase and the inspectors are some of my all time favourite models. In fact, I’ve previously bought one of them, shown painted and converted here. They’ll serve plenty of generic roles, I’m sure.

© Heresy Miniatures

Photo © Heresy Miniatures

Photo © Heresy Miniatures

Photo © Heresy Miniatures

Click for a larger version, photo © Heresy Miniatures

Click for a larger version, photo © Heresy Miniatures

You can get all the minis shown from Heresy’s online store.

Resistance fighters by Statuesque Miniatures

I’ve had my eye on…for Utopia..blah blah. Same story as before. These are some of the finest miniatures sculpted in recent years. They’re actually nice enough to go into the “minis I want to buy even if there’s no use for them” category. Luckily they’ll fit my games nicely. I also bought a pack of spare heads, since I need some more female troopers. The sniper will likely be painted in Colonial Marine colours, for when our current sniper croaks.

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Photo © Statuesque Miniatures

resistance

Click for a larger version, photo © Statuesque Miniatures

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Photo © Statuesque Miniatures

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Photo © Statuesque Miniatures

All of these lovely ladies can be bought directly from Statuesque Miniatures.

Heavy infantry by Pig Iron Productions

Yet another long time want, I ended up buying a whole lot of these at Salute. Actually, I only bought two packs originally, and then mentioned this to a certain frothery badger.

“Oh, I’ve a box of those I’m looking to unload!” he said.

“I’m running out of cash!” I said.

“No stress mate. It’s a great deal though!” he said.

“I’ll hit the ATM.” I said.

And so I’m now an owner of a sizable force of yet more scifi infantry – it was a great deal though. These fellows will likely serve in Utopia as Terran Union infantry.

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Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

pi2

Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

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Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

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Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

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Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

Hungry for more? Go check out Pig Iron Productions.

Dog tents by Renedra

With lots and lots of new troopers, I better have a place for them to sleep in. Renedra had these small plastic tents on sale, so I bought a few packs.

Click for a larger version, photo © Renedra Limited

Click for a larger version, photo © Renedra Limited

These and more are available in the Renedra webstore.

Tokens by Litko

We frequently tend to run into situations where we need various tokens and counters in games of Utopia. We’ve been using a variety of dice, washers and whatnot, but I’ve been eyeing some groovy plastic ones for a while now. A retailer was stocking these wonderful Litko counters at Salute, so I picked up a few bags – one of overwatch counters and another of casualty markers. The casualty ones have already seen use in games of DnD!

Photo © Litko

Photo © Litko

Photo © Litko

Photo © Litko

If those look tasty, take a look at Litko’s site, there’s plenty more!

Phew, if I’m not far wrong, that’s pretty much what I picked up…no, wait, I did pick up a Platformer construction set from Artemis Black, but this post has gone on long enough, so I’ll leave it at that.

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All together now

May 14, 2012

Time to get back on the posting horse again, after my trip to Malaysia. I’ve been a bit busy lately, so really needed to stop for a moment and put a post together in order to keep this blog from going dormant.

I was recently asked to do a group shot of the terrain pieces I’ve finished for the Aliens board game, so I quickly rounded up the nine finished pieces and added some Colonial Marines and Aliens for style and scale. Below you can see the set piece of a valiant CM last stand.

Click for a larger version

Personally I think the miniatures and terrain pieces go together very nicely. What’s most important to me is that they capture that Aliens feel. Then again, I might just be blind to my own work, what do you think?

Also, I have to mention that I just got a new job as a project expert, working on a project focusing on preventing video gaming and gambling addiction in adolescents. So happy about this, as I actually get to combine my degree (MA in Education) with my interests and get paid to do it!

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More hive accessories – Aliens game board update #4

March 20, 2012

Work on the board is progressing steadily. Since the last post I’ve managed to complete five more obstacle pieces for the board. Shown below are four normal, one square filling obstacles.

Click for a larger version

The first one is a collection of beads and hardware store goods. The second one is a hollow wall anchor (as shown in the previous post). The third one is a container from Ainsty. It has been heavily alienized with conduit tubing and insulation paste. The fourth one is a small container from Ainsty. It has been left clean, as some parts of the reactor room will be relatively free of infestation.

The fifth piece I’ve completed is a large obstacle covering four squares.

Click for a larger version

I have no idea what it is. It’s built out of a toilet bowl cleaner bottle cap, two wooden IKEA furniture pegs and two small beads. It looks scifi-ish enough I think. I was even adventurous enough to try some OSL when painting it. I tried to convey the look of emergency/alarm lights, and I think it came out ok.

Comments, criticism, new ideas? Hit me!

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Accessorizing the hive – Aliens game board update #3

March 4, 2012

This is an update on my Aliens game board project. I’m at a point where I’ve glued most of the magnet pieces to the game board. I’d show you pictures, but it’s not much to look at currently, just black squares on a foam board. I’m going to focus on something much more interesting, in other words the various obstacles dotting the board. These are based on magnets, and should be pretty interchangeable throughout the board. I had three guidelines for these:

  1. Quick and easy. On a quick count, I need to make 23 of these. Since I want to eventually finish the board, I don’t want to spend an hour on each, but rather be able to churn them out at a steady rate, while still having them look nice enough.
  2. Cheap. See above. While it would be lovely to have 23 exquisite resin terrain pieces, I’m trying to keep my costs down.
  3. Large enough to block LoS. In the board game, all obstacles block line of sight. Me being something of a pedant at times, I didn’t want obstacles so small that I couldn’t see them blocking line of sight.

These guidelines were easy enough to follow. So far I’ve constructed three pieces, and I’m happy with all of them.

Click for a larger version

The first one is composed of a hollow wall anchor, available from hardware stores for a few euros per a bag of four or five. I removed the screw in the middle for an instant scifi-industrial looking structure. Next I added on some electrical wire and conduit tubing, applied a liberal amount of insulation paste and left it to dry. I then sprayed everything black and gave the Alien goo two drybrush layers of grey (GW Codex Grey and Fortress Grey) followed by a black wash (GW Badab Black). The visible part of the wall anchor was given a drybrushing first with VMC Oily Steel and then VMC Natural Steel. I finally gave the Alien parts a layer of gloss varnish for a wet look and to create more contrast between the alien and the man-made. The final step was to add a few drops of Scotch universal glue gel. As it began to dry, I stretched it around with a toothpick to create strands of that sticky resin the Xenomorphs tend to leave around, the messy critters they are.

Click for a larger version

The second one basically consists of a resin container from Ainsty. I simply glued it on a piece of magnetic sheet, which I’d covered with plastic bug screen to match the game board. Some insulation paste was added to Xenomorph it up a bit. Again I sprayed everything black, and then drybrushed the container with a suitable colour (GW Shadow Grey), and painted the Alien stuff as above, with the same gloss varnish treatment. While this piece is generally more expensive than the previous one, I happened to have the Ainsty bits around already, so I didn’t have to buy new stuff specifically for this.

Click for a larger version

The third terrain piece is a very simple, cheap scratchbuild. Like all of my hive accessories, there’s a square piece of magnetic sheet. On that I glued a 30mm stainless steel washer. On top of the washer I glued a plastic base from a Mantic miniature, and covered that with a small square of bug screen. I then glued four beads in the corners to look like rivets. Once more out came the black spray, followed by painting the steel like above. There was one problem, however: guideline #3, the line of sight one. Nice enough as it was, there was no way that flat ventilation thing would block line of sight. However, as I’m a clever little monkey, I’d taken this into account! I glued some white craft wool to the grid to represent steam billowing up (sadly not too visible in the photo), and gave it a spray of matt varnish to keep it in shape. Quick, easy, cheap as chips and guaranteed to block your LoS.

Here’s a final shot comparing them with a Woodbine miniature. I think they look fine. Opinions?

Click for a larger version

 

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Dry heat – Aliens game board update #1

February 10, 2012

The Aliens board game game board (tee-hee) project I announced a while back is going strong. In this post I’ll take a look at what’s happening with it.

The board

In the previous post I wondered about a suitable flooring texture – brass and resin alternatives were too costly. I considered textured styrene sheets, but couldn’t find a suitable texture. In the end I settled for a cheap and easily handled material: plastic bug screen. It provided me with a nice mesh texture, and perhaps most importantly it was dirt cheap. I bought a large offcut sheet for 5€, and it’s over twice the size I needed.

Yesterday I cut a suitable shape from the sheet and glued it over the board with watered-down PVA. I left the staircase portion unglued. After the glue had dried, I carefully removed the rectangle with a craft knife. The bug screen has the added bonus of showing through the markings I made on the board earlier.

Click for a larger version

Today the mailman brought me the magnetic sheets that will be used to attach the terrain pieces to the board, so today will probably see some test fitting – not to mention testing whether the magnets have a strong enough hold. If they don’t, it’s back to the proverbial drawing board.

Accessories

The game board is clogged with various obstacles, and I’ve slowly gone to work on them as well. Shown below are some of the things I intend to use.

Various scifi bits and bobs from Ainsty. I bought these earlier to use in my Triton-4 Aliens/Predator/Colonial Marines campaign – which might or might not return. They’ll serve their purpose wonderfully here as well.

Click for a larger version

Scratch-built junk. Every miniature gamer hoards up things they might need one day. Lo and behold, this is “one day”! Out will come the random bits bought from hardware stores, beads, offcut pieces of sprue and miniatures and things like that. This project is a fine way to use them, since a lot will be covered more or less with Xenomorph gunk (more on that below). There is one innovation I’m actually proud of, and that’s using my Mantic bases. I’ve assembled quite a few from ghoul and zombie sets, and until now I’ve had no use for them. Now I’ve combined them with some of the extra bug screen I have, and they make wonderful exhaust vent -type thingies. A slight problem is that in the board game all obstacles block line of sight. In Aliens, however, there is steam billowing all around the reactor room (“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat!”), so I’m thinking of using craft wool to simulate steam issuing from the vents.

Alien gunk. This gave (and might still be giving) me a hard time. While I love the biomechanical Xenomorph look, it’s a bastard to recreate in larger quantities. Ready-made resin sets exist, but that would rapidly escalate the costs of this project – something I definitely don’t want. My current choice is to go with Tetra paste, which is a somewhat elastic paste for sealing windows, bathroom tiles and the like. This doesn’t produce a neat, organic surface, but rather a creepy, gooey one. It can be crudely shaped and takes paint well. Below is a quick mock-up using a blue foam offcut and some paste. On the right you can see the same piece with a quick, patchy paintjob (black with grey drybrushing, ink wash, I’ll later add some strands of glue for that sticky look) and a Marine to give you an idea of how it looks. Definitely let me know what you think. In my opinion it looks nice enough, even if it is a slight departure from the source material.

Click for a larger version

Miniatures

Unsurprisingly I have a whole lot of Colonial Marines. All I needed to do was pick out a suitable selection to match the characters in the film. I took some liberties to save me some time. What I needed was Apone (flamethrower), Crowe (pistol), Dietrich (flamethrower), Drake (smartgun), Frost (pistol), Hicks (shotgun), Hudson (pistol), Vasquez (smartgun) and Wierzbowski (flamethrower). Surprisingly I had less than half of suitable minis for these fellows painted. Like the Marines in the film, the lack of pulse rifles proved troublesome.

Here are the painted ones. Apone and Drake are from em4, while Crowe and Hudson are from Copplestone Castings.

L to R: Apone, Crowe, Hudson, Drake. Click for a larger version

And the unpainted ones. Apart from Frost they’re all Woodbine designs models. Frost is an as-of-yet unfinished conversion of an em4 plastic trooper.

L to R: Dietrich, Frost, Hicks, Vasquez, Wierzbowski. Click for a larger version

That’s the project so far. Comments and critique, send them my way!

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Campaign building blocks

July 14, 2011

For any miniature game, you generally need the following: miniatures, terrain and rules. In this post I’ll do a bit of an inventory of what of each of those three elements I have available for Triton-4.

Miniatures

It should come as no surprise that as far as miniatures are concerned, I’m pretty well covered. As a result of both my own collecting and my Aliens, Predator and Colonial Marine miniature reviews I’m nicely stocked. I also have a few other nasties in store, which I’ll save until later. Just in case my players happen to read this.

I just received the scientists and utility crew that I ordered from Victory Force Miniatures. Joining them is be the not-Bishop from Woodbine Designs. I’ve also been thinking of ordering more inspectors from Heresy. Inspector Knuckles is already doing his rounds as a combat synthetic, and I think that with matching paint jobs the more peaceful-looking others would make for nice additions to the crew. I will need the civilian types to add some variety to the games, as they can be for example objectives (“Find the missing synths”), targets for rescue or protection (“Escort the scientists to the crashed ship”) or simply random encounters (“A feverish colonist staggers out of the jungle”).

I’ve also been thinking of investing in an APC for the CMs, probably this from Old Crow.

Shown in the pictures below is the current cast for the campaign, starting with the Marines.

Click for a larger version

I think the photo very nicely demonstrates the benefits of a unified  colour scheme. The fifteen Marines above look like a unit. Look a little closer, and you’ll see there are big variations in body proportions, style and gear. The models in the picture above come from no less than seven different manufacturers (em4, Copplestone, Prince August, 1st Corps, Denizen, Hasslefree and GW), and yet the simple paint scheme and unified basing tie the models together nicely. There are a lot more CMs waiting to be painted, but these guys and gals are a good start.

28 mm Predators

Click for a larger version

Here are my Predators, sans the wonderful Hürn from Heresy, who sits almost finished on my painting desk. Being bigger than the others, he’ll make for a nice pack leader.

Horrorclix Aliens

Click for a larger version

And here are as many Xenomorphs that I could cram into one picture. They’re missing their mommy, since the queen was far too big to fit in and is not yet finished.

Terrain

I’ve been working more than usual on my terrain. I currently have 16 CDs covered with jungle terrain. When I placed the first bunch on the table, I noticed that they looked a bit too sparse. This is due to the fact that I wanted to be able to position models on the pieces, as well as simply skimping on my terrain building materials. The newer ones that I’ve built are much more dense, and will be scattered around to create the illusion of a thicker jungle. I’m also intending to build small vignettes of some jungle pieces. Maybe a few skinned corpses? Chestburst animals? A cluster of eggs?

I’ve also been wanting to use a large outdoor fountain element ever since I bought it (see this post from a year back). Thus far it has seen no action whatsoever, but will surely be utilised here.

I also received a bunch of scenic elements from Ainsty – crates, barrels and the like – which I’m using to make something to represent a military camp. I’ve also just ordered some barbed wire pieces from Products for Wargamers, more supplies from Old Crow and sandbag walls from Fantascene.  The should make a nice, Vietnam war -style jungle camp. For the time being I will settle on a temporary looking camp, and as the campaign progresses, I’ll maybe add something to it, such as landing pads etc.

Here is most of my current terrain setup on my gaming boards in a few different configurations.

Click for a larger version

Here’s the table in its entirety. I placed a Marine communications setup in the middle as well as some CMs to show the size of the table.

Click for a larger version

Here’s a close-up of the comm setup. The dish is from a plastic toy, the pole a piece of an old GW building and the pegs around it from an IKEA bookshelf. The beacon in the middle is from Ainsty, and the barricade from a plastic army men set. The plants are aquarium plants. I’ve used different flocks to differentiate the camp terrain from the jungle. However, I’m also trying to convey the feeling that the jungle quickly creeps in around whatever the humans build.

Click for a larger version

Here’s the monstrous fountain element. It’s so big that I’ll probably need to add a third table (I have four sheets) to accommodate it. See the lone Marine for scale. I think I’ll have entire scenarios centered on this piece of terrain, since its build is very good for that. Just imagine the Marines defending the mouth of that gully, and you’ll see what I’m getting at. Or just take at this little diorama from way back when I bought it.

Rules

This section is the easiest and most complete. Flying Lead from Ganesha Games suits my needs nicely. It’s a fast-flowing system, which leaves plenty of room for narration and improvisation while also presenting players with tactical dilemmas and the like. As GG’s games use similar mechanics, I should be able to easily port extra rules from Fear and Faith, GG’s horror game.

We had our first playtest last week, and really enjoyed it. The system worked fine for what we’re going after, so I’m really pleased. We also worked that playtest already into the campaign – naturally it was the final bootcamp simulation before the actual mission.

So there, my plans so far for the campaign. Now I turn to you, dear readers. Tens of heads are usually better than one, so feel free to provide me with ideas, tips and even requests. Are there minis you think I could use? Got an idea for a terrain piece or vignette? Send them in, I’ll be eternally grateful and hopefully use them.

I’ve also been thinking of making a small tutorial on how I made the jungle pieces. Is there a call for an article like that?

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From the painting desk #7

October 15, 2010

Bit slow with the updates lately, finally got something painted to show. My Predator project is well under way, my latest painted stuff includes three INAPs from Ainsty and a Copplestone Hunter Alien. The INAPs were basically basing jobs, except for the one where I tried to create a decloaking effect. Let me know what you think!

Ainsty INAPs

Click for a larger version

Copplestone Predator

Click for a larger version

Still struggling with photo lighting. I only recently noticed, that the two bulbs I have – which should be the same – are different. One has a much more yellow tone, which definitely sucks. Will have to get a replacement for that, and work with one for now. This shows especially in the INAP picture, where the single bulb doesn’t provide enough lighting. On a single model it’s no problem, as the Copplestone one shows.

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Jungle fever #2

September 30, 2010

I’ve been busy with my new jungle terrain, and just wanted to show you some photos. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. The jungle pieces are made from old CDs, aquarium plants and model railroad palm trees, with flock and pizza spice mix to cover the discs up. I dropped in a few em4 and Copplestone Colonial Marines and some Ainsty INAPs to make for more interesting photos. Enjoy!

Click for a larger version

I have six pieces of jungle completed as I write. When I get more CDs, many many more will follow.

Click for a larger version

I just realised that the above picture is a great example of the INAPs clear resin effect. That actually looks very much like a cloaked Predator. Which is nice.

Click for a larger version

Another fine example of a cloaked Predator stalking her prey.

Click for a larger version

A close-up of the statue. It’s a Star Wars toy from a cereal packet or a Happy Meal or something like that, and was originally brass coloured plastic. Some chopping, weathering and hefty drybrushing later I really like the way it turned out.

Regular readers may have noticed, that there’s a new “Hot Right Now” header in the sidebar. It shows what posts have been read the most on DotL in the last 24-48 hours. Check it out, there just might be something you’ve missed!

And as a status update on the Alien miniatures review, it’s going to be massive. I think I’m 3/4 done, and it’s already a whopping 2500+ words. For comparison, this post is a bit under 250.

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Predator miniatures – a review

August 11, 2010

(Note: This is a part of a three-part series of reviews. For suitable opposition, see my reviews for Aliens and Colonial Marines)

Update August 16th 2011: Predastore’s Spear-Hunter and Bone-Hunter added.

Update February 18th 2012: Predastore’s Jungle-Predette and Chasing-Hunter added.

Update November 18th 2012: Predastore’s Death-Hunter and Running-Hunter added.

Update October 12th 2013: Predastore’s 2Blades-Hunter, Austral-Hunter and Crossbow-Predette added.

Update November 19th 2013: Heresy’s Hurn and the Ainsty INAP models have been discontinued.

Update January 17th 2015: Predastore’s Stalking-Hunter, Executioner-Hunter and Mermaid-Predette added.

My reviews usually center on a single model or a group of models from a single manufacturer. With this one I wanted to do something different. I recently ordered a bunch of 28mm Predator – or rather, not-Predator – miniatures from three different companies, and decided to clump them all in the same review. Web searches for Predator miniatures crop up fairly often on the blog’s stats, so apparently there is a demand.

Keen-eyed readers will spot right away that there are some models missing, of which the most common are the Horrorclix Predators. I originally deemed these too big for me, but with the large scale of some of the Predastore Predators, I’m thinking of adding them if I ever get my hands on some.

Without further ado, here it is – the grand Predator miniatures review. Do note that as this is an ongoing review, all the prices are “at the time of writing” ones. I make changes as I notice them, so feel free to point them out to me!

The Hurn with twin wristblades. Click for a larger version

Hurn Headtaker by Heresy Miniatures is great. The model is large (see comparison pics later) and well detailed and comes with a variety of weaponry, and you can choose to have him wield either a spear (with the wristblades concealed) or extended wristblades. You can even go for total overkill, and have him carry a spear in one hand and have the wristblades extended on the other. If you go for double wristblades, there is a contracted spear that you can put on the model’s back. Additionally, there is a shoulder cannon you can attach.

The Hurn is in a very dynamic pose that manages to convey a sense of movement nicely. He’s turning to his left with his dreadlocks flowing and the shoulder cannon tracking movement. The miniature is bulky and thickly muscled and this combines nicely with the pose to create the sense of a true predator (note the lack of the capital P).

There is nice detailing on the model. There is no helmet, so the iconic Predator face is there and is instantly recognizable. The Hurn has a patch of armour on his left shoulder, with three skulls hanging from the strap. It might just be me or a glitch in the sculpt, but to me the middle skull looks like it might not be entirely human. He also wears an armoured loincloth and codpiece and leg armour. The wristblades are barbed and thin, and there is nice detailing on the other weaponry too.

While I think this is THE Predator miniature to own, there are a few things I must point out. Firstly, the wristblades are indeed long and thin. This means that any rough handling will make them bend and possibly break. Secondly, the shoulder cannon mount is a bit too long, and what applies to the wristblades applies here too. I cut it down a bit, making it not only more sturdy but also more in line with the shoulder cannon from the movies. Thirdly, the model’s size means that it either needs to be mounted on a base bigger than 25mm or the slotta tab needs to be cut down.

Overall verdict: While challenged by Predastore’s recent offerings, I still think the Hurn was the best Predator miniature on the market before going OOP. Needs to be handled carefully, might need a bit of tweaking and is a bit costly, but still pretty awesome.

Update June 26th 2011: The Hurn reviewed here was sold out. There is another available from Heresy, though. It has a masked head, but is otherwise the same model as this one.

Update November 19th 2013: The Hurn is now officially out of production.

Click for a larger version

Hunter Aliens by Copplestone Castings are obviously not-Predators. Two of the four models have helmets on, while two are bareheaded, and the looks of the faces and the helmets are instantly recognizable. While not as bulky as the Hurn, they are still tall and beefy in 28mm. The models are armed with a variety of weapons familiar from the movies.

Alien #1 is bareheaded and has an extended wristblade – only one blade though – and he’s looking down with his arm raised. There is a shoulder cannon on him, and he’s armoured almost exactly like the Hurn, with the exception of some armour on the top of his foot. There is a skull on his belt. This model just oozes calm menace.

Alien #2 has a helmet on and is looking to his left, holding his glaive-like double-ended spear. Along with his helmet he wears armour similar to #1, and there is a shoulder cannon on him as well.

Alien #3 is very similar to the previous one, except the posture is a bit different. There is armour covering the tops of his thighs, and a throwing disc hanging on his right hip.

Alien #4 is bareheaded and wears no body armour. He holds aloft a skull in his right hand in an obviously gloating/challenging pose, and his wristblade is extended. He holds a spear in his left hand, with the tip resting on the ground, and there’s a throwing disc on his right hip as well.

The detailing on these models is what you would expect from a Copplestone mini. Simple, cleanly sculpted and very adequate, but nothing fancy or fiddly. Like all Copplestone Castings minis, they come with thin integral bases and fit nicely on 25mm bases. A pack of four costs £8.00, which is great value.

I can’t really find much to fault in these miniatures, although the Hurn tops them in size, detail and ferocity.

Overall verdict: The Hunter Aliens are solid Mark Copplestone stuff. They’re simple, clean and characterful sculpts that come four in a pack and are a joy to paint. While not as big or detailed as the Heresy Hurn, they’re still very nice Predators and the price – £8 for four miniatures – is very, very nice. The lack of fine detail and the simplicity of the models may put someone off, but as a painter and fan of Copplestone sculpts I love it. I will probably use these with the Hurn functioning as a senior hunt leader.

You can get the models for £8.50 on the Copplestone Castings website. There’s another pack named Hunter Aliens with Guns which you might also want to pick up.

The photo was intentionally left unedited to demonstrate the clear resin effect. Click for a larger version

INAPs by Ainsty are starting to look pretty dated. The resin models are not very detailed and the weapons especially are pretty simplistic, often just simple tubes and rods. There is however one amazingly cool thing to these that pretty much knocks all criticism right out: they’re invisible. Well okay, not completely, but cast in clear resin. The effect is just amazing, and works brilliantly on these minis. INAP? No idea what that means, but It’s definitely Not A Predator.

INAP #1 is something I haven’t seen before: a Predator female. She’s fully armoured, looking down to her right and carries a three-barreled weapon on her left arm.

INAP #2 is firing the wrist-mounted weapon on his right arm. His left hand is on his hip, and he seems to have claws of some sort on his hand. The website calls them cyberspurs, whatever those are. There is a tube going from his mask to a device on his belt.

INAP #3 continues the Predator tradition of holding aloft skulls. His entire left arm has been replaced with one big gun barrel and he has both his arms raised, as if he’s roaring in victory. Other than that, he’s armoured just like INAP #2.

Yes, these models have flaws. INAP #3 wasn’t a very good casting, as there are some air bubbles (one which has chipped the end of the gun barrel, I believe) and the resin is more cloudy than in the other two. The models come on very bulky integral resin bases, which are a real pain to get off, especially since the resin is very brittle. I snapped INAP #1 at the knees and INAP #2 at the ankle doing this. Superglue came to the rescue, luckily. As mentioned before, these models are very simplistic. The poses are fine but the designs leave a lot to be desired.

The big thing here, however, is the clear resin. Not only does it offer a look you simply cannot achieve no matter how good a painter you are, it also captures the feel of the Predators’ cloaking device perfectly. It also serves to divert attention – and the eye – from the simple design of the models. There’s also the point that INAP’s don’t really need painting. Some people have advised giving the models a thin blue wash, but I think I won’t bother. It will be more in line with the source material anyway, see for yourself:

Maybe just the yellow eyes, and that’s it. Not being the world’s fastest painter, it’s nice to get away with only painting a few eyes and doing the bases. Of course the INAP holding the skull needs to have the skull painted. I’ve also been thinking of trying to paint parts of the model to create the feel of a de-cloaking Predator.

Overall verdict: The INAPs are not very impressive models that rely on the clear resin effect to pull them through. It does. I suggest that every Predator fan picks up at least a few. Predators without cloaking? Pffft. 

Update November 19th 2013: The INAPs are now out of production.

Hunters by Predastore are a collection of limited-run resin models. They’re all beautiful models and exquisitely detailed. In fact, they boast some of the most intricate detail I’ve ever seen in a miniature. The models cost around 11-16 EUR + postage (combined postage is available). This is by no means exorbitant, but it will still obviously be an issue for some customers.

Spear-Hunter and Bone-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Spear-Hunter, who is sculpted by Remy Tremblay is a fairly classic view of a masked Predator holding his spear aloft. The model is tall, lean and well-proportioned. The anatomy is very nicely sculpted and the details are crisp. The webbing covering his torso must be mentioned especially, as that is indeed some stunning stuff, as is the small animal skull hung on said webbing. In addition to his spear, the Predator has half-extended wristblades on his left arm.

The Spear-Hunter comes in three parts, namely the two wrists and the rest of the model. The pieces fit together quite nicely. There was some miscasting on the left arm of the model, which I had to work with files and blades. The model doesn’t really come with a base, there’s just a casting tab. As far as I can tell, you’re simply supposed to pop the model off and rebase him.

I have a few minor points of criticism about the model, as well as one major one. The major one applies to both of Predastore’s offerings so I’ll save that until later. The minor ones? I think the model is a bit too lean. This is of course a personal preference, I just like my Preds a bit more cartoony, bulky and muscular. This one would have no chance armwrestling with Dutch or Dillon. The delicate detailing is also a double-edged sword, as the speartip and the wristblades are very, very thin. Even with those minor niggles, this is a very impressive miniature.

Bone-Hunter by Allan Carrasco is a refreshingly different Predator, a primal one. Whether he’s just been stuck too long on a planet or represents a piece of Predator history, the model lacks the usual hi-tech trappings of the species. Instead he’s armed with a bladed bone club and a single wristblade which also seems to be crafted from bone. Additionally, he sports some armour plates of either metal or hardened leather. The model’s pose is just excellent, as he is stepping forward and seems to be calling out a challenge.

As with the previous model, the detailing here is crisp and clean. Resin allows the casting of thinner, more delicate details than metal, and this has been put to great use. From the individual dreadlocks to the chipped blade of the club, it’s almost as if you’re looking at a HD version of a miniature. As previously mentioned, this is not without its downsides, and butter-fingered hobbyists should take care not to mangle all that nice detail. Luckily the resin used is not the most brittle stuff in the world.

The model comes on a scenic integral base. This is something that tends to divide collectors. Personally, I’m not that fond of integral bases, especially large ones. I base my models almost exclusively on round 25mm slottabases, and anything overlapping is a pain. As it is, I cut off the scenic base and managed to fit Bone-Hunter on one of my regular bases. It needs to be said, though, that the base was very nice. It was also easy to remove due to it being resin. You can see the scenic base here, for example.

I have nothing much to criticize about Bone-Hunter. It’s a great miniature and an interesting take on the subject.

Jungle-Predette – photoshopped a bit to bring out the detail. Click for a larger version

Jungle-Predette is another interesting new concept. As the name suggests, what we have here is a female Predator. Sculpted by Gael Goumon, the model is in a hunting pose, perched and alert on top of a fallen tree and holding a large knife in her right hand. All comments above about quality are again applicable.

The Jungle-Predette is quite obviously female. Goumon has a good grasp of anatomy – this isn’t just a male with breasts added on, but the shape of the body clearly indicates a female. I must applaud the sculptor on this, since this is something you don’t always see in 28mm models. The sculpting skill is also apparent in the Jungle-Predette’s posing. While she’s standing still, the miniature manages to wonderfully convey a feeling of an alert and agile hunter.

The model does stumble into a few minor pitfalls. In my opinion, the breasts are too large. This is all too common in 28mm female miniatures. The Jungle-Predette’s breasts aren’t massive as such, but they still look a bit too full for an obviously very lean and muscular frame. To see what I mean, do a Google image search for female ufc fighters. All that muscle will eat up body fat – breasts included. The same theme is also present in the clothing. Instead of the fairly functional armour worn by most Predators, the Predette is dressed in a bikini with a few armour plates covering her rear and shoulders. I can only wonder why, as it seems the only reason for this is catering to a male audience. “Sexy” is not really a word I associate with Predators, so this unnecessary sexing up baffles me. As the sculpt is so good, it’d take a lot of skill to sculpt on some additional armour. It doesn’t ruin the model, but I just find it a bit pointless and tasteless. I’m of two minds about the base. As mentioned above, I’m not much of a fan of scenic bases. Then again, this is one pretty base! The tree is sculpted in great detail, and the model and base form a seamless whole. I was happy enough to deviate from my standard procedure, and base the whole thing on a 50mm base.

Chasing-Hunter – same Photoshop treatment. Click for a larger version

Chasing-Hunter is another miniature by Remy Tremblay. This is one of the most dynamic models I’ve ever seen. The Chasing-Hunter is apparently going full-tilt, and is vaulting a fallen tree or another obstacle, steadying himself with a hand on a tree stump. As with all the other Predastore models, the detail is very impressive and crisp, from the mandibles down to the flying dreadlocks of the Predator. The sense of movement is conveyed brilliantly and fits my idea of Predators 100%. Whoever this hunter is chasing doesn’t have a lot of time left. The model is again on a scenic base. As you can see from the pictures, I cut away the excess material in the base in order to fit the tree stump on a round 25mm base. What I said above about the Predette’s base applies here too, and I was happy leave the base as-is.

There is a downside to the model’s posing: such things and intricate details don’t come for free. In the case of the Chasing-Hunter, the flowing dreadlocks came in three separate pieces. Try as I might, I couldn’t get a perfect fit matching them to the Predators’ head. The arm connects to the hand on the tree stump at the wrist. There is a very small surface in the join, and I felt that it was necessary to pin it. This required some delicate work in order not to destroy anything in the process. Other than those two things there’s not much to fault.

Death-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Death-Hunter is the second Predastore miniature by Allan Carrasco, the first being the Bone-Hunter mentioned above. This model again takes the Predator imagery in a new direction. Standing tall – and I mean really tall, see the size comparison pictures – the Death-Hunter looks like he’s taking part in a gladiator battle. He’s holding a massive, wicked-looking halberd/bardiche-type long-hafted axe in his right hand, and presenting a skull trophy with his left. The left wrist also features a single long wristblade. There’s minimal armour in the form of greaves and some armour plates on the right shoulder and the left thigh. The helmet sports what I assume are decorative tusks or something similar.

The model is cast in grey resin, and comes in seven parts: the main body, separate arms, the wristblade, the two tusks and a small rocky base. The base isn’t shown here, as I tend to mount my minis on standard round slottabases. As you can see from the picture, I added some greenstuff to accommodate the slightly raised foot. The parts fit together very nicely. The level of detail in the sculpt is once again very impressive, and I like the fact that the model isn’t too cluttered. Carrasco is recognized as one of the best in the business at the moment, and rightfully so.

As I said, just like the Bone-Hunter, this model takes a new approach at Predators. Is he a gladiator? That’s obviously not a hunter’s weapon, and I would assume Predators don’t wage large scale war without technology. If he’s a gladiator, who is he fighting and for whose entertainment? I wasn’t too hot on the concept initially, but the Death-Hunter has grown on me lately.

Any complaints? Just a few. While I appreciate the fine detail that can be achieved with resin, gluing on two teeny tiny tusks was a chore, and one that can be destroyed by a bit of careless handling. Also, I don’t know whether it’s intentional, but there seems to be some scale creep going on. From the soles of his feet to the top of his helmet, the Death-Hunter stands at exactly 40mm, towering head and shoulders over most 28mm humans.

Running-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Running-Hunter by Jon Siegel is in stiff competition with Remy Tremblay’s Chasing-Hunter for the most dynamic pose of the Predastore range, as he darts to the left as if dodging an attack. In fact, you can almost see the bullets zooming past him. He has extended wrist blades on his right wrist and a plasma caster on his shoulder. The Running-Hunter sports pretty typical Predator armour, with greaves, plates on one shoulder, both thighs and the groin.

Another grey resin casting, the model comes in four parts: the main body, the right wrist, the left leg from the knee down and the plasma caster on the Hunter’s shoulder. I liked the fact there was nothing too fiddly here, all the pieces were of decent size. There was no base supplied, so I assume the model should be attached directly to the base. That’s what I did at least.

The Running-Hunter is a traditional take on the Predator, and I really like him for that. You can never have too many of these. When I saw the photos, the anatomy looked a bit off, and I still think the arms look a little short, but the model is much nicer in the resin than in the pictures.

As usual, there are some gripes. I’m somewhat suspicious of the durability of the model, as there is a small contact point – the sole of the foot – with the base. While the model weighs next to nothing, I worry a little about the possible snapping of the ankle. This had in fact happened during transport, which was a surprise considering that Predastore ships their stuff very well packaged in a hard plastic case. My second complaint comes from the fit of the parts. Usually the Predastore models are prime examples of well-fitting parts, but with the Running-Hunter I needed some extra work with knife and file before I had a fit I was happy with.

Despite these issues, I really like the Running-Hunter. In fact, I haven’t yet seen a Predastore sculpt that I didn’t, even if the Running-Hunter might be the weakest so far. Then again, comparisons with Tremblay’s, Goumon’s and Carrasco’s work set the bar very, very high, so take that into consideration regarding the word “weakest”.

2Blade-Hunter. Click for a larger version

2Blades-Hunter. Click for a larger version

2Blades-Hunter by Mohand continues the theme of very dynamically posed Predators. Armed with a set of wristblades, the hunter is running forward, and the position of his blade arm suggests that he’s lining up for some sweet impaling. When assembling this model, my first thought was “awkward posing”, but as the whole mini came together, it all started to make sense and grew on me – not unlike a few other Predastore offerings. 2Blades is quite muscular and bulky compared to some other minis from Predastore, and this adds to the mini’s overall feel of physical strength. As a downside I dislike the sculpting of the helmet – it looks underworked compared to the rest of the model.

2Blades-Hunter comes in five pieces: torso, head, blades, left arm and left leg. Assembly was pretty easy, with only some minor knifework required. The casting had a few small air bubbles, which will require filling. However these hadn’t destroyed any detail, so can be quickly fixed. The overall casting quality wasn’t as good as Predastore’s tends to be, and the overall look of the model is softer and more plastic-y than usual. There was no integral base, I simply glued him down.

Overall, 2Blades-Hunter is ok, if nothing special. This is something that is a bit of a two-edged sword for Predastore: some of the sculpts are of such high quality, that they’re starting to make some of their other minis look less impressive. 2Blades would be a great model in many lineups, but in Predastore’s selection he’s merely “nice”.

Austral-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Austral-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Austral-Hunter by Australian sculptor Sébastian Archer presents us with a tall, even lanky Predator with his right leg perched on a rock formation of some sort. He sports a traditional weapon combination of wristblades and a shoulder cannon. It comes in five pieces: the main body, shoulder cannon, wristblades, the rock and right wrist holding a skull.

The first thing that struck me about this model was its very high level of detail. This is a very nice example of the detail that can be achieved with resin. It’s crisp and intricate and really brings the model to life – sort of like an HD miniature. From the skull used as a shoulderpad to the webbing and the teeny tiny skulls decorating it, there’s wonderful detail on the Austral-Hunter. Another thing that I like about him is the way he tells a story. The combination of name and the rock base suggest a hunter in a hot, arid place, and his posing suggests he’s alert and surveying the area. While I’ve complained about the lack of bulk on some of the Predators above, here it works, suggesting a lean, efficient hunter rather than a savage killer storming through the jungle. While I’m not normally a fan of scenic bases, in this case it works.

There are some things to criticize, as always. All of them are issues that have come up in the above reviews of Predastore minis, so these might be worth considering to the company. The fit of the parts could be better. It was a bit of a pain getting the foot and the skull to sit on the rock, and the latter will require puttying. With the exquisite detail comes the pain of very tiny, easily broken parts. The wristblades and the shoulder cannon connector peg are very thin and the mini needs to be handled very carefully in order not to snap anything, especially since the thin parts make pinning practically impossible. A downside to resin use, there was an air bubble on the front of the helmet, which is somewhat annoying considering how detailed the mini is overall.

When weighed, the positive sides of Austral-Hunter easily eclipse its shortcomings, making this one of my all-time favourite Predator miniatures.

Crossbow-Predette. Click for a larger version

Crossbow-Predette. Click for a larger version

Crossbow-Predette by Giroud Gautier is another female Predator from Predastore. She is shown in a jungle setting, stepping on some ruined stairs while brandishing a wrist-mounted crossbow. Her left foot is in water, while her right arm is pulled back and sports a single long wristblade. The model is supplied in seven parts: the display base, the main body, both arms, wristblade, crossbow and a set of three skulls. Casting quality is fine and the parts fit together reasonably well.

The Crossbow-Predette brings something new to the table – a weapon that is. The crossbow is a good call! As it’s wrist-mounted, it goes well with the wristblades and its aesthetic fits my idea of Predator tech. There are other things to like about the Predette as well. The mini is not as overtly sexualized as the Jungle-Predette above, but is rather clad the same as Predator males, with a little bit more armour plating and loin cloth. The set of three skulls are a nice touch, as all have a hole in the middle of the forehead, suggesting a hunter who’s very deadly with her weapon of choice. I’m a bit undecided on her long, flowing locks. On one hand they make her much more feminine, on the other they don’t look heavy enough and thus don’t convey that Predator dreadlock feel. Another thing I’m not completely sold on is the scenic base. The lack of a left foot makes the model impossible to re-base on a blank base and the scenic hampers the mini’s gaming use somewhat. On the plus side the scenic base fits a 25mm base nicely. Had the scenic base been completely round, I would’ve used it as such.

Downsides? You guessed it – a flimsy part. Seriously, the single wristblade is thin and attached to the arm with very, very little contact surface. If I ever manage to paint the miniatures without snapping off the wristblade, I’ll pat myself on the back. While I remarked above that the mini isn’t as sexualized as the Jungle-Predette, there’s still some Liefeldism going on with the pose.

Click for a larger version

Stalking-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Stalking-Hunter

Another miniature by Gael Goumon, Stalking-Hunter demonstrates that sometimes less is more. A smallish Predator, Stalking-Hunter is poised in a perfect Slav squat as he name appropriately stalks his prey. Stalking is in order, as he only sports a single wristblade and no other weaponry. Young Predator, a feral one or simply a light scout for a hunting party? All valid explanations.

Stalking-Hunter is very low-tech. Instead of the usual metal plates, his shoulder pad as well as one of both his bracers and greaves are all crafted from the scaly hide of some creature. The other limbs are unprotected, only wrapped in cloth. The hunter also carries a small pouch and a bag as well as a few obligatory human skulls. There’s a small scenic base with rocks and vegetation.

I really like Stalking-Hunter for the mini’s simplicity. Sometimes you don’t need a hyper-dynamic pose to add character – a simple, well executed stance can do that. Goumon is deservedly billed as one of the best sculptors in the world.

The small size combined with a price tag of 11 EUR may understandably put people off, as you only get a dwarf sized miniature for your money. Then again, in this case I’m happy to choose quality over quantity. Attaching the wristblade required a bit of tweezer work, but nothing unbearable.

The model comes in two pieces, one of which is the separate wristblade.

Executioner-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Executioner-Hunter. Click for a larger version

Executioner-Hunter

An Allan Carrasco sculpt, Executioner-Hunter continues the series of gladiator-style Predators. The model is huge, the sort of huge where he’s starting to move away from the 28/32mm general scale and to a larger one altogether. Of course you can simply claim that he’s extraordinarily large as the official explanation on the Predastore site says. He stands around the 45-47mm mark, measuring from soles, so he will be monstrously large if fielded with 28mm or so. The model comes in five pieces: topknot, scenic base, sword, hands and main body. I decided to keep the scenic base intact and mounted the mini on a 40mm round base.

Executioner-Hunter strikes a very regal pose, standing tall and resting a large curved sword in front of him. There’s a large topknot flowing behind him, hanging from his mask. This is another low-tech hunter, with only a mask, a furred loincloth, some bone jewelry and the aforementioned sword.

Miniatures in static poses can often be dead boring, so a major tip of the hat is due to Carrasco for executing (pun somewhat intended) this one. There is a great nobility in the posture, especially combined with the size. My first thoughts were that if I were to build up a tribe of Predators, this one would be their undisputed ruler. He’s like the Conan of Predators.

There was minimal cleanup and the parts fit together something wonderful, making this mini one of my favourites – not a small thing, as I don’t have much use for him gaming-wise.

Mermaid-Predette. Click for a larger version

Mermaid-Predette. Click for a larger version

Mermaid-Predette

Now for something completely different! Sculpted by Gael Goumon, Mermaid-Predette is an underwater hunter. While that might sound strange at first, there’s plenty of sense to it. Predators thrive on hunting, and some of the most dangerous creatures roam the seas. Mermaid-Predette comes in four pieces, namely a small scenic base, two arms and the main body.

The Mermaid-Predette is an interesting mix of high-tech and low-tech. She wears scuba gear, flippers and armour, but the air tank looks to be made from a large crustacean shell, the armour is pieces of animal hide and her spear is very simple in construction. I like this combination of styles a lot.

The miniature’s composition is nice, with the posture suggesting that she is actually underwater. I’m very impressed with the depiction of the female body – which I’ve criticized on some of the Predastore sculpts – as there are no silly breast implants here. Instead the miniature fits the name, being lithe and feminine.

Quality-wise Mermaid-Predette is a solid offering. The different parts fit together well, there was minimal flash and cleanup required. The thin spear was bent a little bit, but due to the flexible quality of the resin, this was easily remedied by dipping it into hot water, straightening it and then dipping it in cold water.

I like how Predastore keeps pushing the Predator lore in different directions, bringing out new and fantastic interpretations of the creatures. Gladiators, primitives, underwater hunters…I love it! My slight concern is whether underwater miniatures such as this one have a large wargamer audience from a market point of view. An underwater Predator could certainly spice up a game of DeepWars. Of course with the miniature being as nice as it is, there should be a market for it strictly from a collector’s point of view.

Overall verdict: Predastore’s resin models are wonderful stuff, even if they are a bit pricey. They are very accurate renditions, well sculpted and intricately detailed – although at times the high detail results in very flimsy components. I also like the way Predastore’s models offer you both traditional takes and new interpretations on the Predator. If you can afford them, I strongly suggest adding them to your games. They compete with the now-OOP Hurn for the title of best Predator around. All are available directly from Predastore, although you must be advised that some of them are limited casting runs that might or might not be available later.

No miniature review is complete without some size comparison shots. They’re especially useful when models from several manufacturers are handled, so the next pics might be useful. Click for larger pics, as usual:

L to R: Stalking-Hunter, Hunter Alien, Executioner-Hunter, Hurn, Mermaid-Predette

L to R: Stalking-Hunter, Hunter Alien, Executioner-Hunter, Hurn, Mermaid-Predette

L to R: Austral-Hunter, Heresy, Crossbow-Predette, Copplestone, 2Blade-Hunter

L to R: Austral-Hunter, Hurn, Crossbow-Predette, Hunter Alien, 2Blade-Hunter

L to R: Hurn, Running-Hunter, Spear-Hunter, Death-Hunter, Hunter Alien

L to R: Chasing-Hunter, Hunter Alien, Jungle-Predette, Hurn

L to R: Hunter Alien, Spear-Hunter, Hurn, Bone-Hunter, INAP

L to R: Hunter Alien, em4 trooper, Hurn, GW Imperial Guard, INAP

L to R: Hunter Alien, Hasslefree Ray, Hurn, Copplestone trooper, INAP

L to R: Hunter Alien, Horrorclix Alien, Hurn, Leading Edge Alien, INAP

L to R: Horrorclix Alien, Spear-Hunter, em4 trooper, Bone-Hunter, Copplestone trooper

And this, dear readers, concludes this mammoth of a post. I admit it kind of got out of hand, but at least it should shed light on the topic of not-Predator miniatures. Thanks for making it all the way to the end!

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