Posts Tagged ‘Copplestone’


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


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


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


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!


Five by five

July 23, 2010

My Space Hulk Colonial Marines are nearing completion. As I just finished the second squad, all I have left to paint are the Librarian (combat synth) and the lightning claw terminator (powerloader), expect to see them soon. This is bordering on amazing, I’ve only dreamed of actually completing a project!

Here are the newest three Marines:

Click for a larger version

This is squad #1, representing a terminator squad with a power sword -armed sergeant and a heavy flamer:

Click for a larger version

And this is squad #2, with a sergeant armed with a thunder hammer and storm shield (shotgun), an assault cannon trooper (smartgun) and a chainfist (blowtorch) trooper:

Click for a larger version

With this I’m off to Ropecon 2010, Finland’s biggest roleplaying convention, to enjoy a weekend of sheer nerd heaven. Which basically means a few panel discussions, some board games and drinking beer with old friends.


Fountain of joy

July 18, 2010

Miniature gamers often have a way of their own of looking at the world. You know what I’m talking about. You’ll see a toy at a toy store, maybe some aquarium furnishings at a pet shop or some interesting gubbins at a hardware store, and start going “Hmm, that might be usable in gaming…” This usually means that you end up with loads and loads of random stuff rammed into boxes already full of other such stuff with great potential. However, every now and then you find a real gem, and that’s what happened to me at a local hardware store. They were having a sale for garden fountains, and different waterfall elements (as they’re apparently called) were sold for dirt cheap. I ended up with this:

Click for a larger version

It’s big (those are Colonial Marines on 25mm bases in the top right corner of the picture), durable (it’s about 5mm thick vinyl/plastic), textured and painted. What more can you ask for? Oh, the price? All of 10 EUR.  That’s 13 USD, or 8,50 GBP. Insane.

Buying such a cool piece of terrain inspired me to build a quick little diorama using my Colonial Marines and Aliens. It also shows off the terrain piece (lovingly christened The Hill) nicely. You can click on any photo for a larger view. Enjoy!

As night sets on LV-278, the Xenomorphs swarm the Colonial Marines

A Xenomorph lurks above the hapless Marines

Another Xenomorph's eye view

The motion tracker going wild, the Marines make their stand

I didn’t even remember building little scenes like this was so much fun. As a kid I used to read old 80s Citadel Journals, and they had these big dioramas, mainly showcasing miniatures. To a little kid’s imagination those pictures were something amazing, and doing this quick thing, I can see why. I should do this more often, I think.

I hope these provided some inspiration, at least to go raid your nearest few hardware stores!


…for close encounters

June 3, 2010

Just a very quick post to show off the model I’ll be using to represent the SH sergeant armed with the Thunder hammer/Storm shield combo. Basically it means that the sergeant is rock hard in hand to hand combat, and doesn’t carry a regular gun. To represent this in my Alien Space Hulk project I gave the sergeant a shotgun and no pulse rifle. Like the previous Colonial Marine stuff, this was another simple and brutal conversion.

First I took the Copplestone Castings model (from the FW35 Trooper Officers pack) on the left and crunched off the pulse rifle she was carrying, as well as the hand holding it. This was a rather messy affair, since about half of the rifle is attached to her leg.

Next I cut a shotgun-holding arm from Heresy at the wrist, and superglued it to the sergeant’s wrist stump. I lost the stock of the shotgun doing this, but it suited me just fine since a pistol-grip shotgun was what I was after. After this I just used greenstuff to fill all the nasty gaps and gashes resulting from the cutting work. I’m happy with the end result, and really like the fact that I have a kick-ass female sergeant leading one of my squads. It fits nicely with the Alien saga’s theme of tough female heroes as well.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version


Colonial Marine conversions

May 31, 2010

Since I was asked to chronicle the progression of my Aliens project, I figured I’d do a little post on a few Marine conversion I did last night. They’re not completely finished yet, lacking some smoothing over and greenstuff work, but here they are.

Marine tech is a Copplestone Castings miniature with the addition of a plastic GW radio backpack and a few extra pouches plus a grenade, all taken from the Catachan Jungle Fighters box. In Space Hulk this model will replace the terminator armed with a chainfist. The special rules for the chainfist mean that it fairly easily destroys doors in close combat, so I gave the tech marine a handheld welder. I had no idea on how to build one, so I just made it up as I went along. Here’s the reference picture I used:

I wanted to capture the general feel of the thing, not bothering too much with the actual details. The welder carried by the Marine is a GW laspistol turned 90 degrees, with the muzzle cut off and glued on top of the gun. The little screen of top of the welder is a rectangular piece cut from a Catachan combat knife holster. The model still needs a little handle on top of the hand holding the welder, but I like how it turned out.

Click for a larger version

Flamer Marine is from em4, and originally carries a scoped rifle. There’s a terminator armed with a heavy flamer in Space Hulk, and the flamethrower is an iconic weapon in the movie Aliens as well. I noticed that there’s a glaring lack of  flamer armed troopers in Copplestone’s minis, so it was time for another swift conversion. Again, here’s the reference:

I snipped off the scope and replaced it with a rail/carry handle cut from a GW rocket launcher. The gas tank is a piece of an old sprue, and the lighter comes from a plastic Catachan flamer, crudely chopped down. The model needs some putty work to make it a bit more tidy and – like the welder – it isn’t a perfect replica by a long shot, but I’m happy with this one as well.

Click for a larger version

That’s two special terminators (heavy flamer and chain fist) covered. Baby, I’m on fire!


From the painting desk #4

May 30, 2010

I’m happy to report that my Colonial Marine project is actually coming along nicely. Here’s my first full five-man (although there’s one female there too) squad for your viewing and commenting pleasure. I’d already forgotten the old WHFB feeling of how nice it is to have  a bunch of minis with a coherent paint scheme. The picture also clearly shows the size difference between Copplestone Castings (the mini on the left) and em4 (all the others). Guess the scanner operator just happens to be a big guy.

Click for a larger version

I’m also churning out Aliens at a fairly good rate, but couldn’t bother photographing them since they pretty much look like these ones shown previously.

Up next for this project is a second squad of Marines, as well as some Predators. All of this stuff has been sitting in my cupboard for ages, so it’s about time for it to get painted. That’s the great thing about collecting far too many minis to paint. When you return to something you’ve bought years ago, it’s like Christmas every time!


From the painting desk #3

May 10, 2010

Since it’s over a year from the previous one, I figured I’d resurrect this series of posts. As I posted earlier, my inspiration for miniatures is back with a vengeance, and the results are already showing. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been painting stuff from my Aliens/Predator/Marines project, and here they are. In colour!

Click for a larger version

I’ve had these HorrorClix Aliens half finished for ages, meaning they’ve been based and sprayed black. The required very little work to finish. A couple of layers of drybrushing, some black ink, glue for Alien gunk effects, a coat of gloss varnish and what do you know, three more Xenos to fill those motion trackers. The HorrorClix Aliens are very nice for the painter. They could basically be used as is, but with a little work you can make them even nicer. They’re the only models that I don’t dull down with a matt varnish after gloss varnishing.

I also started on a new batch of Colonial Marines. I wanted to recreate the look of the troopers from Aliens, so went hunting for reference material. Turns out that the net is filled with movie stills and people that are into movie props and cosplaying, so I had a lot of stuff to work with.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

"We've got movement!"

I think I nailed it pretty well, and overall I’m really satisfied with how the model turned out. I even made an effort to get the motion detector right. There’s a motion blip there, probably just a little girl. The model is sculpted by Mark Copplestone and can be found in the Copplestone Castings Future War range, in the pack FW22.

On this model I tried some simple weathering effects, so the bare metal you see on the armor is painted on to represent chipped and scratched paint.

The next marines are already on the painting desk and well on their way. Here we go again.


First Contact

May 8, 2010

I’m back from my little UK tour, and I’m happy to say that my uninspired mood towards miniatures has pretty much disappeared. Oh, I knew it would but it’s always a happy event.

I finally received my copy of Space Hulk, and proceeded to test the rules first by gaming solo and then inviting a few friends over for a game. The result? A very fun night spent blasting Xenomorphs and ripping Colonial Marines apart. The rules were easy and quick to pick up, and we were gaming in no time even with little to no previous Space Hulk experience. While it’s basically a two player affair, the game lent itself well to three-way gaming, as there are quite a few missions with two squads of marines and one player controlling the Genestealers, or Aliens in our case. We played using the Colonial Marines and Aliens detailed a few posts back.

With the corridor ahead on fire, a marine has time for a quick breather, not to mention death

One thing we really enjoyed was the movie-like feel to the game. The air was thick with Aliens quotes before long, and small fragments of narrative started forming. As the gun on a marine firing on overwatch jammed and he was soon after nailed by an Alien, we could just imagine the few seconds of terror experienced by our little imaginary friend. Such cinematic moments were frequent, as the Marines were in many games taken out one by one, either by luck or simply by way of numbers. Space Hulk’s rules capture the imagery and feel of the Alien quadrilogy – part two especially – beautifully. The rules also present the Genestealers as terrifying in close combat, capable of easily tearing through a marine. We observed that this is even more fitting for an Alien scenario, as there really is no doubt about who the favourite is in a hand to hand encounter.

Despite his overwatch, a CM sergeant is about to become the evening's white meat of choice

In addition to the cinematic feel and quickness of play, another thing in favour of Space Hulk is its unpredictability. This doesn’t mean that the games are totally random, but simply that you can never be quite sure that the plan you’ve crafted is going to work. Guns will jam, creatures just will not die, a marine will actually win a close combat encounter and so on. This leaves room for – and indeed forces – the tactician to actually think ahead a bit and prepare to cope with surprise situations. And this means the game becomes actually pretty hard to master, especially considering the 3 minute time limit the marine player has. All this makes for a very entertaining game with a high replay value.

"They're coming outta the goddamn walls!"

One thing that I tend to forget while concentrating on the modelling aspect of miniatures is that gaming is actually really fun once you get down to it. A couple of good friends, a ton of snacks and a few solid games with painted miniatures make for an excellent night. A reminder like this is really good every once in a while. It’s also great for motivation, since something is actually coming out of all of those big unfinished projects. In this case it was a night of gaming and spending time with friends, which left us all yearning for more. Not bad at all!

I’m also happy to report that the game prompted me to finish three HorrorClix Aliens, that’ve been half painted for ages, and I’m preparing to paint the remaining seven. As Ferro puts it in Aliens: We’re in the pipe, five by five.


Just another bughunt

April 11, 2010

As you may have noticed, DotL has been very quiet lately. This is mainly due to real life stuff, such as work and doing research for my Master’s thesis (on RPG’s, no less!). This means I’ve not had the time nor the energy to work on new miniatures, so I’m going to show you something a bit older.

Ever since I could whip up the courage to watch them as a pre-teen, I’ve loved the Alien and Predator franchises. With the exception of the rather silly Alien: Resurrection and the god-awful AVP films, they’re all among my favourite scifi movies. In fact, I just recently had a solid dose of Aliens as I watched all of the four films back to back and then went to Tampere a few days later to see a wonderful H.R. Giger exhibition. All this has lead me back to an older miniatures project of mine, namely Aliens vs. Predator.

This project has been once of those that seem to last forever and not really progress a lot. I was actually doing pretty fine on it, but then I really got into zombie miniatures a lot and consequently my little critters have been gathering dust since. Maybe doing a post on these might help things to get going again? One can always hope. I’ve also been thinking about picking up the new limited edition Space Hulk, although I’d probably have to pay an arm and a leg for it. From what I’ve heard, it just might be worth it, though.

That’s enough idle chitchat, on with the minis! Sorry about the inconsistent lighting in the pics, was in a bit of a hurry.

There are different possibilities for Alien miniatures, but I ended up using what I think are hands down the best ones available: HorrorClix Aliens. While they’re now out of production, I picked up a few boxes cheaply off the ‘Nets a year or so back so I have around twenty or so. Like all HC stuff, they come pre-painted and are actually quite usable straight from the box. I wanted them a bit more black and glossy, so played around with washes and drybrushing and painted a gloss varnish over the end result. They came out lovely, I think. I used some glue to simulate the resin-like goo the creatures secrete, and liked that end result as well. The Aliens are  a bit on the large side, but then so was the original creature in the first film.

Click for a larger view

For Predators I went with Copplestone Castings. While I think they’re the best stuff available at the moment (and back when I bought them), Heresy’s new Hurn is pretty tempting. And while Ainsty’s INAPs are definitely showing their age as sculpts, the idea of clear resin figures is excellent. Also, the name always brings a smile to my face, as INAP=It’s Not A Predator.

Click for a larger version

No alien monster would be happy without heavily armed futuristic humans to decapitate, maim and/or impregnate. Again, enter Mark Copplestone and his wonderful scifi troopers available through Copplestone Castings, em4 and Mirliton. I went for a generic urban camo on the regular troopers, while the beret wearing guys in red and black are something like corporate security or special forces.  Actually, they remind me for reasons unknown of the Omni Corp troopers from the classic game Laser Squad. Maybe that’s how I always imagined them.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Actually just writing this post makes me want to finish this project. And maybe buy Space Hulk.


Werewolves by Reaper – a review

August 11, 2009

My Underworld/Blade/WoD-inspired miniatures project has started off nicely, as I’ve received all of the minis ordered. I thought that since I’m adding a whole bunch of nice new stuff into my collection, I might just as well review them for your viewing pleasure. I’ll kick the thing off with two of the biggest miniatures in the project, namely two werewolves from Reaper Miniatures: Jean Paul Werewolf (02747) and Male Were Wolf (02872).

Both models are very impressive. The Male Were Wolf (and I use this spelling very reluctantly) is well over 40mm from his base to the top of his head. Jean Paul is under 40mm, but his hunched posture suggests that he too would be over 40mm if standing up straight. As usual, size comparison pictures can be found at the end of this review. They come on integral bases which are too large to fit neatly onto a 25mm round base, so I went for 40mm bases instead, which made for a nice fit. The larger bases are a millimetre or so thicker than 25mm ones, adding slightly to the size of the already sizeable monsters.

The werewolves are multi-part kits, requiring some assembly as both have separate arms and tails. The parts fit, but they do require a bit of work with positioning and filing. Noticeable gaps were left after gluing the parts into position, so you might want to break out some greenstuff and fill those. As I’m usually too lazy to do any pinning, the greenstuff helps support the joins as well. Fortunately they’re both furry critters, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble replicating the fur texture in your greenstuff. Some mould lines were present, but they were very minor and I cleaned them up in a minute or so.

Jean Paul is in a dynamic posture. He’s a bit hunched and his legs and sense of movement make it apparent that he is springing into action. Jean Paul is snarling viciously, which combined with his long arms and exaggerated large, clawed hands make him very, very imposing despite the model’s comic book style. He doesn’t have fur covering his entire body, and his arms and abdomen as well as the insides of his legs are almost completely hairless. This looks ok for the most part, but there is one exception. His buttocks are bare, but he has a tail sticking out where his tailbone would be. The tail looks a bit tacked-on, like someone just stuck a wolf tail on a human rear. Other than that, there’s nothing to fault here. The model was sculpted by Ben Seins.

Jean Paul from the front, notice the greenstuff fillings

Jean Paul from the front, notice the greenstuff fillings

Jean Paul's infamous rear

Jean Paul's infamous rear

Male Were Wolf is even better than Jean Paul in my view. He’s covered in fur from head to toe, and he lacks Jean Paul’s comic style. This means he looks very feral, and his whole presence gives off a feel of a slightly crazed, brutal and scary gothic monster. When you’re talking about a werewolf miniature, that’s pretty much the effect you want. The model is posed standing straight with his long, clawed arms spread wide and the pose fits the model nicely. In fact about the only bad thing I can say about this model is the atrocious name. The model was sculpted by James van Schaik.

Male Were Wolf fresh from the painting desk

Male Were Wolf fresh from the painting desk

If I didn’t make it clear enough before, these are big werewolves indeed. As you can see from the comparison picture below, they dwarf regular 28mm humans in both height and bulk. Good luck bringing those puppies down. Click for a larger picture.

From left to right: Copplestone Castings, Male Were Wolf, Foundry, Jean Paul, Hasslefree

From left to right: Copplestone Castings, Male Were Wolf, Foundry, Jean Paul, Hasslefree

Both miniatures retail at $7.99 apiece, which really isn’t a bad price for such hefty pieces of well-sculpted metal. They’re available direct from Reaper Miniatures or through numerous retailers.

Overall verdict: If 28mm werewolves are what you’re after, they don’t come much better than this. Both models are wonderful sculpts, capturing the essence of the creature they’re depicting. The separate arms and tails may cause some problems, but it should be nothing too time consuming.  Not even Jean Paul’s bare hindquarters can stop me from recommending these.

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