Posts Tagged ‘Dark Art’

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Alien birthing pods by Dark Art Miniatures – a review

September 2, 2010

With my Predator miniatures review receiving a lot of positive feedback, I’m planning a comprehensive review of different miniatures that can be used to represent the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. I’m fairly certain that it will be awesome.

While I haven’t got all the miniatures that I need for the review, here’s another, related one: Alien birthing pods from Dark Art Miniatures.

The eggs in the Aliens movies are not only fairly disgusting, but very iconic as well. Ever since Alien we’ve known that once one of those babies opens, you’d better get moving or you’ll get hugged. What Aliens gamer wouldn’t want a few of these to provide that lovely feeling that something’s amiss?

Click for a larger version

I ran into the Alien birthing pods on Matakishi’s wonderful site, and immediately knew I had to buy them. Now, usually I don’t buy a lot of scenery unless I really have a use for them. Otherwise they just tend to collect dust and wait for me to A) get some gaming in and B) actually finish some scenery. Luckily I have a perfect use for these in (surprise, surprise!) my Space Hulk project, where the eggs will be used instead of the purple arrows provided with the game to denote the Alien entry points. Nifty! A pack of six eggs costs £5.00.

On to the models. There are six resin eggs in the pack, and they’re all sculpted by Klaus Teschner. Two of them are open, one is opening, two are closed and one is closed but ruptured and has a poor baby Facehugger hanging out through a hole in the side of the egg. All of the eggs are based on integral, irregular patches of ground with all kinds of nasty tentacle-like roots creeping around them.

The eggs are nicely detailed. While close examination shows some fairly crude sculpting (e.g. you can clearly see indentations left by sculpting tools), it doesn’t bother me as the overall effect is very nice. The models look organic, soft and icky. While words like this would often be condemning in a miniatures review, when you’re talking about Alien eggs, they’re high praise.

Size comparison with Heresy inspector and Horrorclix Alien

As the size comparison pic shows, these eggs are much bigger than the ones in the films. To those looking to build a perfect 1:1 Aliens-setup, this might be a detriment. I don’t mind. Just like above, the overall effect is what matters.

Casting quality is nice. There are some air bubbles, but not so many as to be annoying. There is a bit of flash along the edges of some of the bases, but they’ll take approximately 15 seconds to scrape off.

My only real point of criticism is about the packaging. The eggs were loose in a plastic bag inside a padded envelope. This had resulted in a few small chips as well as one bigger one that I had to superglue back together. With a quality product like this, it’s a shame that they’ll be at the mercy of gentle-handed post office personnel all over the world.

There are some very positive things I have to point out – always lovely to do in a review. The first is the speedy delivery. I made the purchase on August 25, and they were shipped on the same day, arriving here in Finland on August 30. Not bad, especially since there was a weekend in there too.

The second one is a broken freebie sample that was added. Now, this is simply a brilliant idea and a nice gesture. I guess all resin producers end up with loads of stuff unsuitable for selling. Resin is fairly brittle, and there are bound to be breakages as well as miscast pieces with air bubbles etc. Why throw them all away? DAM added a sample of  their Alien Wall terrain in the form of a battle damaged section piece. The “towers” at the ends of the wall section have both snapped, but other than that the wall is definitely usable, especially since it’s even specifically a battle damaged length of wall.

There’s certainly a use for things like this. Gamers who don’t necessarily need grade A stuff, scratchbuilders, frugal gamers and so on. Being a bit into recycling, I find the idea of giving away second hand (and grade) stuff for free very, very appealing. Major thumbs up to Dark Art Miniatures for this! The sample also serves its purpose as a commercial sample, as it really showed me the casting quality and the level of detail in the piece, and has made me consider ordering more.

So a tip from a loving blogger to resin model makers: sell your failed castings in cheap grab bags or add them as freebies. Much better than throwing them away. If you don’t want to sell them, you can even ship them to me, I’ll kindly take them off your hands.

Overall verdict: These eggs have their pros and cons. While the detailing could be sharper and they’re a bit big compared to the eggs in the Alien movies, they still manage to serve their purpose wonderfully. With a price of £0.83 (that’s 1 EUR at the time of writing) apiece, these are a quality purchase. I got a £4.50 wall section thrown in as a free extra, even if it was damaged. I’m sure to return to Dark Art Miniatures for both their quality product and their quality service. And in the future, for their quality packaging too, I hope.

The Alien birthing pods cost £5.00 for a pack of six, and are available in the Dark Art Miniatures webstore.

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