Posts Tagged ‘Heresy’

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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.

head2

Photo © Statuesque Miniatures

resistance

Click for a larger version, photo © Statuesque Miniatures

rosa

Photo © Statuesque Miniatures

83280226

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.

pi1

Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

pi2

Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

pi3

Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

pi4

Click for a larger version, photo © Pig Iron Productions

pi5

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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From the painting desk #21 – More Utopia

April 14, 2013

Wow, this is actually my 250th post. While the blog hasn’t been updated as frequently as before, I ensure you it’s still going strong. As the blog now has a quarter of a thousand posts, I figured I’d give you a look at what’s up.

As you can’t have failed to notice, I’ve been running a near future military scifi campaign for a while now. With seven games played (AAR #7 coming soon!) this is the longest campaign I’ve run in good long while, and both I and the players have really enjoyed it. You can find the associated posts by checking out everything tagged Utopia. The campaign has not only allowed me to use a lot of my miniatures, but also has really inspired me to paint minis and build terrain a lot. Deadlines help too!

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Anyway, it’s on with the minis in chronological order. First up is a hunting beast for my Predators. The miniature is actually a hellhound by Heresy with the choice of a skeletal head. I really liked the idea of Predators using dog-like hunting creatures as shown in the Predators film. This one’s by no means a full match, but I think it looks fearsome and alien enough. Like practically all of the Heresy multipart minis, I had plenty of work getting the hound to a paintable state. There were some heavy mould lines and the fit of the parts really wasn’t stellar. After I’d all but finished painting it, I found out to my delight that I’d missed a glaring mould line on the hound’s side. As I didn’t want to ruin the paintjob, I painted some scarring over it, which I think turned out nice.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Next up is a conversion. While originally painted for Utopia, this fellow hasn’t appeared on the field so far. It’s actually the late-ish Pvt. Jane, who was captured fighting the Terminators. As you can see, he has been subjected to horrible experimentation and has been made into a cyborg. The model is a warbot from Pig Iron Productions with a head from Puppetswar and a minigun from Maxmini. I think the parts work nicely together and combine well to make a really intimidating figure. The paintjob is super simple, with basically just washes and drybrushing on the bulk. I paid more attention to the face, and I think it turned out looking pretty good. That resin head is pretty awesome, and I basically made this conversion just so I could justify buying the head…

L to R: Trill, Cohl, Abdul, Dastevan. Click for a larger version

L to R: Trill, Cohl, Abdul, Dastevan. Click for a larger version

Up next is a bunch of Utopia troopers – Trill, Cohl, Abdul and Dastevan. Nothing too special here, they were all given my typical trooper treatment. Trill is a Hasslefree mini, Cohl is a SWAT sniper from Foundry and Abdul and Dastevan are both from em4. I think Cohl is a good example of how a paint job can really change the way a model looks.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Topping off the post is General Hyun – set to appear in the upcoming Utopia AAR #7. Hyun is a Copplestone Castings miniature and I’m really really happy with him. Somehow those greys just turned out lovely and the uniform looks very crisp. I rarely get the feeling that I really nailed a mini, but with this one I’m patting my own back. Please refrain from posting ego-crushing comments!

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From the painting desk #13

January 5, 2012

Yes! My Hürn from Heresy (see the Predator review for more info) is finally finished, after sitting half-painted on my desk for ages. Seriously, I’ve written on July 14, 2011:

Here are my Predators, sans the wonderful Hürn from Heresy, who sits almost finished on my painting desk.

Weird how you sometimes just hit a wall with a particular miniature, even if it isn’t annoying to paint. For some reason this happened with the Hürn. As usual, once I finished it I was left wondering what was so difficult. It’s a neat model, and turned out just fine!

Painted Hurn Headtaker

Click for a larger version

This version of the Hürn has unfortunately sold out. I’m considering buying the new, helmeted variant for different weapon options. As if I didn’t have enough Predators already.

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Alien miniatures – a review

October 19, 2010

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

“I want to do Aliens/Xenomorphs vs. Colonial Marines vs. Predators in 28mm, who makes suitable minis?”

I can’t recall how many times I’ve run into a topic like this on various internet forums. I’ve even started a few myself. Trawling through these, the thought has every once in a while crossed my mind, that it’d be nice to have a fairly comprehensive review of different options available. Then it struck me – why not do one myself? I started with the Predators. An easy choice, since there aren’t too many different minis available, and I already had them.

The Aliens were another story altogether. There’s a lot more variety out there. In addition to the licensed stuff, all sorts of Alien-inspired biomechanical beasties can be found in various miniature lines. Getting them simply for a review purpose would cost me if not an arm and a leg, but at least a fair amount of cash better used elsewhere. With some encouragement from fellow hobbyists I did what a real reviewer would do: I contacted the companies directly, asking for samples. To my surprise, the response was very positive with most companies gladly shipping me stuff to review. The companies taking part will get all the praise they deserve later in this post.

I suppose this is enough with the introduction, and it’s time to get on with the review itself. For ease of reading I’ve decided not to split the review into smaller parts, so all will be found in this post. While it’s going to be a pretty heavy read the first time, it should also provide a fairly comprehensive view of what’s available at the time of writing. You have been warned.

Licensed products and 1:1 matches

Fans of Xenomorphs will be happy to hear that there are not only one, but two lines of miniatures modelled right on the creatures of the various films (Aliens and Alien vs. Predator to be exact). They will then be devastated to hear that both lines are discontinued and usually fetch a fairly ridiculous price on eBay and the like.

Leading Edge Aliens

Leading Edge did a whole range based on Aliens sculpted by Bob Ridolfi, and naturally the line included pretty much every iconic thing from the movies. The line is long gone by now, but the kits do come up on eBay every now and then. Stuff of Legends has a very good overview of the line, which I recommend taking a look at. I have only two figures (picked up from a convention for a pittance) so I’ll base my review on those. Both minis are from the Colonist’s last stand pack.

Click for a larger version

Even today the old sculpts look very nice, if a bit dated. The warrior is a good reproduction of the movie’s creatures, and suitably sized too, being the size of a 28mm miniature even with the knees bent. There is good, crisp detailing. As you can see, the Alien warrior’s head sports the ridged dome from Aliens as opposed to the iconic smooth one. The second miniature I have depicts a hapless colonist getting a hug and a kiss from one of those pesky Alien kids. The miniature nicely shows the “right” size for facehuggers and eggs in 28mm. Both models come on integral metal bases with some detailing.

Horrorclix Aliens

Considered by many to be THE miniatures for Xenomorph gaming, the Horrorclix Aliens are pre-painted plastic miniatures based on the ones in Alien vs. Predator (and are probably the best thing to come out of that movie, come to think of it). There are seven different variants, with two of them sporting specialties from the movie – the Alien with a Predator’s net-grid in it’s dome and another with its tail spouting acid. Three of the models are attached to different pieces of architecture, two different columns and a piece of wall. There’s one human miniature in the pack as well, unfortunately oversized.

That brings us smoothly to the size of the Horrorclix stuff. They are much bigger than 28mm, the tallest one standing at roughly 45mm. For some this might – and will – be a problem. I don’t mind. In the original Alien film, the guy inside the suit, Boladi Badejo, was 2,18 m – that’s 7’2″ to those not into metric. While this still makes the Aliens oversized, it also gives them a very menacing presence.

The architectural bits may cause some headache, but they’re also quite easily dealt with should one not want to use them. The Aliens can be removed with a little work, and mostly the poses are not too bad on normal bases. If you don’t mind doing some extra work, the scenic elements can be modified, see my example.

They come on plastic clicky bases, but are easily removed by using a sharp craft knife, which can be used to simply pop them off the bases. Even the prepainting is not too bad, comprising of a motley combination of dark blue and black, with a glossy black head dome and some detailing in silver. I’d say these models can definitely be used as-is, if you’re not in the mood for painting.

The range also includes a queen with a scenic base. You can see a picture here and some better ones sans the scenic base here.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

And here are some of my Horrorclix Aliens rebased and repainted:

Click for a larger version

Overall verdict: What can I say, these are licensed products. As such, they are a perfect match for Xenomorphs from the movies. Their limited availability and consequent silly prices make them a not-really-valid option for most people.  If you can get your hands on them, do so. The Horrorclix Aliens might be too big for some people’s tastes. As mentioned above, not an issue to me but worth noting.

That’s the official miniatures covered. Nice, expensive, out of production. Let’s take a look at alternatives, shall we?

Not-Aliens

The Xenomorph being such a classic as far as scifi-monsters go, it should come as no surprise that there are quite a few alternatives for the models available. While these are not 1:1 matches, they’re definitely close enough to use as Xenomorphs and bear an obvious resemblance. The one guys missing here are Eureka’s rendition – the Chaos Weasels –  which I believe were pulled off the market due to IP concerns.

EDIT January 11th 2011:

Blog reader John contacted me with the following information on the Eureka Chaos Weasels:

The Eureka Chaos Weasels are towards the smaller end of the 25-32mm spectrum. They are multipart, and came with metal slottabases. Some of the ones I picked up had them, and some needed plastic bases. They have great grinning smiles that I rather like. The tails in particular are bendy and poseable, if a little fragile. Chaos Weaslings, I believe, were not-facehuggers.

I’ve got some Leading Edge eggs and huggers. They have integral bases with some moulded details- creepy tendrils under the eggs, and metal decking beneath the hugger. I’ve rebased them on 25mm washers and hidden the detail. The eggs are a good size, but the huggers are a little weedy.

John was also kind enough to provide me with a few photos, and there’s one in the size comparison section as well.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Rather nice stuff, as you can see. Alas, out of production. Thanks a lot for the information and photos, John!

East Riding Miniatures – Mythic Worlds Sci-Fi Aliens

ERM’s Mythic Worlds scifi line includes a bunch of aliens, which are obviously Xenomorphs. The important development phases are represented, as the range includes warriors, facehuggers and a queen. And what interesting miniatures they are!

I must admit that when I first received these models, my thoughts were in line with the company’s name: “erm….”. Make no mistake, these models are a rather cartoony take on the Alien theme. The models are oddly proportioned even in regards to each other, the facehuggers are massively oversized, the detail is soft, the sculpting a bit crude…to sum it up, these models really don’t convey the sleek elegance of the biomechanical killing machine we’ve all come to love. And yet the models have grown on me. Why on Earth, you may ask. Let me tell you why.

The ERM Aliens to me manage to perfectly capture the nightmarish quality of the Xenomorph. When I think of Newt in Aliens, I feel that this is how she might have viewed the Aliens. As truly being alien and monstrous, covered with weird tubes, sporting ridges and spines and extending jaws and barbed tails. I might even go as far as to say that these models are a kind of an impressionistic take on the Xenomorph. While they’re not perfect depictions, they manage to capture the feel and the essence of their subject. It’s worth noting that the Alien with the inner jaw extended is pretty huge. See size comparison down the page.

Getting back to everyday stuff, the range includes four different warriors, a queen and three different facehuggers, all designed by Tony Yates. There are also facehuggers with guns available, if you should feel the need for some. The queen comes in four pieces – head, tail, body and arms. Like the pictures show, the facehuggers are oversized (although nicely in scale with the Dark Arts Miniatures birthing pods) being the size of a regular 28mm miniature. The facehuggers are in my view the weakest of the sets, as they’re a bigger departure from their subject matter than the warriors and the queen.

All the sets retail for £5.00 each and are available on East Riding Miniatures’ website. The queen (Alien Mother) especially is an impressively sized model, and at only 5 pounds a real bargain. All models are on integral metal bases. The Alien Mother needs filling with greenstuff and I suggest pinning her together as well. The photo has her on a 40mm round base.

Warriors – Click for a larger version

Alien Mother – Click for a larger version

Facehuggers – Click for a larger version

Reviresco – Alien Homophages

Starguard is an ancient (from 1974, which amounts to the same thing) scifi miniatures game, which is still supported today. To my happy surprise, the miniatures line includes some wonderful xenomorphs under the name “Alien Homophages” (homophage translates as man-eater), with extra stuff to go with them.

As with the ERM ones above, these are by no means perfect renditions, but are still appealing – especially to two kinds of gamers:

A) Those on a budget. The homophages are very cheap. The pack with five different warrior poses, eggs and facehuggers (with one hugging a separate head) costs all of $7.50. That’s €5.60  or £4.78 at the time of writing. That’s even cheaper than ERM’s stuff, which in itself is cheap already.

B) Those gaming with 25mm to “true” 28mm miniatures. The homophages stand at exactly 28mm from the base surface to the top of the head. The scale creep that’s gone on for years has seen a lot of miniatures touted as 28mm go up in size to 30-33mm. Compared to most current 28mm ranges, especially those at the heroic end of the spectrum, the homophages are small indeed.

The models themselves? I’ll be blunt: they’re fairly crudely sculpted, and the figure quality matches the price. There are separate spines supplied with the models that are a pain to glue on. The detail’s soft.  There’s a bit of flash there, too.

That’s not to say that there’s nothing to recommend, though. These miniatures are by no means rubbish! As with the ERM Aliens, the Reviresco homophages manage to instantly convey that Alien feel. Even if they’re not the best, crispest miniatures, the moment you see them you know you’re looking at Xenomorphs, no mistake. A mass of these guys painted up and gloss varnished will make for a very nice horde of Aliens. Also, I really like the dynamic poses.

The homophages come on thin integral metal bases. A few have separate heads and arms whichs are easy to attach due to handy pegs that fit corresponding holes in the torsos. They are available directly from Reviresco’s online store.

Reviresco homophages

Click for a larger version

Reviresco eggs + facehugger

Eggs and Facehugger – Click for a larger version

Pendraken – Facehugger and egg cluster

Pendraken is a manufacturer focusing on 10mm miniatures . What on earth are they doing here?

In their 10mm Sci Fi range they have a beautiful line of Aliens, Colonial Marines and accessories (if you’re into 10mm at all, get them!). The line also includes Facehuggers and eggs, which are way oversized for 10mm. Of these, the Facehugger is a perfect fit for 28mm. The eggs are a bit too small, and unfortunately not a match size-wise for the Facehugger. The ‘hugger itself is a nice, clean and simple sculpt and comes on a small integral base.  The sculptor is unknown and they come 10 in a pack for £1.45, making them an excellent choice for those looking for Facehuggers. As mentioned, the eggs are a bit small for 28mm, but could have their uses as well. They are of similar size to the Reviresco ones shown above. These miniatures are available from Pendraken’s website.

Click for a larger version

Overall verdict: There are some worthy not-Aliens manufacturers for those not willing or able to procure the OOP licensed stuff. They have their little flaws in terms of style and quality, but are definitely a viable option. The Pendraken and Reviresco facehuggers are top notch, and should definitely be on your shopping list if you’re looking for those little babies. These not-Aliens are a cheap and easy way to bulk up a Xenomorph horde for a fraction of the price of the OOP ranges.

That’s all the official miniatures and not-Aliens (as far as I know, of course) covered. Let’s see some size comparison pictures. You can click on any photo for a larger version.

Aliens size comparison

From L to R: ERM, Horrorclix, Reviresco, ERM Facehugger, ERM

Aliens size comparison 2

From L to R: Reviresco, LE, Horrorclix, ERM

ERM queen comparison

L to R: Horrorclix, ERM Alien mother, Reviresco, ERM

Aliens Copplestone Hasslefree comparison

From L to R: Copplestone, Horrorclix, Reviresco, Hasslefree, ERM

Aliens Heresy em4 comparison

L to R: Horrorclix, Heresy, Reviresco, em4, ERM

ERM queen comparison 2

L to R: Hasslefree, Heresy, ERM Alien mother, em4, Copplestone

Facehugger Heresy comparison

Pendraken and Reviresco facehuggers with Heresy

Eureka Chaos Weasels with an old GW Space Marine

Aliens-inspired

Going a bit further from the franchise, there are ranges of scifi-miniatures that have clearly been influenced by the Alien films. They have a biomechanical thing going on, with an elongated domed head here, a spike-tipped tail there…you get the picture. Or they might just be in some way Aliens-y. While there are several of these lines available, I will present a few that come up often in forum discussions, and review some others that don’t quite qualify as a not-Alien one. Due to the first two being large ranges, I’ve settled on showing some examples of them and leaving you to your own research.

EDIT Februray 19th 2011: 1st Corps and Hasslefree added.

Games Workshop Tyranids

Ah, the Tyranids. They are basically GW’s Warhammer 40,000 universe’s version of Xenomorphs, and have served a similar role with the most obvious example being Space Hulk, a WH40K version of Aliens.

The Tyranid range is very large and offers loads of options for different Xenomorph-style creatures. I present  a few examples here, that I could easily get my hands on. They should give you the general idea. I’ll point out that these are old variants and as such not fully representative and so on. As said, general idea. The fact that a lot of the Tyranid range is now available in plastic makes them ideal for Xenomorph conversions. More on that later. The range also sports some very large beasties, so if you want to improvise on your Alien universe, there’s loads to grab here.

Pictured below is an old Lictor next to an old Genestealer. The Lictor has had some spiky appendages removed, hence the greenstuff on the chest. The Genestealer has been photoshopped to bring out the detail.

GW Lictor + genestealer

Click for a larger version

The Tyranids are available directly from Games Workshop’s online store and from various retailers, naturally including GW’s own stores. The prices vary a lot, so I’m not going to list them here. Knowing GW, the information would be outdated in a month, anyway.

Scotia Grendel Kryomek Aliens

An older range stylistically very similar to the Tyranids mentioned above. The long heads and spiky tails typical of Xenomorphs are present, as well as that biomechanical look. Pictures are taken from the Scotia Grendel website and used without permission. Naturally, they will be taken down on request. I was going to get my hands on some samples for review, but due to problems of my own it was taking too long and I wanted to eventually publish this review.

Click to got to Scotia Grendel webstore

Click to got to Scotia Grendel webstore

See here for Matakishi’s effective use of Kryomek Aliens as Xenomorphs.

1st Corps Parasite Adults

The 1st Corps scifi line includes a pack of two Alien-inspired beasties. There’s the bipedal stance, the elongated skull and the prominent ribs. The models lack the biomechanical look, but I believe that with the right paintjob they’d make for passable Aliens. The models come on integral bases and the arms are separate, allowing for some variation in poses. There are two critters in a pack, costing £3.00. They’re available direct from 1st Corps.

Click for a larger version

L to R: Horrorclix, Reviresco, 1st Corps, ERM

Hasslefree Head Crabs

I thought for a long time whether to put these in the not-Aliens or the Aliens-inspired section. In the end they ended up in the latter. The Head Crabs, sculpted by Kev White, are obviously inspired by the Facehuggers in the Alien franchise. They’re however different enough in their anatomy to not quite be not-Aliens (how’s that for a sentence). They’re beautiful nevertheless, and well worth adding to your games. You could always cut off the second tail to make them even more Facehugger-ish. They’re quite pricey at £1.00 each, so the price might be a point for consideration. The Head Crabs are available direct from Hasslefree.

Click for a larger version

Hasslefree Head Crab with Heresy

Overall verdict: Yes, alternative ranges do exist, and there’s quality stuff there. It pretty much depends on how much of a purist you are, or in other words how far you’re willing to stretch your vision of Aliens. If you’re okay with “Alien-ish”, there’s definitely a good supply here for you.

Making your own

All this choice, and still not happy? How about some Do It (Almost) Yourself, then? There are manufacturers producing nice conversion bits to turn other models – such as the Tyranids mentioned above – into something a bit more Xenomorph-y. With a large part of the Tyranid range being plastic, this isn’t really much of a chore. No, you won’t get a perfect match, but as mentioned before, for me at least it’s more important that the model conveys the look and feel of the Alien, even if it’s not a perfect match. As this article shows, converting Tyranids into Xenomorphs isn’t a huge task even without using conversion parts.

Chapterhouse Studios Xenomorph heads

Chapterhouse Studios is a company producing resin conversion parts for GW’s Warhammer and Warhammer 40K lines. There’s one set that’s particularly interesting, that set of course being the Xenomorph heads. They have the long, smooth-canopied head (sometimes lovingly called the death banana) and let’s face it, that’s what makes us immediately think of Aliens. The detailing on the head is a bit more organic than in the original Giger stuff, with little tendrils and things like that. They are a bit big for the smaller creatures, but perfect for the larger ones. There are two different variants, and the detail is nice and crisp. The resin castings are of good quality, and there were no air bubbles or other blemishes. The price of the set is $5.85 for a pack of six, and they’re available directly from Chapterhouse’s online store. There’s a great review of them here, courtesy of the wonderful people of the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, whose blog is well worth reading.

Pictured below are the two Tyranid models shown above, this time with Chapterhouse heads.

Chapterhouse heads on Tyranids

Click for a larger version

Heresy Miniatures spare heads

Heresy is a maker of multi-part miniatures, and that means their range includes some spare heads that are definitely suitable for Xenomorph conversions.

First up is an eyeless/lurker head for the Heresy Hellhounds. I don’t know if the heads are available separately, but I’m sure that if enough people request them, the demand could well be met. Shown below is a shot of the head on the GW Genestealer shown before. As you can see, the head definitely has the smooth Alien look. The full length canopy isn’t there, but it’s still Alien enough to work.

Genestealer with eyeless head

Click for a larger version

Heresy also sells a separate sprue of Lurker heads, although let’s face it: these are Alien heads. They’re lovely, and I must say I was a bit disappointed when it turned out they were a bit on the small side, especially on a bulky plastic Tyranid.

If only I had something smaller…and then it hit me. I tried putting the head on one of the Reviresco Homophages, and what do you know, the combination produces a very, very authentic looking Xenomorph. Death banana head? Check. Spiky tail? Check. Bipedal? Check. See for yourself, and ignore the blu-tack.

Homophage with Lurker head

Click for a larger version

Casting quality on all heads was very good, although there was some mould lining to scrape off. The Lurker heads are available directly from Heresy, and you get three heads for £1.00. Ask Heresy about the Hellhound heads.

Overall verdict: If you’re not afraid to do a bit of easy converting, DIY is definitely a viable route to building your own Alien horde. Quality conversion bits are available for cheap. The Reviresco Homophages + Heresy Lurker heads combination receives a special mention here, as it results in a very authentic looking Alien, albeit a smallish one.

Conclusion

There you go, dear readers. As comprehensive an Alien miniature review as I was able to pull off at the moment. I have to give my sincerest thanks to the companies participating and posting me – a humble blogger – samples for review, often providing me with an abundance of extras. A special tip of the hat goes off to John at Reviresco. Apparently he noted my nationality, and threw in a pack of WW2 Finns. How’s that for customer service! I will also point out that the willingness to participate and amount of samples provided did not affect the review one bit.

Some might view this review as too positive, since I mostly praise the models reviewed. I disagree. People’s tastes vary, so I’ve tried to provide an honest and objective view. Some people value quality, others simply want loads of miniatures for as low a price as possibly. Most probably try to find a suitable balance between the two.

I don’t see the point in labeling something singularly poor – except when talking about casting quality and such. Reviewers and peers (often the same thing in this small hobby) have a lot of influence. If someone tells you that a particular line of miniatures sucks, maybe you won’t see for yourself and end up passing up on miniatures you actually might have liked. I also think that there is an intrinsic value in focusing on the good points in something first, and focusing on the negative second.

I’d also like to appeal to you readers: if you saw something you liked, click on the manufacturer links, show your support and buy stuff. Manufacturers big and (especially) small really need, and more importantly, deserve your patronage. Show this review around to people interested, too. And no, I’m not making any money out of this through ads, clicks or anything like that.

I’ll try to update this review if and when suitable ranges appear and I get my hands on samples to review. I hope to be able to keep this post current, so if there’s something I’ve missed, definitely let me know.

Now get on with infecting the galaxy.

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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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Hardware/Wetware

August 24, 2010

The last two actual miniatures of the Aliens Space Hulk project are now finished – all that’s left is to paint up some sentry guns and add more Aliens.

First of all I need to thank my readers for the offers I received when I asked for extra transfers. Special thanks go out to Holger @ ProPainter Bemaldienst, who sent me enough transfers to last me a lifetime. The man’s an excellent painter, and I definitely recommend checking out the site. Here’s the stuff he sent me:

Yes, really.

Armed not only with a ton of decals, but also with 14 years of wanting to try them out, I went to work on my autoloader. First off I fixed the fitting issue where the feet were happily hanging in the air with no contact with the machine whatsoever (you can see what I’m talking about here) and then started plastering the machine with decals. I tried not to go overboard, but there were a lot of interesting transfers to use. I think I used at least GW Imperial Guard and Chaos transfers and stuff from US, Russian and French tanks and airplanes. I’m happy with the results, and I think that they make the model look much better.

Click for a larger version

The last mini to replace was the Librarian. As mentioned before, his replacement is a combat synth, or as  sho3box so perfectly worded it: “Bishop on steroids”. I gave him a Hasslefree pulse rifle (since the Librarian has a storm bolter) and made the strap out of green stuff.

He was a joy to paint, and I’m very happy with the end result. The Weyland-Yutani logos were a pain to paint, though! Since I now have lots and lots of decals, I slapped one on his shoulder to give him that “fresh off the assembly line” look.

Click for a larger version

We played a few games of Space Hulk over the weekend. Pictures were taken, but due to the low lighting we don’t have many good ones. I think this calls for new gaming, with photos and maybe even a battle report!

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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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