Posts Tagged ‘Reaper’


Morning glory

May 22, 2014

I happened to get up earlier than normal today (6:15 am in fact), and there was such a lovely light in my game room that I snapped a photo of the current state of my Pacific Rim setup. It’s actually an Instagram photo, so I slapped a retro filter on it, and I think it turned out nice. So, here’s a mood piece for you to hopefully enjoy!

“We’ll never forget May 22, when Knifehead hit us around sunrise.”


From the painting desk #26 – Seeing red

April 30, 2014

Another miniature done! Not completely happy with my previous jaeger, I decided to pick a colour I was much more comfortable with – red. I went to work on another Reaper CAV miniature, Hawk. I wasn’t originally too impressed with the mini. I thought it was boring and looked like a generic Transformer. Nevertheless, I started painting it and slowly it grew on me. Now that it’s finished, I’m really happy with it. I spent more time than usual on layering and washes, and I hope it shows!

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Inspiration for the colour scheme was another jaeger from Pacific Rim, Crimson Typhoon:


While I would’ve loved to add some fancy freehand detailing, I’m simply rubbish at it. I settled for a few yellow transfers that I painted over a little and added a few dots to make it more interesting, and I think it doesn’t look bad at all. This also stylistically ties it together with the first jaeger I painted. I would’ve loved to paint on some weathering, but in my game setting the kaiju action is only just beginning, and the jaegers have yet to face any – hence no battle damage.

With the first two jaegers painted, it’s time to tackle the first kaiju. Comments and constructive criticism always welcome!


From the painting desk #25 – Kaiju hunting

April 24, 2014

The first mini I’ve finished in a long, long time is a CAV mech, Spitfire, from Reaper Miniatures. My painting skills and patience had rusted a bit, but the end result is still reasonable. White is a pain to paint, and I could have done a better job here, but eventually I decided to just be (somewhat) happy with it and move on to another miniature. And hey, I now have the first painted mini for my Pacific Rim project.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I drew inspiration for the colour scheme from Tacit Ronin, a Mk. I jaeger in Pacific Rim, which can be glimpsed in the film’s introduction sequence:


with the colour scheme nicely shown in this piece of concept art:


While painting the model wasn’t as fun as it could’ve been, finishing it sure was! The next one is already on my table and well on its way. This time I’m painting my favourite colour, red. I guess painting with your favourite colour is the miniature painter’s comforting chicken soup.


Genbu by Zenit Miniatures – a review

April 18, 2014

I usually spend money on miniatures somewhat sparingly. Or rather, I do consider price quite a lot when making my purchases, although I end up spending lots of money nevertheless. Usually this means I steer away from keywords such as “limited edition” or “boutique” or “for collectors” when it comes to miniatures. Despite this, every now and then I run into something exceptionally interesting that makes me break this rule, and I end up doing a review like the one that follows after this unnecessarily long intro.

As regular readers know, I’m working on a project inspired by the movie Pacific Rim, and thus I’m on the lookout for interesting monsters and giant robots. I visited Salute 2014 a week ago, and I ran into a miniature I’d seen on a news site before and noticed, but which had slipped my mind – Genbu by Zenit Miniatures.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Genbu is a giant, bipedal turtle monster with a snake for a tail, and a part of Zenit Miniatures’ Kensei line. If the concept sounds strange, it has its roots in Chinese (and later Japanese) mythology, and you can read more about it here. Genbu also links directly into the kaiju genre, as it’s undoubtedly the inspiration behind Gamera.

The model comes in seven parts: main torso, shell, tail and four limbs. Normally I would classify this as a nightmare, as I loathe putting metal miniatures together after too many cases of ill-fitting and poorly cast parts requiring literally hours of filing, sanding, cutting, pinning and filling to fit. Zenit Miniatures’ offering was a positive surprise in this respect: the parts fit together well right out of the box. There are joins that need filling, but the model doesn’t appear to require pinning – although you may want to do that with the tail due to the small surface for attaching it. The shell especially snaps into place in a very, very satisfying manner. The one glaring exception to this is the left leg, which I simply couldn’t get to fit well, and will require filling of the joint.

Both the torso and the inside of the shell are hollow, in a smart move to reduce the amount of metal needed. Genbu stands at 45-46mm from soles to top of head, so the model is impressively sized and will work as a giant monster in smaller scales or an ogre sized one in 28mm. There’s a separate square plastic base included, but I mounted mine on a standard 40mm round base.

Sculpting on Genbu is excellent. The sculptor has managed to make a wonderfully characterful giant turtle monster with a gnarled, well textured skin. My only complaint is that the model was originally supposed to be a giant Kappa (see here for original concept art, notice the distinct lack of tail) and as such the Genbu model still has a patch of hair-like texture on top of its head, which doesn’t quite fit in. Even though it can be painted to match the skin, the texture is obviously different. Casting quality is very good, with crisp detail and very little flash. There are some noticeable mould lines but they were quick and easy to clean.

Praise upon praise then, any downsides? Yes. There’s one obvious one that I mentioned right at the start. I bought Genbu at £18.60, and on the Zenit Miniatures site it retails at €19.95. Nice as the model is, that is a hefty price compared to many competitors on the market and will sadly put potential customers off buying it. The model comes with nice packaging – a padded cardboard box with a full colour sleeve around it. I can’t help seeing this as somewhat too much. I don’t know the actual packaging costs, but this grates on me a from an ecological viewpoint as well. I’ve added a photo below showing the actual space the model takes up vs. the size of the box. Then again, the lovely packaging did catch my eye, but it’s a very rare case that I actually by something from a brick and mortar store. If I was mail ordering Genbu, the shipping would add an extra €5 to the price, bringing it to €24.99 and probably keeping me from buying it. Then again, I know a lot of people are used to spending lots more on a single mini than I am, so your mileage may vary!

Click for a larger version

A smaller box maybe?

As usual, I added a size comparison picture. I also added a 28mm miniature, as Genbu is intended to be a large creature in that scale.

L to R: Pacific Rim Heroclix Knifehead, em4, Genbu, Reaper CAV Weasel

L to R: Pacific Rim Heroclix Knifehead, em4, Genbu, Reaper CAV Weasel

Overall verdict: Genbu is pricey, but you do get a very nice model for your money. Good, clean sculpting and very nice casting with (mostly) well fitting parts mean that you won’t pull your hair out putting the model together. If you’re on the lookout for a great giant turtle monster to spice up your games, whether they’re giant monster ones or something else, you could do far worse. Also, if you leave out the tail, this is the nicest Gamera in miniature form you’ll probably find.

You can get Genbu direct from Zenit Miniatures.


Pre-painted buddies

February 23, 2014

Two more additions to my Pacific Rim project, which is pretty much complete when it comes to miniature acquisitions. Now all I need to do is start actual work on the project instead of just buying things. That’s not entirely true, actually, as I’ve got a fair few buildings put together already! More about those in a later post.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

First up is Sasha Hammer. It’s a Heroclix mini, and the character portrayed is apparently an enemy of Iron Man’s. Just so you know. The mini itself is actually very nice, and fits the Pacific Rim aesthetic. With a slightly forward leaning pose, bulky upper body and reverse-jointed legs, the model gives off an air of menace. Sizewise it’s comparable to the other mechs I have, see end of post.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Joining the kaiju side is Zorog. Part of the Monsterpocalypse line, Zorog is an impressively large model. Most of the Monsterpocalypse (or “Monpoc” as it’s often called) minis are too cartoony to use in serious giant monster gaming, but Zorog fits in nicely – even with his massive pincers. Tall and bulky, Zorog received a larger 50mm base as opposed to the 40mm ones on (under?) the rest of the cast.

Both of these miniatures are actually quite nice as far as pre-paints go, and the vinyl is quite rigid. Of course they will be repainted, but if you were feeling lazy, they could be used as is. Both were fairly easy to pop off their bases.

Here’s a comparison pics to illustrate their size compared to my earlier purchases:

L to R: Sasha Hammer, Reaper CAV Weasel, Zorog, Pacific Rim Heroclix Scunner

L to R: Sasha Hammer, Reaper CAV Weasel, Zorog, Pacific Rim Heroclix Scunner

Now to actually get painting!


CAV mechs by Reaper – a review

February 6, 2014

As part of my Pacific Rim project (see previous posts) I ordered some mechs from Reaper Miniatures‘ CAV line. They were such nice models that I figured I’d review them for the benefit of other hobbyists as well.

By way of disclaimer I have to say that I know nothing about the CAV: Strike Operations game, so I’ll be reviewing these purely from a “giant robots to be used in Pacific Rim style gaming” point of view. I’ll happily take the liberty of interpreting the designs as I view them, so vents might become guns and so on!

All the miniatures are sculpted by Chris Lewis, and have integral metal bases. I’ve glued them to 40mm plastic bases. There were no major casting issues, only minor mould lines and very little flash on some models. All except one of the models are four part castings consisting of torso, legs and two arms. The parts fit together nicely on all the models.

You can find all the miniatures in Reaper’s online store. Prices are from approximately 7.50 EUR to 8.30 EUR.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Hawk has a strong Transformers vibe, mostly due to the chest reminiscent of Optimus Prime. Hawk stands at around 49mm from the bottom of his soles to the tips of the things on his back. I’m not entirely sure what they are, although their design and the mech’s name suggest some sort of jet engines. They might be weapons, too. Anyone more familiar with the game, feel free to comment! Hawk’s smallis stature made me put it on a washer to give him a slight height boost. Of all the models in this review, Hawk might be my least favourite one – it’s just a bit boring. Hawk is the exception to the “models come in four parts” rule, as his back..things add an extra two parts.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

If Hawk was Transformers, Spitfire is Gundam. With sharp edges, reverse jointed legs and sloping armour, this one is the most high tech looking of the selection, and the first word that springs to mind is “sleek”. Spitfire isn’t too tall, standing at approximately 47mm from the bottom of his soles to the top of its head. This is a lovely, lovely design, and one of my favourites. Spitfire’s bracers have hollows that I envision as weapon barrels or housings for retractable weapons.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Weasel reminds me of an old boxer with its arched back, long arms and broad shoulders. The somewhat retro pose and design further reinforce this thought. Weasel is surprisingly characterful for a giant robot! While Weasel only stands at around 43mm or so. However, the squat design with the head a part of the torso makes the model look bigger than it is. There are four barrels on Weasel’s chest, and the pose suggests that they’re about to fire something. A bit like this piece from Pacific Rim:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The first impression I got from Hemi was “lanky”. With a fairly short torso and long legs, it reminds me of an ent from the LotR movies. Of course this ent is metal and has a pod of six rockets on the right shoulder, which makes a slight difference. There are also four barrels/vents on its chest, a searchlight on the left shoulder and two fins on its back. There’s something very menacing and purposeful in the design. Hemi is roughly 46mm tall.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Dauntless might be my favourite of the lot. 50mm tall, clunky, bulky and swinging two massive fists, Dauntless is definitely the Cherno Alpha of  this group. In addition to the very heavily built legs, Dauntless has two cannons on its shoulders. While the mech is only a few millimetres taller than the rest, it’s roughly 15mm wider than Hemi for example. You can really see the difference in the comparison pictures below. The size combined with the gorilla-like stance makes Dauntless look believably brutal.


Click for a larger version

Waraxe is the tallest of the models reviewed, at a whopping 56mm. As the name suggests, the mech carries a large axe. No, seriously. It’s a giant robot wielding a giant axe. How’s that for awesome! In addition to its namesake axe, the robot has a shoulder cannon as well as another gun in its left hand, reminiscent of a tonfa (aka nightstick). It has a slimmer build than Dauntless, and to my eye it looks a lot like a cylon from the new edition of Battlestar Galactica. The shoulder guards on Waraxe bug me a little bit, as they’re completely flat on the inside lending them an unfinished look.

Overall verdict: Well, these are some fine models. While writing the review I found it surprisingly difficult. Having never been into giant robots as a genre, I didn’t have many things to compare these to. I bought them for use in my Pacific Rim project, and for that they will be lovely as they’re a very characterful bunch. With good casting quality and nice sculpting, the main risk here would be boring designs for the robots, but that has been avoided here. Well ok, Hawk is a little boring, but he can be the exception to the rule. While I have a very specific use for the models, I can see them getting use in plenty of contexts and scales, so if you’re looking for some nice giant robots, you could do far worse than these.

The comparison pictures show the size of the mechs compared to each other. I also threw in some Pacific Rim Heroclix kaiju, as I figured there might be interest.


L to R: Weasel, Dauntless, Hawk


L to R: Waraxe, Dauntless, Hemi


L to R: Waraxe, Spitfire, Hemi

L to R: Heroclix Knifehead, Spitfire, Heroclix Scunner

L to R: Heroclix Knifehead, Spitfire, Heroclix Scunner




Pacific Rim project

January 11, 2014

© Warner Bros.

Last year, I saw an awesome film. That film was Pacific Rim, and it is the story of huge piloted robots punching giant monsters in the face with rocket-powered fists. It really struck all the right chords in its blend of cheesy, cool and childish, immature fun.

It’s none too surprising, that I quickly started turning the idea of gaming the film or something similar around in my head. I never did anything with the thought, though, so it was buried under a pile of other half-formed ideas. However, when I received the movie on blu-ray for Christmas and watched it again, the project again bubbled up…

…you know where this is going, right? It’s another project! Likely to provide endless fun and remain unfinished, just like all good projects. Dear reader, I give to you…Pacific Rim in 6mm or so! Sure, it’s not a very imaginative title, but it’s very descriptive.

The Game

Utopia’s warpg approach – a combination of tactical miniatures combat and role-playing sequences – has worked wonderfully, and I’m sure I’ll go that way again here. The Pacific Rim setting provides great opportunities for both. There loads of drama potential with the different pilot teams simultaneously co-operating and somewhat competing on kill counts. Then there’s all the “argggh, my brother is dead”-melodrama and such.

The Rules

This was an easy call. I love the Flying Lead rules system by Ganesha Games, and the company produces another two sets of rules that perfectly fit what I’m doing: Mighty Monsters and Samurai Robots Battle Royale. The first one contains rules for gigantic monsters and the other for huge robots. They’re a perfect match for what I’m doing – there are even ready-made stats for a few of the Pacific Rim jaegers (giant robots). If the Utopia campaign is any indication, the rules will make for a nice, cinematic game. The rules also include the possibility to create your own monsters and robots, which will come in handy.

The Miniatures

The best part of any project, of course. I’m looking to keep this project very manageable, as the Utopia game is running simultaneously and this will be more of a side project. What this means is that I’m looking at around six or so jaegers and a similar number of kaiju – monsters, that is. For me, this is a foray into new territory: 6mm scale miniatures. At least I’m thinking it’s 6mm. Shows how much I know.

Anyway, I’m basically drawing from a single source for my jaegers: Reaper Miniatures’ CAV line. Here are my picks:

cav_weasel cav_hemi cav_waraxe cav_dauntless cav_hawk cav_spitfire

I love how the models are really characterful. They’ll of course receive cool names, interesting crews and things like that, but they already tell a story just by existing. A bit like Cherno Alpha. No, really, don’t these machines simply get you thinking about their stories? Combined with this jaeger name generator, one of those just might be Helios TornadoShrike Brigand, Emerald Havoc or Lucky Diablo…and this is why I love new projects.

The kaiju are more of a challenge. They have a really unique look in the film, but luckily I’m not much of a purist. So far I’ve come up with the following:

knifehead scunner

The two minis above are official Pacific Rim clix minis. They should be about the right size for this project.


This is a stone elemental by Reaper Miniatures. While it looks nothing like the two monsters above, I have a feeling that it might be possible to paint it to resemble not stone, but thick hide and plates of bone. We’ll see! I love the sheer brute strength the model radiates. 



The Teraph and the Seraph are from Privateer Press’ Hordes line. They’re cheerfully original looking, with multiple limbs and eyeless heads. I can see them getting thrown around in densely populated urban areas.

The challenge in finding suitable minis for the kaiju is that they shouldn’t be too readily recognizable as something else. This efficiently rules out most things like Tyranids and monsters from D&D and the Cthulhu mythos. If any of you readers come up with good ideas, I’m all ears.

The Terrain

I’ve decided to make the terrain on the cheap. This will probably mean a lot of paper terrain, which is luckily readily available for free. I’m tempted to build a seashore piece, as in Pacific Rim the kaiju wade out of the ocean (to attack cities on, you know, the Pacific Rim). I might add in some pre-cut mdf or cardboard terrain too, as there are some pretty sweet bridges and the like available. I’ve long been wanting to use some gloss effect paints, and painting water is a good use for them.

So here’s my first hype post about an upcoming project. The first minis have been ordered, so this is officially underway. Feedback welcome as usual!


Big spender me

November 10, 2013

I haven’t bought a lot of miniatures recently, but I have pledged to a few Kickstarters. A short recap:

Reaper Miniatures Bones 2

This was actually a joint pledge with people from our D&D group. The game has been going on for years, and we’re using a varied collection of miniatures and Descent board game pieces. We figured that a selection of generic fantasy stuff wouldn’t do any harm, although it’ll take ages before we actually get the minis. All the more reasons to keep the game going! Bones 2 was of course massively funded, making over $3M with almost 15000 people joining in. While most of the minis will find use in role-playing games, there are a few lovely weird creatures in the Numenera range that’ll find their way into scifi games as well. Mashaaf the Great Old One is a nice example.


Prodos Games Alien vs Predator The Miniatures Game

To any reader of this blog it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I got in on this one. I was a bit hesitant at first – at £75+£10 for shipping it’s not pocket change. However, it looks like it’s taking off quite nicely, so there should be plenty of lovely free add-ons and the like on the way. I didn’t go for the bigger pledges, since I already have more Aliens, Predators and Colonial Marines than I have time to paint them. Still, I can’t really miss it, can I? It’s about time someone picked up the licence! From what I hear, Prodos Games has done a nice job on bringing back Warzone, so my hopes are reasonably high.


Anvil Industry AFTERLIFE

Anvil Industry is a small UK company mostly known for their 40K conversion parts and such. AFTERLIFE is a game of their own, which I mainly chose to back since I liked the look of the minis and because Anvil Industry seem like a nice, small company. Joel, one of the directors, basically sold me on the Kickstarter over on LAF simply by being a nice guy and being very open about their policies regarding their project. Not a bad job! Free shipping is a lovely, added bonus. There’s still six days left in the Kickstarter, so do consider joining in – £21 gets you six resin minis and a bunch of artwork and background material. I went in for £45, which gets me 19 minis, the background material and possible stretch goals.


That’s my Kickstarter world for now. Any other interesting ones out there?


From the painting desk #18 – A not-purple worm

September 22, 2012

After reviewing the Reaper Bones purple worm I was left with a sloppily washed model sitting on my desk. Since it was already somewhat started, I figured I’d paint it up properly. Not really wanting an actual purple worm, I went for an earthy palette for the colours.

As tends to happen to me, I was very lazy with the mould lines, and they ended up showing a bit too much for my liking. Something I might add to the review: on the soft plastic the mould lines are somewhat difficult to remove. Filing results in a mess, cutting easily takes away to much and scraping works, but not as well as with hard styrene. Of course due to the worm’s round surfaces and textures, mould line removing was more difficult and time consuming than usual.

A question has been raised on the nets about whether the Bones models can be painted without priming. I didn’t prime the model (apart from the wash) but instead started painting with the base colour – in this case GW’s Dryad Bark. The model took the paint without any issues, so I’d say that’s definitely a time and paint saver on the Bones range.

Click for a larger version

It’s a simple paint job, with progressively lighter brown drybrush layers over the Dryad Bark (GW’s Graveyard Earth, VGC’s Khaki, VGC’s Bonewhite and Elfic Flesh) followed by a wash of GW’s Devlan Mud. The teeth were painted individually with the idea of “the more the merrier”. The worm is based on a 50mm round plastic base and the moulded scenic base blends in nicely with my standard sand texture.

All in all, for all its simplicity, I think the finished model looks fine. It was very quick to do, which is nice considering I still have seven more to finish…


Bones Purple worm by Reaper – a review

September 12, 2012

Reaper Miniatures’ Bones line (the amazing Kickstarter success of which you’ve already probably read about) operates on a simple concept: take some of Reaper’s popular sculpts, have them cast in vinyl – or “bendy plastic” as it’s commonly known – and sell it for a very low price. In this review I take a look at my first Bones miniature – a purple worm.

The purple worm is a pretty iconic D&D monster. There’s something innately appealing and terrifying about a massive worm with a mouthful of big pointy teeth bursting out of the ground to nom on whatever it wishes. Just watch Tremors and you’ll know what I mean.

Reaper’s purple worm, sculpted by Michael Brower, is a pretty impressive model. At its highest point it’s almost 70mm tall, making it tower over regular 28mm minis. The mouth is approximately 20mm in diameter, meaning that the worm actually looks capable of devouring smaller creatures whole. The worm is dynamically posed, as it coils up from the ground. It stands on an integral scenic base – basically a pile of rocks showing the worm burrowing out of the ground. The model is quite sturdy on the integral base.

The prominent questions in my mind about the Bones range were about the material. I was somewhat suspicious about the bendiness, as well as the material’s capability of holding detail. I’m happy to say that in the case of the purple worm, I was positively surprised by both aspects. The bendiness of the material is there, but its effect is minimal due to the size and thickness of the worm. On thinner parts, like weapon hafts and the like, I can imagine the bendiness bothering me, but with the Purple worm it’s not an issue. As for the detail, while there is loss (I haven’t seen the original metal version apart from pictures), there is plenty of detail and texture on the model. It’s not comparable to metal or resin in terms of sharpness, but the overall effect is still good.

Below is a picture of the purple worm straight out of the blister…

Click for a larger version

…and after a quick black wash and white drybrush to bring out the detail.

Click for a larger version

The huge selling point of the Bones range is the price. Just to illustrate: the metal version of the purple worm (with visibly better detail) is listed on the Reaper website at $27.15. The same plastic model is also available as the pre-painted “great worm” for $6.99. The Bones version retails for $2.99 – a measly 11% of the price of the metal original. While some people will prefer the superior detail and heft of the metal model, that’s a massive price difference (I should know, having ordered eight of the Bones one). For a model of this size, $2.99 is a bargain. This size? Below is a size comparison with an em4 trooper.

EDIT September 19th 2012: It has been pointed out to me by two commenters (see comments below), that there isn’t a lot of difference in the level of detail between the Bones version and the metal version of the worm.

Click for a larger version

Overall verdict: The Bones purple worm is a great example of what the Bones range can deliver. A large model for a very low price, with a reasonable level of detail and minimal bendiness issues. If you’re looking for something like this – a giant killer worm, that is – and don’t want to spend loads and loads of money, then look no further. While it’s not (EDIT Sep 19th 2012: or is it? see my note above) metal or resin when it comes to detail, in this case it’s more than sufficient. The nature of the creature means it can be used in a variety of settings. It could easily be a Lovecraftian beast, something roaming the post-apocalyptic irradiated wasteland, a vicious alien creature on a far off planet, or…well, a purple worm in fantasy gaming.

You can get the purple worm directly from Reaper, or from various retailers. At the time of writing, the model retails for $2.99.

%d bloggers like this: