Category Archives: 28mm SciFi

HYDRA MINIATURES, Retro Raygun

Hydra Miniatures Retro Raygun pupl scifi rules

I was excited to learn last weekend that Hydra Miniatures is in the final editing and layout phase of a forthcoming set of rules for their pulp science fiction universe.  Retro Raygun: Action Adventure in the Atomic Age is currently scheduled for release in August 2014, and “will feature complete force lists for the Galacteers, Robot Legion and the Valkeeri.”

Hydra Miniatures warbot, pulp scifi

The announcement was actually quite fortuitous.  I have been spending part of my weekends photographing the complete catalog of miniatures for Mannikin Studios in preparation for our official relaunching (more on that later), and for testing purposes have also included into these sessions some of my painted legacy models.  Last weekend, one of those models just happened to be my warbot by Hydra Miniatures.  Expect more pictures and updated painting guides for the Hydra Miniatures painted models in my collection some time in the near future.

 

KICKSTARTER, Backing the Underdogs

COUNTERBLAST
I’m currently backing three projects on Kickstarter: Shadows of Esteren: Tuath, COUNTERBLAST, and World of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral.  None of these are mainstream brands, but based on the quality of their products and design alone they should be more well known than they are.

Shadows of Esteren is the most successful of this group.  With three very successful Kickstarters under their belt, the Esteren team has built up a reputable brand and can rely on a strong customer base to propel their projects along at this point.  I don’t foresee myself ever having time to actually play this RPG, but as an example of artistic design and deeply imaginative world-building, it has few contenders.  In many ways it reminds me of the efforts Rackham put into similar products when they were still leaders of the avant-garde in this industry.

COUNTERBLAST.  My preferences in miniatures have always been eclectic.  I don’t obsess about a particular scale, probably because I rarely  game, and I’ve never been particular about a single genre over the others.  In recent years, however, I’ve noticed a growing trend toward historicals, pulp, and more old-school flavors.  I’ve also started moving away from highly detailed miniatures in favor of models that are simpler in design.  Currently, for example, I’m working on some Copplestone Back of Beyond and High Adventure models, a Crusader Miniatures Carthaginian army, Warlord Soviets, Flames of War Soviets, Gripping Beast/Ebob Normans, and Baueda Vikings for DBA.  COUNTERBLAST appealed to me in part due to its apparent influence from Star Frontiers, which scratches a nostalgic itch, but also the simple yet characterful designs of the models, something that also distinguishes some of the models noted above.

COUNTERBLAST - Miniatures Game -- Kicktraq Mini

World of Twilight.  I first encountered Mike Thorp’s work when he won a sculpting contest on Frothers for his unique Traveling Court of the Brownie King model.  I’ve been following his related Twilight project ever since.  I was lucky to get one of the old Twilight starter kits when they were still available from Hasslefree, and have collected the odd model from his range from time to time.  The Twilight Kickstarter has rekindled my interest in a big way, and I count myself lucky that I got in at the early bird level.

World of Twilight
World Of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral -- Kicktraq Mini

JOEK MINIS, Emerald City Guards

JoeK Minis recently released three new models for their zO range of figures.  The models were sculpted by Bob Naismith and retail for £16.50 for the complete set.

VICTORIA MINIATURES, New Models and Heads

Victoria Miniatures has just released two new sets of models and a pack of heads for their modular kits (or anything else you might find a use for).

Victoria is on something of a roll right now.  A new store and several releases in the last few weeks.  If you like high quality miniatures and something a little out of the ordinary, you can’t go wrong with Victoria’s wares.

HYDRA MINIATURES, Robot Queen

Hydra Miniatures recently posted an update on their website that included a preview of this fantastic model.  Mechanika, Queen of the Robot Legion was sculpted by John Winter, and will be a part of Hydra’s Retro Raygun line of miniatures.  Be sure to visit their website to read more about what they have planned for the coming months.

I’m a huge fan of Hydra (proof!).  Not just Hydra, but other companies devoted to making simple, quality, well-conceived models.  I’m thinking specifically of companies like Artizan, Pulp Figures, Copplestone Castings, TinMan Miniatures, etc.  My equal appreciation for Rackham models, which are fiddly and filled with copious detail, and the likes of Hydra’s wares has been difficult for me to reconcile in discussions I’ve had on the matter, but so be it.  When this model is released, my Hydra collection will grow a little more.

 

 

MECHA, MC2 France / Tetraedge

Andrew May, one of the crafty miniatures sleuths that frequent Frothers, came upon some interesting information, today, on Pascal Blanche’s Deviant Art page.  Regarding the image above, Pascal wrote:

a design i made for a game company ( MC2 France / Tetraedge ) with Jean bey one year ago. Unfortunatly the project stopped, but we had great fun creating it.The model was designed to become a70mm figurine with removable/customisable parts. the prototype you see there has been printed by the talented guys @ moddler. The end result was pretty detailed considering the size .

This is a surprise.  I’ve known for about three years that Jean Bey was developing a new miniatures game of some sort, but assumed it fizzled and died and never dreamed anything like this would surface one day.  Now that I’ve seen this model, I think it’s a shame it will never go to production.  I’m not really interested in mechas, but this is a wonderful piece.

For those of you who don’t know, Jean Bey was the infamous creative director that many blame for Rackham’s demise.  I’ve heard lots of stories, but wasn’t there myself; I’m decidedly neutral on the subject, and there my opinions shall rest.

Say, Speaking of Andrew May, have you seen his cloud giant for Otherworld?

REVIEW, Predastore’s Bone-Hunter

This is the second of a two-part review of the 28mm predator models currently available from Predastore.

Predastore has been fortunate with the talent they’ve been able to recruit to sculpt models for their catalog.  Sculpted by industry veteran Allan Carrasco, the Bone-Hunter predator is no exception.  (If you’re not familiar with Allan’s work already, be sure to check out his website; doubtless there’s something there you’ll recognize).

Unlike the Spear Hunter predator featured in my last review, the Bone-Hunter was cast in a cream resin.  Resin recipes can vary widely, and many contain additional ingredients like ceramic base materials (the item description for Hasslefree’s Artemis provides some information on this).  In the case of the Predastore models in my possession, I can’t detect any significant difference between the two resins used to cast the Bone-Hunter and Spear Hunter models.  The quality of both is excellent.  There are no air bubbles or gross miscasts; and any flash is so papery thin, that mold lines are minimal if not present at all.

Originally I wasn’t convinced by the compatibility of the “bone-hunter” theme with a race of aliens as technologically savvy as the predators, even knowing that this character was probably meant as a representative of their species in “prehistoric” days.   I’m over that, however.  I think the theme for this model synthesizes perfectly with the modus operandi of the race as whole: the devotion to challenging hunts in which predator and prey are *almost* equally matched, especially when that involves reducing technological advantages of any kind to a minimum in order to maximize the primal elements of the hunt.

The most impressive element on this model, however, is the face.  It’s absolutely perfect.  The amount of detail Allan was able to achieve in such a small area is remarkable.  On one level, that might make this model more of a challenge to paint; but it won’t be impossible by any means, and the reward will be worth it.

I have just one critique about this model.  As with the Spear Hunter predator, I think the locks are too much like hair.  In this sculpt, they’re “pulled back,” suggesting, together with the pose, a sudden and very rapid move forward.   The locks of the aliens in the films, however, were far too fleshy and weighty to be affected by such movement.  That being said, this is a very minor detail, and one that wouldn’t dissuade me from purchasing one.

As with all Predastore 28mm offerings, the Bone-Hunter is a limited edition model and is available from their website for about $21.00 USD (price includes worldwide shipping).