Archive for September, 2014

I’m not even going to look at when I last did a blog post because I know it was a very long time ago. Life in 2014 has been very hectic and my hobby time has revolved more around buying and selling miniatures than anything else. Disappointing to say the least but sometimes that’s just how things go.

Ok, excuses over, where am I? I’m still slowly finishing off collecting my pre-slotta Dark Elf army off and I’m currently, very slowly, trying to put a unit of 25 Gnomes for my Dwarf army using primarily Grenadier sculpts. These seem to be fairly hard to get hold of so progress is rather slow with only three collected in six months, it could take me a while to build that unit of 25! Because of this I started to look around for other options. Although they’re very easy to come by I don’t want to use Citadel Gnomes because I’m not keen on them and I don’t think that they’ll mix well with my Grenadier Dwarves. So, I had a look around and nothing seemed to catch my eye enough to make me want to buy a unit of them. However, I did like the look of two Reaper miniatures; Ingrid and Elliwyn Heatherlark. I thought that Ingrid would make a good unit leader and Elliwyn would work as a musician because she has a horn on her belt. I wasn’t too keen on the price of these models, more so given that they might be too big for the unit they were joining (the Grenadier Gnomes are tiny), and then I noticed that they were available as part of the Reaper Bones range for just over £1 each. Hmm.. tempting!

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I’ve been aware of Reaper Bones since their Kickstarter was first announced and I really liked the idea of a one piece cast model for a very cheap price. It does go against the grain to buy polymer plastic instead of metal but at just over £1 each they were worth a punt. Two days later they turned up and my immediate thoughts were positive. The detail looked good enough and size wise Ingrid was fine but Elliwyn would require being removed from her base which shouldn’t be a big deal.

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However, I discovered how horribly bendy they are. In the below picture I’m barely applying any pressure to the sword arm:

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I was expecting them to be a similar plastic to the old Citadel Warlock of Firetop Mountain plastics (I think it’s because of the white polymer plastic) and instead they reminded me of cheapo 70’s plastic toy soldiers, you know the ones with the really bendy rifles? Yes, them. The only problem with Ingrid was how bendy her sword was, it’s was so weak I replaced it with something out of my bits box:

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Elliwyn on the other hand has very bendy arms and her ankles are very weak. I realise that the models I bought are small, and cheap, but even so Elliwyn wasn’t far off from being bits box fodder.

As I’m not one to throw things out, I decided to convert Elliwyn to improve the strength of the model while at the same time giving my unit a standard bearer. The first thing I had to do was to remove the mold lines from the model. This is a different experience to the usual scraping plastic models require as I had to carefully carve the mold lines from the model. This isn’t a problem with a good small sharp blade but there were still some fiddly bits like in-between the fingers.

Next, I carefully removed the solid base and carved it into a slotta base using a sharp hobby knife. This was an easy process, even with the models bendy ankles. Removing the shield was also fairly easy even though her arm would bend away from the pressure of the knife. If you’ve ever carved slightly bendy Green Stuff it was much like that. I glued on a Citadel shield that was also big enough to glue the shield firmly in place against the knapsack on her back securing her arm in place.

The next step was to cut her sword off and replace the hilt so she is holding brass rod for a standard. I had to ponder this because I wasn’t convinced that I could successfully drill through such a small hand that was made out of a rubbery polymer plastic. Instead I cut the hilt out of her hand then placing the tip of the craft knife at the top of her hand and drilled a hole using the tip of a craft knife. This worked very well and I had a neatly removed hilt plus created a decent hole in her hand to push the brass rod through. Ok, the problem was that I only had 2mm brass rod and the hole look about 1mm. I didn’t want to wait until I’d ordered some 1mm brass rod and my metal Gnomes are all holding weapons with hafts that are about 2mm thick. Instead, I decided to push the 2mm brass rod through the hole thinking that I’d probably have to cut where the thumb joins her hand and this is where I got a pleasant surprise.. The hole stretched and I managed to feed the brass rod through it. Even better it looked “right”. I drilled a hole in the plastic base and fed the rod through that meaning that I’d made the bendy figure about as strong as you’d expect a plastic figure to be and the right height to the other models when ranked up:

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I’d read that the Reaper polymer plastic doesn’t require undercoating and that paint applied to it is almost impossible to rub off. My Vallejo black undercoat took to the model very well but it did rub off if you put effort into it, as you’d expect with any model.

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In review, I was pleasantly surprised and disappointed in equal measure with the models. I realise that these models are aimed more at the budget dungeon crawl/RPG market than the wargames market so your mileage will vary with them. I’m still not keen on how bendy the models are and the Elliwyn Heatherlark was only rescued from ending up in my bits box with a bit of, admittedly easy, converting. I guess the large models in the Reaper Bones range won’t suffer from being bendy or it’ll be a less noticeable. The detail is fairly good but there are areas of soft definition, typically on the chainmail sections and hair. I will have to see how they paint up and compare them against other budget plastic models I own. Although I spent less than this, the average price for the two models I bought is nearly £2 each which feels expensive for what you’re getting. I’m not sure if I’d buy any more of them unless the only way to get a particular sculpt was from the Reaper Bones range.

Finally, I also got around to basing these:

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But more on those next time. 🙂

 

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