Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Illithid raiding party

Beautiful ain't it?  I thought so, and based on the quality of the Purple Wyrm I  took a punt on it.  I have to review this product.

Do not buy it.  It is not fit for purpose.

This product will not yield miniatures you can paint to a fine level and it most certainly will not give you playable miniatures if that is what you are after.

There is a golden rule in miniature sculpting.  Nothing finer than 1mm- and thicker if you can.  It is 101.  Day one.  First thing a caster asks you.  It is definitely the first thing as a product manager you should check.

 Now that rule is for pliable lead, not resin.  And filled resin (talc added)?  Absolutely not.  Go thicker in a support area, weapons and legs.

Okay, so I am a mini sculptor.  I can merrily sculpt eyelids on a halfling.  It is safe to say I have a light touch, and I do not think it a stretch to say I am an experienced, if not advanced modeller.

Every single model broke during assembly.

Every single one.

The duergars hammer was first, snapping in two in the middle as I ran a carving scalpel along the flash.  Yes, that weak.  As I glued this back together the spike snapped off, lost forever.  Then the handle again and I tweezered the hammer into place using accelerated superglue.  Okay, so I guess I can make a new hammer.  Uh, he doesn't go with any of my druergar minis in style, so I guess that would mean a long wait in my fix queue.  At least I have the mind flayers...

Nope.  Magician snapped in three places along his staff, crystal, magic bolt.

The Hyena mans toes snapped, his spear wrist (unpinnably thin) went. The shaft is gnawed through.   Now sculpt something that protrudes far, like a spear,  it must be reinforced because it is basically a lever. 


Here is the spear staff of the Gnoll stickman compared to a regular cocktail stick, just to give you an idea of total pisstake this kit offers.  See the nice casting on the spear?  This will break.  Not might.  Not 'if handled well'.  Will.

The brain eater you think would be fine.  It is in two bits, fore and aft.  Nope.  The arms snapped as I eased the model into the cradle and pushed the dab of glue at the belly closed with the tip of my finger.  A fingertip killed my braineater!  That is not even 1HP damage!

One by one the models disintegrated into my 'fix this at some point... probably when hell freezes over' pile.

"Oh, but Laney you must have a bad cast!"  No.  It isn't the resin.  I home cast resin.  Resin bends, and you can fill up to 50% with industrial talc and retain integrity- the problem is the sculpts.   

Pretty, yes- but they are all too thin to handle.  You cannot even drill and pin, there isn't room.  Drop one of these and god knows where your limbs will end up!

Sculptor, hang your head in shame.  You failed sculpting 101.  Why?  clearly you can sculpt.  These are... or at least where gorgeous sculpts when they left your desk.  But these are absolutely useless miniatures. Literally without use.  You can't assemble them, you can't handle them, you cannot play AD&D with them.  Fail.  Fail. Fail.  Take off your optimiser off.  Throw it away.  Feed your minis some more putty.

The sculpts need serious reworking and reinforcing in the masters, recasting and rereleasing if you want this product on the shelves. This is simply not good enough, especially for this huge price tag.  

I am going to skip the rest of the range unless they are large thick set creatures.  I suggest you do the same.

Grrrrrrrrrrr.  Teeth.


  1. I'm always puzzled by details you can't paint like on Tom Meier's sculpts or some of Bob Olley's but there's always a way to achieve something, now a model you can't repair or alter.... that's a "no go" for me. Wrong scale I guess.

    1. I hate details that are so tiny they could have only been sculpted with the aid of an optivisor. That means you need magnification to paint the damn things and the only way to appreciate the models is to blow the images up super huge. Then you're in the realms of painting for the internet rather than the eye.

    2. Oh I'm fully with you here and if you think that too given you're a damn skilled painter that says a lot !
      What I meant with "achieving something" was actually ignoring such details or letting the washes work their magic if they can ;)
      I can understand the appeal of super-hard-to-paint details for competitors or internet painters but models so fragile they threaten to break with just a breathe, that's something I dont expect anyone liking.

    3. I can't even understand how people work with an optivisor. I messes with my depth perception something chronic! Also, if you hold the mini at the right distance to focus you end up bashing the lens with the tools/brushes! Definitely right, Simon, sculpt/paint for the eye, not the camera/internetz!

    4. Painting for the internet. Great way to describe it stonecoldlead consider it stolen.

    5. I think Steve Buddle coined that term but I may be mis remembering!

    6. I gave my optivisor away, and replaced it with a twenty buck +3.00 reading glasses from the chemist. They do not dig into my nose or neck, are quick to clean and magnify just enough to remove eye strain. When I am cashed up I will get my optometrist to make some X3.5 mags.

  2. I think I painted a dark elf from this range. Came with a pre-broken in three places staff that was too thin to pin. I've seen equally insane design choices from other manufacturers as well. Flimsy spears, even banner poles (with sculpted banners!) cast in resin. Some sculptors may be brilliant at what they do but there's a difference between a one off sculpt and something that's going to have to go through the manufacturing process. The blame doesn't just lie with the sculptor either. There are people who have to OK the sculpts and of course there's the mould maker. Somewhere along the line these issues should be raised and rectified but I expect whoever has the final say is just clueless and tells everyone to work with what they've got. Seen that happen.

    1. I remember you posting about the dark elf on Frothers or OW forum maybe.

    2. There is a trend with modern sculptors, I can name a handful, who sculpt first, think casting / assembly/painting/handling later if at all. All brilliant at sculpting, but inconsiderate- In one person I know flatly arrogant ("it's my vision, dammit!")

      I come from the old school where form follows function. You keep the mould line in your mind at all times- if you can shift the pose or add a strategically positioned pouch to allow for casting, you do.
      Heck, I spend $$$ getting a Dwerg mould redone because an axe head had slightly worked away from the handle along the wire, making it easily snapped. Recast. The lot.

      Millions of miniatures exist that are cast in one piece and survive years of gaming. I doubt you can find many, say, Privateer Press minis that boast that durability and ease of assembly. Hell, I would buy many dozens of their figures right now if they where one or two pieces.

  3. Get your money back, Delaney.
    One the one hand these on the other Reaper Bones, but I have to admit I buy bones but I wont buy these thanks for the heads up.

  4. is this a case of digital sculpts again? ive seen lots of digital sculptors create models of infinite detail, to which they can also make the model to any ridiculous size to create said detail. thus not for 1 second considering what will happen when scaled down to 28mm and cast as an actual thing you can hold in your hand.

    1. I'm fairly sure these were all hand sculpted but I'm prepared to be proven wrong!

  5. Posting a bit late but I've painted the whole dark elf set from GF9. And compared to that set the details for the Illithid Raiding Party are chunky. After that I decided that I'd only get the large monsters. They assemble and paint fairly well... the Umber Hulk has some weaker joints but is still standing.

    In the end though these sets are marketed to gamers more than display painters, the choice of materials is wrong. In 30 years time there is certainly not going to be any collectors buying them off Ebay. Gaming or even assembly would have destroyed them by then.

  6. Seriously, those are that bad?

    I have some Chainmail figures from 2001 and they held up well over the years so it's suprising that these newer ones are so bad.

    I'm wondering after looking at that box image, if those sculpt's and moulds were originally designed for the material that they used to make the D&D miniatures range out of back in the mid 00's, you know the ones made of rubbery plastic and came randomly in boxes.

  7. If the broken warrior illithid is still sitting in a broken and will fix laterbox...I might have a good home for it...