Mounties to the Rescue!

| Monday, 18 August 2014 | 2 comments |
Pulp Figures by Bob Murch
Product: The Scarlet Patrol
Line: Yukon Menace: Northland Adventures
Manufacturer: Pulp Figures
Designer: Bob Murch
Where to buy: Pulp Figures

The Scenario

While running games, I frequently like to ask myself "What if…" questions. Which leads us to today's post.

Victorian Science Fiction as a genre often takes place in and around London or within Great Britain. Influential literature supports this assumption—from Bram Stoker's Dracula to Gordon Dahlquist's Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. A frequent visitor in this genre is, of course, is the local constabulary; the Metropolitan London Police and their ubiquitous "bobbies" make regular appearances to either save the day or to mess things up for our heroes.

But with Jack the Ripper, Moriarty, and Edward Hyde prowling the streets, London really must be a crowded place to do nefarious business. Move to Canada, of course! Natural resources, industry, railroads, gold…and Mounties. But do they always get their man?

If you're thinking that the Canadian Mounties are not Victorian enough, think again. Established in 1873 as the North West Mounted Police, by the 1890s the Baden-Powell styled Stetson was being introduced as a more practical alternative than the standard pith helmet normally used by cavalry units (Mounties, after all, were "mounted").

About the Figures

Three members of the Scarlet Patrol on stakeout!
Bob Murch is a relatively well known designer—having done a fair amount of work for RAFM in the past. He sculpted their Call of Cthulhu line, and won several awards in doing so.

Over all, his designs are sturdy and solid; while some sculptors excel at abundant detail (Werner Klocke being a good example), Murch amply demonstrates elegance in simplicity. The details that define each character at there; extraneous and distracting embellishments are not. Some of the other lines DO have substantial detail, but I will review those at a later time.

Pulp Figures are generally sold as units of five unique miniatures, each with its own personality, pose and style. Although designed for use in the Rugged Adventures RPG (free to download), these figures would be a great addition to any RPG in which North American character would be welcome.

Bob Murch's love of the Pulp genre and of gaming in its own right show through in each of his figures. Along with the standard pulp-style heroes and heroines, there are also plenty of military units to satisfy your next invasion of Istanbul with Rocket Troops.

Pros

Come out with your hands up!
(The house is Flying Tricycle, now defunct.)
  • Superb casting. One could almost start painting straight out of the mail.
  • Economical. At $15.50 per package (usually five miniatures), the cost is quite reasonable.
  • Personality. Personality goes a long way. From expressions to pose, each figure—despite the fact that each is part of a police unit—is completely different from another.

Cons

I've tried hard to find fault with anything from Pulp Figures. When I do, I'll post it here first, but in the meantime, be confident that you'll be getting first-rate service and products from Pulp Figures.
Looks like I forgot to paint a few! Fresh out of the package, these figures require very little prep work.

British Naval Brigade: Ironclad Miniatures

| Saturday, 16 August 2014 | 2 comments |
UK based Ironclad Miniatures makes a range of 28mm VSF figures.  In particular they have a great range of resin vehicles inkling submarine and aeronefs but more on those another time.

Today's review regards their British Naval Brigade Boarding Party figures.  These differ from other manufacturer's figures in that are heavily armoured - in steel plate carapaces and Ned Kelly style bucket helmets.  I think they look awesome!

There are 3 packs in the range, namely:

British Naval Brigade Boarding Party No.1: Four different figures equipped for close combat with pistols and cutlasses

British Naval Brigade Boarding Party No.2: Four different figures equipped for ranged combat with carbines

British Naval Brigade Boarding Party Command: Two stout looking leader types

I purchased a pack of each to give me a 10 man unit.  I like that all the poses are different and give good variety to the boarding party.  The figures were clean, crisp and easy to paint.  The nature of the armour means that there isn't a heap of detail on the figures, but neither is it needed.  I was very happy with how mine came out in winter blues styled uniforms, though the Ironclad site has some in tropical whites (pic at the bottom of the post).
Shortfalls: None other that there are no other figures available like support weapons.  The moustache on the Officer bugs me a little too, instead of a naval styled beard - but thats just me being pedantic!


If you are after something a little different for your Naval Brigades then I highly recommend these figures.
Party No2 from The Ironclad site here

Rise of the Automatons!

| Monday, 11 August 2014 | 0 comments |
Product: Automatons
Line: Secret Science and Victorian Science Fiction
Manufacturer: Parroom Station Miniatures
Designer: Robert N. "Bob" Charrette
Where to buy: Brigade Games

In keeping with the theme of reviewing miniatures, I would like to present a few automatons to tickle your imagination. Whether you are playing Victorian Science Fiction, Steampunk, or Pulp as your genre in whatever your favorite game system happens to be, I find—as a Game Master—that throwing an unexpected foe that doesn't look like something your players have encountered before is a marvellous way to provide a bit of shock value and sets them scrambling for solutions.

While there are many terrific foundries out there that provide affordable miniatures in volume, I would really like to showcase some of the smaller enterprises that produce some high-quality work. I hope that you can find a place at your table for these products and by doing so, encourage these and other designers and foundries to continue producing great products.

Backstory

Parroom Guardsman
Guardsman Automaton on strike-breaking duty
I wanted to introduce a new—to my friends—game system and setting; my friends are pretty much tied to the D&D/Pathfinder fantasy genre, whereas I'm not particularly dogmatic and I love trying new things. My experiment met with mixed results—I may review the setting and rule system in a future post—but I'm left with many great figures.

For the particular adventure that I ran, I needed several automatons in a few different configurations. For the standard sentries, I chose Parroom's Manikin Automatons and for the last battle, I chose Parroom's Guardsman Automaton.

Notes

Just a few thoughts and comments as to what I did and why. If you're curious, I used N-gauge railroad decals for numbers. Since automatons are mass-produced, each should have a serial number, right? Besides, I could never paint them as nicely.

Parroom Manikins
Parroom Manikins. Note the different heads and exhaust pipes.
I planned on using the Manikins in the Deadlands setting in which railroads often employ automatons as guards and sentries. With that in mind, I painted each of these with the idea that each should liveried and as railroad work equipment, each should look beaten to hell. After all, work train consists only appear shiny on the day they're delivered…after that, they rust, become dented, and lose paint here and there.

Each figure has a plain flat base. Using epoxy resin, I mounted each to a slotta base for stability and custom basing details.

Pros

  • This may seem like a minor issue, but these are all remarkably well cast. From the almost lack of flashing to the perfect alignment of the molds, the appearance is nearly flawless straight from the mail and these minis require only a minimal amount of prep work before painting.
  • The automaton figures from the Secret Science line (Manikins and Guardsman) also feature several heads and exhaust pipes to allow for a bit more customization. Of course, you could make all of them look the same if you desire, but sometimes competing railroad companies have their own standards and requirements.
  • Each figure has a great deal of personality, all the more impressive given their mechanical structure.
  • Manikins come in packs of five if you need to build a fireteam or a squad quickly.
  • Each figure is produced in white metal. Some may prefer resin or—Great Scott!—plastic, but in my mind metal is far preferable. Besides, using metal is in keeping with the Victorian theme; Wikipedia suggests that their use would be more appropriate in gaming applications set after 1936. At the very least.

Cons

Parroom Clockwork Soldier
Clockwork soldier with union organizer.
Honestly, there are so few cons that I had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for these. Take each with a grain of salt and a tongue in cheek.
  1. Gluing the smokestack exhausts was a pain in the neck when they did not stay in place. There's nothing more frustrating than gluing ones fingers together only to find that the little pipe falls right off of the figure and lands somewhere on the floor. Perhaps this speaks more to my technique and skill rather than the product itself. I'll let you know when my fingers separate…
  2. If you need it tomorrow, that's not going to happen. Lon at Brigade Games often does not have the parts in stock, which means that he needs to cast them the following weekend. On the other hand, he casts each of those figures just for me. ME! They're special, dammit!
In other words, there are no cons. 
Parrooms Automatons
Parroom's Automatons

Svarog Miniatures Bolshevik 800 Level

| Sunday, 10 August 2014 | 0 comments |
I recently spotted this figure. Looking at the rest of Svarog Miniatures range, it appears to be aimed more at the "Gothic Sci-Fi" market, but I think it has real potential for use in a Steampunk game...


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