Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Light Alliance Elves

Despite my misgivings after seeing some images of the Orion/Light Alliance Elves (ALL72004), I went ahead and ordered a set. The box art shows armored and helmeted elves reminiscent of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films, but the figures in the box are quite different.

My first impression was that these elves were tall, with really long legs, but all bowed out as if they were the overgrown spawn of Svetlana Pankratova and Publius Quinctilius Varus.

The set comes with four identical sprues of figures. They wear chainmail and leather armor, but unlike the box art they do not wear helmets. They stand about 28-30mm from the bottom of the foot to the top of the head, so scale out to about 7 feet tall. And while I said I liked my elves to be tall, these figures are just a little too much. If they had made them just 2mm shorter they probably would have looked more proportional, but as it is, I doubt I'll spend any money on Set 2 when it comes out.

Below are the five melee poses.

Next are five archer poses.

Lastly, a comparison with Caesar elves.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Undead Nellie

Compared above, are the HäT War Elephant (8023), and the Splintered Light Miniatures Skeletal War Mammoth (UNDE21). The HäT elephant is an African forest elephant which ranges from 7-8 feet at the shoulder, so the size of the figure is right on. The SLM mammoth however looks stumpy and dwarfish even for 15mm. The downward curving tusks are also not very mammoth-like.

Looking at some pictures of elephant skeletons, it seemed that the SLM mammoth could easily pass for a 20mm mammoth if something could be done about its legs. A mammoth can be anywhere from 9-15 feet at the shoulder.

Elephant: Shorter legs, so the rib cage appears lower to the ground.

Mammoth: The legs are long, so the rib cage appears higher.

Using my standard technique to embiggen figures, I cut off the legs where they joined the body. I then drilled holes in the body and glued some pins in place. I compressed the tibia to lengthen the bones, and then adjusted the pins to get the height I wanted for the skeletal mammoth. Instead of my standard procedure of drilling and gluing, followed by Kneadatite, I decided to try something different to re-attach the legs to the body this time.

The drilling process on thin pieces like limbs and bones is difficult and time consuming, while the glue and Kneadatite join is only just adequate. What I decided to do this time, was to join the parts with solder. It took a few attempts to get the soldering just right, but it turned out quite well I think.

I believe that part of the secret is that the two ends you are joining should be hot, though you have to be careful about melting your miniature. When the metal is cold, the solder just beads up, and will often just roll away. Solder seems to leave a solid join that does not have the slight flex of a Kneadatite join, so I like it a lot better. I'll finish by building up the bones with Kneadatite.

In addition, the SLM mammoth comes with a choice of three different heads, so I'm going to drill out the neck and install some rare earth magnets to allow swapping out the skull whenever I want a new look for the mammoth.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gasmask Couture

The chemical suit and gas mask are an indispensable part of the post-apocalyptic wardrobe, designed to provide protection against contamination by radioactive, biological or chemical substances which would otherwise cause sickness, death, or turning into a zombie.

There are not a large number of gas mask wearing figures in 1/72, but I've assembled a small group of compatible figures for this blog entry.

First up are the Elhiem Soviet NBC troops. The first figure carrying the RPG is wearing the OZK chemical suit, but the others are dressed in what appears to be the L1 chemical protection suit. I painted some of the troops in mint green as shown on the Elhiem website, but after doing a little research, I could only find images of the OZK suit in that color. All the images of L1 suits showed that they are gray. Though there was mention of green L1 suits, what type of green was unclear since I could find no definitive pictures. The figures are very nice, but being 20mm miniatures they are a bit on the short side. However, it's not something that will really be noticed on the tabletop.

Next is a general comparison of gas masked figures. The first figure is Rose from Hasslefree Miniatures (HFA039J). She is intended as a 28mm grade school kid, but passes easily for a 1/72 middle school kid. She wears a school blazer and skirt with her gas mask, though it's unclear why she has the gas mask in the first place. The next pair are two figures from the NATO Pilots and Ground Crew set (ESCI 243), followed by two figures from the NATO Ground Crew set (Airfix 01758). One of the Elhiem figures is next, and last is a 1/76 figure from the much maligned (and rightfully so) German Infantry with Gasmasks set (Fujimi 76028). The plastic figure sets have all been reviewed at PSR.

Some interesting pictures of people in gas masks during the cold war and in general, can be found at Dark Roasted Blend.