Thursday, May 28, 2020


Yurians are the crustacean people of the D&D world that have evolved from the crabmen of the Fiend Folio to the Aldani of D&D 5E.

The original crabmen are only represented in miniature form by Citadel in their Fiend Factory line.

The Citadel figure is difficult to find, and from what I can tell, way too big to use for 1/72 scale.

Citadel also made a Crab Man as part of their C38 Chaos Beastmen line, which I think was previously known as the Bird Man from the C27 Chaos Beastmen line. But outside of having crab claws for hands, it isn't really crab-like.

In 15mm, Khurasan Miniatures makes Sponks that are similar to 2nd/3rd edition crabmen.

Each set comes with three different bodies, and six different claws. The models are designed with pins on the arms that fit into sockets in the body, allowing not only different combinations for the arms and bodies, but a degree of posability as well. Some of the holes did need to be drilled out a bit, but I appreciate the consideration that went into the design of these models.

For my three models, I copied the builds used for the Khurasan showcase pieces. The bases are really narrow, and one of the miniatures kept falling over after its claws were attached.

The Sponks also resemble the Mirelurks from the Fallout video game series. Though they lack the horseshoe crab-like tail, they seem to be about the right size for 1/72 scale.

Mirelurks first appeared in Fallout 3, and just like the Yurians of D&D, they underwent design changes with newer editions of the game.

In Fallout 4, Mirelurks start to look like Garthim from Dark Crystal. The design from Fallout 5 might have been inspired by London Fashion Week.

I still prefer the original Mirelurk from Fallout 3 myself.

Reaper makes an amazing giant crabman that looks very similar to the 2nd edition crabman as well, but I think it is entirely too large for 1/72 scale. Still, I'm tempted to get one to use as a giant mutated Nukalurk.

Bones Black 44110

Another type of Mirelurk is the Mirelurk Hunter. The original Hunter looked no different than other Mirelurks in Fallout 3. The new version in Fallout 4 is said to have mutated from lobsters.

It reminds me a lot of the Aldani from 5E, albeit with a regular lobster head instead of a humanoid head. I guess the Lobstrok from World of Warcraft might be a better Aldani analog, but I don't mind using them as Mirelurk Hunters.

The first figure is a regular Aldani (Tomb of Annihilation #13). The second one is armed with net and trident (Tomb of Annihilation #17). The third is a modified Aldani that I removed the net and trident from.

The last member of the crustacean-like Mirelurks is the Mirelurk Queen.

My own inclination is just to use the D&D CMG Chuul (Legendary Evils #09) or the Reaper Tidal Lurker (Bones Black 44099) as Queens.

The Tidal Lurker looks closer in appearance to the Queen in the video game, but neither are particularly similar. They do complement the Aldani though.

The sole non-crustacean member of the Mirelurk family is the Mirelurk King.

The King is said to be mutated from a snapping turtle, but it looks more like a Deep One in the concept art.

In the final render, it still looks very fish-like, and reminds me a lot of the Reaper Tiik Champion.

Bones 77187

I don't have this particular miniature, but I'll probably get one in the near future.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Item 37 & Flak 38

The Kugelpanzer is a German prototype vehicle purportedly sent to Manchuria for use by the Japanese Kwantung Army.

Because of the lack of information surrounding the vehicle, any number of half-baked theories regarding its use have circulated on the Internet. The silliest theory I heard was that it was supposed to be some sort of kamikaze weapon (because if it's some weird weapon used by the Japanese, then it must have been for kamikaze attacks).

My vote goes to the theory that the Kugelpanzer was intended to be a mobile pillbox.

MGM makes an Armored Machine Gun Nest (100/30) which is very similar conceptually.

The kit has three parts and two crew (the cart and crew were originally attached to casting blocks, but I cut them off before taking the picture).

The resin is a bit on the brittle side, so you need to be careful when removing the casting blocks. The armor cart looks good, but there are a lot of casting bubbles that need to be filled in.

The Type 97 machine gun is provided in two pieces. I was confused by the barrel at first (or lack thereof), thinking that the gun was not fully cast.

The other part on the sprue looked like an armored plate, but then I realized it was supposed to represent a barrel with jacket guard (even though the header card illustration shows an uncovered barrel).

The uniforms of the crew are not represented very accurately, and they look to be 1/76 scale. The sculpts are crude and riddled with casting bubbles.

I'm unable to find any information on this armored cart, so I'll hold off on painting it for now. However, I think that based on the header illustration and crew in the kit, the cart was used with a gunner inside, and another guy pushing it forward from the back.

Given the situation, I'm sure the guy tasked with pushing the cart was all in favor of giving the Kugelpanzer a try.

Anyway, there are two 1/72 Kugelpanzers that have been made—both in resin. One is by Attack, while the other is by Minairons.

The two kits are very similar, but I get the impression that the Attack kit is overscale.

I purchased the Minairons Kugelpanzer along with one of their Flakpanzer I Ausf. A from Noble Knight Games. The Kugelpanzer came in a header bag instead of a box.

The Kugelpanzer has three resin parts and a white metal MG34 barrel.

There is a small amount of clean up required around the pour gates, but the resin is good quality, making the job very easy. There was only one casting bubble, which I filled in with Kneadatite.

The machine gun is supposed to be attached to the small divot in front of the vehicle, but I carved out a rectangular hole so that the mount would not stick out from the hull so much.

The gun barrel is really soft, and with the tendency of the vehicle to tip forward, I think it's only a matter of time before the part breaks off.

I'd have to say that this was probably the fastest I've ever completed a model.

The Flakpanzer I kit contains a plastic sprue for the lower hull and a rear hull panel from their Panzer I Ausf. A kit. The upper hull and three fold down decks are made of resin, and look like they were cast from 3D printed masters. The 2cm Flak 38 has three resin parts and a white metal barrel. Three crew in white metal are also included.

The resin parts are all very thick and simplified, so this is definitely a wargaming piece. The resin is not as nice as the type used for the Kugelpanzer, and there were various casting flaws on all the pieces except the upper hull.

The crew are perfectly sized and well sculpted.

The thickness of the parts and the gunner's chair prevents the Flak 38 from pivoting a full 360°. To resolve this, I epoxied some ring magnets in the hull, and glued a metal rod to the Flak 38 to allow the gun to be pointed in different positions.

The upper hull does not fit onto the lower hull very well, and some of the plastic needs to be filed away.

I was considering using a replacement barrel for the Flak 38, but decided not to bother, given the nature of the model.

Then just to be contrary, I put some anti slip plate on the folding decks. I think that there probably shouldn't be any on the rear fold down deck, but it was already too late by the time I came across that information.

I think I messed up on the placement of the outer girder beams of the suspension, but I'll talk about that more in a future review of the actual Panzer I Ausf. A kit.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Mean Green Mother From Outer Space

Audrey II is the infamous plant monster from the musical and subsequent 1986 film Little Shop of Horrors (in the original 1960 film, it was known as Audrey Jr).

I'm pretty sure that Audrey II is what most people think of when they are asked to envision a carnivorous plant monster, and they show up frequently in the putz nurserys from the Lemax Spooky Town collection.

I wanted some standalone pieces, and was able to find some resin floral decor pieces that were very similar.

These pieces can be found on eBay under the search term "dollhouse venus flytrap", which is totally appropriate, since in the musical casting notes, Audrey II is described as a cross between a Venus flytrap and an avocado, while in the original film, Audrey Jr was a cross between a butterwort and a Venus flytrap.

The D&D version of the carnivorous plant is the Greenvise, which bears some characteristics of the plant from The Flowering of the Strange Orchid by H.G. Wells (i.e., it's ability to produce a Death Fog).

Looks a bit like the Deku Baba from Legend of Zelda.

The D&D Miniature version of the creature is called the Greenvise Vine (Savage Encounters #20).

Similar to the Greenvise is the King Sprout from the Super Dungeon Explore Forgotten King set.

The stat card for the monster even makes a reference to Little Shop of Horrors.

Another plant monster based on the Venus flytrap is the Pakkun Flower (パックンフラワー) or Piranha Plant. Some possible links between the Pakkun Flower and Little Shop of Horrors are discussed at VoVatia.

The one on the left is from the Furuta Choco Egg Super Mario Collection 3 (チョコエッグ スーパーマリオ 第3弾), while the one on the right is a phone strap mascot figure that was used as a premium for the Suntory Dakara energy drink.

The next carnivorous plant is the HorrorClix Pod Mother (The Lab #090). The plant has a face that reminded me a bit of how the faces of the victims of Audrey Jr blossomed from its flowers, but I wanted my model to be less anthropomorphic.

I cut away the eyes, nose, and cheekbones, then touched up the paint. I also cut away the victim, who was overscale.

In 15mm metal, there are the Klorzids Plants from Alternative Armies/Grinning Skull Miniatures.

The first image has a Klorzid New Seedling in Pot (GRN66), Klorzid Sapling with Flower Staff (GRN67), and Klorzid with three heads (GRN70).

The second image is of a Klorzid gaping mouth attacking (GRN68), Klorzid big teeth with Flower Staff (GRN69), and Klorzid wrapped around Flower Staff (GRN71).

I'm not sure if I want to use the figures with the flower staves as they are, but the sapling and three-headed versions are definitely ready to go.