Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Terrain Depot (Twisting Catacombs comparisons)

Last month I mentioned two Kickstarters for terrain projects, one new, one old. The new one is TerrainCrate from Mantic Games, a line of hard plastic terrain in 28mm scale for fantasy gamers. The Kickstarter is officially over, but today they've released their pledge manager, and with it have begun their "late backer" program. This means that if you missed out on the Kickstarter, you can still get in on the goodies while the pledge manager is open. Just click the link, then click the "Pre-order Now" button. Terrain is often quite adaptable to different scales, and I backed this one in the hope that at least some of these pieces look good in 1/72 scale. Do check it out!

Adaptability is what I had in mind a few years ago when I late-backed the "old" terrain Kickstarter I mentioned. Twisting Catacombs by Zealot Miniatures is a line of 28mm hard resin terrain. It's more expensive that the TerrainCrate pieces promise to be, but also a lot more detailed. I specifically chose the tiniest pieces they had, with the idea that they would more readily look the part for 1/72 scale. Of course I pride myself on scale pedantry, but even I know that when you're dealing with very small pieces, a few millimeters often doesn't make that much of a difference. But is that always the case? Let's compare!

Let's start with these steins. Now if you look with even just a little care, these are too big to be 1/72 scale. The things are bigger than Sven's head, and while such vessels exist, they aren't typical. But if you're not thinking too hard about it, looking down on the table during...whatever gaming situation calls for tactical representations of covered beer mugs, I think they'll look fine. (The table, by the way, is a kit found in Strelets Napoleonic Camp set. It's a truly awful kit, with tons of flash and poorly-fitting parts, but it's the only 1/72 scale table of this size in plastic I'm aware of.)

These goblets and potion bottles are even better. The Linear-B nobleman in holding an in-scale goblet for comparison, and the smallest goblet is just about the same size. The potion bottles are supposed to represent tiny vials, so technically they are a bit too large, but they'd be microscopic in 1/72 scale and pose no problems as far as believability is concerned.

These food items, on the other hand, push credulity a little bit. The cheese and apple on the plate are big but don't seem big, and the pumpkins could of course just be large pumpkins. I can even buy the hamhock as a large specimen in 1/72. But the bread and the pie are just gigantic, and the cutlery is the size of Sven's axe!

We see a similar issue with these desk items. The bladed implements are supposed to be augurs or letter-openers, but look like swords. Way too big for 1/72. Same goes for the scroll, which is longer than Sven's leg! It could maybe work as an objective marker, though. The hourglass is also very large, but perhaps believable as just a very large hourglass in scale.

The books are interesting in terms of adaptability to scale. The biggest is of course quite large, but old books could be all sorts of sizes; the largest ones could easily be large folios. And the smaller ones look just great for 1/72 scale. Books can be so many different sizes in the real world that models of books are almost scale-proof. (The two plastic pieces to Sven's left are harvested from various bases from Games Workshop's "Mines of Moria" set. The comparison shows the advantages that Zealot's resin casting has over plastic injection in terms of detail. I haven't had a chance to mention just how good these pieces look, as I think even my inept miniature photography shows.)

One more tabletop detail is this crystal ball, cast partially in clear resin. Totally believable in 1/72 scale. I always imagine crystal balls in movies to be a lot bigger than they often are, which I think it what sells this piece for me.

Moving to the floor now with these packs of supplies. Here's a case where the excellent detail of these pieces may be a disadvantage in terms of scale adaptability. In the aggregate they look fine, but if you look very closely, you'll see that some of these supplies look pretty darn big. That bow on the right is as tall as Sven! But on the whole, I think these are very adaptable.

Finally, some traps and switches. The trapdoor to the left is another "Mines of Moria" piece for comparison. The switches look excellent. Like the books, switches can be so many different sizes that scale matters a lot less.

I was prepared to wrap this post up with a little bit on terrain made for 1-72/20mm scale, but it turned out to be a bigger topic that deserves its own post. Coming soon!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Battlelore Minis for 1/72 scale

Interested in these figures? I'm selling a bunch on my sales page, along with other minis, including from the recently-fulfilled Bones 3 Kickstarter!

Battlelore is a tactical minis board game produced by Fantasy Flight games that's gone through a couple editions. The first edition was set in a generic fantasy world, while the current second edition is set in the slightly less generic world of Terrinoth, home to Fantasy Flight's Runebound, Rune Wars, and Descent games. The core game and its expansions were on sale at huge markdowns at Fantasy Flight's webstore and at Cool Stuff Inc. at the end of last year, leading to some speculation that Fantasy Flight intends to stop support if not production of these games. But it was an excellent opportunity to stock up on some very interesting fantasy minis.

Why the interest? Because I knew that the minis were sort-of-kind-of close to 1/72 scale, the preferred scale of this blog. How close? Let's take a look.

The core game comes with two factions, the first of which are the noble paladin-people, the Daqan. Shown here are minis from the core game and from the Daqan expansion, "Hernfar Guardians."

An Ironbound, Greyhaven mage, Citadel Guard, and Yeoman Archer. The core game comes with the guards and archers; the expansion has the Ironbound, mages, and extra guards. They seem close in size to Sven, with similarly proportioned features, but note that Sven the comparison viking is on a taller base, meaning the Battlelore minis are actually a bit larger. But they're close!

A Rune Golem, Riverwatch Rider, and Citadel Lancer, with an Eagle Games horse for comparison. The golem and rider are from the core set, the lancer from the expansion. The horses are noticeably bigger, though their human riders are actually about Sven-sized.

The large "Legend" figures: a Siege Golem from the expansion and a Roc Warrior from the core game. The riders are almost exactly 1/72 scale, and the large critters they ride look great next to Sven.
The other faction from the core game are the Uthuk, barbaric chaos-types who are into blood magic, demons, and other such ickiness. Shown here are figures from the core game and the Uthuk expansion, "Warband of Scorn."

A Viper Legion, Blood Sister, Berserker, and Blood Harvester. The core game includes the Legion and Harvesters, while the expansion includes the Berserkers, Blood Sisters, and extra Harvesters. Like the Daqan, these human figures are actually just a bit bigger than Sven, though perhaps they are close enough.

A Grotesque, Obscene, and Flesh Ripper Brute. The Grotesque is from the expansion; the Obscene and Brute are from the core game. These larger creatures look fine next to Sven. If anything the Obscene almost seems too small!

Legends: The Chaos Lord from the core game, and the beetley Doombringer from the expansion.
The third faction, the necromancy/undead themed Waiqar, is available in two expansion sets. The first was Heralds of Dreadfall, the second was Terrors of the Mists.

A Skeleton Archer, Reanimate, Necromancer, and Bone Horror. The first set includes the archers and Reanimates; the second has the Necromancers, Horrors, and more Reanimates. Included here for comparison are two painted skeletons from Caesar Miniatures undead set. The Caesar figures are just a bit shorter than Sven, but are noticeably shorter than the Battlelore figures. This perhaps shows why I'm hesitant to recommend these figures as complements to a 1/72 scale fantasy collection. On the other hand, the Bone Horror looks just fine as a 1/72 scale boney aberration.

A Wraith, Barghest (actually two figures per base), and Death Knight, with an Eagle Games horse for comparison. The Wraith and Knight are from the first set; the Barghests from the second. As with the Daqan cavalry, the Death Knight horse is much bigger than the 1/72 scale horse. The Wraith is huge! You could probably mod it so it isn't so big, though you'd probably lose the cool bands of tattered cloth in the process. Or it can just be a really big ghost.
Legends: A Banshee from the second set, and a Barrow Wyrm from the first. The Banshee is about as big as the Wraith, and its skeletal minders are closer to Sven-sized than the Reanimates. The Barrow Worm looks just as big as an undead dragon ought to.

Conclusions? These are some great-looking pieces, and the larger figures are for the most part unobjectionable. How you feel about the humanoid and cavalry figures for 1/72 scale is pretty much a matter of taste. They are just a bit too big for my taste, but I'm decidedly a pedant about scale. If you like the look of these, it's definitely worth picking up, especially if they go on sale again.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bones III for 1/72 scale

Since starting Cheap Fantasy Minis a few years ago, I've gone through 3 Kickstarters expanding Reaper Miniatures excellent Bones line of cheap plastic minis. While they are standard-sized gaming minis, I've found that many of them are readily adaptable to 1/72 scale, the preferred scale of this blog. For this most recent Kickstarter, I skipped the core set and went for the Stoneskull and the Graveyard expansion, plus a few extra add-ons. The expansions had a lot more small minis and terrain pieces, which I find are best for adapting to 1/72.

My sets arrived last week, so I've taken some comparison shots of the more interesting minis.

The Stoneskull expansion includes six new kobold sculpts, four of which are shown here. I was worried that they might be too large, like the kobold leaders from the second Bones Kickstarter, but they look great. If anything they are a tick smaller and more delicately featured than the original Bones kobolds, making them even better suited for 1/72 gaming. Shown for comparison are one of the original Bones kobolds, plus an unpainted kobold from the Wrath of Ashardalon game.

Other small critters from the Stoneskull set include the gremlins on the left and the "veggie-pygmies" on the right. A Caesar Miniatures goblin is shown for comparison. I'm not sure what a veggie-pygmy is, or what use I'd have for them, but they're just a little under human-sized even in 1/72 scale.

"Stitch golems" on the left; "grave minions" from the Graveyard set on the right. The stitch golems are a little chunky-looking but just about the size of Sven. Similarly, the graveyard minions have somewhat large heads and hands but are otherwise human-sized. As mockeries of human form, they look just fine!

Plant monsters: A "saproling," and a couple of "death star lillies." The saproling is just a bit bigger than Sven, which is what I'd expect from a modestly-sized tree monster. The lillies look big enough for Sven to fit inside, if he gets too close.

Getting a little bigger. Here we have a naga from the Stoneskull set and a "carrion worm" from the Graveyard set. These would be just a little bigger than Reaper-sized humans but look suitably monstrous next to Sven.

Even bigger: a flesh golem, minotaur, and larger stitch golem from Stoneskull, plus one of the ogres from the core set. I always like when large minis are looking down, like the minotaur is doing here. It makes it look like they're sizing up smaller adversaries like Sven.

Finally, the biggest: an absolutely titanic iron golem, and a clear plastic air elemental. The latter should make a fine companion to the fire and water elementals from the previous Kickstarters.

I expect that soon after Reaper finishes fulfilling the current Kickstarter, the Kickstarter for Bones IV: I Can't Believe We're Doing Another One will launch soon after. I'm not sure I have the scratch to back this one (depends on how well I do on my sales page!), but I'll definitely keep an eye on it and live-blog updates. In the meantime, check out this gallery for a preview.