Monday Miniatures: Dem Bones, Dem Bones…
Last week I got my bones. Since then I have barely had a chance to start gluing them. It isn’t just that I’ve been busy even. Just unpacking the things takes hours. Each vampire is in at least two plastic bags, and awesome as getting a couple hundred miniatures it literally takes hours to unbag all of them.
So even though I haven’t had much time to look at them, we’re still going to take a closer look at them today, as they are still the biggest story in Kickstarter miniatures (and there doesn’t seem to be much else going on, crowdfunding-wise.) Fortunately, Clint got his a week before me, and so he’s had a chance to dig into them. He’s here
This week I only found 1 miniature related project on Kickstarter.
Bringing Fantasy Gaming to Life is another scenery project. This one is resin cast modular dungeon terrain; it’s nice enough, but not particularly groundbreaking.
This week Jessica knocks out not one but two great fire dragons.
Clint on the other hand paints another in his seemingly never ending supply of orks.
A Review of Reaper’s Bones (Part One) by Clint
Hi everyone. I received my Bones about a week earlier than David, which means I’ve been playing with them that much longer. I suppose that’s why he asked me to do a review and give the folks at home something to be jealous of. So let’s get that part out of the way… Bones are awesome! If you have a mini habit to feed, you are doing yourself a grave disservice if you aren’t picking some of these up. These are solid purchases; a quality mini for an amazing price. Granted, we probably won’t see the low price-per-mini that the Kickstarter gave us ever again, but even picking them up at full price from Reaper is going to do your wallet a lot of favors.
So let’s begin! To give you an overview, I purchased the Vampire kit and every add-on with the exception of the extra orks (I have orks coming out my ears already.) I have handled and fiddled with each and every mini that came with the set. For the most part, I am pleased, particularly with the larger minis such as Kaladrax and the various giants. The details on those pop, the poses are dynamic, and it’s a joy to handle something that large without muscles failing from manhandling that much metal. That said, they aren’t perfect.
One area they excel at it is flash. Flash is the bane of metal minis; it’s rare that I don’t have to clip and file for a hour or so on a metal mini I’ve just taken out of its packaging. And that’s before I’ve even primed it. The Bones minis, for 99% of them, had no flash. I wish I could say 100%, but there’s this guy.
As flash goes, that’s not bad at all. In fact, I’m planning to leave it on the fabric areas as I think it makes for a great unkempt look. I will have to file the slight fuzz of the bone and metal parts, but this plastic stuff comes off easy. A few passes with a file and five minutes later, I’m done.
One area I feel they are lacking in is detail. The smaller minis seem to suffer the most. The fine details that Reaper usually has on their Dark Heaven, Pathfinder, Chronoscope, and Warlords lines just aren’t there. Oh, there are details, and they are on par with other company’s miniatures. But they are not the equivalent of the metal miniatures that Reaper has been putting out for years. The cuts aren’t as deep, the corners aren’t as sharp. Here, just look at these pics.
These are Bones side by side with the metal mini they were originally. Side bonus, you see my process from bare metal to base coats to completed painting. Groundbreaking stuff, I know. In the first pic we have Astrid. The Bones version has details, but they aren’t as crisp as the metal version. Check out the lacing on her bodice, or the lute strings. They are there, just not as defined as the metal version. Next is the Ghost King. A first blush, they seem indentical, but take a closer look at the ends of the sword’s quillions. Also, the maille on the Bones version is noticeably less detailed. Finally, we have Seltyiel. Ignoring the fact that the Bones version is missing an arm altogether, a number of Seltyiel’s fetish gear buckles seem to be missing as well.
So there’s that. Another issue I had was with deformation of the minis. Most of the time, this was a problem with thin, small pieces, like spears and swords. This primarily affected smaller minis, but the larger minis weren’t immune either.
Ranging from goblin sized up to a fire giant, nothing was immune to bending and warping. As I said, most of this was limited to weapons, but there were a few that had significant issues, such as…
Nothing I could do would get that last guy to stay up on his base, sorry. Fortunately, this is a problem that is easily fixed thanks to the miracle that is thermoforming plastics! “What’s that?” you say, glad you asked. Basically, it means using heat to shape plastic, in this case, your minis. Here’s a brief run down on how to do it.
Caveat: There is something really wrong with me, putting my fingers in boiling water doesn’t hurt. But I can’t recommend it for those of you at home, so use utensils like the tongs or slotted spoon I thoughtfully set out in Step 2, but thereafter completely neglected. Your fingers will thank you for it. Also, ignore the base of the frost giantess in Step 5. Nothing I did would straighten that sucker out, it looks like a bad cast, just a bit shy of enough plastic. I’ll just fabricate a new base for her later.
So, after all that, here’s what you should end up with. Look at them — standing tall, standing proud!
So there you have it, good as new. Scratch that, better than new, since that’s how they came. This polymer, dubbed ‘bonesium’ by the wags on Reaper’s forums, is some amazing stuff. I almost think they use different formulations based on the mini size, as the large minis are very rigid and dense; I can barely make an impression on them with my thumbnail. The small, thin minis (man, now I want Girl Scout cookies) such as skeletons feel like a different polymer altogether, being flexible and soft. It feels as though I could pinch the spears and bows right off using nothing more than fingernails. At first, I thought this was a flaw, but upon further reflection, I believe it was a deliberate design choice. As any tabletop gamer will tell you, weapons are the most common casualty of mispacking or falling off the table. Those thin little bits snap easily; or did, before bonesium came along. Gone are the days of supergluing blades back on, or re-pinning spear shafts. So I’m chalking that one up in the ‘pro’ column.
Now, let’s talk about the big, multi-part minis, of which there are quite a few. Some of these went together flawlessly, like the giant below. His head and left fist were discrete parts, yet fit perfectly.
Now look at this griffon. The wings fit, they stay in place, but there’s slight gapping. No big deal, it’s expected on metal minis, and honestly, I can fill those slight gaps with paint.
Now, take a gander at this dragon… man, those wings almost seem like they don’t belong to that body. I’m going to have to pin and stuff them full of greenstuff.
So, the Bones line runs the gamut from perfect to barely fitting. Not exactly shocking news, but something folks should be aware of. Honestly, the few flaws I found (remember, I got hundreds of minis, and what’s above is pretty much all I could find wrong.) are either to be expected or easily remedied. The details thing is the biggest problem; I bet we won’t be seeing too many Bones entered into painting contests. But that’s not what they were intended for. These figs belong on the tabletop for your weekly game of whatever, where sodas are spilled and cats are lurking to bat them across the room. And for that, they are perfect.
Next week, the review continues as I try to slap some paint on these suckers. See you then!