August 3rd, 2010
In Focus Review - Studio Miniatures Models
Studio Miniatures is a fairly new company out of the UK. They specialize in 28mm zombie models, and some interesting zombie survivor characters. I also like the fact that they offer all of their models in high quality resin, or white metal, so the choice is always yours. Before I dive into the zombies, lets take a look at the survivors...
Cole Human Survivor is a superb characterization of Ash from the Evil Dead. Actually this model captures a young Bruce Campbell so well. The pose is quite dramatic. He boldly stands there blasting the undead with his shotgun, as his chainsaw buzzes away. This is pure classic Bruce Campbell, and this model is more accurate than all the other interpretations I've seen that are floating around out there.
This is two piece model. The chainsaw hand comes separate, and the rest of the body holding the double-barrel shotgun is a single piece. He comes with a nice 30mm round lipped display base. I was sent the resin version of this model, and I'm really impressed by the quality. There's no cleanup to mention, no bubbles, and I didn't even find any mold lines on this piece. I couldn't have asked for a better resin model.
Next up is Hawk. He's a doppelganger for an early 80s Kurt Russell, ripped right from John Carpenter's cult classic Escape From New York. It's clear this is Snake Plisken, and he looks the part. He's posed with a silenced uzi, complete with the watch on his left arm (which in the film displayed the countdown of how much time he has left to bring the president out of New York alive). The watch is a tiny detail, but one that played an important part in the movie, it's nice to see it wasn't overlooked. That's true attention to detail. My only gripe would be, that his head is rather large compared to the size of his body. He's a little out of scale with himself.
This model comes as a single piece, so there's nothing to assemble, aside from gluing him to his 30mm round lipped display base. There's not much cleanup to talk about either, as I found a single mold line, but it was faint, and cleaned up without incident. This too is a resin model, but like all of the Studio Miniatures models, you can choose to purchase a white-metal version for a little less if you wanted to.
These last survivors come as a pair. They're simply called Memphis and Ohio, and it's clear these are the two guys from the movie Zombieland. I honestly can't say these look as much like Woody Harrelson, and Jesse Eisenberg, as much as Hawk looks like Kurt Russell and like Cole resembles Bruce Campbell in the face. Although the Ohio model has the same hairdo and the double-barrel shotgun, and Memphis is wearing a tactical vest, and is armed to the teeth as he was at the end of Zombieland. Therefore it indisputable who they're meant to be. The faces just aren't very convincing.
Clean up and assembly is a cakewalk. These were also resin versions of the models as reviewed. I found a single faint mold line on each model, which took all of 2-seconds to clean up. Memphis is a 2-piece model, and the 2nd piece is just one of the two shotguns that he carries on to his back. Ohio is a single piece model, and needed no gluing other than the model to the base, and both come with 30mm round lipped display bases as well.
That just covers the four Survivor models I've seen first-hand. Studio Miniatures also offers Mia (Alice from Resident Evil movies), Dutch (Arnold as the Terminator from the original film), Walt (Bruce Willis from Die Hard, barefoot wielding an MP5), Miguel (villain from No Country for Old Men) and an amazing Wizard of Oz spoof band of survivors called Dorothy and the Gang.
Zombies, Zombies and more Zombies...
Zombie Mob 1 comes with eight models. The variety of zeds is pretty impressive in this set. There's one dangling a shotgun, who looks all shot to hell. There's another one who I call James Dean, because after I painted him, he totally looked like what I would envision James Dean would look like as a zombie. The only difference is this guy is all shot up, and James Dean met his demise in a fatal car wreck. One of the female models is dressed in business attire, another resembles a teen girl with a hand injury, and the third female looks like a fast moving zed, posed to leap and suck your brains out.
There's also what looks like a bearded homeless man minus half his arm, with a samurai sword jammed through his body. The naked zombie is rather funny looking too. He's standing there with the family jewels hanging out in plain site, with massive torso and head injuries, wearing bunny slippers and a robe, dangling a coffee cup in his right-hand. Lastly there's half a zombie, which is nothing more than the upper torso walking around on hands, with his spine hanging out, and his guts spilled all over the ground.
These also come in white metal, or resin, and I was sent the white metal versions for review. All of these models are single piece models, so the only gluing required is gluing the models to their 30mm round lipped display bases. I really couldn't find a lot of mold lines, aside from a couple of hidden ones on the inside of thighs, or under the arms on a few. Otherwise these are really clean white metal models, and cleanup didn't entail anything out of the ordinary.
I do have one comment on the topic of assembly. Some of the metal tabs that fit into the slots on the bases are rather thin, and you will need to zig-zag bend them to glue them into the bases, and then use some putty/green stuff to fill the gaps before doing any basing decor.
Also if you purchase Mob 1 and Mob 2 as the Horde deal, you're given a special exclusive model, which is a zombie version of none other than the grand daddy of the zombie movie genre, George Romero himself in zombie form! I'm impressed by how much this looks like the guy, because the model has his signature huge eye glasses, the pony tail, and if you look closely one of the lenses is cracked, he has a head wound, and looks like he took a few gunshots to the torso. How cool is that?
Presentation is also worthy of mention. Each Mob ships in a plastic VHS cassette tape box, between two sheets of foam. The insert on the box makes it look like it's a real VHS movie. For instance Mob 1's box says Z-Clipz The Chronicles of U1: EVE, Zombie Mob Part 1. At the bottom it says A Studio Miniatures Production. On the back there's two photos of all eight of the models painted from the front and back, and more advertising of Z-Clipz as if this were an actual movie production. I'd have to give them an A+ for presentation, because the VHS cases isn't only a nice way to ship the models, but it looks so 80s retro at the same time.
The only downside is, that while I love the 30mm round lipped display bases, those alone keep the VHS boxes from being able to offer double duty as a carrying case for the zombies as well once assembled and painted. If they had went with 25mm round bases, they could have got away with using the cases like Mantic Games does, as a carrying case as well. The 30mm bases are just a hair to big to allow the cases room to close once the models are assembled and inside.
Mob 5 is the next set reviewed. I asked to see this one, because this set features two zombies in body-bags coming back to life, and all the rest are wearing hospital gowns. The one model is a zombie standing, busting out of a body-bag, with only legs and arms poking out if it. This body-bag is also riddled with gunshot holes too. The other body-bag zombie is crawling on the ground, trying to slink out of the body-bag, and has a rather skull-like decomposed face.
The rest look to have escaped from a hospital, and have various head wounds, body wounds, and bandaged wounds, all of which have their asses hanging out in the back of the hospital gowns. They're all even shambling about in house slippers. While you are getting eight completely unique sculpts, you can see that they do share some parts.
For instance all of the male zombies appear to have the same exact legs, right down to the injury to the left knee on each one. Two of the female models appear to have the same body and legs too, right down to the tear in their dresses, only one of the two looks to be pregnant, so they added a bump, and a different left arm to that model. This isn't a bad thing, just an observation.
Again, like Mob 1, Mob 5 is also a set of all single piece models. Other than gluing the models to their bases, there's no assembly to speak of. Cleanup is also minimal, with only a few minor mold lines to tend too. The exclusive model you can get from purchasing Mob 5 and 6 as a Horde yields a model depicting Todd from an episode of Scrubs all zombied-up.
Last up is Mob 4. This set looks like a bunch of street walker zombies. There's a model holding a severed arm, another with a shotgun shoved completely through his torso, and another which looks like the fella who is missing that arm. One tall zombie looks really tore up, as he's missing a lot of flesh and body parts. There's also what looks like a girl scout zombie, complete with a smiley face backpack. The remaining models look like altered sculpts of models from the other two sets I covered above.
For instance the one female model is identical to another model from Mob 1 from the torso up. The difference is in this set the dress has been replaced by pants. One of the male models in this set looks to have a body identical to the model I called James Dean Zed, only with a different head. The last female also looks like she belongs in Mob 5. She has the same legs and body as you can find on two of the females from that set, except for the head and one arm is different for this set.
Again, this isn't a bad thing, it's just an observation I thought was worth mentioning. The exclusive model you get when ordering Mob 4 and Mob 3 together in a Horde deal is a model depicting Bub from the original 1985 Day of the Dead.
I've worked with a lot of models over the past few months now, but I think I've had the most fun painting up these models from Studio Miniatures recently. All of their models are detailed, but not so detailed that there's too much going on that you can't figure out what something is.
Some have eyeballs hanging out of the socket, some have head injuries missing a piece of skull, others are missing limbs, or are simply ripping their own organs out. While those are pretty gory details, these models look like the zombies you'd find roaming about in Return of the Living Dead, more than the serious and scary zombies from the Romero films like Dawn of the Dead. I like that, because it gives them character.
Using the VHS boxes to present the models is genius too. It's a nod to the 80s horror genre, and it's an excellent way to ship the models. I'm also sure it's probably a cost effective alternative to other packaging options. The fact that you can choose white metal or resin is also something you don't find elsewhere very often.
For the survivor models opting for resin only adds about $1 to the cost versus going with a white metal version of the same model. For instance Cole (Ash/Bruce Campbell) in white metal cost 3.99 GBP ($6.99 USD), or 4.99 GBP ($7.80 USD) for the resin version. All of the single survivors are priced this way, and cost-wise that's a very fair price for either version. The set of Memphis and Ohio is 7.99 GBP ($12.50 USD) in white metal, or $9.99 in resin ($15.50 USD), again for two models that's a reasonable price.
The zombies are priced all the same, which is 15.99 ($25 USD) in white metal, and 24.99 GBP ($39 USD) in resin per set of eight models. The cost in white metal is reasonable, but I have to admit $40 USD for a set of eight resin zombies is a bit much. Honestly, the white metal versions are so nice, that I don't see the need to have these models in resin when it adds that much to the overall cost.
Studio Miniatures also offers deals when it comes to the zombie Mob sets. If you order the Horde deals like Mob 1 + Mob 2 together, you get a small break on the price, and get the exclusive George Romero zombie for free for 29.99 GBP ($47 USD) in white metal. That's the best deal overall from Studio Miniatures if you're looking for some zombies. There's three different Horde deals, which covers all of the zombie sets they currently offer, each with its own exclusive model to be had.
If you're looking for some really nice zombie models, with true character, I can't think of a better option than Studio Miniatures. The survivor models could also be used in games other than zombie/survivor scenario type games, since they are Studio Miniatures' characterization of some famous movie icons from the action/sci-fi genre film genre.
For being new, I think they're off to a great start. After seeing their stuff first-hand, I really look forward to seeing what else Studio Miniatures comes up with next. They're supposed to be releasing more zombie sets in the coming months too. Keep an eye on WarGameGuru for more on Studio Miniatures, as I'll be following what these guys are up to.