December 30th, 2010
Review - JUNK: Dog Face Combots
Most tabletop gaming enthusiasts are familiar with Grindhouse Games because of their Incursion board game and models, and also for their involvement with the development of the Secrets of the Third Reich skirmish game. The newest project that Grindhouse Games is working on is called JUNK.
The first models from this new line is called the Dog Face Squad of Combots, which includes five multiple piece robot models. Each model comes as a body with legs already attached, and the arms come on separate sprues. Therefore assembly is really simple and straightforward. Actually the commander model only requires assembling one of his two arms, because his right arm is already molded on.
They also come with their own 25mm round slotted plastic bases, and they're all sculpted by well known miniature model sculptor Patrick Kieth. It's also said that they stand 37mm to the top of the head, as they are rather tall, but are clearly 28mm scale models.
In the looks department these robots caused a little bit of a controversy when Grindhouse Games first revealed images of them on various online forums. It's really hard to overlook the uncanny resemblance to Ashley Wood's World War Robot, and Robot Vs Zombie creations when put side by side too.
I've done some research on the topic since. Therefore I've seen the responses that Grindhouse Games came up with during the online forum debates surrounding the models, and I've seen the works of Mr Wood too now. Based on the facts provided, I feel that Grindhouse Games truly haven't intentionally copied anyone's ideas, nor have they infringed upon anyone's IP in the process.
I guess the bottom line is, when it comes to droids or robots, heck even the word Droid is owned by George Lucas, which is something most people might not even know. But when it comes to designing new robots or droids, it's hard not to want to use a cylindrical shape if you wanted to go for a retro look, and it's even harder to come up with something that isn't somewhat similar to what's already been done before.
Here's another little known fact, did you know that human-like robots have been around on film since as far back as 1927? Even the C3PO design truly makes you wonder if George Lucas didn't totally rip off that idea from one of the first sci-fi films ever Fritz Lang's 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis. The only real difference is that Mr Lucas made his version male.
Having said all of that, I really like the look and feel of these models from Grindhouse Games, and I never even knew about the Ashley Wood models until these models debuted and caused a little fuss. They're definitely a visually impressive design, and the models have a lot of character. And that's what's important to me first and foremost.
I like the cylindrical look. To me they look like taller and thinner cousins of R2D2 with longer and more human-like legs and arms. They could easily be mistaken for a second cousin to Bender from the cartoon series Furturama too. What's not to like?
While I think you could easily mix and match the arms and weapons among the models, it's clear that the model with the rocket launcher has arms designed specifically for that model. So it doesn't seem to matter much which weapon the others end up with, but the rocket launcher model has arms in a position that requires they be mounted on the appropriate model. Another tiny but nice touch is the addition of the boonie hat too.
There's so much to like about these models. While they're clearly designed to be 28mm scale, I can see these fitting in with most any 25mm-30mm scale sci-fi skirmish game system. These would definitely be perfect stand in models for the robots race in Mutants and Death Ray Guns from Ganesha Games, which is their Song of Blades and Heroes-driven sci-fi post apocalyptic skirmish game.
Grindhouse Games eventual plan is to create an entire game themselves from all of these models they release, and the Dogface Combots design is just the first of many designs which they plan to release for JUNK. For more on JUNK and what Grindhouse Games is up to, be sure to check out the link to their JUNK blog below. Just the other day one of the Bailey brothers tossed up a concept drawing of yet another cool design called the Prospektor, which looks amazing.
As it stands this set of 5x Dogface Combots can be purchased for $35 USD direct from Grindhouse Games website. I think they're worth every penny too. I'm also really excited now to see what they come up with next, because they've already proven that they can make great games, and that they can produce equally as nice models with their previous efforts SoTR and Incursion. The future definitely looks bright for JUNK. Stay tuned for more on JUNK as it becomes available to me.