September 8th, 2010
Review - Kabuki Models Revisited
It has been a while since I looked at what Kabuki Models has to offer. The last time out I introduced you to the 21st Century Pinups, and the Dark Messiah product lines. Knights of Legend is the newest addition to the Kabuki lineup, which include some very detailed, and somewhat familiar looking sci-fi/Gothic-themed models, all of which are limited to an edition of 300 models each. Today I'll be looking at the latest from the 21st Century Pinups, Dark Messiah, and the all new Knights of Legend product lines...
This is the 21st Century Pinups model I previewed with concept art ages ago. Like most of the other models in this range, she too resembles someone from movie/video-gaming pop culture. She's essentially a 21st Century Pinups rendition of a female Marcus from the Gears of War Xbox 360 video game.
This is a 4-piece model cast in white metal, but she's pretty much a single molded model, aside from the rifle with hand attached that comes separate. The resin scenic base-insert, and the 30mm round lipped display base count as the other two pieces. Scale-wise, she's 33mm to the eye, so she's a wee bit larger than most 28mm-30mm scale models. I could only find some very minor mold lines, so she's quite clean and almost ready to assemble right out of the package.
Overall this is a really sexy sculpt. Although I must admit, this one is a little more slutty than the others in the line too, as she's purposely pulling her shirt up to reveal her boobs. I guess she's only doing it to distract the locust (alien bugs) that have her in their sights, right? What ever the case may be, it's a really nice sculpt, and there's a lot of accuracy in the sculpt, as the rifle and leg armor look quite authentic. If you're a Gears of War fan (and who isn't) this is a must have model!
The Fool (Col Buck Khaine)
This latest edition to the Dark Messiah line is quite impressive. He too I previewed via concept art ages ago. This guy is called The Fool: US Order. I don't quite understand the name, but he looks like a sci-fi/super hero type, and the model is exceptionally detailed. He's a multiple piece kit (7-pieces counting base and insert), and clean up wasn't every involved, although there were some minor mold lines to attend too. Assembly was fairly straightforward. Both arms and the head require assembly to the torso, but getting the weapon to hang properly under his arm was a little tricky. Overall a it's a fairly clean piece, which assembled quite well.
He also comes with a really nice white metal scenic base inset, which the model mounts via a small post on his foot. The model is leaping forward off a piece of rubble/debris in quite a dramatic post. This is a really fun to paint model too. I took the red, white and blue detail from the studio painted photo from their website and ran with it as the entire paint scheme for mine. So he looks a lot like a more futuristic Captain America, minus the shield, plus monster dagger-like blades and a gun.
This is by far one of the nicest models I've seen so far this year. I think it's likely the best model from Kabuki Models yet too. He's also cast in white metal, and is 35mm scale. Although he's a bit larger than most 28mm models, he could easily be depicted as a tall and quite muscular heavily armored hero among 28mm-30mm models. I think he'd look great in Pulp City or SuperSystem too.
This line is a bit controversial, because the models look a lot like characters from another quite popular sci-fi/Gothic game system. The Millennium Knight is no exception, because he looks a lot like a Space Marine hero model. He's considered 38mm scale to the eye, but stands a bit taller due to the resin cast scenic base. There's even 2 parts to the base, as the one busted pillar is a separate piece. The model itself is 7-pieces (9 if you count the 2 base parts). Clean up wasn't too tough, but there were some minor mold lines to tend to. Assembly wasn't too complicated, but I had a hard time at first figuring out how the cape went on. That aside, it didn't take but a few minutes to assemble and have the model ready for primer.
The resin-cast scenic base is 40mm round, and has a lot of detail on it. If you look closely there's what appears to be the busted wing piece of a rather large Aquila, some rubble and a human skull to be found. By design it's made to accommodate the model standing with one leg bent at the knee like it is. It wasn't hard to decide on Ultramarine blue for him. Once all painted up, it's quite an impressive piece too. My only complaint about the sculpt is that the sword looks a little too short, especially in proportion to the rest of the model. I'd prefer to have seen him holding a bolter over a sword. But I must admit, the square power fist with iconography all over it is a nice touch though.
Once again Kabuki comes through with a strong assortment of models. The 21st Century Pinups releases are getting better with every new addition to the range, and this month they're set to release Leona Lobo who's a knock off of Vasquez from the original Aliens movie. There's also a new exclusive LE model available through CoolMiniOrNot and Kabuki models called Bonnie Anne, which is a sexy pirate vixen. At roughly $15 USD Bug Hunter isn't going to attract the budget minded miniature enthusiast, but it's quite detailed and with a scenic base-insert included she's definitely worth it.
I also really think The Fool model from the Dark Messiah range is absolutely amazing. It was also a lot of fun to paint up. It's such a detailed model, that as I went, I kept finding something else to try and bring out visually with color. The red, white and blue paint scheme really paid off with this model, and I know I'll never be a Golden Demon quality painter, but I'm quite proud of how he turned out. At $19.99 USD, The Fool won't come cheap, but this is one model that I think is worth every penny. It very well might be model of the year, it's that nice overall.
Lastly the Knights of Legends line definitely doesn't come cheap, because every model in that line is $50 USD! I understand that they are all from a Limited Edition of no more than 300 models world-wide. I also understand that the level of detail is quite impressive, and so is the really nice resin scenic base they include, but $50 is still too much. I could fathom maybe $30 USD, but $50 USD just sets those models into a price-range that very few modeling and gaming enthusiasts can even begin to afford. Even GW doesn't charge that much for a model of comparable size and detail.
At that price Millennium Knight becomes a really tough sell. Especially considering the customer you're catering to with those models, are given the choice between buying an entire box full of nice plastic models to fill out their army with for $50 (or 2, or a Land Raider), or to buy that single model for $50.
Overall I'm quite impressed with the latest releases. In the way of models, they're all high quality, sculpted to really impressive standards, and the addition of scenic bases push them all over the top. There's no doubt about it, Kabuki Models produce some of the best sculpted models cast in white metal in the industry at present. Cost is really the only thing they could improve at this point, because they're still one of the most expensive options out there in white metal.
Although I will say this, availability is getting a lot better, because their products are now accessible in more places for North American customers than ever before. Now you can find the entire line at the CoolMiniOrNot webstore, and Kabuki also sells their models to US customers via eBay now too. One word of warning though, there is a few sellers on eBay who I guess have re-cast many of the Knights of Legend models, and are attempting to sell them as original. So when it comes to the Knights of Legend, I wouldn't purchase them from anyone other than Kabuki Models direct to be safe (seller name Kabukimodels is the legit and proper seller for Kabuki Models on eBay).