September 1st, 2010
Review - Soda Pop Miniatures Models
Soda Pop Miniatures is a unique company. They started out as just a few guys with the sole intention of creating models they like first and foremost, and that is what eventually ended up becoming the Soda Pop Miniatures line. It's evident that they love the anime genre, because every Soda Pop model is clearly Japanese anime/mecha inspired. The scale is rather unique too. Instead of 28mm or 30mm scale, they went for what they're now calling 32mm heroic scale. Here's a little review of a handful of the models from the Soda Pop Miniatures line...
Limited Edition Ayu Beat ($12.95 MSRP)
This is a 6 piece model. She's also considered a Limited Edition release from Soda Pop Miniatures, because she is one of only 499 models. Ayu can be purchased through Soda Pop Miniatures or CoolMiniOrNot's online shop. Right off that bat, I really like this model. What's not the like about a hot chick with a battle-axe-shaped electric guitar cutting amplifiers in half? I was sold from the moment I saw this piece.
Clean up wasn't bad at all, because only some faint mold lines along the legs could be found, which didn't take but a minute to clean up. The guitar has her the hands sculpted onto it, and there's little nubs sticking out at the wrist, which by design butt up perfectly with the wrist sockets on the upper torso. The upper torso also matches up perfectly with the lower torso, and the head also fit like a glove right into the neck socket provided.
I'm really impressed with how well this model fits together. I test dry fit everything, because it's just a habit, but with this model you could literally rip it out of the package, and glue it together right then and there without a hitch. The only tricky part is getting the amplifier halves lined up just right so that the nubs on the bottom of the feet fit into the tiny holes drilled into the top/corner of each side of the amplifier halves.
While she is a rather small female model, the amplifier halves positioned like they are to accommodate the model standing on top, simply won't fit on a standard 30mm base. Therefore she comes with a 40mm round lipped and slotted display base. Since there's no slot to accommodate, I simply filled that in with some putty, and then glued the assembled model on to the base.
Fiametta, Acolyte of the Flame ($12.95 MSRP)
This is a 7-piece female model. This is an exceptionally thin model too. Right off the bat the problem I have with this model is that it's quite small and so frail. They might claim these are 32mm heroic scale, but the body seems smaller than most 28mm scale models.Where the right arm attaches the joint is thinner than a paper-clip, and some of the other joints aren't much better. The staff is also wicked thin, and it's bound to the arm via a tiny nub on the end of the wrist.
It's just a real fiddly and frail feeling piece. Now once it's all assembled and done, Fimetta looks fantastic. It's really cool how the hair swoops down and picks up the barrel and continues on through to the other side of the barrel all the way to the ground. How the wind looks to be effecting the direction of her clothing is also a really nice touch. As a model I really appreciate the effort put into the sculpt, because it truly is a grand model. Clean up wasn't a big deal either, as she had some minor mold lines, but nothing out of the ordinary to report.
Knowing how there's next to nothing holding those pieces on, I just feel like I'm going to break something off every time I pick it up. The joints are also so thin that I can't pin these bits even if I wanted too, because I'm not sure if there's a micro-bit small enough to pull it off. I know I don't have one, and I have some really small drill bits for my pin-vice.
It's a gorgeous sculpt, and a really fun piece once it's all assembled. She comes with a 30mm round lipped display base too. All in all, I think it looks great, but it's the kind of piece that's so frail that you might bust it apart just painting it. This is the kind of piece you really can't play a game with, but it would make a really gem of a piece to set in a display case once all painted up nicely.
Kenobo, Monk of Gomandi ($17.95 MSRP)
This is a 6-piece model. This is one of the only male pieces currently available in the line, and he's rather large. In comparison there's probably 4x the amount of white metal in this model than there is in Fiametta. The pieces fit together rather well, but they're not a snug fit. There's a lot of being able to slip the pieces around when dry fitting, so it takes some trial and error to find just the right angle at which the pieces of this model should be glued.
All his parts are just the opposite of Fiamettas, because they're all quite thick. I could pin the pieces without a problem due to the size of the model too, but with this model instead of pinning I used a rubber impregnated CA glue, so the joints would be flexible, instead of cracking and breaking if I did jar it later on. So far so good.
This is just one of those models that I can't find much to say about visually. While it's sculpted nice, and I can appreciate it for being a nice clean sculpt, it's really not a model that I personally find very appealing. Next to all these female models here really does seem sorta out of place too. He comes complete with a 40Mm round lipped display base.
What I've seen first-hand is just a small sampling of what they have to offer. There's definitely better models in the range than what I reviewed today. Although I must admit, I really like the Fiametta sculpt, even though she is a bit fragile, and Aya really reaches out to the rocker within me. Those girls have character too, which is one thing I find most important to have in a miniature model. Kenobo I just don't get, but there will always be that one model in any miniatures line that simply looks out of place, and he's no doubt it for the Soda Pop line.
Cost-wise these aren't inexpensive models. They are however quite clean, and being 32mm heroic scale makes them a hair larger than most average 28mm heroic scale models out there today. Taking those facts into account they should demand a little more money than a standard 28mm model. At $13 on average they're still not going to catch the eye of the budget-minded miniature model enthusiast, especially without a game in place to support the line yet.
Therefore Soda Pop Miniatures will be a tough sell for some, while others will no doubt find that these may very well be the models they've been looking for all along. Aside from Anima Tactics, I haven't seen very many other anime inspired miniature models out there. It's a niche thing with these models, and with limited competition, I think Soda Pop Miniatures stands to do really well with the anime/mecha crowd. So if you're looking for female miniatures with big round boobs, and big round eyes to match, these are the models for you.
Soda Pop Miniatures is also hard at work creating a few games of their own, which is something they announced at Gen Con a few weeks back. Relic Knights - Darkspace Calamity will be the skirmish game that some of the larger mecha-like Soda Pop models have been re-branded into.
They also announced a second game called Super Dungeon Explore, which looked a lot to me like a cutesy super-deformed take on dungeon crawling skirmish games. It's the same tongue in cheek approach as Soda Pop's anime-inspired models, only set within the fantasy dungeon crawling genre. It looks like good clean fun. Stay tuned for more on Soda Pop Miniatures, because they're a company I'll be keeping an eye on.