Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Tartarus Gryffin

Given its uncanny similarity to the eponymous creature of Terran myth the Tartarus Gryffin is almost certainly a project of some long ago genetic engineering. There is some archaeological evidence that Anesidora was terraformed as a resort during the ancient Third Terran Republic. It may well be that the gryffin was created there and spread slowly with private collectors. The great avimamalian creatures are remarkably fearsome predators, well suited to their native environment using their keen sight to hunt and their sense of smell to locate carrion many miles distant.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Shocking Forces

In my slow quest to collect every piece of old lead I can get my hands on I've discovered a number of ranges I somehow missed back in the day. I've talked before about the Metal Magic Spacelords and Grenadier Future Warriors now available from Moonraker Miniatures. Unlike the imported German Phagons, I technically came across a few examples from the newest lead squeeze in the eighties when they were new, but not the particular sculpts that have drawn me to the line now. These fellows started life with a line that grew out of Grenadier's K-Force. Sometime later Demonblade Games bought them, expanded the range, and renamed them Shock Force. Later still Mega Miniatures came into them, but they have since sold them and I know not to whom, which is a shame, really. These are some great models. I picked up several examples in Demonblade blisters. Below you can see an "Org" called "The Bullet: Org Cleaner" and a "mutant" dubbed "Dominator."

Since their arrival on the Tartarus Rim they've become the security chiefs for the Rex-Avis clan. The fellow in the Italian suit goes by Eldovsky, or Ivan Grigorievitch to his friends. He's fond of subtle solutions to complex problems. His partner (both on and off the clock) is named Cookie Bernard. Cookie favors a more direct approach. The two of them have been traveling companions for quite a long time, but only managed to get officially hitched recently, thanks to a loosening of Imperial control in the sector. In spite of their differences they seem to make a remarkably good team.

Shock Force is truly a great source for interesting characters. Not only do they have sci-fi beastmen, satyrs, demons, mutants, and ambiguously vampiric sorts, but among their more distinctive bits are their space rats. They seem a little scarce at the moment, so I have only the example below, which was one of the heavies, but they had a full line with rats of all sorts and sizes. 

I've placed her with "Trooper Gaxt" for a size comparison. This boy is . . . large. I really should have put her on a square Ogryn grade base, but she came with the round slotta that I used. This is something of a problem, really, as she's so front heavy I had to add some honest to god lead to the back of the base to keep her upright. And that's not the only problem: She was also rather poorly cast, with several large voids that needed filling and a couple of large fractures. Further, the feet are rather too delicate for a miniature of such weight. They are extremely light and her pose puts her on the balls of her feet, placing a great deal of stress on the slender rat arches. Not a visual problem, mind. I think they look great. But they bend so easily that they ultimately broke under the strain of gravity and a paintbrush dumping her on the concrete floor. I solved the problem by adding in two wedges of greenstuff below his feet so that more surface area is in contact with the base, as you can see below.

For all the challenges, I must say I am fairly pleased with the result and I'm hoping I can pick up more of these rats, and more of Chaz Elliot's work in general. The details were quite compelling and characterful. This girl has a story to tell and I like having her in my world. And while this miniature had some casting problems, the others were absolutely fine. My hope is that she is the exception rather than the rule, and her unusual size and complexity masked the trouble allowing her to slip through. So far I've found no other problems in the dozen or so miniatures I picked up. On all the others the details are as crisp as any castings I've worked with; sharp, clean, and lovely. This gives me much hope.

As always, thank you for joining me. It's been a fun ride and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I.

The Composer