News, Updates & ramblings

This Blog is acting as the news and updates page for my new website,

The website itself is the archive of my painting through the last decade or more, with easy navigation around what now amounts to over 3000 images of wargames figures & display miniatures.

It is also the repository for my musings, workbench notes and reports on all things gaming and miniature painting that I get up to.

I've been collecting miniatures for 24 years and have covered most scales, periods and styles in that time. Don't expect consistency on one project here - there will be variety in project, but hopefully consistently high standards!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Dropship has Landed...

Of Something New... Entering the Dropzone...

Well here's something new for the HobbyBrush.

Its the first part of a review! Its also possibly the very first review of something which has been causing quite a stir since Salute back in April.

I have been Lucky enough to get my hands on a couple of models from the upcoming Dropzone Commander Range by brand new Company, Hawk Wargames. If you dont know what I'm talking about then head on over to their facebook page, Website, or Twitter Feed to catch up!

I'm not going to repeat the company spiel or steal their pretty pictures, so just In brief

Of the Company....

Hawk Wargames has been around for two and a half years its just that nobody knew this until they launched themselves onto the scene in epic style at Salute 2012 in London. When I say "They" its all really the brainchild and workload of one dedicated man, Mr David lewis. He stole the show with an immense display of Miniatures and Terrain he'd been working tirelessly on for two years, but which nobody had any idea existed.

Four Factions, Dozens of unique designs, Modular terrain and the promise of a brand new game all shown off with some great painting. It made a splash the likes of which I don't recall seeing ever before in 24 years of gaming.

I doff my cap to the Man!

The reason it made such a splash was the models and the presentation of such. The Designs were unique, the sculpting and casting clean and the painting perfect for showing them off at a show.

So when I got the chance to throw some paint at them, I jumped at it!

A Note on pictures: Taking photos of bare metal is not a strong point - sorry! Also, I've left them at original size - click on any image to see a ridiculously big picture so you can pick out all the detail yourself. I've included a scale pic to remind you all how small they are! Better pics when they're painted!

Of the models....
This morning I received my first pre-release miniatures to play with and thought I'd share my first impressions before I attack them with paint. Whilst there are others that would go straight for the impressive dropships and heavy tanks, being a fan of the smaller scales, I went straight in for the infantry and smaller elements.

What I have are production models, so whilst they're fresh out of the moulds, they are just as they will be when purchased.

UCL Colonial Legionnaires and PHR Immortals:
Scale picture - PHR Immortals on the left, 1p, UCL Legionnaires on the right
My First reaction is one I don't normally suffer from - wow, they're small. Dave's done such a great job on the studio paint jobs that even as one used to working on 6 & 10mm models I was surprised how fine these pieces are.

The detail is great and the casting is crisp, down to fraction of millimeter details such as panel lines on the weapons and helmets. You can tell that they have been hand sculpted rather than CAD designed and I like this for organic models especially at this scale. Details have to be enlarged and exaggerated to make painting and identification easier on the tabletop and the balance on these models is spot on. Enough extra depth to make them work without them looking ridiculous and maintaining a level of plausibility (over realism which isn't practical... its sci-fi guys!)

UCL legionnaires
There's 5 poses of legionnaire on the sprue, 4 carrying a standard style sci-fi carbine, and one a shoulder mounted rocket launcher. Its 5 again for the PHR Immortals, with the split being 4 carbines and a support Machine gun trooper. The rules aren't out yet, so I cant give you any more details on the weapons just yet!

The posing is good and they have some great movement in them for 10mm figures and a good mix of shooting & moving troops too so you have options in making your stands look more active than 3d tokens.

Anyone that has read my Reviews or even (constructive) criticisms on various forums knows that I'm a picky git and if I choose to give my opinion I will be as harsh as possible with the aim of being useful. The same applies here, but I'm struggling to pick holes.

UCL Legionnaires
There are really only two tiny details I can pick up on.
The Missile Launcher trooper's left hand is slightly Ham fisted - the 4 fingers are easily as wide as his helmeted head. Now this is not unusual in small scale figures however, and actually points more to the fact that the rest of the details are done very nicely in scale, rather than this being done badly (which its not), but it does show up as different.
Secondly, one pose (that next top the missile trooper) is lacking a little definition on his left leg. Again, if this were any other set of miniatures I'd say it was in itself very finely detailed for a 10mm piece, as it is, but simply compared to the rest, its lacking a noticeable shin, running straight from knee into boot.

Both exceptionally minor and will be totally unnoticeable when painted, but I noticed it with my harsh eyes so there it is!

PHR Immortals
The PHR troops offer me nothing at all to pick holes in. One of the hardest things in sculpting small scale armoured infantry is keeping consistency in what should be mass produced forms such shoulder pads, leg armour etc. There are slight variations between the models but overall the consistency is great, and it certainly looks like they're all in identical kit just as they should be. Top notch!

There is a very feint mould line running along the line of the sprue, but its easy enough to clean off the helmets and there's very few other areas affected.

The sprue itself is quite large. Easily containing more metal than the models themselves. Whilst this might seem odd from an economies of casting point of view, it does mean the models will be nice and easy to paint, the sprue itself offering plenty to hold on to and enough space around each of the models to paint. Design aspect or happy chance? I don't know, but its a good result for me!

Overall I am very much impressed.

I pride myself on having worked on some of the best small scale models out there and pushed the limits of 6mm painting. This is a larger scale, but its going to test me to and beyond my limits of detail once again.

Great models!

A Quick note on bases:
The Models come with resin bases. I'd missed these off initially as I'm not going to need them and had put them aside with a couple of other bits of resin (more on those later...) but I should include them for completeness. They're very clean casts. One tiny vent on the underside to snip off and your done. They're texture free so its up to you what you do with them. It all comes down to what this new resin is like to work with for these, so I'll have to comment more later, but here's the pics (not quite to ridiculously huge for these!).

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