Review: Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads

Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads Sprue Following on from an earlier post I couldn’t resist picking up some Pig Iron Kolony Rebel 28mm heads from Scrap Dragon in Australia. They arrived late last week, so here’s a quick review of them.

I ordered two packs, and each came in a small baggie containing two copies of the white metal sprue you see in the above photo. In each pack you get twelve of the basic gas mask wearing heads, plus two each of the four ‘command’ style heads for a total of 20 heads per pack. Possibly ordering two packs was a bit of overkill, but they’re so cheap – working out at less than $1NZ per head it seemed a shame not to!

Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads Comparison The heads are well cast with a reasonable amount of detail on them and I expect them to paint up well. There’s some fine mold lines to clean up, but sensibly no mold line crosses any face. Scale wise the heads are a touch smaller than related plastic 40k heads from Games Workshop. This second photo shows two Pig Iron heads compared to plastic GW Cadian and Catachan heads.

Personally I find the Pig Iron heads to be an acceptable match to the GW plastics. In fact I intend to use these metal heads to convert up a Necromunda Scavvie warband from various GW WHFB and 40k plastics. I think it’s a nice touch that the heads are fairly bare around the back (most of them simply have a strap) as it gives you options for converting on helmets or hoods. For my Necro scavvies I do intend to add tattered green stuff hoods, which I should be able to do without having to cut anything down.

Pig Iron Kolony Rebel Heads Sprue Here’s another shot just to show you the head scale on a GW Cadian and Catachan bodies. I’ve left the arms off so the head/torso ratio is obvious and, given that we’re dealing with slightly oddly scaled 28mm sculptures, the heads looks fine. If anything the slightly smaller heads actually make the over-sized GW figures look more realistically proportioned in my opinion.

So in summary I’d happily recommend Pig Irons sci-fi head ranges to any 28mm converter or sculptor out there. They’re excellent quality and the price is perfectly acceptable given the quantity of heads in each pack. On a related note I’d also happily order from Scrap Dragon again too, in fact my receipt came with a 5% discount coupon code of my next order, which is a excellent way to guarantee return custom!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update VI

Hirst Arts Cathedral work in progress Another month has been and gone, so it’s time for a Hirst Arts Cathedral update! This has been a rather hellish month for me at both work and home for various reasons, so only a moderate amount of progress has been made since the last update.

Although it’s a little hard to see in this photo I’ve built up all four sides of the first bell-tower and glued them together into two right angled pieces. Considering my reckless disregard for the assembly instructions the tower actually fits together quite well! This tower is almost ready for painting too as only the interior doorways are lacking a handful of those precious and rare 1″x1½” gothic flat tiles to finish them off.

Speaking of which I’m still laboriously casting those pieces three at a time from the two Hirst Arts molds I own that include them. I now have enough of them to build both the front and back walls of the main Cathedral hall before starting work on the second gallery. I haven’t assembled the back wall yet, but you can see the front above, with the addition of this piece I’m almost a third of the way to completing the building phase of this project.

Now that the Cathedral is starting to come together I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t have ruined the towers more while building them as it’s going to be very hard to get figures in there during gaming! I’m also beginning to wonder how the heck I’m going to store this large, fragile and alarmingly heavy building once it’s completed…

Scrap Dragon sell Pig Iron Products

Pig Iron 28mm Rebel Heads I’ve mentioned Scrap Dragon in the past and noticed a small story pop up on Tabletop Gaming News recently about how they’ve started carrying Pig Iron Productions lines.

So I jumped onto Scrap Dragon to have a look. They have the entire PI line including all of the packs of sci-fi 28mm heads which are very tempting at $11.09nzd each. I might just have to pick up a pack of the Kolony Rebel heads as part of a long standing plan to scratch together a Necro Scavvie gang. The PI heads mix very well with Games Workshop plastics, which you can see showcased in their gallery.

While I was on there I also noticed Scrap Dragon have also started carrying Hirst Arts molds, Avatars of War figures and even some Forgeworld kits! Clearly I should visit here more often!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update V

Hirst Art Cathedral in progress This post continues from the previous Cathedral post and I continue to make slow progress on putting this building together. The bottleneck is still the lack of enough 1″ x 1/2″ x 1/4″ flat pieces. I guess this is what the Cathedral instructions may be hinting at when they say “certain blocks may need an additional 20 casts or so”!

The photo shows another dry fit of the various pieces I’ve finished assembling. You can tell it’s a dry fit because if you look at the exterior low wall, you can see it’s leaning out of the base a little. Everything fits together reasonably well, but that’s all. I suspect some rather heavy sanding will be required on a few of the pieces to get them to glue together well – in particular the tall vertical pieces that go between the bell tower and walls.

I’ve almost finished assembling enough pieces to complete this first gallery + bell tower, except of course for those cursed gothic flats. I’ve also laid out the pieces for the two large central end walls and most of the second gallery. Looking at the plans and it’s obvious I’m probably a little over 1/3rd of the way through assembling this ‘Cathedral of the Damned’ for Mordheim as the centre of the building is basically just empty space.

I’ve developed something of a love/hate relationship with this building. It’s starting to come together nicely, but I’m still not entirely sure the amount of effort required to build the thing will justify the final result, nor the amount of game play it’ll see since my gaming group has basically given up on Games Workshop games!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update IV

Hirst Arts Cathedral Gallery I’ve made some progress on the side gallery of the Hirst Arts Cathedral since 2008 started, however further progress has been stymied by a distinct lack of gothic flat half-bricks. Looking back at my last Hirst Arts casting post (almost two years ago) it’s obvious I’ve still got a fair amount of casting to complete before I can do much more building.

Casting is by far the most onerous part of building the Cathedral and now I have a few walls in place I was really starting to get into the swing of things. Damn it! Time to bust out the molds and add more plaster dust to the garage floor. I wonder if Hirst Arts mold #201 produces flat gothic half inch wide bricks that match those in the Gothic Church mold? No doubt somebody on the Hirst Arts forum can tell me that.

Hirst Arts Cathedral Gallery I’m happy to see the pieces I have built fit together well and appear to be fairly straight. Everything you see in the photos is dry-fit with no glue holding anything to the Cathedral floor, before I do any gluing I’ve got to ply a few more pieces of 3mm MDF together to form a thicker base.

I also have various other components for the gallery near completion including all four walls of the first bell-tower, except for those pesky missing gothic half bricks!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update III

Hirst Arts Cathedral Parts Now that I’ve got around to doing some basic assembly using a new glue: Liquid Nails, this post continues from the previous Cathedral post.

There are various varieties of Liquid Nails, many of which aren’t water based. I chose the water based version because it’s easy to clean up plus I can use a wet brush to smooth away any extra glue squeezed out between Hirst Art blocks. This ‘fast’ Liquid Nails starts to skin and cure in about 20 minutes but that’s not a problem as I simply squeeze out small amounts onto a scrap palette (aka pet food container lid) and apply it with a brush to the Hirst Arts blocks.

Hirst Arts Cathedral Parts It dries to a creme colour and looking at the photos it’s fairly obvious where I’ve been using it. However the whole building is going to be painted once assembled so discolouring the bricks like this isn’t an issue. Once dry it provides a very firm yet slightly flexible bond between the bricks which is just great. I found the PVA I was using wouldn’t always provide a good bond and even when it did the bond was quite brittle, so flexing the larger sections would tend to snap pieces off. You can seperate pieces glued together with Liquid Nails – which is a plus if you’ve misaligned a couple of blocks, but it certainly requires a lot more effort than the PVA glued pieces.

Regarding assembling the Cathedral itself I have to say it’s very slow going. There seem to be a million blocks involved in the building so it’s an exercise in patience gluing them together. I’m currently trying to build up the thirteen sub-pieces that go together to build the smaller removable side gallery of the Cathedral! In the photos you can see the two long interior and exterior gallery walls and various parts of the bell-tower that makes up the front of the gallery.

I’ve always been impressed by Mr Hirst’s fine molds however I have to say while building the Cathedral it’s increasingly obvious there’s some problematic pieces on the molds involved. In particular the small gothic arch pieces that make up most of the windows in the Cathedral don’t go together well. Maybe it’s because there’s definite left and right arch pieces (they certainly aren’t marked as such) but the archways always seem to be slightly too wide for their designated space in the wall, plus they don’t form a square unit when glued together. So a reasonable amount of sanding is involved with assembling each of those small gothic windows.

I’m also wondering how well the sub-parts are going to fit together to form the gallery. I suspect more sanding will be involved in getting the pieces level and well bonded to each other. Ah well, stay tuned!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update II

Hirst Arts Cathedral Floor As the poll has ended, it’s time I showed I’ve made some progress on the Hirst Arts Cathedral: thus I give you the floor!

This is little more exciting than it sounds because it gives me a foundation to build the rest of the Cathedral on. There’s a couple of 28mm Games Workshop Mordheim figures on there for scale.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bruce Hirst’s Cathedral design, the floor is split into two parts to allow you to get inside the assembled Cathedral for detailing, painting and gaming. The split is cunningly placed, falling between the main room and one gallery of the final building. I may just build up the walls and towers for this smaller gallery first to see if the water based Selley’s Liquid Nails I picked up recently does a better job of holding the bricks together than builder’s PVA.

There are a few issues however. The first is that the join between the smaller and larger pieces isn’t quite exact and there’s a visible ~1mm seam between the floor tiles when the two parts are placed together. However hopefully that’ll be concealed once I’ve built up the walls.

The second issue is that I’ve glued the floor down on a single layer of 3mm MDF which is definitely not going to be rigid enough to support the finished Cathedral. I plan to ply 2-3 layers of 3mm MDF together with PVA and clamps to build up a set of shallow stepped levels up around the Cathedral. Hopefully that works since I’ve already glued down the floor!

Yes, I read all instructions and carefully plan all of my projects…

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update

Hirst Arts Cathedral Parts Voting on the current poll seems to be split between the 28mm Hirst Arts cathedral and a second 15mm 1930’s building facade. So I’ve been dusting both these projects off.

The last time I did any casting for the Cathedral it looks like I was pretty close to having all the required pieces! I actually started building the sub-elements of the Cathedral, but got frustrated due to problems I had getting individual bricks to bond well together into large linear columns and abandoned the project temporarily.

It turns out that temporarily meant around 18 months. Since then the cast pieces have been languishing under my steel gaming table. I fished them out from there last night and dusted them off and took the above photo.

Top right and centre right you can see the larger parts I started assembling. A few more pieces broke off those long columns centre right while I was handling them last night, so I definitely need to find a better glue.

The pieces have been drying in the garage for so long they actually feel ceramic, and almost ring when you knock them together. Hopefully the Ultracal 30 hasn’t deteriorated at all by being left unpainted for so long.

After looking at how close I was to assembling this project I am feeling inspired to complete it. But we’ll see how the voting pans out I guess!

Warhammer 40k Apocalypse Rant

The upcoming Warhammer 40k Apocalypse is designed to allow you to play 5000+ point armies in epic scale battles with 28mm figures. Here’s a snippet from a promo email I recently received from Vagabond Games in New Zealand.

Apocalypse Rulebook + Baneblade for $250 (normally $285)
Apocalypse Rulebook + Apocalypse Templates for $130 (normally $145)

There are also a number of boxed sets being released at the same time, including a squadron of 10 Leman Russ Battle Tanks, an Eldar Windrider Host and an entire Space Marine Battle Company!

The question I have is who do Games Workshop think is going to buy these kits? For example let’s take the ‘squadron of 10 Leman Russ Battle Tanks’. Here in New Zealand a single Leman boxed set costs $55nz. So let’s be kind and say a single box of 10 will set you back $500nz locally. How many will need you need to field an Apocalypse sized Imperial Guard ‘Steel Legion’ Armored Company?

Based on the army lists from the venerable 6mm scale Epic 40k game armies are typically around 3000pts, with a a unit of 10 Leman Russ tanks costing 650 points. Judging from some of the promo shots for Apocalypse this vehicle count isn’t a bad estimate. I can count around thirty armored vehicles in that photo on the Imperial Guard side.

So let’s be kind again and say maybe you’ll need two boxes at $500nz each, and maybe another box of 10 x Basilisk Artillery tanks for support at another $500nz. That’s $1500nz for what will be quite a basic force in 40k Apocalypse. After all we haven’t included any HQ or Infantry support yet!

At those prices who’s going to play 40k Apocalypse? I’ll hazard a guess here and say almost nobody. Particularly when you consider GW’s target audience for 40k is roughly 16-24 year old men. How many of them have $1500nz plus to spend on toy soldiers in one hit? Then of course you’ll have to paint the things!

I’ve already mentioned Epic Armageddon which is a large scale 40k war game in it’s second edition from Specialist Games, an often neglected spin off from Games Workshop. Epic is a 6mm scale game and you can buy a 10 Leman Russ Battle Tank boxed set for 20GBP or roughly $55nz. So you could have the same army (in 6mm scale rather than 28mm) for a grand total of $165nz.

Then you could take that army and play Epic Armageddon (the rules are free to download btw) or if you really feel like it could spring for the 40k Apocalypse rulebook and play those rules instead using your reasonably priced and quite attractive 6mm tanks.

I honestly cannot see the point to 40k Apocalypse, why would anybody play it? Although I am quite curious to get a look at the rule set because I would not be at all surprised if it’s derived from Epic Armageddon!

THQ to Create 40k MMO

I couldn’t let this story slide past: THQ (creators of Dawn of War) have extended their license with Games Workshop to produce a Massively Multiplayer Online game set in the 40k universe.

After seeing the Warhammer Fantasy MMO (from another publisher) dead in the water it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Personally I think if anybody can pull off a decent 40k MMO it’s THQ as they’ve already proven they can treat the 40k IP appropriately by creating the excellent Dawn of War RTS series of games.

Game balance will be interesting though, considering each faction in the 40k universe essentially represents the pinnacle of their particular race’s warrior class and of course everyone will want to play ‘The Emperor’s Finest’! Details of actual game play at this point are nil – the Gamespot article above includes an ‘interview’ that is essentially a bunch of PR boiler plate.