Saturday, 1 December 2012

Studio Miniatures: Plastic Zombies

Introduction

I have been aware of Studio Miniatures for a considerable time and am in awe of the excellent 28mm zombie and survivor figures they produce.  To my shame, I'd never bought any of these.  Somehow they were always near the top of my wish-list but never quite made it from there to a purchase.

6 months ago or so, in the middle of 2012, Stuart of Studio Miniatures announced a crowd-sourced campaign on Indiegogo to produce a set of plastic, 28mm zombies.  At the time, the only alternative zombies in plastic were the original set from Wargames Factory, which are usefully cheap but are not the best-sculpted figures.  I immediately made a pledge to the Studio Miniatures campaign (albeit not a very large one) and sat back and waited for what seemed to me very generous rewards.  Well finally, last Thursday, a package arrived for me...

The Box

My first thought on seeing the box was "goodness - it's huge!"  The package was much larger than I was expecting.  This is possibly explained at least in part by some of the wording on the sleeve, where it clearly states that the box contains enough parts to make 60 zombies.  Now, my pledge was for 40 models, not 60, so I can only imagine that Studio do plan (in due course) to sell these to the general public in lots of 60, hence the production of packaging that is larger than immediately necessary.

Inside the box were 11 identical sprues of zombies (4 models per sprue), 5 sprues of round bases from Renedra and a small packet containing the 4 metal figures that were offered as part of the $30 pledge level.  That's right: I got 11 zombie sprues and will thus be able to make up 44 zombies, not the 40 I was promised.  I'm assuming that this was a mistake, though a very minor one.  On examining the metal figures, I discovered another error: the survivor model included was not the one I wanted.  I think I asked for the right name, though I cannot verify this since my correspondence on the matter has been mislaid.  Still, I cannot rule out the possibility that it was my mistake, not Stuart's.  Oh, well - I'm not too bothered overall.

The Models

Each sprue contains 4 different bodies, 6 pairs of arms and 8 heads.  This should allow quite a range of combinations to make a collection of zombies look a bit less uniform.  The bodies are fairly static in pose; this suits a shambling horde very well (for contrast, see the Zombie Vixens set that was recently released by Wargames Factory; they have some very distinctive poses).

The zombies portrayed by this set are fairly fresh, I'd say.  With the exception of 1 body, there are only a few minor tears in the clothing and most (not all!) of the heads and arms do not show signs of major trauma.  Indeed, I've been toying with the idea of making some survivors out of 1 sprue, just to see how well it would work.  Finding suitable weapons or other equipment is possibly the hardest part of such a conversion.

So, how do they look when finished?  Here are 4 that I made up and painted quickly.  I have a number of observations from this experience:
  • The detail on the bodies and arms is extremely good.  Often I paint 28mm models by layering colours, especially for cloth.  However for these figures I just gave them a basecoat and a wash; the latter was very effective at picking out the many folds, tears and so on.
  • Most of the arms fit very well (I've not used any filler on the models above).  However I found at least one pair to be slightly odd in appearance once fitted.  This might just be my imagination, or it might be that some pairs are designed to be outstretched while others are better held down by the sides.  Additionally, the arms on the 3rd zombie from the left (the one with the tie) seem just a touch too long.
  • The hands are excellent and have some of the best-sculpted fingers I've ever seen.
  • The heads are possibly the weakest part.  They suffer from the general problem of plastic moulded heads: the detail is not equally fine all the way around.  In this case, it's the ears which suffer and are little more than raised bumps.  The hair also isn't particularly finely-detailed.  Finally, the necks seem overlong, though that would be easily corrected by just trimming a bit off.   Having said that, these heads are at least as good as anyone else's plastics of the same size.
  • The figures come with small bases moulded onto the feet.  These are surprisingly heavy and give the models a moderate amount of stability.  I was torn between fixing on the extra round bases that have been supplied or leaving the models as they are.  In the end I went for the latter since these zombies are quite tall anyway and I didn't want the extra height.  In future I may remove the moulded bases and add the Renedra ones instead; I haven't fully decided yet.

Comparison

So how do the new Studio Miniatures plastics match up with other well-known brands of zombies?  Here's a comparison shot, above.  The Studio Miniatures figure is taller than most, cheaper than many and less chunky than some.  I'll use them alongside all my other models without any worries, though the height and style differences may be of concern to some people.  Still, plastics are cheap enough to enable a large horde from just a single manufacturer; the Studio Miniatures models are admirably suited to that.   I expect we'll see a lot of these models appearing in people's games in the future!

Update: you can see some more painted examples of these models here.

24 comments:

  1. Excellent review, Hugh. I can't wait for mine to arrive (I pledged $100, so it'll be a BIG parcel when they do arrive). The extra sprue you got is NOT a mistake or an oversight. To boost demand, Stuart mentioned that if you ordered your set(s) by a certain date you'd receive 10% extra sprues as a thank you and an incentive to order early. I should receive 44 sprues instead of 40. That is why you got 11 sprues instead of 10.

    Your size comparison photo was a great idea and I'm sure that many viewers will find it very useful.

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    1. Ah, I must have missed the announcement about the extra sprue. Mind you, even the original offer without all the bonuses seemed very generous to me! Hopefully you won't have to wait too long now, Bryan.

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  2. This is definitely a great review! I'm a little upset with myself that I didn't pledge with this one. I think I'll have to keep an eye out for when they're available!

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    1. Thanks! I've seen quite a few crowd-sourced campaigns launched, but most of them didn't seem to give much away. I'm glad I was a part of this one, however minor!

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  3. Excellent review.
    The composition (Head, arms and legs+trunk) remind me of the old Airfix multipose kits - they were 54mm.

    There's a certain difficulty with the anatomy of the human shoulder Vs 360 degree variation.
    This leads to a wide variety of "How it can be done" but far less tolerance in "What looks right".
    If it's any consolation, horses are even less forgiving.

    The main quality for any cannon-fodder types is that they blend well with the rest, while adding just enough variety. Studio Miniatures look to have accomplished this at great value.

    The height difference doesn't look like a problem.
    It would be a most unusual horde that only attacked victims of a precise height and weight.
    The whole range of figures in the final line-up look well within standard deviation for any neighbourhood.

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    1. Tnaks, Steve. I'm more concerned about the difference in bases than I am about the height and bulk variations of the figures.

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  4. Thats a great review!Really useful.I'm pretty sure I'll get a pack of those in future!

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  5. Nice review. I'm looking forward to these hitting the shops at some point.

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    1. I imagine you won't have too long to wait.

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  6. Good review and very useful having the comparison "chart".
    The obvious height difference shouldn't bother most people buth it'll be more interesting to see how many variations/conversions can be made fromjust four distinct torsos.
    If I end up getting a set of these I'd probably use them as bodies

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    1. I think that considerable variation can be achieved by altering the angles and types of heads and arms and by painting them differently

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  7. Good review - when I received mine this week I read the box that said '60' and assumed that was how many I was getting... silly me forgot how many the pledge was for :-P

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    1. Yes, the 60/40 thing had me confused for a while as well!

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  8. Hi! Just thought you might like to know I've nominated you for a Leibster award! :)

    http://colourofwar.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/leibster-blog-awards.html

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    1. Wow, thanks! That's really nice of you.

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  9. thanks for posing the comparison pic. they look like they match up well with the WF Vixens. I wish there was more than 4 torsos.

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    1. It's true that there are only 4 torsos but I don't think this is much of an issue, especially if you want a horde rather than individual characters.

      Yes, the Studio plastics are a good height match for the Zombie Vixens. They do differ on a couple of points, though: the vixens are more heavily damaged (broken legs, holes, missing flesh &c) and also they have very animated poses. This is somewhat in contrast to the Studio ones that are only lightly injured and are more staid in appearance.

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  10. I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. You can read about it here at http://seanswgcorner.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-major-award.html

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    1. Thanks, Sean. That's very kind of you!

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  11. Good review,
    It’s nice to finally see some of them in the flesh, especially in comparison to other models. I just ordered a bunch of their survivors for xmas and noticed you can now order a box of 60 of these from their web site.

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    1. The comparison photo seems to have been very popular, though I could wish I'd done a better job of making and painting the new models for this article. I was in a rush of enthusiasm and hurried too much. The next lot will be better, I promise!

      Yes, I just noticed that the plastic zombies have now appeared on the Studio Miniatures website. I expect there will be something of a stampede!

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  12. Nice review - If I didn't have another 110 WF plastic zeds to assemble and paint, I'd definitely have considered some of these.

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    1. The Studio Miniatures zeds are very good for creating shambling masses, I think. Whilst the Wargames Factories models are very good (the Vixens, at least), they are in highly animated poses.

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