Friday, March 28, 2014

Blue Moon Orion Republic Heavy infantry – A Deep Dive

I promised in Sprint #2 I would go into more detail about my thoughts on Blue Moon’s Orion Republic figures. This is a sort of review, sort of sharing of dashed plans. This is my first in depth on a figure line, so feedback to improve would be appreciated. Now the mandatory “sweet pic” before the break –

From left to right: Original Alternate Armies Space Knights, Spug by Spriggan, Orion Heavy, original GZG NAC

The grid is a print out and comes pretty close to 1cm between the red lines. The Orion trooper measures 16mm from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head (actual head, not the part of his suit). Bottom of cast on base to the top suit ridge is about 19mm. For comparison the GZG NAC is about 16mm from his feet to the top of his helmet; 15mm to 15.5mm to where his actual head ends. As noted in the caption, that is an original NAC, not one of the new sculpts.

Any photos I have taken you should be able to click on and see in a larger size.

Boy Meets Figure

I purchased these figures when they were first released (4.5 years ago?) at Historicon. I really liked the quasi-Space Marine lines, the cool helmet, and it’s hard to beat the price when you have an Old Glory Army card (about $3.60 for a blister of ten figures). I have yet to build a significant army of both figures and vehicles and I thought these were the ones. I bought a bunch of blisters and set them aside for inspiration.

Boy Becomes Infatuated

Ravenstar Fox MK3 - anime influenced goodness!
Photo used without permission

Over the intervening years, inspiration started to hit. I picked up a couple of Fox MK3 walker tanks from Ravenstar Studios. The tanks nudged me on and I started to envision a leggy army. I bought some Fox tank legs from the Fox from Ravenstar with plans to build some matching walker APCs. The final piece of the puzzle dropped into place when I saw these RAFM Infantry Drones from there 28mm USX line.

Photo used without permission

I decided that rather than having a trooper carrying the support weapon, wouldn’t it be cool if a leggy army had a cybernetic device carrying the heavy weapon? Maybe the top of the drone with the weapon could also attach to the top of the APC with magnets – sort of a weaponized R2 unit in an X-wing – when the troopers were on board!

I get stoked! I popped open two blisters in a burst of enthusiasm; glue them to washers, where they sit for 9 months while the day job takes over my life.

In the last month or so work has tapered off to an almost sane levels, krimso and I propose the  two week painting sprints to get our painting mojos back, and so for the second sprint I pull out the Orion troopers and start to clean the castings….

Boy Wakes Up and Realizes He’s with the Wrong Figures

So here are 9 out of the 10 figures. The tenth is the support weapon and I had set that one aside (somewhere) as I had planned to use the RAFM Drones.

Other than being mounted to washers and a quick ink wash, nothing has been done to these figures. I’ll be referencing the number to the left of each figure as I make certain points.

First thing you’ll note is there are 9 unique poses here. That’s pretty cool in the 15mm realm. I can’t think of many manufacturers that do that unless you are getting a small personality pack. From foot to top of head the trooper is about XXmm and if you adopt the ‘super-soldier” story line, that’s fairly compatible with larger 15s.

Sounds all good – now let’s look at some of the not so good.

The above “figure #1” has something going on with its right leg. Notice that the left calf is full and round while the right is oddly thin. The right foot is also small and misshapen compared to the left.

Figure #2

On figure #2, though its’s a bit hard to see, the right foot (on the left) is also tiny and a duck’s foot.

Figure #3

Figure #3 the right calf has a point back to it (like the crease in a pair of pants( while it’s left brother is round, like most of the other legs.

Another comparison of figure #3, scoop foot on the right vs. the tragic club foot on the left.

Figure #4 on the other hand has little hoof like feet.

And figure #5 is also in the hoof footed club.

Figure #6 has got an oddly thin right leg similar to figure #1.

From the rear you can also see how the right calf lacks heft compared to the left.

And finally figure #9: his left foot is sharp and triangular while the left

And the left leg has a sharp calf while the right is round.

Another aspect which I found annoying is that details vary from figure to figure. Some details vary by size; the round belt buckle can vary as much as 50% biggest from the smallest. Greebles on the back packs vary in size and shape.

I just feel when you have a high tech force, details like that should be consistent. If I were to hypothesize what happened is that someone sculpted a beautiful starting point with the basic body shape and helmet, and then someone else put little greebles and final details in a haphazard fashion and  quickly added legs.

So in the end, am I over reacting? I think they are still a good value for the money, but I do not think they stand up to the consistency and quality that other Blue Moon figures achieve. I have some of their priate line and it does not suffer from the "anatomical variability" that the Orion figures do. Perhaps I am spoiled by more costly figures by Khurasan, Rebel, and Critical Mass? Perhaps I am just bitter because a plan I was really excited about fell apart? Perhaps I am just looking at 15mm figures too closely?

Certainly these figures can be painted to look very cool as shown on Blue Moon’s website.

Photo used without permission

I believe they were painted by the author of the Tiny Solitary Soldiers blog. Boy that dude can paint!

Even while I write this post, I look at these inked figures can see what I got excited about that first time, but when I paint I look close and see all the flaws. I'm tempted to file off the "extras" and try and re-sculpt the legs.

Nnnnnope, not ready for that.

I'd appreciate your feedback. Are deep dives like this worth doing? Any questions you might have that I didn't answer?


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