Yesterday, I received some samples from the forthcoming (actually, the first figures are already available) 28mm Sci-Fi figures by the proprietor of Sharkit Models, M. Renaud Mangallon for review.
I had previously bought some of his Sci-Fi models and was really looking forward to these figures; he had hinted that he was working on the range, and now the first pieces are finished. I was not disappointed.
The figures are to form part of the "Alterra 1" universe, a "pet project" of Renaud, whereas the main area of Sharkit is the manufacture of short-run airplane kits, mainly of exotic subjects such as X-Planes, "Luft 46" models and early guided missiles, but also rockets and spacecraft. Nonetheless, the 28mm range will see some more additions in the next months, and probably even more if it is well received.
Stylewise, the figures are reminiscent of the SF3D/MaK designs, so would work in a Sci-Fi setting (such as the Alterra 1 universe, background fluff for which can be found on the company website) as well as for Retro, Pulp and Weird War games. I´ve included a number of comparison shots of the finished models at the end of this article.
Well, what do you get? The figures are cast in resin, in multi-part moulds; the castings are rather good, with some large sprues, but only minimal mould lines and pinholes - the latter could, in fact, be filled using paint or white glue. The resin is a durable, sand-coloured variant, almost odourless and easily cut and sanded. The only problem I encountered was the rather large sprue stub on the bottom of the KRAB armoured suit head, but that was only a problem because I do not own a modelling saw - with such a tool, it would come off in seconds. All in all, I spent some 20 minutes per figure in cleaning up and assembling using gel superglue. No traces of mould release agent, although I washed them in warm water to be sure.So, while these figures assemble easily, a modicum of modelling skills is helpful, especially due to the nature of the resin. It is easily handled, cut and sanded, but you need to be careful - then, however, you get some really nice models.
Now, some pictures. The first release includes the "KRAB" powered armour suit and the "PIKER" remote-controlled combat robot. Both are multipart pieces. A minor caveat on the KRAB: The right foot and the "toe" of the left foot are cast onto the supplied base, so you may have to do some converting if you wish to use another base style (easy since the foot shape is rather simple). This is apparently due to the shape of the mould and did not bother me that much, but I realize some people may prefer other bases. You could saw off the foot using a very fine modelling saw, I guess.The KRAB, parts and assembled figure:The PIKER, parts and assembled figure:
The long arm on the PIKER is supposed to carry a plasma blowtorch/cutter, but could also be used as a flamethrower, I guess.
In addition to the two above models, which are already available, I was sent pre-production samples of future releases, a "DROVAK" humanoid labour/combat robot and a reconnaissance drone.The DROVAK, assembled figure:
Note that the Drovak´s "Panzerfaust" is cast as a single piece with the left arm AND THE METAL WIRE ALREADY IN PLACE, so you get a stable weapon. The sample I received did not yet include a right arm, so I substituted a spare powered armour arm. This model comes in six parts, torso/head, two arms, the legs and two boots, plus a base. I substituted a "standard" slottabase so as not to conflict the walking pose.The Drone, assembled figure with scratchbuilt flying base
The Drone is one of my favourites. Very nice, sleek lines, and a nicely done jet intake. Comes in two pieces, front/intake and body.
After assembly, I primered the models white, then set about painting them. I chose a "marine" scheme since I want them to depict a naval commando landing force.The two KRABS, showing basic variation in arm and head poses - the arms have spherical sockets, so you have some leeway in posing them:Then, the PIKER. Similar in theme, with some aluminum for the arm and darkish rust-metal for the engine.The DROVAK. This one displays a combination of the background camo scheme for the cloth legs cover and a field blue finish for the body parts.And the Drone.
And finally, a concept model which was originally scheduled as part of the first release but was withdrawn by Renaud due to copyright reasons. Sad, but he´s doing a new sculpt which will form part of a three-figure set with the KRAB and PIKER. I´ve included the pic to show the nice sculpting and attention to detail. The separate head which can be stuck in open or closed condition is a very nice touch.
That´s it for the individual models. Next, a number of comparison shots with current figure ranges to give an idea of size.
Black Tree Designs:
West Wind, Secrets of the Third Reich:
Ebob (if I´m not mistaken):
Bolt Action Miniatures:
And finally a figure which I got from North Star in one of their "Lucky Bags" - I couldn´t find out the manufacturer (although I didn´t try THAT hard, mind you), so if anyone knows who makes this figure (and similar ones), I´d be grateful to know.
That´s it pretty much. My verdict: I really like the figures. Some minor caveats, which may very well be sorted out in production, such as the base issue (some of the scenic bases had rough bottoms that required some rigorous sanding) and the stubs, but nothing that cannot be countered with some care. The price sounds reasonable to me as well, three figures for 10,- Euros. I will certainly get some more later on.
Finally, the links: Sharkit Homepage
Alterra 1 Homepage