Mini-Review: Academy 1/48 Challenger Kit

While sitting and waiting for a doctor’s appointment several months ago, I was browsing Dakka on my phone when someone posted an eBay link to some 1:48 scale tanks, by a Korean company called Adademy. Since 1:48 is one of the appropriate scales for 28mm miniatures (some of our figures’ weird proportions are 1:35, some 1:48, some 1:56), I checked out the link, and on seeing the price of $15 a pop with free shipping, 5 minutes later, I’d ordered a platoon of three British Challengers to use in moderns or proxy into 40k, WarPath or any other games that might require tanks – particularly ones that look like they might actually work. I went with the challenger since it looks modern and pretty cool but isn’t as immediately recognisable as the US Abrams series (to those of us outside the UK, at least).

Sexy Box Picture

Open Box!

Hull/Chassis in-bag

Turret, detail parts and road wheels.

A couple of in-box and sprue-in bag shots. Nothing too exciting here. Tracks are rubbery plastic, as is not uncommon for tracked vehicle model kits. So far, so normal. I also took a bunch of comparison photos with some 40k models, so people can get an accurate look at the size. Bear in mind in these pics the wheels and tracks aren’t assembled on the Challenger, so the actual kit would end up a bit taller.

A nice amount of detail for the price.

Front-on details.

Profile with the Chimera.

Profile with a Rhino.

Model’s-eye view, front on.

With: Techmarine, Cadian Stormtrooper, Ork Boy, Imperial Stormtrooper.

Gamers-eye-view, side-on with models.

Gamers-eye-view, front-on with models.

Yes, I took a whole lot of photos. Mostly because I went with what I personally like to be able to see when looking at kits like this on the web, so some comparisons with other commonly-used vehicles (sorry, I couldn’t find my Russes) and some of the models most likely to be spending quality time with it (sorry, my Mantic Corporation guys aren’t built yet, and my half-painted moderns are still hiding out somewhere since  I moved).

More direct width comparison.

More direct length comparison.

A very detailed turret underside? Perhaps not! (Yeah, I thought there was a piece missing, too!)

As Academy is clearly a budget-ended model company, you can see how they subscribe to an “out of sight, out of mind model” with the underside of the turret and main gun. Even so this is acceptable for a model to be used in wargaming in my mind, as we tend not to remove the turret unless the model is destroyed, and the underside of the gun really can’t be seen unless you’re looking front-on at tabletop eye level with the gun elevated to maximum.

Given that I’m looking at this kit as something to use/convert for miniatures wargaming, I’d say it will do the job admirably and at a very reasonable price. I’m not going to be doing a Mig Jiminez on it and creating a museum-quality work of art in 1:48 with it, and so if you’re also looking for wargames-friendly models, I’d suggest the Academy line as worth checking out. In the same scale, there’s also an Israeli Merkava, a US M60A1 (Patton), Soviet T-72, German Leopard 2 A5 in the $15 price range, with other tanks (Panthers, Tigers, T-34s, and more) becoming available as the kits go on with motorised elements and a slight price increase going on to $25 and $30+ per kit… I’d have jumped on the T-34s if they were also in the $15 price band, but alas, not! Maybe I’ll buy some M60s next.. then some T-72s! 🙂

Overall, the Challenger is a nicely-detailed kit that looks like it will go together quickly and easily. Certainly for fifteen bucks and free shipping, I found them to be a worthwhile purchase, and no doubt will find them even more worthwhile once they’re assembled, painted and used for something!

Quick edit – 23rd Oct 2015: – For the serious model makers – people from Britmodeller and Armorama, etc. I’d avoid the Academy kits. I’ve got a few others in 1:48, and they’re really not up to the standards that you’ll be looking for. For starter modellers, your kids, and for wargamers like myself where the kits can be “good enough” in terms of accuracy and details – or used for terrain, they’re fine and in fact pretty good value. For serious armour modellers though, these aren’t the tanks you’re looking for.

cheers!

MaxMini Jump Packs – Polish Resin #7

In what’s getting close to my final MaxMini review post for awhile, I’m sharing their various Jump Packs today. I picked up set of 5 of their Iron Pattern Jump Packs shortly after they were released, though due to the joy of moving twice in a relatively short period, they got put in a box and not used (story of my figures’ bloody life!) Recently, I decided to start to resurrect some of my armies, so I’ve been buying cool resin bits, which at the moment mostly sit around until I can work out some army lists and then motivate myself to get them started/finished.

I originally got these to use either with my Iron Warriors or possibly my old-school-style Crimson Fists. So anyway, with 5 of these suckers already in hand, I needed to get another 5 to finish a squad. So I did. I may need a second 10 of them so I can kit out both armies with them. I’ve tried to give my Iron Warriors more of a Renegade Marine vibe than a gribbly chaos marine one. As cool as the new DV figures are, and as much as they harken back to the old Slaves to Darkness style, I actually want to go with the “loyalists with spikes” look for the dour, mechanically-oriented Iron Warriors – more likely to amputate a tentacle and replace it with a bionic arm than to accept it as a gift of chaos, so studded mechanics work from my perspective.

Size Shot – Maxmini Iron Pattern Jump Pack.

Here’s the pack being modelled by a marine I’ve been working on for a mate. He won’t have a jump pack in his final form, but since his wasn’t glued on, I thought he’d work fine as a Jump Pack model. As you can see, this Jump Pack is a pretty big piece of work.

Maxmini Silver WIng Jump Packs

While I was at it, I decided to pick up a set of 10 of their other two new styles. The Silver Wing Pattern Jump Packs will go perfectly with either Blood or Dark Angels, and as I have a small DA force and an unbuilt BA force, there’s potential to once again buy a second set of them so both forces can use them. The DA already have a mostly-built Assault Squad though, so maybe I’ll just grab another 5 for some Character models.

Size Shot – Maxmini Silver Wing Jump Pack.

As you can see in the photos, the Silver Wing packs are just as big as the Iron Pattern, though I was surprised as the details are almost entirely different, aside from the turbines and the part that plugs into the back of the model they’re being mounted on. The detail is really quite nice, with lots of exposed wires, pipes and tubes again giving it an old-school look, though perhaps not all that OH&S-friendly.

Maxmini Bronze Pattern Jump Packs

Finally, I grabbed a set of 10 of the Bronze Pattern Jump Packs. These don’t fit the old-school vibe in the exact same way as either of other the turbine-topped styles, but I thought the huge vented intakes looked pretty cool, so I again got a set of 10 to kit out a squad (of something TBD).

Size Shot – Maxmini Bronze Pattern Jump Pack.

Now if you thought the other two were big, these will really impress. These ones are edging towards being ludicrously big, but despite this, I really like them. The sculpting and design on them are really well done and a bit different. They still look a little Horus-Heresy-retro, but perhaps like something that was newer then. They look like something that would fit in with the era of this classic Paul Bonner Dark Angels painting (used as a WD cover back in the day). Not-quite Rogue Trader, Not quite modern era. Around the days of Adeptus Titanicus and Space Marine. Note the marine firing! If you look carefully, you can see how he’d probably like you to say hello to his little friend..

Paul Bonner’s seminal Dark Angels-Scarface artwork.

MaxMini Head sizes – Polish Resin Extra!

After some requests for size comparisons on the MaxMini from Dakka and in the comments, I’ve taken some quick photos to help people judge which heads are right and wrong for their own purposes. I’ve also got an older review – of the Steam Knight helmets. Though I only used Marine bodies on that one, as you can see in that post, they’re on the smaller side, and so I think they’d work on smaller like the below Mantic/McVey models as well.

MaxMini heads and various figures.

From left-right, we have a Sedition Wars female, a “marine” made of a Maxmini head, GW torso and Anvil Industries legs.  A sci-fi Bombshell Babe. She’s about the height of a marine, but less bulky – A good representative for many of Reaper’s sci-fi figures. Next is A Mantic Enforcer, Mantic Corporation with actual head, Sedition Wars male, and another Mantic Corporation fig with Maxmini “Biohazard” diving bell. Last up, we have a completed GW Space Marine.

MaxMini heads.

So. Opinion time. The gladiator helmets are a little small for marines, but workable. They’re also suitable for the McVay and Mantic figures, as actual gladiator helmets are pretty damned big.

The Black Lotus helmets are perfect for marines, but a bit big for the truescale figures – unless you want big ancients helmets for them.

The “Immortals” Egyptian helmets would work on the McVey/Mantic bodies. They might seem a touch big, but then there’s a lot of bling on them, so if you disregard all of the spikes and so forth which make them look bigger, they work. Similarly, they work on marines, but may look a touch smallish.

MaxMini heads.

The Mecha-Egyptian helmets (V.1) look perfect for marines, but a bit big to go with the truescale figures. Similarly, the Biohazard heads are perfect for marines but too big for the truescales. A possible exception for the “diving bell” helmet, since diving bells IRL are huge, so with a trim to the neck they could work with truescale figure – depending on what you’re trying to do.

The Hybrid heads are a good fit for truescale figures – bear in mind that they are deliberately bulbous, though. They seem a little small for marines.

Once again, I hope this is helpful. I realise it might be a touch mroe useful if I clipped off a bunch of the heads and blu-tacked them to a Mantic and GW torso, but I don’t want to cut up the sprues at this stage, since it makes the heads easier to lose. (yeah, after moving house, I need to find those Steam Knight helmets I linked earlier..!)

Polish Resin #6: MaxMini Gladiator, Alien Hybrid, Biohazard, Black Lotus Heads

So it’s the next set of pictures and commentary of the recent order I received from Maxmini. In my last post I looked at the two types of Mecha Egyptian heads that they offer. This time it’s a bit more varied. Once again, all images are clickable for bigger versions.

MaxMini Gladiator Helmets.

First up are the Gladiator helmets. I bought these without any incredibly firm use for them, simply because they looked so nice. I’ve been considering using them as heads for Pre-Heresy-styled World Eater Gladiators. Maybe Khornate ones that still have their old Relic-aged helmets – or I’ve just realised as I’ve been typing this that they would be perfect for my Iron Warriors berserkers that I’ve been intending to build for the last 5 years – I’ve just been needing a way to make them unique, but distinctly both berserkers and Iron Warriors without using the “bunny ears”. Now I’ll have to buy a few more… hmm…

MaxMini Alien Hybrid Heads

Next up are the Alien Hybrid heads. Again, I bought these without any immediate purpose. I’ve got a bunch of old-school Genestealers and Hybrids that I need to get around to sometime, but they’re not a priority in my paint queue for the time being. As you can see, they’re finely detailed, though they’re quite small – more truescale than heroic. Having said that, I’m sure they’d work well on top of a guardsman’s body. Something I’m happy to have in my bits box for the moment when I’m building something and decide I’ll need them.

MaxMini Biohazard Heads

MaxMini Biohazard helmets. Unlike the others, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with these from the moment I saw them. These will be going onto the heads of Plague Marines and Death Guard. When I got these, I opted out of the one sculpt that didn’t appeal to me (in execution, not concept) by asking the MaxMini guys for a custom mix. Since they’re able to do that without a hassle from a lot of the items in their range, it was no problem, and I picked up an extra pair of the “diving bell” sculpt, which I really like. I’ll probably pick up some more of these down the line as well, as the Diving Bell also has a lot of potential outside of the specific CSM use I plan for most of them.

MaxMini Tribe of Black Lotus Helmets

Finally, for this post at least is the Tribe of Black Lotus Helmets. A bit of a long, unwieldy name, yes, but some great sculpts. In the past I’d considered these but passed, as I didn’t have a specific use for them, but now I’ve pretty much got two solid options for them, and will probably go with both. These will be used in a mixture of a Greek-themed Space Marine force (no, not Minotaurs, though I’ll certainly use some of their Forge World parts) and also steal a few of them to use on Various Slaanesh Champion and Emperor’s Children figures. (2017 Edit – Erm, yeah, I am actually doing Minotaurs now, using these on the odd commander-type model!)

Maxmini Tribe of Black Lotus Helmets

As you can see, these parts are pretty much flash-free, with just a small bit of cleanup required on an occasional piece. Clean bubble-free casts, and quality (non-itchy!) resin.

There’s a few other nice-looking head/helmet styles on offer from MaxMini as well that I’ll be purchasing in the future to check out. The Space Police, Steam Knight Noble and Zombie heads are all ones that look good and I’ll likely be purchasing and reviewing in the future, so look out for those (in a couple of months.)

The next post will be MaxMini stuff, as I’ve got some jump packs and other odds and ends to review. After that, I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’ve bought from Kromlech, Scibor and Puppetswar to photograph and review, so the Polish Resin series will have a fair few more installments to come!

As always, I hope people find these shots useful!

MaxMini Mecha Egyptian Heads – Polish Resin #5

I’ve picked up some more new stuff from the talented artisans in Poland. This time, a selection of items from Maxmini. I have bought stuff from them a few times before, and never had a problem with their service or quality – this order once again lived up to my previous experiences. Three week turnaround from ordering to arriving in my happy paws in Australia, which is a little longer than most orders from the UK or US, but 3 weeks from Poland including processing time seems pretty fair. It certainly doesn’t take months for stuff to come from Poland, as others have suggested.

I should point out that I’m not affiliated with Maxmini in any way and paid full normal retail for this order (and the previous ones) – I simply like to support businesses that offer quality product, are friendly, efficient and don’t screw me around.

So anyway, I placed a decent-sized order with them, now I’m sharing them with the world. Next up I need to actually do something with them. (hopefully!) Too much stuff to paint, and too many distractions.

When I saw these two types of heads, I knew they would work really well with a Thousand Sons force. I’ve got quite a few of the GW TS heads, but I think these will mix in really nicely to reinforce the Pseudo-Egyptian theme.

Maxmini Mecha Egyptian Helmets

Yeah, I should have photographed the Mecha Egyptian helmets in descending rows like I did the Immortals.

Maxmini Immortals Helmets – Mecha Egyptian MK2

Now for the Close-up shots! (all images clickable) You can see both the detail and how clean the casts are.

Maxmini Mecha Egyptian Helmets – Close Up.

Maxmini Immortals Helmets – Close Up

I also bought a bunch of other heads and Jump Packs in the same order, but I’ll put those up in the next updates over the next few days. They’re just as good as I’ve come to expect from Maxmini, though.

Kromlech: Orc Juggernaut Mecha-Armour Squad – Polish Resin #4

A few weeks ago I saw some previews of some new items from Kromlech, a polish outfit who do resin conversion parts that happen to fit popular heroic 32mm Orcs and Armoured Space Warriors. I’ve gotten stuff from them on occaision, but when I saw these, I knew I had to order them right away, as I knew they would fit outstandingly into my Ork army. No pics of the painted elements of that army unfortunately, as they got attacked by a dragon from the warp a couple of years ago (or possibly a cat) and there was critical falling damage and then some foot-crushing damage when I next entered that particular room. Then I had to move. Twice. So they’re still “in the shop” until I get properly set up here.

Anyway, when I saw these, I had to own them. So I made that happen. By sending them money.

The casts, as you can see are absolutely brilliant. No flash. No bubbles. Every bit of detail is crisp and visible. The resin is not the type that makes you itchy. They’re literally a pleasure to look at and handle. I haven’t been this impressed by a new figure in quite some time. Why? The details and the casting. You can really tell the thought and care that went into these models by looking at all of the little things.  The scavenged weapons bolted onto the arms are filled with detail, right down to the wires and tiny hydraulics that are jury-rigged up to pull their triggers.

The set also comes with 5 heads so you’ve got a fair bit of choice for the three, or if you purchase more for a bigger unit, it’s that much easier to individualise them. I also got a set of their Orc Gas Mask heads that I may or may not use on these – or perhaps on some infantry.

They’re also huge. Stacking up as bigger than Ghazkull in mega-armour and pretty solidly to Killer Kans. Regular Mega-Armoured Nobs won’t stand a chance. So they’re also completely suitable for use as a Warboss. I also included a Terminator and a power-armoured marine, who both just look weedy in comparison.

Enough talk. Time for the pictures – they’re all clickable for larger versions:

Orky Size Comparison. Note the Kromlech Base is slightly shorter than the GW ones.

Size – Compared to Marines.

Overall Size Comparisons

Armoured heads on top. Gas Mask heads below (purchased seperately).

Torso Left

Torso Front.

Torso Right

Legs Front.

Legs Rear.

Right Arm Outer.

Right Arm Inner.

Left Arm Outer.

Left Arm Innner.

So basically, I was impressed by how they looked online, and having them in hand, I’m even more impressed, and a little surprised at how good they are (a lot of the little details just aren’t visible in the preview photos I saw) and how well they’re cast. I should point out that I’ve got no affiliation with Kromlech and I bought these for full price from their eBay store.

If you’re interested in checking out more by Kromlech, look up the Kromlech.EU Facebook Page or these figures can be bought directly from the Kromlech eBay Store.

Basically, if you play Orks in Warhammer 40k, are looking for an impressive and imposing model for your games of Deathwatch or Rogue Trader RPG, or just want a big cool model to paint up, I can easily give these my highest recommendation.

Maid to order.

After I started buying 1:6 figs again a few years ago (mostly men with guns) my wife showed some interest, so over the past couple of years I’ve bought her a variety of girls, or FemFigs as they’re usually called (rather than “Dolls”, though let’s face it..) Quite a lot of them have been film-related, though some are also military or police-based, and others are simply of interesting outfits. For some reason, PVC and corsets seems pretty popular with these figures, so there’s also a few of those.

Anyway, this is essentially “my wife’s update” since she’s not likely to start a blog or anything, but she’s keen to share her figures and photography. (no really.. my dolls have guns and swords!)
This is the BBi Goth Maid outfit swaped onto the BBi Hispanic female, both from a couple of years ago (no hat or Jewelry at this stage). Pretty simple stuff to start with, but then if it looks good, that shouldn’t matter. We got a break from the winter rain on the weekend so took some stuff out to photograph. The shots are her photography.

I wanted to take some pics of my own figures and some miniatures to put up as well, but the light started to really suffer, so we didn’t get the chance. Hopefully this weekend!