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Starfinder Figure Re-Release from Archon Studios

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Some time ago, there was a Kickstarter for miniatures for the Starfinder RPG, to be fulfilled by Ninja Division (on behalf of Paizo), but it only really produced a few pre-painted "iconic" figures, and a handful of resins.  The rest of the Kickstarter backer's rewards never materialized, and I pretty much assumed that was the end of it.  (After all, that's the big disclaimer about Kickstarter: There's no GUARANTEE you're going to get all those goodies promised for backing!)


Well, fortunately it seems that Paizo wasn't content to leave things like that, so they made some sort of arrangement with Archon Studios in Poland.  And now ... a few more figures show up, and they're ... DIFFERENT.




First off, "Zo!" is a character I don't recognize in the least from the original Kickstarter.  I'm pretty sure he's entirely new.  The Necrovite was supposed to be in the backer rewards, but never showed up.  The remainder of them are all characters I've already painted up as resins (the few that actually got delivered).


This time around, each figure is in its own cardboard box with full-color art and plastic wrap.  I boggle to think how much this is going to cost on the shelf at my FLGS, but I think it's safe to say it'll be well into "boutique" territory.  I can't fault them for the production values at least -- the figures are in HIPS plastic, which unfortunately necessitates them being in a zillion tiny pieces to maintain those dynamic poses, but there's hardly any flash to speak of (definitely a problem with the resins I painted up long ago), and they're nice enough to include INSTRUCTIONS on assembly.


At the same time, I've also been popping open old Kickstarter boxes of my Relic Knights minis, finding them frustratingly difficult to assemble (this piece goes ... WHERE?!?), and finding LOTS OF MISSING PIECES.  (Out of three boxes of "Hell's Belles," TWO of them were missing an entire figure body.)  Well, one advantage of having all the pieces on a sprue is that you can tell at a glance that all the pieces are there.

Another nice touch would be the included decorative bases.  My one fault with that is that these are NOT bases you can hope to mix-and-match: in some cases, the feet of the figure are affixed to the base (as in the case with "Zo!" -- you have to attach his legs at the ankles), or else there are large impressions where you're supposed to affix the feet.  I suppose that so far, these figures are all PC archetypes, and *not* adversaries (unless you plan to have an encounter with d6 Elf Operatives, or whatnot), so you may well only want ONE of any given figure, and wouldn't have to worry about little ways to mix things up (such as varied bases).


Oh, and the instructions?  INDISPENSABLE.  If you're like me, you're going to need them.




I love the "Zo!" figure even though he was probably the most challenging to assemble.  (The dwarf and half-orc came in tied for second place, what with all their tiny little pieces.  The Necrovite came in third, with a perplexing puzzle as to how to assemble that "robe" area, and it ended up requiring a bit of putty gap-filler.)

I love the pose, expression, and all-around attitude.  I could so see using this guy to represent, say, a ghoul comedian in the Fallout RPG -- someone the hero finds in a seedy dive in Freeside, and helps land a gig at the Tops Casino on the Strip in New Vegas.  :D  Or, hey, he could make a great PC, too.


This guy needed PINNING.  There are little stubs meant to fit in divots here or there to make the gluing easier, but the ankle-joint connection is a high-stress area, and it kept falling apart when I'd handle this to go base-coat it or whatever.  Ditto with the head/neck and its odd positioning.  I ended up having to pin the ankles and neck.  Fortunately, the arms/shoulders seemed to hold well enough, as they're delicate enough that I don't know that I even *could* manage drilling pin holes.


Edited by Jordan Peacock
Additional detail about pinning
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Five of the figures assembled, primed, and with a few splashes of paint on them before I thought to take another picture.

A few more thoughts on the HIPS (apologies if I repeat myself on anything):

1) Super glue works just fine.  I didn't take my chances with plastic-melting model glue.

2) I was able to prime the assembled models without need for soap-and-water scrubbing to remove mold release, or any such mess, and had ZERO issues with hydrophobic surfaces, flaking, etc.  This was a distinct plus over the resin figures.

3) I had no issues with flash (again, an advantage over the resin).  Mold lines were subtle enough that I had trouble finding them.  Seams were reasonably located such that they'd be hidden, or could be passed off as clothing seams, armor panel joins, etc.  I admire the engineering that went into this, even as I puzzle over the sheer number of pieces required at times. 

There are points where I think the decision to split a model into parts was precisely so that seams wouldn't be visible: the "tri-barrel" at the nose of the Half-Orc Soldier's mini-gun is actually a separate part that plugs in.  IMHO, it could have been easily just cast as part of the gun, but that would have meant a visible seam along the barrels.  Instead, since it was its own part, it seems that they could cast it in such a way that the seam runs along the edge of the muzzles (or so I'm guessing -- I really can't TELL), rendering it practically invisible.

4) I suspect that even though this is HIPS, there's at least some minor warping that happens here and there.  For the most part, it's not noticeable, but for the Necrovite, I had difficulty getting the robe/drape pieces to fit together perfectly (and had to result to some gap-filling with putty), and for the Half-Orc Soldier and Dwarf Soldier (both of whom have weapons held in two hands, with multiple parts involved), it was a challenge to assemble them in such a way that if I attach arm A and arm B, and weapon C in between them, all in steps, the parts all line up properly (and so I had to resort to some pinning when that got too cumbersome).

5) Even if there might be some small, subtle distortion, things that obviously ought to be straight (such as the barrel of a gun) LOOK STRAIGHT.  No bendy swords, drooping gun barrels or whatnot.  Chalk up another one for HIPS over the resin.

6) I can only suppose that these models are in so many parts, largely because the original model sculpts were made with resin-casting in mind, and without any thought as to being done in HIPS.  If ever they *do* put together some minis intended for large groups (a boarding party of space goblins, a swarm of "helpful" skittermanders, a squad of Azlanti troopers, etc.), I really, REALLY hope that the sculptors/designers could come up with some poses and designs that would facilitate being produced in HIPS as models with fewer parts.  It's one thing to puzzle together an Elf Operative for one of the PCs or a major NPC.  It's another to repeat the process over 6 or so times for an encounter.  (But then, again, my friend suggests that any sane GM is going to just use paper stand-ups for the adversaries, and reserve the minis just for PCs and special NPCs.  Well, that, or ask his buddy with the large collection of unpainted Reaper and CMON minis to kit-bash something for him.)

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I thought I'd add in here something about scale.  It's WEIRD.  But not as weird as Relic Knights.  (More on THAT one later....)



Notice the silhouette so thoughtfully provided on the left, and how the height is given as 32mm (and I got out a ruler and, yes, that's 32mm tall on the box).  Then, look at the figure on the right -- SAME CHARACTER, albeit mirror-flipped.  Even though it was used for our example "32mm-tall" character, the model is actually taller than 32mm.  Kudos to the designers for putting to-scale pictures of the minis on the boxes -- I measured up the figure to the picture, and if it's not exact, it's awfully close.  (The base is actually a bit taller than the rounded-edge base they show here, but it's the FIGURE we really care about.)



So, TOTAL figure height (including base) is 42mm.


Actual figure height (bottom of feet to top of head) is 36mm (contrary to the "32mm tall" example silhouette, but in keeping with the "100%" photo on the box).


Figure height measured from bottom of feet up to the eyes is 34mm.


And of course I've made the "mistake" of taking a picture like this so close that I can see all those tiny splashes of paint that really need to be worked on before I can call this finished.  Eh well.

Incidentally, this is the same height as the resin version of this same figure from Ninja Division.

If these figures are billed as "32mm scale," I would dare say it's more like 36mm (or perhaps 34mm if you think it's normal to think of an "average" 6-foot-tall soldier as being measured 6 feet tall to the eyes ;) ).  If anyone calls it "heroic 25mm scale" ... well, I shall scoff, is about all that I'll do, but SCOFF I SHALL, because 25mm is just a little over her belly button.

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Painted up "Zo!" -- definitely my favorite in the bunch.  (Although, Elf Operative is pretty cool, too.  I just need to go back and do some major touch-up work.)



I could see using this guy for Fallout: Wasteland Warfare RPG (or the eventual 2d20 Fallout RPG) as a ghoul character -- say, a comedian who's got a horrible job at a seedy dive in Freeside, until a mysterious Courier comes along and lands him a gig at the Tops Casino on the New Vegas Strip ... but then, in the aftermath of the "Benny Incident" and the battle of Hoover Dam, there's a change of management and he has to hit the road again, tagging along with a group of wasteland adventurers, offering wisecracking commentary and fast-talking any ghouls or mutants they run across to try to avoid a few conflicts, etc.

Or something like that.


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I found some variance in scale between the Ninja Division and Archon Studio versions of the same minis, and I found that these were a bit large for "32mm" scale, so I thought I'd post a line-up of various minis I had on hand.  (I didn't have any 28mm minis handy, but I believe Reaper's Chronoscope line is billed as "heroic 25mm," and I've sometimes heard it called "28mm" scale.  More often, I find Chronoscope figures to be around 30-34mm tall for human-type characters.)  Measurements do not include base thickness, and are from top of head to bottom of feet.



In case that's hard to read (from left to right):

* CMON/Studio McVey (Sedition Wars) Vanguard Trooper: 30mm
* Corvus Belli (Infinity) GoGo Marlene: 32mm
* Reaper Miniatures (Chronoscope line) Anime Heroine Candy: 30mm
* Soda Pop Miniatures (Relic Knights) Kisa: 33mm
* Paizo / Archon Studio (Starfinder) Elf Operative: 36mm
* Paizo / Ninja Division (Starfinder) Elf Operative: 39mm
* Modiphius (Fallout: Wasteland Warfare) Nora, Sole Survivor: 30mm
* Modiphius (Fallout: Wasteland Warfare) Enslaved Tech: 32mm
* Gunmetal Games / Iron Wind Metals (Interface Zero) Hacker: 32mm
* Paizo / Ninja Division (Starfinder) Candy: 36mm
* Paizo / Archon Studio (Starfinder) Zo!: 35mm




In the above picture, the Archon Studio plastic figure is to the left, and Ninja Division resin to the right.  Next to each other, they seem about the same height, but that's because the base included with the Archon Studio figure is much thicker than the plain little disc included with the resin Kickstarter minis from Ninja Division.  I've also noticed that the Ninja Division resin mini appears to be much more thin and elongated by comparison, and there are subtle but significant differences in how certain details are constructed.  I'm guessing a lot of changes had to be made beyond just breaking up the original model into pieces for a plastic sprue.


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