Anakron Miniatures is a small French miniatures company. Why small? The’ve got only ten products in their range, but it is the quality that matters. You can easily find them on the Internet under: www.anakron.fr .
The subject of today’s review is their latest release – The Cartomancer.
I got his one since I am a great fan of Confrontation game and especially Cadwallon. Before going bankrupt, Rackahm didn’t manage to sculpt all the miniatures for created characters. I am planning use this one for the Guild of Cartomancers, as a Cartomancer Mage (card with statistics).
Although the miniature is in Rackham style and suits perfectly Cadallon’s world – the concept is original and was done by Nico Kopf.
I have chosen the cheapest option for shipping and the miniature came in an envelope with bubble foam inside.
I was amazed that such a big envelop came, since I have just ordered one miniature. But as I have opened it , there were many different extras sent (post cards, visit cards).
Of course there also came the miniature with a numbered lithography.
That’s right, at first you might think that it is a limited miniature, but it is not. The description on Anakron’s web page clears it:
A numbered lithography of the concept, drawn by Nico KOPF, offered for the first 100 copies!!
Good that I bought the miniature for it’s coolness and not for being limited 🙂
The Cartomacer is a 30mm tall, resin casted miniature. It came in a plastic blister without any foam inside. It might be a bit risky, but later you will see that the miniature came in good shape.
It came in 5 parts – body, cloak, sword, right hand with a stick or mace and top of the hood. There also came a typical rounded base and a reference card with the illustration.
Here you have detailed pictures of all the parts. From my point of view there really isn’t much to write since this is almost a perfect miniature cast! It has no mold lines, no bubbles, no holes. Of course there are resin sticks especially on the weapons, but those very easy to remove. There is also no problem with fitting the parts together.
All the details from the concept art were very well visible and casted, even small chain on his left leg.
I can really recommend The Cartomancer from Anakron Miniatures. Not only for Cadwallon fans, but also other gamers or painters. Casting quality is just great. Sculpt is original but suits known system well. Price isn’t high and it costs just 10,00€.
If I could make any more wishes, then it would be the base – a fragment of Cadawallon’s streets would be a nice addition.
Many of you surely wondered what kind of photographic backdrops we’ve been using recently. Searching the internet might have provided you the answer already, but now we’ve got more than that. This Hangar 18 Miniatures photo backgrounds review sheds some more light on this subject, so in case you are wondering if these backgrounds would be of any use to you – read on.
Search for the perfect photo backdrop
We’ve been using quite a wide selection of photo backgrounds, ranging from digitally painted grunge through traditional blue-to-white gradients to plain white, black, gray or blue paper. Some of them did their job better, some did worse. But as some of you may know, I took many of the pictures presented in our galleries, and photography is also one of the aspects I enjoy in this hobby. So these experiments were a part of the hobby to me, and I must say I enjoyed them.
Still I was not sure that I got it all right, that we’ve been doing it the right way and not missing something.
The pains or doubts I had usually could be classified as:
backgrounds too distracting attention from the models,
backgrounds too plain and uninteresting,
texture too rough and thus creating “noise” in perception,
backgrounds getting damaged and worn too quickly,
backgrounds being too glossy or looking too faded,
color of the background unsuitable or even clashing with the model,
size of backgrounds being insufficient.
Of course, one can always print a new backdrop and not worry too much about damage to a printed sheet of paper. But having a tested and tried backdrop that is durable to at least some reasonable degree is always a nice touch that makes taking photos easier and more comfortable.
Then I was offered a chance to review Hangar 18 Miniatures‘ photo backgrounds. What a treat!
Hangar 18 Miniatures photo backgrounds
Honestly speaking for a long time I was not aware that Hangar 18 Miniatures existed at all, and later I didn’t realize they made any photo backgrounds. So when I got the chance to test their products it was like waiting to play with a new and unexpected toy.
I had completely no idea about the kind of material they were made of, the quality of printing, texture of the material, durability and such. So when the tube with photo backgrounds arrived, I impatiently unpacked it.
The backgrounds were rolled together and protected with a sheet of paper:
So what was inside?
What I received was a HiDef Background Studio Series – 6 Prints Set. It included six photo backgrounds in A3 size (11″ x 17″). Each of them comes with a different print:
That’s what they look like on the official photos (taken from the Hangar 18 Miniatures website):
These backgrounds are printed on flexible fabric, which allows to shape them, easily adjust them to your photo setup, and makes them very resistant to wrinkling. They’re nearly no-glare, so even in direct light conditions they look good on photos.
This also has another effect though. The texture of the fabric is still visible on macro photos (that photos of miniatures usually are). Some people may like it, yet I would prefer the texture of fabric to be less defined.
Of course with macrophotography you usually get pretty small depth of field, so it’s very easy to get the texture nicely blurred and unnoticeable in the background behind the model, but the part directly around the model’s base will usually be sharp and in focus, so the texture will be very sharp there, too. It will show on the photos later in the review, so read on…
How I used them
There are many ways to use the backgrounds and most photographers will find their own ways to do it, so I will not go into too much detail here. After all the article is not about the way I work but about the backgrounds. One can easily attach them to a vertical surface with some sticky tape, paper clips or – what I usually do – with some blutack/patafix.
Thanks to the matte surface these backgrounds can be easily used in natural daylight and in artificial light coming from lamps. And even if the light is not diffused, there is no glare on the backgrounds. Well done!
Just take a look at these photos to see how we used these backgrounds:
The size is pretty versatile. It allows to take photos not only of small miniatures but even of large models and whole units of smaller miniatures. Of course the size is not sufficient for whole armies or forces consisting of multiple units, but I read that larger versions of these backdrops were already released (A2 size), so maybe we will be able to take photos of whole forces on these backgrounds soon?
While the size allows to take photos even of larger subjects, it is still compact enough to fit into many light tents or on photo tables and booths. So if you want a versatile and universal size of a background the regular A3 size may be the way to go anyway.
Now this was one of the points which are pretty important to me. I don’t want to buy new backgrounds again any day soon, so knowing that my backgrounds will not be scratched, bent or wrinked after a few weeks or months of use may be a tipping point for me. This was always a problem for me with my paper backgrounds, and I had pretty high hopes here.
Let me add that I can give my backgrounds pretty tough time when I get to start a photo session. I take pretty many photos of our miniatures even if only a few of them are published. This often includes some exposure variations, additional takes to be sure that I have everything sharp, plus some additional angles, etc. So when you take like 50-100 photos per photo session, you may expect that your background will be put to a test.
So how did Hangar 18 Miniatures photo backgrounds do in this test? Well, very well and not so well.
There was no wrinkling, no permanent bending. The flexible fabric is really good material for a photo background. But bear in mind that the miniatures will be placed on the surface for most of the time, they will be pushed around, moved, rotated, and so on. So won’t this scratch the surface? Unfortunately it will…
These are photos of my Hangar 18 Miniatures photo backgrounds after like two months of use. Some were used more frequently, some not so often, but you can see some wear marks on the surfaces.
I think you can easily recognize the backgrounds that I use most frequently… 😉
Now these two will be the least frequently used backdrops, so they’re the least scratched ones. But they’re also the lightest-colored of them all, so those scratches wouldn’t be as visible as on darker backgrounds.
So what do I think? Well, I won’t pretend they’re completely scratch resistant. They managed to avoid any other kind of damage, except for those scratches. Now let’s make one point clear: these scratches don’t mean the paint rubbed off from the backgrounds! No, they are only the spots where bases of my miniatures rubbed against the fabric and the backgrounds lost some of their dullness and became slightly more shiny.
So what you saw on the photos and what looked as if the color wore off, is only more light reflected from the backgrounds which became a kind of “polished” there. Still I consider it some problem, as I prefer my backgrounds to keep their no-glare finish, but I understand that with my “heavy duty” approach every background will be put to a hard test!
I still haven’t found a way to remove the scratches. I tried rubbing the backgrounds with a damp cloth, washing them, and a few other tricks, but none of them worked. Maybe giving them a spray coat of flat varnish will do the trick? 😉
One miniature, many backgrounds!
Having a choice of these Hangar 18 Miniatures photo backgrounds allows me to choose a suitable background for most miniatures quite easily and fast. By taking a look at these photos you can see results of my little experiment: how the same model may look on different backgrounds.
I took photos of most of them with and without a miniature, so you can see what the background looks like when the background is in focus (so you can see the details of texture and print more precisely) and when it is intentionally out of focus (with focus being on the miniature, so the background is slightly blurred in a way that doesn’t distract from the model).
Why there are no photos of the Antique Parchment background here? Wait, and you will see them in a moment…
We’re going to show you another cool thing that can be pulled off with these backgrounds!
The backlighting trick
You might want to create a special focal point to attract attention to your miniature. Now you can do it without any photoshopping, just get yourself a little lamp and put it behind the background.
This is what the background looks like in normal lighting conditions – pretty much evenly lit:
But when you turn that backlight on, you may create the additional focus!
With some adjustments to the position, distance, power and difussion of that backlight, you may achieve excellent results with no additional photo manipulation other than simple cropping!
Of course you may try it with every Hangar 18 Miniatures photo background, but you will notice that with the lightest ones…
… effects are much less spectacular.
Nothing should discourage you from experimenting a bit with various lighting setups, including backlights. My suggestion is to diffuse the backlight a bit so the shape of your light (lamp/light bulb) is not so obviously and intrusively visible. If you don’t have a special diffuser, you may use a piece of milky plastic or even tissue.
Would you like to see more examples before the final judgement? Sure, we have quite a few of them. Just take a peek at the galleries of our works. There should be many photos taken with these backgrounds. Check Ana’s, JerzyK’s, Rzymek’s, Slawol’s, Benathai’s and Rentall’s galleries in particular. They should have the most examples of such photos. I told you I wasn’t all that easy on these backgrounds. 😛
And what do I think?
Well, these are some of the best (if not the best) photo backgrounds I have used so far. There was only one problem for me – these shiny scratches, but as you can see on the photos of miniatures taken with these backgrounds – it’s nothing terrible, but I would still want my perfect product to be free of this problem. Maybe I can find a solution for this issue and in this case I will update the review, but if you know how to deal with it – tell me in the comments, please.
Now that even A2-sized backgrounds are available (no, I didn’t manage to get them yet) these seem to be a good choice for any hobbyist. Even those of us who need to take photographs of warbands or smaller armies will find these backgrounds useful.
And what do you think about these backgrounds? Let us know, please, share your own tips and show us how you use these Hangar 18 Miniatures photo backgrounds for your hobby purposes. 🙂
My first contact with Infamy Miniatures took place at our miniature painting forum, where I saw the model of Henrietta Jekyll. Although the paintjob was impressive (oh, those flasks!), the model didn’t impress me that much. Not that I didn’t like it, not at all. I was just less than impressed.
Imagine how surprised I was when I noticed that Infamy Miniatures decided to send us two of their models for review, so we could see if our opinion remains unchanged after seeing them in person.
Infamy Miniatures is a company, whose flagship product is a range of steampunk models in 32mm scale. The company is actually an one-man-show, but James who runs it managed to get some “big names” to collaborate with him on the project. Thumbs up and respect for managing to achieve it!
Now that we know about the company, we can take a look at the models we received for review.
Infamy Miniatures – first impression
The miniatures are packed in plain white boxes. Nothing fancy or impressive, especially if you compare them to packaging of some more elaborately decorated products like Smart Max‘s Smog miniatures.
The positive thing is that the packaging does its job perfectly. The models are very safe, despite their fragility.
As you can see there are a few layers of foam inside…
… and models, reference cards and bases are separated and protected by those sheets of foam. Not a single part was damaged in shipping, and I say it again – many elements are pretty thin and fine, and because they’re made of resin, they might be fragile. Despite this fact, everything arrived in perfect condition.
So what do these miniatures look like? How good or how bad are they after a closer inspection? Let us see…
Infamy Miniatures: Sherlock Holmes – review
The first model that immediately caught my attention was Sherlock Holmes. I think everybody is familiar with the character of this famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I must admit I always liked these stories, and have a pretty soft spot for all things Sherlock Holmes. 😉
What we get is Sherlock Holmes with a steampunk twist, and we must say the “twist” is easily visible. Just take a look at this concept art. Cool, isn’t it? Sherlock has some kind of an engine or mechanism on his back providing power for various tools and mechanical arms attached to it. Some say the model looks a bit like Inspector Gadget, but to me it was closer to Fabius Bile from the Warhammer 40K universe.
Now compare the concept art to the actual model. Pretty close, isn’t it?
It is not a very common thing that the miniature manages to capture such likeness to the original concept art, and in case of Infamy Miniatures‘ Sherlock Holmes the miniature is very close to the concept. Yeah, the arms used on this picture are not the same as used on the concept art, but you have a choice which arms to use and which to leave unused. But we’ll talk about it later.
The official paintjob was done by Arsies, and when you see how finely detailed the model is, you will appreciate the quality of this paintjob.
Now take a look at the detail of the original sculpt (not a casting yet). See how many elements were used to build the mechanical engine on his back?
And here’s a shot of the sculpt of the character. It shows how much care was taken to represent all the subtle details without resorting to exaggerating and oversizing them too much. But how does it all transfer to a resin copy of this sculpt?
Infamy Miniatures: Sherlock Holmes unboxed
Here’s what you get in your box. The model consists of many parts: the main body, the engine, the hand, and 6 mechanical arms/tools. This adds up to 9 parts. There’s also a round 30mm round “lipped” base and a reference card with the illustration that I already presented and number of the miniature. You can judge the size of all elements by referring to the grid on the cutting map I used for my photos.
Assembling the model will require some work but you should enjoy it if you like working with multi-part models. The positive thing is that all parts fit together very well. Also you won’t need all 6 arms, as the model is prepared for 4 attachments to the backpack, which allows to customize the model a bit.
You should see it on the close-up pictures that the quality of this casting was very good. The resin used for the model was of excellent quality. I could spot no air bubbles, no casting problems here.
Sherlock Holmes review – a closer look
Take a look at the photos below to see how each part looks from different angles:
To summarize my impressions, let me say that I liked the concept, liked the sculpt and its faithfulness to the original concept, and loved the way it was turned into a miniature. I don’t mind assembling my models, so its multipart character was not a problem for me.
I will also show and write more about the quality below.
Infamy Miniatures: Henrietta Jekyll – review
Henrietta Jekyll was not a “canonical” character to me, but it was this miniature which was my first contact with Infamy Miniatures, so I was really curious if it looks better or worse than I expected from the internet photos.
The photo I mentioned earlier presented the official paintjob by Derwish. You can see that the attention focus is on the bottles. They look so nice, that they steal the show from the rest of the miniature.
And here’s a photo of an unpainted sculpt by Automaton (Seb Archer). I never pretended I was not a fan of his works, and having seen some miniatures he sculpted for Guild of Harmony, I only expected high quality sculpting. Of course I was not disappointed with the sculpt.
Just like it was with Sherlock, the sculpt is very true to the concept art. I always appreciate seeing that the sculptor managed to capture the personality and character that the concept art presented. Unfortunately many companies tend to release miniatures which are not even remotely resembling respective original concepts. This is not the case with Infamy Miniatures!
Infamy Miniatures: Henrietta Jekyll unboxed
This time we receive a simpler model, which doesn’t make her worse than Sherlock. What I mean by “simpler” is that the model doesn’t require as much work as Sherlock, being only a two-part miniature. The two parts are: the main body and an arm holding the weapon, which is some kind of a flame thrower. There is also a card and a round 30mm “lipped” base (which somehow didn’t make it to the photo).
Again I used the cutting mat to allow you to see the size of this model. The photo doesn’t say too much about the quality and details of the copy I received, so let’s take a closer look from several angles.
Henrietta Jekyll review – a closer look
After seeing the model in person I had to admit that the photos, despite a very good official paintjob, don’t really do the model justice. The model is very good and characterful. Somehow she brings Marie Skłodowska-Curie to my mind. Of course I don’t think the real scientist ever ran around in London with bottles of explosives strapped to her belt and a flamer in her hand, and I can’t even say that she was the inspiration for this model. I only mention the impression I had about the character.
I hope the photos show that the model, while very detailed and finely sculpted, still leaves enough room for the painter’s imagination and skill. The model will surely be enjoyable to paint.
I must also say that the resin used here was of very high quality again, no air bubbles. I even thought the models may be the most flawless models I have ever held in my hands!
But wait, can the picture be all that perfect?
Can it be that these miniatures were the closest to perfection of all the miniatures I had a chance to see?
The answer is… YES and NO.
Let me try to explain:
Take a look at the Sherlock Holmes miniature. The photos here are strong close-ups, so you can see the quality of the sculpt and of the casting I received. They also show the face of Sherlock from several angles, the buttons of his coat (which are pretty subtle, so some attention will be needed to paint them well) and other details.
When you compare the detailing of this resin copy to the original sculpt you will see how well resin captured and copied all the details. The only softness of details occurs only when the original sculpt was also soft in these places.
I could not find a single flaw of this casting. No bubbles, no flash, no mold lines. Of course there are some “sticks” marking the places where resin was injected into the mold, but these are technologically obvious and couldn’t be considered flaws by me.
The model was very good. Probably the cleanest casting I can recall, and I think I’ve seen quite a few already. Just a few days ago I saw another resin model which is at least comparable or maybe better, but it is in a completely different scale and will be described in a separate review.
Was Henrietta cast as well as Sherlock?
Take a look at this photo:
I marked two ends of a mold line. Not that it is very bad, it would be very simple to remove – several straight moves with sand paper or a soft file and you’re done with cleaning it, but there was nothing like that on Sherlock.
Moving on to another angle we also see a problem on the other side:
See what I mean? Another slight roughness.
Of course I would be absolutely happy to receive all my miniatures in this quality and requiring only so much preparation before painting. I am accustomed to miniatures which require some preparations: cleaning flash and mold lines with a scalpel, then moving on to sanding and finally polishing with steel wool or polishing sticks. Here you need to do so much more that the miniatures don’t deserve to be called anything but very good.
But wanting to remain objective and honest, I tried to find ANY flaws. And I hope this makes the review even more valuable.
And here’s the same thing you already saw, but this time from another angle. It also reveals a mold line on her leg, too.
So no, I cannot call the copy of Henrietta Jekyll flawless, but it still is one of the best miniatures, which can be considered perfect after a few moves of a file or scalpel.
Infamy Miniatures provided some of the best quality castings I had pleasure of seeing!
Infamy Miniatures review – final verdict
Now you may wonder what is my final opinion about these models. Well, I must say I was very impressed – both with the concepts, good representation of concepts in 3d miniatures, great detailing, and nearly perfect casting quality.
Now there’s one thing that may discourage you a bit: money.
These models are not cheap. Sherlock Holmes costs 13.99 GBP, and Henrietta Jekyll is priced only 1 GBP lower (ie. at 12.99 GBP). These are not the cheap plastic models some of us may be used to working with. These are high quality models that will be enjoyable for many painters and will surely look nice in display cabinets. Of course they may be used for gaming, but then you need to bear in mind that you’re paying for quality toys.
Now that you know the positive and negative things about the models from Infamy Miniatures I had a chance to review, I would like to recommend these models to you. Manufacturers of good and interesting miniatures need support, so let’s help them!
Thanks to James of Infamy Miniatures for providing the models for this review and good luck with your future releases!
I’d like to show you a Smart Max (SMOG, Victorian Fantasy) model I was commissioned to paint recently. It was Lord Baron Mantes from the Deluxe 50mm Miniatures series. At least that’s what was written on the box.
It is a model of steampunk-genre, which I am fond of. I’ve already painted it, but let me first tell you few words about it.
I have to say the packaging is poor, very poor indeed. It is just a soft and thin box. The visual appearance is nice, but this box will not make for a good protection of a miniature. All parts were packed in the folic bag. The base was put inside the box separately.
The packaging gets the score of 2/10 (1 for the box – just because there is a box; and 1 for the bag – for the same reason as the box). No instruction was added. The model is not that complicated, though it would still be helpful to have some manual or catalogue photo during assembly.
So, what do we get…
The whole set include 21 parts: 2 mechanical “sleeves”, head, body-can, cloak (kind of a tuxedo, actually), smoke, 2 mechanical hands, shoe, 2 flaps, 2 rotor blades, 2 parts with some pipes, wheel, part of an armour, odd spiral lolly pop to be attached to the hat and the base of course.
Very uneven. I haven’t found much excessive flesh, though there were some lines to be filed. I found them mainly on these mechanical sleeves. Preparing them for paint was time consuming due to their shape. You can see it on photos below. Also, there were quite many holes and bubbles which required filling.
The main body has a few protruding elements and need to be treated with due care. My copy was slightly damaged – a piece of a collar was missing. I couldn’t find it in the box, so I assume it had been a manufacturing mistake. I had to repair this part by myself. One of the parts was covered by something that looked like a spilled resin. I had to cut this off to reveal one of the rivets.
Oh well, let’s proceed.
Furthermore, some of the parts had pieces left after had been cut off from frames or inlet channels. Fortunately, these were not difficult to repair.
Those were the main drawbacks. Other details were so much better. The head is like not from this world! Face, goggles, teeth and nose, ears, metallic hat with rivets – PERFECT! It is definitely the best part of the set. The wheel is also cast perfectly. Can’t say anything bad about hands, flaps with rivets, smoke and other details either.
Individual elements fit pretty well. There were not many gaps to be filled. The only real problem was the aforementioned damaged collar.
The base looks very good too. It’s thick, full; texture of the cobblestone is very nice. The base is made of a different material resembling marble.
The final score
To conclude my Lord Baron Mantes review, let me say that the model is surely well cast, parts are clean and detailed, but there were few imperfections and damages (and that awful packaging). This decreases the overall score. Price is rather high, but if you can live with small defects the model will make for a nice piece in your collection.
Welcome to yet another review of my recent purchases (not that recent at the time we publish this article). This time I’m sharing a Brom Hard Bark from Enigma Miniatures review.
I decided to buy this model after thinking about it for a long time – Brom Hard Bark released by Enigma Miniatures under the catalogue code ENM5410.
It is a massive, heavy and very characterful model consisting of 7 elements (including 4 spikes on one tag): main body, two bats (longer and shorter version), plus round base. It was packed in a blister with printed insert showing the official paintjob.
I liked the typical, enraged face expression and the model’s pose too, which basically means it made a good impression on me. The model is in 54mm scale, thus is quite big, even if you consider it is a dwarf.
The metal used for casting is of a good quality, with all details cast well. This especially applies to the face, which of course has a great impact on the overall impression.
The model is attached to the tag which may be cut off; there is also one piece of metal joining both elements.
Following thorough assessment I haven’t found any holes, uneven surfaces, signs of shifted molds or poorly cast details on the model. I haven’t found any mold lines either (apart from one on the back of the right leg), but these may become apparent after priming the miniature. There were few spots with excessive flash which should be very easy to remove.
Nevertheless, I’ve spotted few subtle mold lines at the whole length of weapons (including hands), which are typical for such details. They are quite visible, thus should be removed before painting. The same applies to spikes, which also require some preparation work.
The quality of details is good. Texture of wood, metal, hair – all of these make the Enigma model a top-shelf product. Separate pieces fit very well and all one has to do is to pin them before assembly.
Some small imperfections should be removed easily and do not have a negative impact on my overall opinion, which is very positive. Enigma could have perhaps used a piece of foam to protect the miniature better in the blister. Not that any damages are probable in the plastic packaging. 🙂
Verdict about Brom Hard Bark
Sculpt and cast are very good. I believe it should be really fun to paint for everyone who will buy it. 🙂