One of the fantastic things we've seen develop in the last decade or so in the world of miniatures is the emergence of companies that provide conversion pieces (AKA bitz), often designed to seamlessly replace a component from another company's line of miniatures. Puppets War is one such provider who hail from sunny Poland, and I just took delivery of an order of their orc football team heads.
It's pretty obvious what these heads are for, but care has to be taken in their advertising. After all, Games Workshop so fervently pursue retention of their intellectual property that it even resulted in Talk Blood Bowl -- a popular site that you might think GW would be happy to see providing so much free advertising and enthusiasm for one of their products -- being forced to rename itself to Talk Fantasy Football. Suffice to say, I personally will be using the heads to convert GW orc/ork miniatures for Blood Bowl.
Onto the bitz themselves.
The heads are made from a non-metal resin which holds a very crisp level of detail. For those already familiar with good quality miniature resin, it won't surprise you to learn that these heads utterly put plastic to shame. As I look at an open-mouthed plastic GW ork boy's top row of teeth (teef), I can count 4; the Puppets War orc head, by comparison, has 8. There is some flash, and, as is always expected, some mold lines. Though, it must be said, they are well positioned and nothing looks too challenging to be cleaned. I feel as though the material has perfectly captured exactly what the sculptor (Adrian Gaweł) was aiming for, with no compromises.
And, sadly, that brings me to a flaw in this material. I didn't know before ordering that the jaw-protector of the helmets was actually cast as a separate piece. For making each member of my team unique, this is fantastic. However, resin is brittle -- infamously so -- and straight out of the packet you can probably see from the photos that there are lots of breakages on these delicate parts. Lots.
It has also meant that in many cases the jaw-protectors have come loose from the much heavier sprue, as have some of the heads. Where things have stayed on the sprue, there are occasional breakages also. Keep in mind, I haven't touched these things, other than to remove them from their packaging.
And I've ended up with a pile of very orky-looking bitz indeed.
|The ork in me likes seeing big piles of smashed up fings dat looks well orky.|
The sane person in me is a bit disappointed, though.
So, is this the fault of the packaging itself? Hard to say. I had the forethought to take a photo of the box these pieces were sent in before opening it, and it looked sufficient from the outside. It's a solid cardboard box, within which all the pieces were placed in a single zip-lock style baggie, with a small bag full of air to cushion one end. So, I'm not sure if the taxing journey from Poland to the UK was the cause of the breakages or not.
What I am sure of, though, is that the website advertised 12 heads and 2 balls per set. Most unfortunately, I've ended up with just one ball (fnar?). I'm going to contact the company about that shortly, but didn't want to keep you, dear readers, without something to read first. Many people are happy to make their own Blood Bowl balls from greenstuff and similar, and since I'm presently in need I'll give that a go too, but alas it's not the most convenient solution and greenstuff certainly isn't free. The inclusion of the footballs was a big selling point for me.
When I start actually making use of the heads, I'll post up some comparison pictures between these and GW heads for scale, and show how well they fit onto the bodies. But since this initial review is about the products themselves, not what I want to do with them, that can wait for another post.
To finish this, though, I'll conclude that Puppets War have a fantastic sculptor in their employ, who makes characterful and detailed orc heads that I predict will look amazing on the table. However, the company needs to be a lot more vigilant, and check packages before sending things out. After all, this is my first impression as it's my first order with them.
I hope I can sort things out with them and it won't have to be my last.
Update 13th September 2012: For those interested, I contacted Puppets War shortly after posting this on the 10th. I received an initial reply on the 11th requesting pictures of the received package (just as well I documented everything for this here blog, eh?) and sent that, getting only one more communication yesterday to say that the photos were being passed on to "the guys" and "let them tell us what they do with it". I'll update this post again if/when I hear something more.
Update 27th September 2012: I finally saw resolution of this yesterday when, unannounced, a package arrived from Puppets War containing a new set of heads, and every item accounted for correctly. It seems the jaw-protectors are most definitely cast in an unsuitable material, since once again they were in pieces. Since I have sufficient from this and the last pack (and can make do with fuse wire anyway) I'm happy to call it a day and get on with (finally) building my team. Puppets War dealt with my problems in a reasonable fashion (though more communication would have been welcomed) so I'll likely be ordering from them again when I simply can't resist any more.