måndag 31 december 2012

Review: Grey Matter Figures 1/16 "The Morning After"

Picture from GreyMatterFigures
For those of you that are strictly miniature oriented, this piece is in 90mm scale. While that is easier to envision I prefer the 1/16 label as I see this as a figure kit rather than a mini. The difference is not really in pricing or complexity and details, but in purpose; this is just for display purposes. I suppose that if you really wanted a big and angry cyborg demon you could use this in your army, but looking at it in the context of it's companion pieces (which can be bought seperately) who are humans it just makes sense to view it as a collectors piece for the display cabinet.

Hit "läs mer/read more" for the review.

If indeed you are a miniature painter I'd say that a figure kit like this would be a definite stepping stone or gateway drug if you will, towards appreciating large scale figure kits and thus entering the scary realm of Garage Kits (that will eat your wallet). The techniques applied to large scale figures are while similar, more akin to canvas painting than miniature painting, so a midscale figure like this is perfect to give something different a try as it is smack in the middle of both worlds. Come to think of it GK figure nuts might be interested to go smaller after trying their hand at a kit like this ;) The level of detail and nice casting is stupendous.
Makes a nice demon he does... Next to a 28mm Space Marine.


I was really surprised when i stumbled on to them a good few years ago (2006 - ish) when I won an auction on the FIRST cast of their "Galactic Peacekeeper" (Now named "GMF3 Starship Trooper") and I just could not get over the details and quality of the cast. Having seen some truly godawful stuff from some western companies (I mean you Classic Plastic) I had trouble closing my mouth after picking up my jaw from the floor. I had a chat with Mark who is one of the guys there and they even have a casting service and from what I can tell their service is top notch! They have previously done some work for Rackham and currently do some casting work for Hasslefree Miniatures. Here is a link to their shop based in Derbyshire UK. As an aside - I have no affiliation with them and get nothing out of this other than the satisfaction of applauding those that deserve it. It seems the kits have changed names at some point, probably due to Greymatterfigures going from being part of another company, MDC, to being their own entity. "The Morning After" is now named "GMF4 Iron Fist".

Packaging and Contents

Packaging is simple and effective. It comes in a small cardboard box with a picture on top of the finished kit and the pieces inside are neatly packed in bubblewrap bags that are the correct size for each piece. Furthermore the box is full of packing peanuts so the bubblewrapped pieces won't bang against each other while in transit.

I don't know what idiot opened it from this side...

The base consists of the actual base, an arch ruin post thing and 2 small pieces that make up a surveillance camera. The otherworldly beast is basically cast in one piece, except for his his gun arm which is a separate piece. His other hand is molded onto the arch ruin post thing.

Bubblewrap AND packing peanuts... All in one box!

The Figure and theme

This kit looks like your regular steroid munching, skinned, castrated, gun-for-arm run of the mill cyborg. The body is basically an anatomy lesson in muscle tissue of the damned. It's very much cliché, but it's the good kind of cliché - Pitch Black Riddick good. The tradeoff for a kit like this is the lack of variety in paint schemes it inspires; there are not that many ways an adult would paint muscle tissue. It would be interesting to see the results of a painting competition with this kit being the subject...
The texture is alluring in it's determination and repetetiveness; if done well this will result in an awesome looking fleshy monstrosity. The attention given to the details and the mucle structure is what makes this kit a win. In order to break up the monotony of the muscle texture a good few metallic cyborg parts have been incorporated as a contrast.

steel jockstrap FTW!

Hulking and menacing in search for survivors

Resin monster butt... and nakedness

I like the pose, even though it reminds me...

...of being drunk and leaning against a post...

...in preperation of expunging impurities.

The title "Morning After" is all the backstory you need with the rubble and portal ruin base kind of hinting of the major party that took place the night before... I think the piece looks good on it's own with the base that comes with it, but I already have a few ideas for a bigger diorama.

Sculpting and casting quality

The sculpting is good and although this is a bit on the exaggurated side, it's done well and with lots of detail. It's not the most original design I've ever laid eyes on, but again, it's well exectuted. The quality of the cast is albeit not flawless, very close to that. There are some seams as the mold seems to consist of more pieces than just two. Honestly, for the the complexity of the model it's cast in surprisinly few pieces. You have to applaud the work that went into casting this and producing such miniscule seams and near perfect alignment. It's no small feat! I am used to bigger seams on 28mm plastic figures (I did the math one day and 1mm misalignment in a ~30mm figure is equivalent to a 5cm misalignment in real life = severe disfiguration). As for the base - the textures are nothing less than phenomenal. I suppose that has a lot to do with the quality of silicones and resins that are used.

Check out that texture!

I would say that Greymatterfigures is at the very top quality wise. There are some very minor pinholes in the base that don't even need filling, the only reason I am even mentioning this is to give an example of what is acceptible. None of the vital pieces hold any such flaws.

Acceptible pinholes. It helps that they are on the sidewalk.

Very little clean up is needed and that means you can spend more time on actually enjoying painting rather than fixing crap that shouldn't need fixing. This is a pet peeve of mine and I have been keeping statistics on how many crap castings I get from the different companies and how well their customer service works (Article to follow). At some point the big players seem to have convinced a majority of buyers that it's to be expected to get flawed casts and that you have to basically learn to sculpt to get them "in working condition". I call bullshit. That is lazyness and a means to keep production costs down and avoid returns of miscasts. Just take a look at a cast from Greymatterfigures and you'll never feel the same about accepting crap again when you know what is achievable and available.

Final Verdict

You just can not go wrong. If you are a miniature painter and want to try a larger figure - just get something from Greymatterfigures. The pricing is very decent for the superior quality kit you are getting - nevermind the size! The price for their 120mm figures range from about £22 - to £26 for this kit.

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