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Author Topic: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts  (Read 4141 times)

worktroll

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Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« on: 20 April 2019, 05:20:12 »
Let me know if this is in the wrong place, and I'll move it.

Short form - I spent the last couple of days assembling 12 IWM minis, most of which are quite recent - last couple of years, or so. I'm making a Dark Age Kuritan unit, so it was an excuse to buy these newer minis. Hit some good things & some bad things as I went, thought

a) might be interesting for the sculptors, and IWM folks, who visit here to see some feedback, and
b) opportunity for others to chip in with their experience/opinion.

Transparency - while I've been building Ral Partha, then IWM, minis for decades, I consider myself 'regular' skill, not veteran or elite. I'm using superglue gel with moisture assist, comfortable with using blu-tak to support drying joints. I will pin if I feel I have to, prefer not. YMMV.

Also, my thanks to the good people of IWM, and all the sculptors and artists, that have worked to make it possible to buy BattleTech minis despite our less-than-stellar market size. Without you all, we'd not have anything to complain about ...  O:-) Seriously, every interaction I've had with IWM has been more than I expected. They're good people.

That said ... I felt it worth sharing my thoughts.

Tenshi. I heard a lot of concern about the number of pieces involved; yes, there's a ton - more than 10 - but they came together suprisingly well. Good contact points, pillars & holes, domes & depressions. Nice details too, and very impressive when assembled. So if you're considering a Tenshi, and are happy to take your time - eg. let the legs & feet dry before attaching to the waist - go for it!

(BTW, they should throw in a third leg - if any mini begs to be kitbashed into a tripod, this one does! :D )

Hatamoto-Suna. This is a gorgeous big piece of metal, in several parts. So much glorious detail! The post-and-hole joints are the best I've seen so far, This one assembles like a dream, and the back-flags fit in just fine. The head being separate is a bit meh - there's only one position it can go in - but it's no trouble to glue, and presumably made casting easier. Highly recommended if you like a bit of Samurai action in the Dark Age!

DA-sculpt Black Knight. Mixed opinions here. The legs - each leg is a separate foot, lower leg, and upper leg. But the connections work really well, and you can get a bit of posing action without pinning. Torso is a big lump, well detailed. The arms ... each arm has an upper arm, and a lower weapon section. The connecting post & hole here are very, very shallow - more of an impression than anything that actually feels like a connection. And, given the construction, there's no option for posability - right-angle, pointing front, is it. Sculptors, this is what you shouldn't do. Any post-and-hole should be at least 2mm deep, not fractions. And I don't believe that this would have made casting more difficult. The legs - brilliant! Shame about the elbows. But a good looking mini.

Wight Simple mini - base/feet/legs/torso one piece, torso, head, two arms. The head is nicely posable, albeit the post on the top of the torso was a good bit skinnier than the corresponding hole. The shoulder connections looked like they should have been nightmares - very thin arms - but went on brilliantly. Again, great mini. And I'm sure I could have easily reposed those tichy arms with a quick bend.

Black Hawk KU Now I didn't realise we had a resculpt here. The new mini is larger, and way more detailed than the old one - good! But it's stuck in the old "parade rest" position as the old one. A little dynamism would have been great - but those are stonking great feet to cut one off the base. The mini came together easily. Two negatives. One, the mini was made of a very hard, brittle, and silver-ish pewter, not the light grey and ductile ralladium of the other minis so far. If I hadn't opened the IWM blister myself, I'd be harkening back to the bad old repro days - this really resembled the 'pot metal' you'd see when you stripped down a mini you'd traded for, or (for the really old mini hands) finding 'REBEL' etched under the mini base. Made trimming harder, and very hard to file. Fortunately little of either needed. Second, the front of the arms. The arms are locked in right-angle poses, and the depressions - impressions, more like - of the 5 laser holes in the prime config are very shallow. Having put so much lovely detail in the rest of the mini, what happened here? As it was I was making an F variant, so the non-existant detail got covered anyway,

Chimera resculpt This is the K version, with sword, done by our own Stinger, and this is a good one. The ankles on the old sculpt were always a weak point. Here, the post & hole are really well sized, and allowed for easy posing. One downside - the ankle posts were significantly wider than the corresponding hole in the foot, so a good bit of filing was required to thin the posts down. With that done, excellent. The laser arm was a little confusing initially, but came together naturally; both arms went on easily, despite looking like the post-and-hole setup was a little thin.

Orochi Unnecessarily separated foot & legs; the foot only goes on at right angle, so posing would require more effort than I wanted to invest at this time. Really, you could have had a single piece base/feet/legs/waist for all the good it did. If you're not going to invest, as per the excellent Black Knight legs, and force us into parade rest,  I'd recommend taking the simpler option.

Vulture Mk IV Okay, this one also appears to be made out of 'pot metal', and there's something about the surface that looks not quite right, but I want to see what happens when I prime it first. Now it's a big - Tenchi-sized - mini, with lots of detail, but the  attachment points on this one are absolutely sub-par. Each nub - won't call them posts - is less than a mm high & wide, with correspondingly tiny holes, for the hips & shoulder joints. And the contact areas are tiny. After two tries to attach the legs & feet - one piece each - to the waist, and failing, I've drilled for pinning, and will try again tomorrow. When the pieces being held together are that heavy, these joints are just not satisfactory. If you had posts 2mm wide & 3mm long, this would have been a dream to assemble. The detail is good, and the free arm to make the A variant was appreciated.

Wolverine This is the Project Phoenix sculpt. Very simple - four pieces - and went together very simply. A little thinner than I might have liked, but a good mini.

Ghost Aaaah, lots of pieces! But went together like a dream. Waist sits on base/feet/legs/groin, torso on waist, arms in decent dome-and-hollow joints for easy posing. The 'handles' on the torso weapons are a little fiddly, but connected well. Even the 'exhaust stacks' on the back went in easily, with great post-and-hole connections to make the Vulture IV blush in shame & envy.

Komodo - this is an old sculpt; four pieces again. The shoulder ball-and-socket joints could have been more generous, but worked well enough. When this one gets a resculpt, move the legs a little! But very much what it  said on the tin.

Strider Again, an old sculpt, very easy to assemble despite separate base/legs. With a slightly dynamic pose (shuffling, not running).

Short form - Some pretty good stuff there. But more often than I'd like to see, complexity of assembly seemingly for the sake of it. And perhaps some neglect of good contact options for joints, again not all the time, but that Vulture IV is up there with the first-gen PP Thud & Marauders. If we want more people to play, and more people to buy minis, and given plastics aren't going to be available for more than a limited number of sculpts, then all I can do is petition the sculptors to keep in mind that most of your prospective customers aren't experts, and aren't looking to pin every darned joint. (Mind you, pinning that Hatamoto-Suna would have been not only irrelevant, but hard work!) Keep those contact areas bigger, please!

And if you do go with single piece base/feet/legs/waist, make them walking, not standing please!

Happy to discuss any of my admittedly idiosyncratic observations with all & sundry.

Cheers,

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
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Verloren Hoop

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #1 on: 20 April 2019, 10:51:31 »
Thanks for this!  I’d agreee with you on the Hatamoto-Suna—just a beautiful mini, easily assembled.   Same with your reviews of the Wight and the Black Knight.  I ended up pinning all my Black Knights joints.  (Before I became a dad, I used to pin EVERY SINGLE JOINT on my mechs.  I was obsessive about it.)

I also agree about the Wolverine—I always saw it as a blockier mech. 

My newer Chimera came without feet (!) but that is one of a very, very few QC issues I’ve had with Iron Wind Metals.   They’re always quick to respond.  As I was moving at the time, I just went ahead and sculpted feet myself. 

As far as sculpts go, the Akama is my absolute favorite of the Kurita mechs.   Easy to assemble, great detail, and the newer variants are scary. 




Nips

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #2 on: 20 April 2019, 11:13:11 »
Triple-agree on the shoulder joints of the Vulture Mk. IV.

I pinned mine, and even in storage they have a hard time staying put and not falling off.  I feel like I need to reculpt them a bit to reinforce the joints; there's just too much weight in the gun arms for that amount of contact area.
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #3 on: 20 April 2019, 11:24:39 »
I was never comfortable pinning.  So I just used green stuff to create more contact area for my Vulture MKIV (Mad Cat IV too).  It's worked decently.  You can't even see it at arms-length/table top.

Sartris

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #4 on: 20 April 2019, 12:53:34 »
The Mad cat and vulture iv were my first real attempts at pinning. Went well. Drill straight through where the legs go and run the long side of a paperclip through. The arms you can go pretty deep into the torso as well... I probably did about an 1/8” and put more trimmed bits of the paperclip in. You just have to take care especially on the arms to make sure your hole is centered and you don’t go too far through. A 1/16” bit works fine for most pinning

speck

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #5 on: 20 April 2019, 14:00:38 »
As far as I know there has not been a resculpt of the Black Hawk KU. At least not in the time I have been helping IWM. It still has original SKU from when RP released it.

sadlerbw

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #6 on: 22 April 2019, 23:29:23 »
I’ve made two or three now, and those Vulture mk. IV arms never get any easier. It’s a shame, because it’s a really good mech in the 3145+ era. I quite like the DA BlackKnjght as well. It’s true that the arms aren’t terribly posable, but I love the way it looks good enough that I don’t mind.

I think one of my favorites to build recently has been the DA Omni Centurion. I’ve built enough of them now that I don’t mind the shoulder nubs, and other than those the mini seems to almost fall into place when gluing it up. The Highlander resculpts were a decent number of pieces, but hugely posable with nice, big joints. Those two stick out in my mind as being impressive when I built them. Lastly, I think the Mongoose Gunslinger did a good job of having a dynamic pose with fixed legs.

Sartris

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #7 on: 23 April 2019, 02:13:29 »
there was a phase there for a bit between roughly 2013-2017 where every mech had multi-piece limbs. they largely assembled better than back a decade or so ago (like that waking nightmare phoenix thunderbolt's legs) but were still a ton of pieces. i feel like it's drifted back toward single piece legs or even entire lower bodies again and parts counts are more likely to be under ten.

Stinger

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #8 on: 24 April 2019, 23:24:02 »
Thanks for the kind words on the Chimera!

It was one of my earlier sculpts and it is quite possible I forgot to adequately thin the ankles before sending the files out.  But also, just a bit of filing isn't too hard, so I think it turned out okay :)

If you happen to get any more of my sculpts, let me know!

worktroll

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #9 on: 25 April 2019, 03:13:55 »
As far as I know there has not been a resculpt of the Black Hawk KU. At least not in the time I have been helping IWM. It still has original SKU from when RP released it.

You're right. My older KU was aquired by trade; it was an old lead version, and had softened a little over time & stripping. The new one was very shiny, and crisp, and I mistook it for a new sculpt.

Any comment on the 'pot-metal' appearance of that and the Vulture IV? All the others were 'normal' ralladium grey. But the KU & IV were indubitably IWM minis.

And Stinger, is there somewhere which lists sculpts by sculptor? I've got quite a few in the unpainted boxes, and would love to check.

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

thecybersmily

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #10 on: 25 April 2019, 21:07:18 »
One piece of feedback for me is pudding bases. I get why they're there. I always hack they aware with snips, razor saw, and/or exacto blade. I prefer to do bases separate from the mini, but with the pudding base already part of the mini it's not always a fun task during prep to remove it.

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #11 on: 29 April 2019, 20:53:10 »

And Stinger, is there somewhere which lists sculpts by sculptor? I've got quite a few in the unpainted boxes, and would love to check.

W.
Unfortunately I think IWM sorta maintains a list but it isn't public. I can check the QCC ane look up any sculpt since about 2012 or so, but before that it is a bit or a crapshoot.

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #12 on: 29 April 2019, 21:11:08 »
And Stinger, is there somewhere which lists sculpts by sculptor? I've got quite a few in the unpainted boxes, and would love to check.
I have a partial list. Hasn't been updated with anything from the last 8 years so, but I have nearly all of the older sculpts. Hit me with a list of your minis and I can take a look.

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #13 on: 29 April 2019, 21:18:55 »
I'll back the Hatmoto-Suna as well.  I will add that the Rokurokubi, Hitotsume Kozo (-1P), and the Shiro (-P) were also fun sculpts to work with (the remainder of the lance).

The new Highlander is great. :thumbsup:  I was hesitant at first, but it went together quite easily.  I did not have the same luck with the DA Black Knight.  And I concur with Worktroll on the arms.  I wan't a fan of those.

Couple of older mini questions.  Does anyone else find the Bushwacker a bit of a pain?  And what is with the Kraken 4?  I thought the Warlord was oversized. ???
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ArchonDan

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #14 on: 29 April 2019, 21:21:49 »
One piece of feedback for me is pudding bases. I get why they're there. I always hack they aware with snips, razor saw, and/or exacto blade. I prefer to do bases separate from the mini, but with the pudding base already part of the mini it's not always a fun task during prep to remove it.

I completely agree with this one. I would love to see the pudding bases go away! But I have a feeling they are just left overs from the early sculpts. The new Shadow Hawk sculpt has a nice flat base, making it easy to work with.

Ruger

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #15 on: 29 April 2019, 21:45:45 »
Couple of older mini questions.  Does anyone else find the Bushwacker a bit of a pain?

I had no issues with my two Bushwacker's.

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Sartris

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #16 on: 29 April 2019, 22:21:21 »
Couple of older mini questions.  Does anyone else find the Bushwacker a bit of a pain?  And what is with the Kraken 4?  I thought the Warlord was oversized.

Yes, absolutely gigantic, yes, respectively

i've never liked the feet molded into the base like on the bushwacker, chimera, and argus because i hate having to line up the legs precisely enough on the hips to fit into the feet holes.

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #17 on: 30 April 2019, 01:44:15 »
I've found that if you glue the legs to the hips and the feet holes on the base at the same time it works pretty well.
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Sartris

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #18 on: 30 April 2019, 10:13:45 »
that's what i ended up doing but i did not enjoy it

granted i assembled most of those models very early on in the learning process so i'd probably have an easier time now

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #19 on: 30 April 2019, 10:18:23 »
What I'll do is practice holding those pieces together without glue, to get a feel for how things will look when completed. After a couple dry runs, I'll do a dry run with glue in one post hole, gluing a leg to the hip and holding the whole thing together until it sets. Once one leg is attached, repeating the process for the other attachment points becomes very easy.
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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #20 on: 30 April 2019, 11:19:00 »
If I'm having trouble, I just cheat and cut the molded-in base in half  :) That way I can glue each foot on individually and hide any misalignment with glue, or putty, or whatever once it goes on an actual base.

Also, I tried to think about any recent sculpts I had problems with. When I went to actually look at the dates the sculpts were added to the IWM catalog, the newest one was in 2014! So I would say I've been pretty happy with the construction of the recent sculpts.

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #21 on: 30 April 2019, 18:09:30 »
I've found that if you glue the legs to the hips and the feet holes on the base at the same time it works pretty well.
I tried that with my first one, and it did not go well.  Second one I glued on the legs to the body first, then mounted to the base.  I did dry runs first to make sure things lined up well.  Went better than the first one, but it was still somewhat uncooperative. :-\. Thanks for the tip though.
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worktroll

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #22 on: 02 May 2019, 15:26:20 »
Sorry, been a while since I could swing by. Could someone explain what a "pudding base" is?

Feet as part of base - yep, problematical. It doesn't allow for simple modification (as free legs do), but is potentially off-putting to the new mini buyer. I've been doing things Weirdo's way - dry test fits, then glue one leg (often supported by blutak). Leave it overnight to really cure, then the next day it works easier. Yes, you occasionally get little tilts. They're in motion, right? ;)

Bushwacker - see above. Not a great fan of the mini, and usually have to "accurise" the weapons. Will probably buy one someday to make the shotgun version.

Sadlerbw, I've cut the base up a few times. The Night Gyr mini is a particularly knock-kneed parade rest pose; I chopped the base in half, trimmed off as much base as I could, widened the stance, and moved the legs slightly forward & back.

Sculptors, if you're going to do single piece base/feet/legs/torso, please don't do parade rest! The Reseen Archer's legs are just about perfect - a great dynamic pose. People use these minis for wargames, not building dioramas of Castle Brian caches :) Doesn't have to be Devastator-running, just moving. Please.

And sculptors, and IWM - thanks again for the support!

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Sartris

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #23 on: 02 May 2019, 16:05:14 »
just put together the most recent retail releases.

Crusader 8L - love the beefy torso. the way the arms went on the phoenix mk I, it had such a skinny profile. would have probably preferred a single-piece lower body in a walking gait since that seems to be the primary option for gluing the right leg and foot on, but it glued together easily enough. we didn't have to glue on the hands this time, so that's a win!

swordsman - amazing. i love almost all of the primitives. my only quibble was that i couldn't find a clear indication of where the LT shoulder gun was supposed to rest.

Ryoken III - also sharp. i'd probably recommend filing down the nubs on the arm guns so they rest in the elbow socket a bit more easily. It's one of those minis that has just narrow enough of a stance to fit on a hex base.

thecybersmily

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #24 on: 02 May 2019, 19:40:38 »
Sorry, been a while since I could swing by. Could someone explain what a "pudding base" is?

Pudding bases are the metal bases the minis are casted with. Most look like a pile of pudding.

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #25 on: 02 May 2019, 23:04:50 »
Couple of older mini questions.  Does anyone else find the Bushwacker a bit of a pain?  And what is with the Kraken 4?  I thought the Warlord was oversized. ???

Bushwackers were annoying in the tiny connection points and skinny legs.  I've had several break in both places.  If it annoys you, get Gauntlets to replace them.  It's the Omni-Bushwacker, and a fantastic sculpt.

I got nothing about the Kraken.  It's just bloody enormous.  I use the Kraken XR for all my Kraken needs now.  It is also huge, but slightly less so.
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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #26 on: 03 May 2019, 01:00:29 »
Crusader 8L - love the beefy torso. the way the arms went on the phoenix mk I, it had such a skinny profile. would have probably preferred a single-piece lower body in a walking gait since that seems to be the primary option for gluing the right leg and foot on, but it glued together easily enough. we didn't have to glue on the hands this time, so that's a win!

My only issue with the Crusader 8L was figuring out which direction the head was supposed to fit on.
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Colt Ward

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #27 on: 15 May 2019, 17:50:26 »
Yeah, I have heard about the Bushies so I planned to buy a Gauntlet as a sub or three.
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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #28 on: 15 May 2019, 18:57:12 »
You will not be disappointed.  Just have to proxy the arms.  And maybe the launchers

Yeah, I have heard about the Bushies so I planned to buy a Gauntlet as a sub or three.

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Opinions/feedback about some recent IWM sculpts
« Reply #29 on: 15 May 2019, 19:25:19 »
I got nothing about the Kraken.  It's just bloody enormous.  I use the Kraken XR for all my Kraken needs now.  It is also huge, but slightly less so.

For years I've joked that the Kraken 4 should be painted so that on the top it's got a circle with a red H in the middle.
Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

"I think I've just had another near-Rincewind experience," Death, The Color of Magic