Two reviews: Inkwell Industries and Mega Minis’ Salvage Crew
Today we'll review two groups of miniatures: resin bases, barrels and wheels by Inkwell Industries, and the Salvage Crew from Mega Miniatures.
Inkwell Industries: Bases, Barrels and Wheels
Inkwell Industries is a one-man side project that has some good quality resin products at remarkable prices. This review will showcase their bases, barrels and tires, all of which I purchased a few months ago.
At present the only way to buy Inkwell Industries products is through the Post-Apoc Wargames forum's Traders Shack, which is where I found them.
The 25mm round bases come in 9 designs and are sold in batches of 20 for $5. In the past I've tended to view cast resin bases as a bit of an extravagance. With most bases costing nearly the price of what I try to spend for miniatures ($1 to $2) I didn't see the point. At 25 cents each, however, I couldn't resist trying them, especially when I have a slew of post-apocalyptic figures that would look good on them.
The bases look like the pictures below, though they now all come in white.
The bases all seem well cast. Some of them are a touch uneven on the bottom, but nothing you can't fix with a bit of sandpaper.. A few of them had what might be very minor flaws in the casting detail on top, but since these are all modeled after broken ground, scrap and salvage, I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't had two of each base to compare to each other, and I doubt anyone else would notice.
Most importantly, the sides all seemed nice and smooth, with no bubbles.
The heights of terrain modeled on the bases do vary a bit. Inky informs me that he originally made the bases for himself to balance out the height of the various figures he was using for his own post-apocalyptic games. Differing heights don't bother me, but it's interesting to hear this perspective
My final observation is that while a wide variety of bases are great for post-apocalyptic figures, players seeking a more uniform look might not appreciate all the variation. I would love to see the selection expanded so there were 4 to 5 different sculpts for each "theme" that appears in the mix (gears, rocky terrain, wreckage, etc).
Be sure to read through the miniatures review below to see photos of these bases black-washed and attached to miniatures.
Inkwell also has a 40mm round base cast in a metal plate pattern. It's a nice design, and while the plates aren't perfectly level (I'm not sure if this is intentional or not), they're a steal at 50 cents each and would be a nice choice for basing Space Marine Terminators. I'll probably use the one I have to base up the Ape-X figure from the Reaper Bones Kickstarter.
Hint to Inkwell...If this metal-plate design was available in 25mm or 40mm, I'd buy a batch tomorrow!
I also purchased a pack of oil barrels. They are very simple, with basic rim detailing and a valve on top. The bottoms are a bit uneven on some, but that's to be expected on barrels cast from a one-piece mold, and it's easy to fix. They are entirely adequate, and at 10 for $3 they are quite a bargain.
Lastly, I bought some resin wheels. These are purchasable individually at 15 cents each, and I got 16 of them.
They are 16mm in diameter and size up well with the wheels on the bargain 1/43 Bburago cars I reviewed earlier. These cars were nicely made, but they had some really cheap-looking wheels.
While the diameter and detail of the wheels are all the same, the thickness of the wheels varies quite a bit. There seem to be 3 or so different thicknesses. For folks using these for terrain detailing, this is not a problem, but for those intending to put these on vehicles, it might be worthwhile to specifically request wheels of the same thickness.
I had no problem making a few sets of wheels out of the batch I purchased, though a few will need to be sanded down a bit. The resin is easy to cut and modify, so I have no doubt it will be easy to drill out holes to fit these onto the wheel posts of the Bburagao cars.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with the products received from Inkwell. They don't have quite the polish of some higher-priced resin products, but at a third of the cost or less they are more than adequate for my uses. I highly recommend them, and it's very likely that I will be purchasing more of the bases in the near future.
Salvage Crew Miniatures on Inkwell Bases
Last year I briefly reviewed the Salvage Crew miniatures from Mega Miniatures. They were originally produced by Alpha Forge for their Star Mogul game, and Mega Minis acquired the line last year (which includes many other great figures) and released the game as a free download on their website.
The purchase of the post-apocalyptic bases from Inkwell Industries seemed like a perfect excuse to assemble these figures and base them up. I've mounted them on the Inkwell bases and given them a quick-and-dirty black wash to bring out some of the details. Here's a group shot and another from above to show off the bases.
My observations from the initial review are largely unchanged. They are very nice figures with separate heads, though the quality of the heads are are hit-or-miss. The casting is good, with minimal flash and mold lines. For the most part, they are loaded with packs, tools, gear, etc. as befits the subject matter.
Be aware that each figure comes with two random heads, so you might not end up with the heads I used, or the heads pictured on the website. Also, some of the neck pegs are a bit skinny; a bit of putty or just some extra superglue will fix this.
I've listed them with the names that Mega Minis has given them. For those looking to acquire these figures, they are available here.
Gang Member with Shotgun and Cutting Equipment
Love the character of this figure, though he's the one figure I couldn't get to photograph well, so you'll have to take my word for it. Uniquely among this batch, he does not have a separate head. Also, he doesn't have any specifically futuristic gear. His main equipment is a double-barreled shotgun and a cutting torch on his back. His aviator cap and goggles, trenchcoat and lack of sci-fi equipment would make him a good fit for a steampunk setting as well as sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, etc.
Gang Member with Grinding Tool
This figure comes with a separate grinding tool with hands attached. He's unarmed, so I'll probably add a pistol holster. It's a nice find, though, as unarmed civilian sci-fi figures are fairly uncommon. The cutting tool could easily be modified into any number of tools by cutting away the blade and substituting some other techy bit.
Gang Member in Light Armor
This is a female figure with a heavy automatic weapon. The head I chose for her is the best of the female heads available.
Gang Member in Trench Coat
This is another one of my favorites. I gave him a Pig Iron Kolony Rebel head, though in retrospect that may have made him look a bit too bad-guy-ish, and he ended up resembling the most recent movie incarnation of the Batman villain Bane. He and the two following figures seem almost tailor-made to be Necromunda gangers, scum or bounty hunters.
Gang Member with Assault Rifle
Here's a nice pose -- and is that a bolter he's carrying? I particularly like the messenger bag laying across his chest.
Gang Member with Light Machinegun
This is a typical shooting dude with an SMG.
Gang Member with Rocket Launcher
The rocket launcher is a separate piece, and as I already have various launcher-armed figures, I switched out the launcher for an assault rifle from Heresy Miniatures. I did have to reposition the left hand to be supporting the gun rather than steadying the rocket launcher. It's a nice figure, but unfortunately the original configuration with the rocket launcher isn't very balanced. Check out that huge tire on the base!
In conclusion, I'm very happy with the Salvage Crew figures. They're not state-of-the-art sculpts, but they fill a nice niche in my sci-fi collection. They would work well in most post-apocalyptic or sci-fi game setting and seem ripe for use in Necromunda. Also, at only $2.50 a piece for each 28mm figure, they are a great deal.
As a bonus, I give you Rosie, Cryotechnician.
I had this Reaper Chronoscope miniature lying around for some time, so I decided to use her here. I think she's intended to be a "not" version of Kaylee from Firefly and Serenity.
The figure comes with a wrench and gun options for her right hand, though I still haven't decided which to use. With the wrench option she is unarmed, and you can never have too many unarmed sci-fi figures in your collection.
Like most Chronoscope figures, she stands notably taller than other 28mm models. Using traditional sole-to-eye measurements, the Salvage Crew are a standard 28mm, while Rosie towers to a height of 32mm. Despite the height, she fits in well with the style of the Salvage crew figures, so I'm pretty happy with her. As with most Reaper miniatures, the detail is really well done, and she's a step up in overall quality from the others.
-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member