In the tradition of wargamers everywhere, I completely neglected my large pile of unpainted figures and ordered some new ones, which I of course planned to paint immediately. I was unable to resist the 15mm Astro Miniatures line.
After some remarkably good customer service from them, the figures arrived quickly and well packed. They were beautifully cast, with very little (if any) flash. The only flaw was a slight miscast on one base. This made absolutely no difference, as I rebased them on the standard North American 15mm scale base anyway.
The only difficulties I had with these figures were completely self-inflicted. I wanted the bases smooth, which despite many hours and spackle and various other compounds, was not as successful as I had hoped. However, I was hoping for mirror smoothness and I got something resembling “floor”, so it’s not a total loss.
The Sybots were tremendously easy to paint. I blasted them with a couple of coats of Testor’s Chrome (not to be confused with silver) paint. Then they were washed with a mix of water, Future, black and indigo inks. The details were picked out with Golden Artist acrylics and then they glared back menacingly. The bases were painted black, then followed by three coats of Golden Self-Levelling Clear Gel tinted with black ink. That gave them a thick, smooth coat, highly glossy coat, like a prize cat but without the shedding.
The “Far Trek” figures were painted in a more traditional manner. They were undercoated white, and the uniform pants were painted very dark grey (not quite black; a mix of black, white and hint of Payne’s grey) with lighter highlights. A similar procedure worked for the boots, but with a different shade (black, white and Burnt Ochre).
The uniforms were painted slightly lighter than their intended colours, then highlighted. The usual wash of water, Future and ink should have finished the job. However, for whatever reason, when I applied a final coat of Future as a protector (more than 24 hours after the washes), the red and green ink washes re-liquified and flowed all over the figure.
This has never happened to me before, and I certainly wasn’t pleased. I basically had to repaint all of the affected figures, this time using paint only. They any washes I applied contained some paint as well as ink, as this seemed to stabilize the wash. Perhaps it’s the medium in the paint. Next time I may try using a mix of water, medium, future and ink, and see what results.
The hair, faces and weapons were picked out in the usual manner (basecoat, shadows, highlight, etc).
The bases were painted with a mixture of white, black and Paynes grey. This gave a very close colour match to photos of the Enterprise deck.
The tiny downside to the figures is that they’re made of very soft metal. The phaser rifles are susceptible to bending. This is alleviated somewhat by the new, larger base which gives a bit of a handle.
The figures look a little thin next to Rebel and GZG figures, but they’re also not wearing combat armour and carrying 60kg of equipment, so they actually fit in nicely. I have yet to determine how well a red-shirt does in combat vs hardened infantry.
If you’re looking for Trek-style or Battlestar Galactica style figures, I would certainly recommend Astro Miniatures without the slightest hesitation.