Fresh fabricants photographed

A while back I reviewed the (theoretically solo-compatible) miniatures game The Department. If you can’t be bothered to read the review, I can tell you that I found the game wanting in many respects.  Of course, I didn’t know that at the time I ordered it, and that was when I also ordered my Department miniatures.

Department miniatures from Effigy

Department miniatures painted by the Department of Department Painting .

They’ve been languishing for a while, mostly because I’ve been painting some other things (which I forgot to put up) and making Japanese buildings for Osprey’s Ronin (which is in transit from Amazon as I write this). I needed a little break from the endless cutting and gluing of scratchbuilt buildings (with interiors, no less), so painting it was.

There aren’t very many figures available from this line. In fact, there are only six in total, which makes me a completist for the entire miniatures line. This is something of a first for me. They’re also surprisingly cheap, and they’re available at the Effigy Miniatures webstore. You may think that for $4 you would get crap, but you would be wrong.

The miniatures arrived promptly, in a little baggie just like every other 15mm purchase. The figures themselves are very nicely cast; there was hardly any flash. My bag contained six figures; two investigators, two non-fleshy fabricants, and two partially fleshed ones. The details on the figures were very good, but perhaps not quite so incised as other manufacturers. They came with a smooth base, which for no rational reason sometimes I find hard to texture. This time I took a different approach.

I epoxied them onto pennies (available in the US only, now) and smoothed out their bases with epoxy putty. I sanded them down to make the larger bases flush with the cast-on bases, but didn’t obsess about mirror smoothness. I didn’t have a clever plan, but once I finished painting the figures, I decided to paint the bases as if they were streets. Because most streets, unless you live in Germany, are lamentably rough and filthy, my lack of care in finishing was actually an asset.

This isn’t really a painting tutorial, but I have closeups of all the figures and a few comments on each.

Female fabricant.

Shy android seeks human for companionship, stabbing.

I was something at a loss as to how to paint these figures. I started off this one hoping for a plasticky feel. It’s painted with shades of grey to to white, and washed with both indigo and black ink (mixed with Future and water, of course). The knife in the back is green, just to give it some colour. No switchblade like a laser switchblade. I found this figure surprisingly difficult to paint. It’s very smooth and slick, so any colour transitions need to be smooth, too, otherwise it looks terrible. It’s also a small figure, so any mistakes would be highly visible.

Do you like my new look? I made the skin myself.

Do you like my new look? I made the skin myself.

Once again, this is a fairly small figure with very smooth lines.  I took advice from Matakishi’s Teahouse and underpainted the figure with greyscale shading. Because red covers like crap, a coat of red paint over top completed the effect. As a side note, the reason red and yellow cover like crap is that their pigments are highly toxic, so they don’t have very much in the paint. Don’t lick that brush.

The face is half fabricant, half skin, at least as far as I could tell. At least it is on my figure after I painted it that way.

Half fabricant, half athlete.

Half fabricant, half human, all questionably dressed.

I must confess I didn’t really understand this figure. It looked like it was wearing a towel around its neck (or possibly a thick scarf. There was no shirt underneath, so I wasn’t sure if it was robotic or fleshy. It ends up looking like a male exotic dancer with his face torn off, so that’s something, anyway. I should have bought the codpiece attachment.

Robo2Nothing says sinister machine like chrome, so I sprayed it with Testor’s chrome paint. Protip: it’s significantly heavier and thicker than regular spray paint, so be exceedingly careful applying it or you will lose all of your detail. All.

Once it was painted, I picked out the black bits, painted the eyes and washed the figure with indigo and black inks. It took about 5 minutes.

Bonus: Can be used as a pantsless Atomic Robo.

Human Investigator

I am not Harrison Ford in Blade Runner.

This figure is Harrison Ford in Blade Runner. However, I gave him a green jacket and blonde hair because I can. Also, because I couldn’t be bothered to look up scenes from the movie.

Flat of feet

The stylish brown suit hides the coffee and doughnut stains.

This last figure is arguably my favourite. It has more character than the others, and the facial features are particularly well sculpted. It’s also generic enough that it can be used from any period from the late 19th century up to the future. Painting it in brown with camel hair coat assures that it will be just as tasteful in any era.

A note on the bases

The bases were simple to a paint. They’re done up in shades of grey (obviously). I used black, white, Payne’s Grey, some burnt umber and some miscellaneous brown colour when I mixed them up. Cracks and repairs were put on using a mechanical pencil. The yellow and white lines are paint, obviously. The stains are Future mixed with brown and sepia inks. I think they turned out quite well, and rather surprisingly were less of a pain to paint than the tradional textured and flocked base.

The conclusion

Even if you hate The Department, you may want to consider these figures. Who doesn’t need psychotic humanoid robots? Better yet, they’re less than the price of latte, and they should liven up your Napoleonic games nicely.


  • Really nice work there; I like the chrome-blue tinge. I’m impressed with the makeup on the Robot in Red! Did you go in for the subsequent Ghosts of Hefei Kickstarter?

  • Kashirigi wrote:

    Although I like the figures and the concept behind The Department, I just couldn’t accept the game portion of it. That, and the promise of using 1 or 2 foot square tables to having 6′ x 4′ tables in the end product really irritated me.

    I initially bought the game because of the example of play but apparently none of the good parts made it into the final cut.

    It looks like the Ghosts of Hefei made it through the Kickstarter, although by the slimmest of margins. I don’t think I’ll be considering it unless it gets rave reviews.

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