Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet Bob Gnoll: Reaper Dark Heaven Bones Review

So Reaper miniatures recently released a new line of models called Dark Heaven Bones.  To be sure these are not new models.  They are old models re-done in some sort of plastic. You can read all about it at the link above.  I won't rehash it here.

I had to give these models a try.  There were several that I've had my eye on for a while.  Now that they are going for $2 or so, I thought it would be a good time to get them.  But I also wanted to see if the claims Reaper made about these new plastics held up.  Let's list out those points here:

  • Inexpensive
  • Same detail as metal models
  • hard plastic
  • no need to prime before painting
  • easy conversions
I'll look at each of those except for the last point.  I didn't bother converting anything, though I might for one of the models in the future.  My test subject is Reaper's Gnoll Warrior, a long-time favorite of mine.  Right off the bat, $2.50 is a lot cheaper than the metal.  So check for point one.  The detail also looks great.  Check for point two.

I decided to get to work on the model.  I started slinging base paint right away.  Meet Bob Gnoll, (lead singer for Cannibal Corpse).

So Bob's base coats held nicely.  The paint did not rub off and the model got absolutely zero prep.  There weren't even noticeable mold lines.  However, the stark whiteness of the model made them hard to detect.  I found some after I painted.  Lesson learned

So the advertisement is for hard plastic.  Generally, that's true.  But that morning star Bob is twirling is quite flexible.  It goes back to shape, but it has me somewhat concerned.  After I put on the paint, might too much movement cause it to flake?  I'm not sure of that and won't know until more time has passed. I'm not concerned.  Lead is also flexible.

This brings me to a second point about plastics.  Unlike lead, you can't easily straighten out a bent part of your model.  Swords and spears are notorious for this problem.  While Bob himself is in tip top shape, some of his buddies (other Bones models I purchased) were not so lucky. Check it out:

Despite being a spokesman for Viagra, Bob Gnoll was not able to help this Orc with his sagging spear.
So that "orc" spear is going to be bent like that forever.  Unlike lead, you can't fix it.  By the way, I use the term Orc lightly.  These guys look like goblins or some sort of humanoid cave dweller to me.  I added these models to be part of Bob Gnoll's posse.  Besides, they were cheap as well.

So here's some more WIP shots of Bob Gnoll preparing for his big day.  First is Bob after getting all his flat colors, then one of him after a few washes.

You can now see the detail, which was excellent.  I have no complaints about this model and really thought it was a great deal.  The unprimed plastic took the paint wonderfully.  However, if you are not used to painting on a white base, there could be some surprises for you.  I learned just how transparent some of my colors were.  I don't know how these models will react to getting a coat of black primer.  But I'll test that on some other models.  I assume things will go fine.  Here's how Bob Gnoll looked when I was done with him.

So I think Reaper's claims are all verifiable according to my experience.  I just didn't do any conversions, but assume there would be no problems.  The model glued to the metal washer base with super glue.  So I wouldn't expect bonding worries.  Overall, I can recommend these models as very inexpensive but highly detailed models to add to your collection.  I will pick up additional models, and look forward to new releases.

In fact, I mentioned Bob Gnoll's posse.  Here's a small group I imagine might make a nicely themed war band.
Nothing like a big brute and a few bullies to round out the group.  I'll be working on these later and will post up the results.  All these models put me back about $15, which I consider a great value.

Finally, here's Bob Gnoll on his completed base.  He's ready to name names and dish out shame!


Drunken Samurai said...

Those are pretty cool. I had no idea they were doing plastics. It used to be plastic was the 'expensive' way of making minis.

Jerry said...

I thought so too. I heard there was a huge investment in metal molds, etc. But I guess they found a way to do it cheaply. In any case, these plastics are just as good as metals and 1/4 the price. I hope they'll expand their range.

Anonymous said...

Putting the model into really hot water (not boiling though) for a couple of seconds straightens the bent parts forever. It worked with Legendary encouter minis and with D&D miniatures. From what I've heard Bones are made of the same material so it should work here as well. I haven't tried it myself though.

ReaperBryan said...

I'd like to comment that we don't actually advertise them as hard plastic - we say in our forums that they're flexible to avoid breakage while dropping. The primary ad copy makes no mention of the hardness/softness of the figures at all.

Awesome review, though!

Jerry said...

@ReaperBryan, For some reason I had that in my head. But you're right; I looked over the ads and nothing was said about hardness.

The flexibility isn't an issue. I dropped the gnoll model and it survived nicely, unlike lead which may have bent the morning star.

Thanks for commenting!

Shannon Stiltz said...

A couple of quick notes:
First: If you use a hairdryer, you can straighten painted models that have bent weapons, etc.
Second: More Bones coming up on the Bones Kickstarter! If you like the original set, please check out the kickstarter! We are working our way toward some larger models, like the fire giants.