Meanwhile, what’s been going on in the wider miniatures world?
A particular company which I’m rather fond of, Special Artisan Service Miniatures (brought to us by Kings Hobbies and Games), has recently shown off a few new lines to add to their existing modern miniatures collection.
The company has an existing range of various forces, covering all sorts from German marine commando units to American contractors operating in the Middle East, and a certain “El Pablo”, a Colombian narcotics dealer. Along with vehicles to support them.
Their latest list of upcoming releases this month only add to this variety. But before I cover those, its only right to mention what came out last month to show off just how much this little company’s able to come out with.
Taken from their Facebook page here’s June’s releases:
Which right away had me thinking, “Polish GROM? In what world is someone ever going to make those?!”. The owner Tim has an eye for nuanced things like that, or rather a habit of going “hey that looks cool, maybe I’ll have one of my sculptors make some” it seems. He must be reading those military news sites a lot, as his offerings cover some really cutting edge kit (some of which is just barely in service).
In addition to the Poles, we have a squad of US Navy Seals, again kitted out in the latest of equipment for those wanting to play those “ultra modern” games (because, well, drones and guys in exoskeletons are cool…). They’re equipped in a fairly standard set of gear in use world wide, so could easily represent a number of different Special Forces units. And come in a variety of combat poses. I pick the Seals out specifically to talk about though as you’ve got to love that guy in the top right of the teaser image with his “eyes on” pose. 🙂
Besides that, the immediate draw of last month’s releases had to be the American GMV Flyer personnel carrier. Pegged as a possible replacement for the Humvee, specifically for SOCOM (as well as possibly British and Italian forces). Whilst the vehicle is yet to see service (…assuming that some haven’t been given out for under the radar field testing) it should work great for near future games, especially as a counter to “Russia 2021” projects. Not only that though, just looking at the thing gives me a District 9 feel. It would work great for sci-fi games with some power armoured soldiers riding in it (the Humvee certainly saw a long service life, so who knows if these things will have actual guys in power armour riding in them in 20 or 30 years…)
Up next is the SOC-R Boat, a craft currently in service with the United States Navy Special Forces. The vehicle’s intended to give a squad all the firepower it needs when rolling up on the enemy; the model featuring two miniguns, a pair of dual mounted machine guns, and a rear facing machine gun (which of course would be in addition to any passenger weapons in real life). Being capable of being deployed from an aerial vehicle where necessary too. Whilst the amount of games people are playing involving water features may be niche, this may be just the excuse people have to go buy a set of river tiles to add to their board, and there’s certainly not that much competition out there for 28mm patrol boats (pair this with some of the 1/48th Vietnam era craft out there and you could have a scenario involving Spec Ops bringing in an arms shipment or the like).
Last up, and personally what piqued my interest the most. Coolers. Yes, coolers. A rather simple item which as far as I’m aware nobody else is making in this scale (barring possible on thingiverse for some extortionate fee). Special Artizan Services has seen another niche in the market and is in the process of making various bits of clutter to act as stowage on our modern vehicles, or terrain for tatting up our scenery. They’ve been in the process of adding to their modern accessories range for months now, with all sorts of bits like portable stoves, water bottles, plastic cases and of all things a militarised laptop (which would be a perfect objective marker for games). I just love little details like this to make models seem more believable, and they certainly help to bring older vehicles into the 21st century with just a little bit of work (my own collection is full of vehicles which would be suitable for decades worth of conflicts, but plastic containers and other bits give the impression that they’re going on today). Of all last month’s releases it’d be this Cooler, and the rest of SASM’s accessories which I’d most recommend you folks check out! 🙂
July Releases & Teasers
Which of course brings us to this month’s teases and releases so far. The first week’s only just over and we’ve already had one new item for sale, another go up on Pre-Order, and a tease at a future unit.
The latest product on the SASM site is a selection of Boko Haram fighters which have been teased at for the past few months by SASMs. This may be the first in potentially more African units released by the company …and well if not I’m sure if enough of you send the owner pictures of strangely dressed fighters from that region he’ll find one dumb enough looking to sell you (the views expressed on this site in no way represent the views of SASM miniatures. Still, send the pics anyway).
The line are sculpted by Igor Karpov (of Lead Adventure Miniatures fame) whom SASM have brought on to sculpt a number of miniatures, including an upcoming range of Ukrainian fighters which have especially drawn my attention. They’re dressed in fairly generic MENA style outfits, and armed with your typical Soviet Bloc weapons, so could well work as militant forces throughout the world and easily mix with similar ranges out there from other companies. I’d specifically note that whilst the guns are slightly larger than manufacturers like Empress and Spectre Miniatures, my experience with Igor’s latest work on the Tiny Terrain Models Chechen War Kickstarter has shown they fit in rather well and aren’t noticeable at all in case anyone has any concerns.
Meanwhile SASM have put up a set of ISIS fighters for pre-order. These appear to still be in the process of being sculpted, so there’s no ETA for when they’ll be released (if going by the Ukrainian figures pre-order it may be a two to three months). So far five of the ten fighters have been shown off, who similar to the Boko Haram models are wearing suitably generic garb.
Notably however, these aren’t your run of the mill militants your grandfather shot. These guys are armed with captured NATO spec weaponry (presumably from some captured government armouries), with a pair of M16s and a SCAR among other weapons. They bring to mind this particular image of Taliban fighters (taken from The Hoplite blog).
Paired with SASM’s Boko Haram, and potentially similar ranges by the other companies, you could put together a substantial force of MENA fighters at this point. What these ISIS fighters offer which most of the other companies aren’t is guys armed with stuff other than AKMs. Spectre have a few fighters with Western guns of course, but most of them don’t have the bangs and whistles these do (specifically the sights and picatinny rails) which make them look like they’ve been taken from some just dead opposition fighters and the like. They could work as veteran fighters amongst a rabble of generic mooks. …Now if only SASM made some of those Taliban “Special Forces” wearing those all black Ghillie Suits and flip flops. Tactical flip flops. 😉
Finally we have a teaser image for some Russian Spetsnaz suitable for their current campaign in Syria. The soldier in the image links back to the Seals which I talked about earlier in this blog with the same cool pose. These go with SASM’s existing line of Russian Spetsnaz for the conflict, though are made through a 3D modelling program rather than the original hand sculpted models which came out a few months ago.
Again these could easily work as multiple other nation’s special forces, wearing knock off American gear and armed with AKs. In fact looking at this soldier he could well do to work as other Nations who are armed with AK based platforms like the Finns with a bit of work remodelling the rifle a bit. Which seeing as their Special Forces, you could start a force for one of these Nations without having to go out and find all the regular Army guys and vehicles (which may not be available). I mean, some guys in a Humvee kind of covers something like a quarter of the world’s Special Forces at this point…
So there we have it folks. For a company as small as they are Kings Hobbies and Games they’re certainly putting out a hell of a lot of products. There doesn’t seem to be much talk about them outside of the Facebook groups, so I thought it would be worth the time to keep you guys informed about what’s been going on over there recently.
All of SASM’s products can by found on the Kings Hobbies and Games website, or at the below link. They also have a Facebook page where they post their upcoming releases and news about pre-order campaigns which help to pay for production of their miniatures lines, so if you’re interested in a specific set of models it goes a way to throw them a couple of bucks early (as is there occasionally a discount offered for these “early birds”).
I’ll likely feature some of their models in my upcoming posts as I work through my unpainted miniatures collection, but for those who missed it I did post up a few of their figures a while back in my modern miniatures thread (which besides being stuff that nobody else was selling at the time, seemed like fairly decent quality wargaming miniatures).
(I yelled inwardly when I found out that SASM were releasing a Zil Punisher. If anyone’s played the game ARMA III they appear as the “Ifrit” IFV in use by the OPFOR forces in that game, painted in a sci fi paint scheme and with a fictional additional weapons platform. In the real world they’re currently in use by Russian Internal Special Forces units, seemingly with the intention to scare the enemy into submission without the need to fire a shot. I’m currently using them for some “Internal Operations” in my modern games inside the Contested Territories in Eastern Europe)