Deadzone Enforcer Miniatures Review
Now that I’ve been working hard at painting all my Deadzone miniatures I’ve begun to form strong opinions about the quality, or lack there-of, of the figures. I very much love the game and think I understand why the miniatures turned out the way they did. However I can’t just let them pass without comment so here is my review of the Enforcer Faction Starter that comes with the main Deadzone boxed game.
You get a lot of miniatures in the game, or in the sets, for not a lot of money. The starter set alone has 12 miniatures for ~$36 CDN, or about $3 per miniature. I’m not sure how you’d figure a price per miniature for the base game but if you exclude everything else that $5 CDN for just the Enforcers and Plague which is still cheap. You are not paying a premium price and while you aren’t getting a premium product you can at least indulge yourself to whatever level you would wish. At the price of these miniatures someone who would normally collect all of one faction could instead collect two, and those who get just the minimum they need could get everything they could want. In this way these figures fulfill Mantic’s goal of “Building Big Armies.”
In addition I think the poses and look of the Enforcers are good. They have a modern sci-fi look with functional body armour which reminds me of Halo and Iron Man. Shoulderpads and greaves are of a reasonable size. The poses are not cartoony with the simple yet uniquely posed Engineer my absolute favorite for posing.
The sculpting on these miniatures are acceptable but not great. It is hard to sculpt the same armour consistently across multiple miniatures and it looks like the sculptor wasn’t really sure how parts of it were supposed to bend and move. The forearms tend to vary across sculpts as do the calves. Sometimes the armour on the calf blends into the rest of ankle and sometimes it is sculpted as a separate piece.
Inconsistent detail is particularly troublesome to paint of science fiction miniatures. Neither the sculptor nor I am sure what is what so deciding how to paint it is troublesome. I’ve come across similar issues with other models where the detail was lost due to the realities of the casting process but since I knew what equipment the soft detail was supposed to represent I was able to fake it with paint.
There is also a strange bit of sculpting on the Enforcer with Missile Launcher. For some reason he has extra spacing under his boots. Good luck blending that into your basing style without some major sculpting.
To compound the problem of unclear sculpting the miniatures are full of casting flaws. One of my Assault Enforcers has a fully realized wrist blade mechanism on his forearm while the other has an indistinct lump of detail. I wish I had painted the cleanly cast model first so that I could have at least tried to fake the detail with paint.
Other casting problems include distortion to the plugs meant to align and identify which arm belongs to which body which made assembly problematic and some bad examples of shrinkage on some of the thicker pieces.
Casting flaws are a hidden, or infrequently discussed, part of miniature production. Normally they are dismissed as sculpting problems. If you can see both the originals and the casting it helps to identify casting flaws. It metaphorically hurts to see a good design and a quality sculpt scuppered by bad casting.
In my opinion the Deadzone Enforcers that Mantic produced for their boxed set were rushed into production, a rush which continued into casting and quality control. I imagine that this is due to a hugely successful Kickstarter and helps illustrate how challenging even quality companies like Mantic can find Kickstarters.
I would have said that I have little patience for bad quality miniatures. I’ve even bought a starter set for game, saw the quality of the miniatures that came with it and just immediately shelves my plans. It didn’t help that the rulebook was riddled with indistinct language and spelling mistakes.
Once I finish painting the Enforcers I already have I’d be happy to never have to paint them again. That isn’t going to stop me from playing Deadzone and I can think of a number of circumstances that would induce me to buy or paint more Enforcers.
These miniatures are inexpensive, which helps me forgive their problems, but where I would prefer if they were good for their price the best I can say is sometimes you get what you pay for. That’s maybe a little harsh. At $3 a miniature I think you could say they are good for their price. My problem is that they’re at the very edge of what I’d consider worthwhile to paint. You can offer me miniatures at $1.50 a pop with the appropriate quality and they just wouldn’t be worth my time.
Have you painted up any Enforcers? Let me know what your thought. Also, how bad do miniatures have to be before they’ll stop you from playing a game you enjoy. Comment, Google+ or Twitter me. Also, Subscribe for more articles like this. The boxed set came with the Plague which I’ve fully painted and will be reviewing soon.