EM4's Fantasy Plastics
Posted by MortiS-the-Lost –
At a price of 21p each or an incredible £7.70 for a bag of 50, EM4's Fantasy Plastics are the lowest priced miniatures you are ever likely to come across. The range currently consists of 6 different miniatures 3 Orcs and 3 Dwarfs, plus a bunch of rather small shields. Personally I'd like to a few more races added to this range (preferably Elves, Goblins and Humans), but lets on dwell on what they could do, let talk about what they have done!
+Out of the Bag+For the most part these figures are quite good and the details are not too bad. I'll admit the photos below do the miniatures no favours and that's mainly due to the lighting and the fact unpainted miniatures are always a pain the arse to photograph.
^ (from left to right) Orc with Spear, Orc with Sword and Orc with Bow
The Orc with a Sword is easily the nicest figure in the range, while the Orc with spear is rather let-down by poor detailing on it's face. The Orc with Bow is pretty good, but the bow itself lacks detail and looks rather too much like it's just a stick.
^ (from left to right) Dwarf with Crossbow, Dwarf with Axe, Dwarf with Spear
All 3 of the Dwarfs are fairly well sculpted too, with the only let-down being the Dwarf with Crossbow - the 'bow' part of the Crossbow is far, far too small to the point of being near non-existent
I ordered 5 of each figure for the purposes of this review and for general use in skirmish and dungeon games. While Mark RG ordered a bag of 50 Dwarfs with Axes to form the bulk of a Dwarf Army for Kings of War. Now between us a few figures did turn out to be a bit 'FineCast' 2 of my figures had a small hole where the mould had not completely filled with plastic and 4 of Mark's Dwarfs had their axe-heads missing, but despite their few flaws these figures are amazing value for money. You'll probably have noticed from the pictures that some of the miniatures came with a bit of flash, since these are plastic miniatures the flash is easily cleaned off with a sharp knife. Also all of the figures have an injection point in the center of their back (in a similar manor the HeroQuest miniatures), again this isn't a problem to trim away.
No they're not the mind-blowing high quality of Reaper's Bones Plastics nor do they have excellent multi-part options of Mantic's plastics but at these low-low prices who can complain and besides it's nothing a half-decent hobbyist couldn't sort out will a little work here and there
+Conversions+I can't do a review of these miniatures without mentioning conversions - being plastic these figures are very easy to convert. EM4's own website has links to some excellent articles on converting these figures and possibilities are many-fold
^ Various pictures from Combat Zone Chronicles of some excellent conversions by 2 people known as 'Gisby' (Orcs) and 'Pattus Magnus' (Dwarfs)
As you can see with a little work any (and all) of the 'flaws' I mentioned above can be fixed and the miniatures can be enhanced greatly to the point where they rival any other miniatures on the market.
Using some scraps of plastic to extend the bow part of the Dwarf's crossbows and carrying out a weapon swap or 2 will improve the miniatures no end.
Personally I plan on using some spare heads from Mantic and old Citadel Plastics to replace the heads of my Orcs with Spears, I think I'll convert the Dwarfs with Crossbows to Rifles with a little bit of plastic tube and probably do a few weapon-swaps, head swaps and bit of re-posing on the other figures for variety before I use them in a game. Likewise Mark RG wasn't at all bothered by the missing axe-head on his Dwarfs because he plans to re-arm many of them with Hammers, Spears and so on.
^ Mark RG also gave a few of his Dwarfs with Axes to our resident 'sculpting-nut' Messy, who has taken converting these figures to a whole new level. Here's a couple of work-in-progress pictures of one dwarf being converted into a Slayer King!
+HeroQuest+Since this is tLatD I'm sure there are a few Hero Quest players reading this right now and looking at the rectangular integral bases and thinking of their original HeroQuest figures. And the answer my fellow dungeoneers is yes, these miniatures will work rather nicely for HeroQuest!
^ an EM4 Orc with Sword alongside his HeroQuest counterpart. If you're looking to add a few different Orc troop types to your Hero Quest (or even Dragon Strike) games, looking to expand the number of Orcs you have or maybe make up the numbers if your second-hand box was short a few figures, EM4's plastic Orcs are ideal
^ an EM4 Dwarf with Axe and the HeroQuest Dwarf Hero. While they won't make for the best alternative or replacement for the Dwarf Hero, the EM4 plastic Dwarfs would work rather nicely if you have some rules for hiring Dwarven Henchmen in your games
^ As you can see the EM4 bases are a millimetre or 2 larger than the HeroQuest bases and it's a simple matter of trimming them down if that really bothers you - I'd certainly recommend those of you looking to use the EM4 figures in a mass fantasy battle game to trim down the bases as they are larger than the 'standard' bases for troops their size (especially the Dwarfs)
+To sum up+If you're on a tight budget (and who isn't these days?) but still want a huge army I can't recommend these enough. 1 Bag each of the 3 variants of the race of your choice and you've got the core of a huge army (150 foot-troops) for just £23.10, all you need to do is add a few characters, leader types and a couple of warmachines - ideal if you're looking to get into playing Kings of War, Hoards of the Things, Fantasy Warlord or any other mass fantasy battle game. And of course these miniatures would also be useful to anyone looking to run a huge hoard type encounter in an RPG game. Whatever use you have in mind for them, if you want spend as little money on as many figures as possible these are for you
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