by Grant Hill
Corvus Belli released several new miniatures for their Infinity line at the end of October. For the purposes of this review they provided us with:
- PanOceania Aquila Guard with multi rifle
- Yu Jing Celestial Guards
- Nomad Lunokhod Sputniks
- Valerya Gromoz
- The hallmark Infinity powered armour design
- Relatively straightforward construction given the number of pieces
- The coat tails are over the top
- Poses are much better than in the promotional photos
- Potential generic appeal
- Assembly frustrations and may require some pinning for durability
- Fantastically designed remote
- Overall package could have been slightly improved with new CrazyKoala sculpts
- Generic appeal as a hacker or mechanic
- Crisp, well defined detail
- Pose could be considered basic compared with other minis in the line
Aquila Guard with multi rifle Price: €8.50
The Aquila Guards are an elite regiment formed from the best officers from the most prestigious PanOceania military academies. This example is armed with a multi rifle, complimenting the previous heavy machine gun release. The figure is a relatively complex kit for a standard sized human, with seven pieces: body, coat, right arm with weapon, left arm, head, and two aerials. There were some relatively large chunks of excess metal to remove from the gun/arm, and I mistakenly thought that what was part of the coat was excess metal and snipped it off (more my problem than one with the actual miniature). The gun is held in a three-part gun cradle that involves trying to line all of the pieces up simultaneously. Ordinarily this is a bit of a bugbear for me, but with the aid of some poster tack the process actually went pretty smoothly for once. The cloak is a heavy part that attaches around the waist and it took me a couple of attempts to get it to successfully stick. While I stuck the aerials to the sides of the head I don’t think they’ll stay attached too long – combined with the cloak this makes for a figure that will need some care in transporting and on the gaming table. The bottom of the head has a step/ridge which fits onto a similar ridge at the top of the neck on the main body, meaning adopting a different pose will take some work.
Regular readers of our Infinity reviews will know that I’m a big fan of the powered armour designs throughout the range, and this is certainly no exception. The design is futuristic, detailed, yet also looks practical in terms of mobility in an urban combat environment. Despite my reservations about their durability the aerials look good when attached and the only part I don’t like about this particular figure is the coat. Firstly, I’m not sure what purpose it would serve (surely the armour has environment controls) and second the blowing in a draft effect à la Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch” strikes me as a bit over the top, even if it is well sculpted/realised.
Celestial Guards Price: €13.00
The Celestial Guard are the Yu Jing unit that guards the Celestial Emperor’s capital. This pack contains two figures: a female armed with combi rifle (incl. smoke launcher) and Kuang Shi control device, and a male wielding a combi rifle. Both figures have three parts: body, left arm, and right arm. The female figure is easy to assemble, with a recessed ball and socket joint at each shoulder. However, neither join feels terribly strong and in hindsight it’s probably worth pinning. The male figure also has a recessed ball at each shoulder, with a socket on the corresponding arm part. The armour of the figure around the shoulder means that the arms only attach in a single orientation. Unfortunately I could not easily get the arms to join up to form the gun cradle. None of the tricks I learnt from the Aquila Guard helped me, but after much frustration and super glue on my fingers, the end result only requires a small amount of gap filling.
For me, the posing of the figures works better when you have them in front of you than they do in the promotional pictures. They don’t look so flat and you can begin to imagine the action they might be taking part in. Both figures are pretty tall at around 33 mm, and the slender limbs make them look a little gangly. I found this wasn’t so noticeable when I got them on the tabletop and mixed them in with other Infinity figures. The miniatures have some generic (i.e., non-Infinity) appeal to me, as I could see the female as some sort of engineer and the male as a guard or grunt in pretty much any sci-fi game.
Lunokhod Sputniks Price: €18.00
The Sputniks are advanced Nomad combat remotes that are both fast and well armed for a firefight. The Lunokhod (Moonwalker) model is better suited for getting close to the action than the previously released Tsyklon variant. The Lunokhod also comes with CrazyKoalas. The two CrayKoalas in the blister are exactly the same as those packaged with the previously reviewed Moran, Maasai Hunter. To briefly recap, I liked the great character of these figures, but thought the puffs of smoke around the feet were a bit too cartoony and odd. It might have been nice to include some slightly different sculpts for ardent collectors.
The Sputnik remote itself is provided in nine pieces: main hull, two sets of leg pieces, two weapons, two “wings” for the hull, a fin, and a piece that I assume is the engine (long and flat with balls at either end). The base provided measures 40 mm. Two legs are joined together in one long piece, such that it may be simultaneously the front left leg and the back right leg. The two pieces join where they cross in the centre. The feet stand on small pieces of sculpted base that attach to the edges of the base to form extensions. This foot/base extension area feels quite fragile so I took a lot of care when removing mould lines from the legs.
The main hull attaches to the legs via a ball and socket join, but it may be a good idea to attach the wings, engine and weapon to the hull before you do that. There is a choice of two different weapon systems and I chose the one that looked the most like it had the heavy flamer option. Almost all metal kits of this size require some intermediate modelling skills and this is no exception. The most difficult part is attaching the rear fin as there simply isn’t a whole lot of contact area given the size of the piece. I went for superglue alone, but it might be worth pinning.
While trying to remain some degree of objectivity, I simply love the design of this remote. It has a look that blends both high-tech and realism and in my mind is close to a perfect representation of the background material from the Infinity website. Given that this miniature recently won the Tabletop Gaming News Reader’s Choice sci-fi miniature category for 2009 suggests that I’m not the only one who really rates this design.
Valerya Gromoz Price: €7.50
Valerya Gromoz is a mercenary hacker who advanced from somewhat humble beginnings, through time with both the Nomads and Haqqislam, to become a well paid freelance hacker. The miniature is provided as two pieces, with the right leg being separate. This leg has Valerya’s hand/forearm resting on it, and the piece is joined by two nubs and sockets. As you might expect, assembly was pretty easy and there was very little flash or mould lines to be removed. Once assembled the leg projects out of the plane of the rest of the miniature and prevents it from looking too flat. Like all hackers in the Infinity range, the miniature is provided with an acetate sheet that has various “hacking” displays printed on them. I couldn’t really figure out where they might attach to the figure, perhaps it could be made to look like they are being projected in front of her by attaching one to her base.
The miniature is in a crouched/kneeling pose that doesn’t fit too well with some of the more dynamic Infinity figures, but this may improve the appeal for more generic use. With a bag on one hip and a pistol on the other the figure could represent a hacker or mechanic in a lot of sci-fi settings. As we’ve come to expect from Corvus Belli, the figure is nicely detailed with good crisp casting of that detail making it somewhat easier to paint.