Monday, 29 May 2017

Unboxing: Oathsworn Miniatures: Burrows & Badgers - New Blood

I was aware that Kickstarter campaigns could run for varying lengths of time, but it wasn't until Boxing Day that I realised that a really short campaign could do surprisingly well.

Why Boxing Day? Well, that was when Oathsworn Miniatures ran their New Blood Kickstarter for their Burrows & Badgers line - and ran it for just 24 hours.

The combination of the two things struck me as a bit odd - you'd expect potential customers to be busy on Boxing Day with family affairs, while most Kickstarter campaigns rely on the first and last 2 or 3 days to raise the bulk of their funds. Stripping a campaign down to 24 hours, especially on Boxing Day, felt like it should've been a disaster.

Instead, the micro-campaign was a roaring success, funding in less than 20 minutes and eventually raising nearly nine times the initial funding goal from over 300 backers. I'm still not sure exactly how they did it, but I recently received the fruits of the campaign, so I reckon it is time to take a look...

Before we look at the package, what were Oathsworn crowdfunding here? Well, they were looking to increase the size of their Burrows & Badgers line, adding eleven new figures to the range. There was also an arcane stone circle terrain piece that you could add on, and a couple of bells & whistles thrown in as the campaign went on to give more reason to get involved - who doesn't want a Mole in a Hole, after all?

While I was likely to back the Kickstarter anyway, the figure that sealed the deal for me was Solomon Canis - a Cocker Spaniel, named for Solomon Kane, in the sort of garb the popular pulp Puritan1 has been illustrated as wearing since the character was created.

Delivery was predicted for April 2017, aided by the fact that all the models were sculpted at the start of the campaign. Given the time they'd put into planning it, Oathsworn were even able to include some updates on how they'd gone about sculpting the latest Badger character during the day the campaign ran for, which made a change from the usual stretch goal promotion you'd normally see in a longer campaign.

The arrival of the above padded envelope towards the end of March indicated that Oathsworn had managed to deliver early, which is always a nice surprise when it comes to a Kickstarter project2. I was a little concerned about how the stone dais would have survived transport, given it was likely to be outside the usual plastic box, but fortunately my fears were unfounded.

Once I opened the envelope, there were two smaller packages within. The resin stone dais nestled within a cocoon of bubble wrap, while the other items lurked within a sturdy plastic box.

The sticker on the box saying "Thank you!" never hurts, either.

Checking the dais proved that it had survived the trip in one piece, and had been nicely cast - no flash to speak of, crisp detail, and no sense that the resin hadn't had enough time to cure before it had been packed to be sent out to backers.

The plastic box, of course, was full of an assortment of other goodies3.

As you can see, the opaque box of goodness contained a healthy mix of new resin and metal pieces for my Oathsworn collection. Everything was neatly bagged, with the standing stones and dais inserts kept apart from the metal of the standard infantry figures. Plenty of bases were supplied, as well - oddly, nothing on the Kickstarter graphics made it clear which of the larger figures should be on which base size, which is a little oversight I would like to see Oathsworn cover on the next Burrows and Badgers release. The mole in a hole felt a little lonely, but that's what you get when you live underground.

As with the dais, all the resin was nicely cast, though as normal with resin it needed a wash before starting the painting process. I will admit to a bit of schoolboy error here, though, as I forgot to test fit the inserts before I began painting resin to look like stone - fortunately, so far I haven't encountered any problems.

"Tell me, sir, can you identify the miscreant?"
You can see most of the smaller standard metal figures above4. There's a good mix of species and theme - I particularly like the peg-legged Shrew pirate in this batch - and they all have fairly distinct characters. As with all the metal Oathsworn models I own, they're single-piece metal castings with integral bases. The casting seems solid, with no bubbles or serious mould lines to worry about - you get the usual bits of flash at injection sites, but they all seem to have been sensibly positioned so as to avoid detail.

"We are the Brute Squad!"
The larger metal miniatures share the same characteristics as the smaller ones, with some that I'm already plotting how to paint - Solomon Canis being a prime example, along with the female Hare and the Squirrel Witch5. Given I don't paint a lot of birds, learning how to paint the feathers for the Barn Owl should be interesting as well.

Final Thoughts

This was the second Oathsworn Kickstarter I backed, following Heroines in Sensible Shoes 2 earlier in 2016. In both cases I've encountered good pricing, nice sculpting, high quality casts, interesting concepts and cool add-ons. The communication has been really good, keeping backers up to date as the project trundles towards delivery, as well as pulling the curtain back and allowing you to see behind the scenes into the sculpting or resin casting processes.

I really cannot fault Oathsworn as a company to back on Kickstarter, and their service on a mail order I made proved to me that their good service isn't just restricted to crowdfunding endeavours. I'm looking forwards to seeing what comes next, be it another Sensible Shoes or Burrows and Badgers run, or maybe something completely different.

Pug the Bounty Hunter wondered what he'd gotten himself into this time...

1 - For those of you unaware of Robert E. Howard's literary creation, I'll direct you to Wikipedia for more information.
2 - I tend to think most Kickstarter projects should add six months on to their estimate of delivery, and a further six months if they're getting products produced in China. Sure, a longer lead time might put some people off, but being able to deliver earlier than predicted is going to stand you in better light than being late.
3 - Which is handy, otherwise I'd be wondering where they were...
4 - I really need to work on my photography of bare metal figures.
5 - Whose powers led her to join the larger figures, rather than the ones more her size.