Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: Ax Faction Gilded Saint Dragon Hunter

I've been noticing more and more that there is an increasing trend in the production of overtly sexualised female miniatures within our hobby. It crept up on me maybe two or three years ago at first, and it was only a smattering initially, but now it seems to be an entire subset of the industry... and it's growing exponentially it seems. Well a few weeks ago I obviously reviewed the second miniature to be released from the Ax Faction range, the Victorian Darling Kraken Hunter. A beautifully sculpted little miniature she is too, and although there was a flash of pants and clearly sexual overtones to the piece, it wasn't over the top, or over done for me, and was actually quite tasteful. What? She was was! True the miniature existed purely, from an aesthetic standpoint, for the titillation of male viewers and I get that others might not be OK with her. Am I OK with that? Yes I am, as long as a miniature meets my own personal standards on taste and decency. Well the same can't really be said of the first miniature that Ax Faction have released, the Gilded Saint, who is clearly so proud of her magnificent boobs (and they are magnificent) that she feels the need to share them with the world!!! Subtle she is not, but that doesn't make her a bad sculpt or a bad miniature necessarily. Aesthetics are a personal thing, so what do I personally think?

Product Description

This is a multi-part resin miniature came secure in a nice little plastic blister packet that can be seen at the top of this review. Inside the various delicate pieces are placed in sealed zip-lock bags, which I'm personally grateful for as they mean none of these delicate pieces are lost in transit, although I did ultimately lose a piece, but more on that later. the miniature is cast in an exceedingly good resin and that is instantly noticeable when you remove the miniature from her packaging, again it is the equal of miniature ranges like Studio McVey, BaneLegions and Kingdom Death. The miniature is comprised of 10 resin components and one round plastic slotta base. Unlike the Victorian Darling this miniature doesn't come with a scenic base. The largest component is the main body of the Gilded Saint, followed by the lance and lance tip. The Dragons head is made of three components, the main head and two horns. There are also a number of really fiddly components you'll need to be very, very careful with. Firstly there is a halo that attached to the back of the gilded Saints helmet, a visor that attaches to the front of the helmet and finally two very small wings that fix to the side of the knee guards on her two boots.

Character 6 out of 10

I sat looking at this miniature for quite some time. It made me feel slightly uncomfortable looking at it when I'd finally assembled her. I have a few tests in life to see whether I think something has crossed a line with me. In terms of scantily clad miniatures my first test is my response, do I initially think sexy, or do I think lame. My response wasn't either, it was a little disconcerting. So I asked what would my mother, my partner, or my imaginary daughter think of this miniature, and could I justify to them why I thought it was OK? The answer was no. I don't want people thinking I'm a prude, because I'm really, really not. Far from it. I like boobs as much as the next red blooded heterosexual male, but like all things in life boobs have there place... yes on a women's chest before you make the obvious joke! No, what I mean to say is this, I'm fine with naked sculpts, or sculpts of scantily clad women if the subject matter calls for it. I guess what I'm saying is there needs to be a reason in my miniatures for them to get naked. And I guess for me it seems, no for purely titillation purposes isn't really a good enough reason. Now am I saying that all female warrior sculpts need to be covered head to toe in plate armour? Nope, this is fantasy and an appreciation of the female form is fine within limits, defining these limits might be difficult, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. In the case of the Gilded Saint Dragon Hunter she's meant to be a fricking dragon hunter! Well she's going to have very singed nips going out looking like that! It's OK though because she's got a lance and a helmet *shakes head*.

This is a view of the body from the front

This miniature exists for one reason and only one reason, and that is the gratification and titillation of heterosexual male viewers. Is this a bad thing? No. But, we do have a name for that and it's called pornography, true this is 'softcore' pornography but lets frame it and call it what it is. Pornography. Do I have an issue with pornography then? No I don't and I never have, but I just don' personally want it to creep into my miniatures hobby. I'm not saying miniatures can't, or shouldn't be pornographic... if comics, cartoons and paintings can be pornographic I see no reason why miniatures can't be, but I just wished we were mature enough as an industry to admit it, and treat it accordingly. Because I feel the Gilded Saint is the last in a long line of miniatures that have existed, and can be traced back tot he beginning of our hobby that have given rise to the sense that it is OK for some of the themes in such pieces to creep across into the mainstream of our hobby. When I truly believe if we'd framed such pieces as pornographic I don't think that would have happened so much. It's our lack of accurate language that allows this line to blur.

A view of the body from the rear... because I know some of you will like it.

I don't want this review to descend into me drawing a personal line in the sand on the portrayal of women in wargaming, that will happen in this weeks Sunday Sermon, I just want to frame my personal objections to this miniature. Plus there is a level of skill and professionality that has gone into this miniature that deserves my full and fair attention, and for me to be as level headed and fair minded as I can be. I had to also ask myself a very serious question, have I had such a strong response to the Gilded Saint Dragon Hunter because unlike many previous puerile and badly sculpted naked females, she is actually exceedingly well sculpted and actually a highly accurate and attractive piece. I've pondered this for a week or two now, because I felt it deserved some serious thought... my answer? Yes. She is a damn fine piece of sculpting, and as a design I guess I have to hold my hands up and say it is good softcore porn, no question. It's not got buoyancy aids for breasts, they actually hang very naturally, and her figure isn't over the top in terms of curves. She is far more natural looking than most, admittedly still idealised, but nevertheless natural, and Paul Billinghurst and Benoit Cauchies deserve some credit for that, and I'll give it to them. Good job. It just isn't for me.

When I compare this miniature to Ax Factions second miniature, the Victorian Darling, I guess the design just doesn't grab me as much personally. For starters I like the fact the Victorian Darling is clothed, even though it's still revealling. I like sexy miniatures, I like looking at them and attempting to paint them. Yet with the Gilded Saint even though the artwork is exceedingly well drawn, and the sculpt captures the drawing brilliantly I can't bring my self to like it, I can appreciate the skill and work, just not what it as produced. I would have preferred a bit more armour on her, she hasn't got that much on so I may as well go back to discussing her... erm... feminine wiles. Firstly lets talk about her breasts, because there they are staring at me. As I said above I have to say first of all kudos to Benoit who has managed to sculpt realistic looking mammary glands, with pert nipples, something many sculptors in our industry fail to do. In fact in some cases I wander whether some have actually seen a naked women. While I'd prefer not to have the boobs on show if they absolutely have to be they might as well hang correctly, and have a more naturalistic shape and look to them as opposed to the round lumps many sculptors think are good representations of breasts. Her backside also could have been 'overly' pert, but is actually quite understated when compared to that of the Victorian Darling.

And here she is complete.

Is it still an idealised and sexualised version of the female form? Of course it is, because although they have gone for a more natural look, her boobs remain larger than many none 'augmented' women of her svelte figure would posses. Again that's OK as we all like to fantasise about things and I have nothing wrong with idealised human figures, as long as they're not ridiculous exaggerated, and I don't think the Gilded Saint is. I'd also like to point out her pose isn't as bad as some I've seen in this 'genre', she's not using that phallic lance as a poll to grind up and down on for starters, but it does look awkward the way she's holding it. Nor is she arching her back and contorting in an unnatural way to show off her cleavage and ass at the same time for my viewing pleasure, like so many females seem to do in comic books. So I acknowledge it's not as tasteless as it could've been, and again Ax Faction deserve a bit of credit for restraining themselves slightly... but there's no getting away from the fact that it is in my opinion a bit tasteless. With her boots going up above her knees they are definitely made for walkin' and her skimpy pants just complete the 'sexy' outfit you've no doubt see a thousand times in porno films. It's a cliché and that also harms the Gilded Saint for me from an aesthetic standpoint, it's not really all that original it what it's trying to achieve.

That is the biggest shame for me, because I've seen what Ax Faction are capable of when they don't go to excesses with their designs with their other miniature, because they have produced a top miniature for me. What is even worse though is that I can see some real talent and skill has gone into this piece too, her face is exquisitely well sculpted, and yet again I can safely say that Benoit has produced a face that is undeniably feminine, something many sculptors genuinely struggle with. In many cases the only way you can tell some miniatures are meant to be female is because they have long hair and boobs. Well you could happily frame the Gilded Saints face on it's own and instantly recognise her as a women, actually as an attractive women. This too leads to further frustration, there was no need for her to have her boobs out, or for her to be only wearing skimpy pants, and not have some form of armour around her crotch area, she could still have remained subtly sexy, without having to scream it at you.So for me personally it is a swing and a miss artistically.

Detail 8 out of 10

Well like the other miniature I've seen from Ax Faction the level of detail is actually really quite good yet again. So much so that it did feel strange criticising such a finely detailed miniature in the above section, especially when there is so much crap out there. To the left of this section is a picture of some of the exceedingly fine components to this miniature, and they also show just how small and intricate some of the detailing is. Honestly some of it is absolutely mind boggling. The armour plates on her boots are all clearly well defined and each piece has fine scrolling on its surface. It would however be slightly odd not to talk about the flesh on show considering I'd say a good 65% of the miniature is flesh. The face as I mentioned above is a damn fine piece of sculpting, and the delicate features are exceptionally well detailed and defined. It is a brilliantly well realised and detailed feature. Her body too is toned and natural looking, you can see the muscle structure beneath the surface of her skin and I'd like to make it clear that anatomically as a study of the human form it is exceedingly well done... yes even those breasts with those nipples. Just because I don't like the subject matter doesn't mean I can't appreciate good work when I see it.

Quality 7 out of 10

The casting quality on this piece wasn't quite as good as the casting on the Victorian darling. The miniature was covered in flashing, and although it wasn't terrible and was easy enough to clean up, doing so on some of the smaller pieces was an absolute pain and I very nearly flung small pieces off into the distance with my craft knife. The Mould lines though were nonexistent pretty much yet again and were easy to clean up and thankfully didn't cut through any of the details. I do however have a big complaint and it's about the lance, and it's not just the one complaint either. Firstly the fact that it comes in two pieces is a bit of a pain and I can't quite see why that is. Secondly if they were going to 'cut' it anywhere way the hell wasn't it cut further down the shat of the lance where a thicker join and maybe a pin was possible and any bad joins could've been hidden by green stuff?  Thirdly the vent on top of the spear tip was a pain in the ass, removing it with an exceedingly sharp craft knife still resulted in the tip breaking off, never to be seen again. Grrrr. I ended up having to use a fine drill to hollow out the tip of the lance and then shave the shat down to a point to it would rest on top of it. It was impossible to pin and trying to just glue it on flat started to drive me mad. Sadly as I left it to dry the lance tip twisted while it was drying and now rests in an awkward way. Bugger. Also of note is that the terribly smaller fiddly bits were very difficult to position and attached, and actually I've managed to lose one of her boots winged knew guard thingies off of the miniature while it was drying. God only knows where it has gone. This is a plea to all manufactures of such small pieces, IF you are hell bent on having such small pieces please consider providing us with duplicates just in case things go wrong. Otherwise the quality of the miniature was perfectly acceptable.

It's far from perfect, but it was genuinely the best I could achieve with what I was given.

Service N/A out 10

Well it when it was delivered it came really well packed in a blister pack, with some bubble wrap and a padded envelope. Sure I could have been given the reviewer treatment, you know getting the best service because of what I do, but having met Paul in person it's clear he takes all of this seriously and really wants to give a good service. He takes pride in his work. So on the back of this would I have a problem ordering one of his miniatures from him? Nope, not at all. Had I actually paid for the service it'd would have received a 9 out of 10.

Price 7.5 out of 10

Yeah so I got given this for free, which is always a damn fine price to pay for anything. The question is whether this Gilded Saint Dragon Hunter is worth the asking price of £8.50. Well that depends on whether you like it or not doesn't it? I personally think it's a bit of a shame that it doesn't come with a scenic base like the Victorian Darling Kraken Hunter, but the price does reflect that. Would I have brought her though? You know what I don't think so. Part of me would have wanted to buy her because it's a chance to own every miniature a company has produced, and I have an insane collectors streak in me. However, on her 'artistic' merits alone... probably not. Sure her boobs and body are better sculpted than most nudes you'll see in our hobby, but I'm not attracted to it as a piece like I was with the Victorian Darling. Sometimes where sexy is concerned more is more... clothes that is. It isn't though a bad price to pay for a fine resin display piece. I think he needs to consider putting in extra pieces of things like the knee wings etc. though because they are easy to lose or break.

Overall 7 out of 10

Obviously this is actually a really high quality miniature in terms of casting, detail and all that jazz. For me the issue is the subject matter, maybe I'm being a prude here, I accept it is a possibility. But, I'd have preferred my Dragon Hunter to have been wearing a suit of armour, even if it was skimpy. In fact I'd personally like to throw that challenge down to Paul and Benoit, can you put your heads together and come up with a re-imagining of this piece with more armour? I'm certain there will be plenty of takers for this pretty much naked miniature holding a huge phallus in the shape of a lance any way, but I'd be interested to see what you could do with the idea while trying to be a bit more reserved or understated. I just prefer the subtle nature of the Victorian Darling more, there was more too the composition and it wasn't screaming 'SEX' at you all the time... so for me if you could only afford one miniature out of the range today I'd say plump for the Victorian Darling Kraken Hunter. That's not to say the Gilded Saint isn't worth buying if you actually like the look of her, lets be honest there are plenty of 'studies of the female form' in miniatures and many of them get it all so hideously wrong. So at least the fact that her breasts hang properly and don't look like two balls stuck on at weird points, might mean some males actually get to see what boobs really look like. Because the bad boob job look that is so common in naked miniatures that it's embarrassing, so even I can appreciate that there's been some skill and thought that has gone into sculpting this miniature. But by God I just wished she'd put some clothes on, or a suit of armour. Peace out!


  1. I've noticed the same trend towards sculpts that depict women in an over-sexualised maner and while some are rather fun to paint, they are rather... vulgar in nature. I'm a fan of the Showgirls crew for Malifaux as the sculpter added a bit of edge without going overboard.

    As for the Gilded Saint... I'm not to sure of my feelings about this model. While I appreciate the ability of the sculpter, if it ever came by my painting studio, I would paint it but probably not put it on display.

    1. Yep I'm with you, I thought and I still do think there will be a lot of people wanting to shoot me down in flames for saying it. I still want to hear off of them as long as they keep it cordial, but I just felt like enough is enough. An awful lot of miniatures have gone way past the 'sexy' tag now. While I defend Ax Factions right to produce the miniature and I defend peoples right to buy it... I don't have to like it.

    2. The female form and it's large gradient of representations is and has historically been a focus of much mystery, fascination and artistic exploration. My suspicion is that you find this particular piece to be more akin to miniature porn, the suspension of disbelief just taken to far.

      I'd like to add that the Kingdom Death Pinup range has played a major role in financing the overall project. The challenge ahead is making sure its clear they are meant to be fun alternates within a world.

    3. Adam you're probably right, there's no mystery... well apart from whether she has a Brazilian or not. lol.

      I have however, had people email me and say they like the miniature and think I've overreacted. I wish they'd comment here, but hey they don't want to and that's their right.

      For me I have no problem with Pronographic miniature. None whatsoever, I might not choose to buy them personally, but I think the market should decide if there's a place for them.

      I happen to think there is and I'm sure sales will support that. My biggest issue is that if we keep on glossing over what this stuff is then I think we do run the risk of blurring lines of separation and allowing things to get out of hand. If it stays boutique that's all well and good, nope, the reall problem is when super epic Skarre turns up in a thong and nipple tassels!!!

  2. Nice review. I agree with the views you put forth. I own the Kraken Hunter and I'm very much looking forward to Paul's next miniature. I'll never buy this one though.

    Having said all the above, I don't think these miniatures should be outlawed or anything (I know you don't either Frontline, I'm just sayin'). I actually prefer them here in boutique companies cathering to collecters looking for eye candy instead of 'mainstream' games. The best example of this is the Kingdom Death pinup range, where the clue is very much in the name.

    And I agree the proportions are a bit off, but it's alot better than what I've come to expect from miniatures of this type. Some of Banelegions offerings come to mind..

    I'm looking forward to sunday, the comment section should prove.. interesting..

    And as to why the Gilded Saint doesn't wear any armor:
    (The answer is near the end, but the beginning is funny as hell as well)

    1. They should absolutely NOT be banned. No way. I'm totally against censorship of any kind, and I just think hiding or suppressing such things rather than talking about them is even unhealthier than them existing in the first place. We shouldn't use that as a cop out though.

      The proportions actually aren't that far off at all. And on that score I think it actually deserves some real credit. Also the missus reckons her boobs would pass the pencil test. If you don't know what that is... I'm not telling you! :P

    2. I can only say that I agree.

      Lol, she'd probably pass the wall test as well :p

  3. Personally I'm very tired of sexist depictions of female mins. You can make a female mini look good / hot without removing all the cloths / armour.

    Personally I would'd buy this mini, and I'd be embarrassed to have it in my collection.

    1. I agree, when people tell me there are sexy male mini's too, I always ask the question are they sexy because they were designed to look sexy... or are they sexy because what they represent is sexy. It's a difficult line to define I warrant you, but it's at least worth having the discussion isn't it? I wouldn't want to ostrich or ridicule anyone for buying a mini like this or the BaneLegion Mesulines... they're just not for me.

  4. I hate to sound cliche, maybe its the Natural Geographic syndrome, but I expect my topless females to be wild jungle woman or exotic warriors from far away lands. Not "armored in all the wrong places" dragon slayers.
    All said I think its boobs for the sake of boobs.
    Redemption may come with full frontal male nudity. Lets see how skillful they are at sculpting a penis and how generous they are with the proportions.

    1. Honestly I'd like to see somebody actually try to produce a genuinely sexy male miniature, and I mean specifically designed to be sexy not as a by product of having bulging biceps and a loin cloth!!!

    2. Are you saying the classic "sunbathing orc" isn't a sexy beast in his own right?

    3. He might be sexy in his own right, but is he specifically trying to be sexy? Or is he just sexy because of his orcy magnetism?

  5. The issue with the lance is ridiculous, and makes the mini not worth buying, in my opinion. I had a similar issue, recently with the Cryx wraith engine. For 70 bucks you'd thing things would line up, and that assembly would be well thought out. Nope. Given my limited time, if a casting cant be reasonably cleaned and assembled, it doesn't get purchased. So thanks for the review. Now I know to steer clear.

    1. It is a really weird 'cut'. The Dragons head and everything else is 'cut' wonderfully well, it really really is. The Halo could have been a right pain if they'd not done it properly, but they have. That just makes the decision with the lance tip all the more bewildering for me. The dragons head too slots very neatly onto a small resin peg on her arm and is really well done.

  6. I'm looking forward to your Sunday Sermon, especially as female figures, albeit stylised cartoon females, have become my stock-in-trade. Nude or semi-figures aren't my thing, and I can't see such a figure becoming part of the Statuesque range, but I definitely contort my figures into ridiculous poses for maximum, comic book effect. But for me, regardless of how far I've got a girl sticking out her T&A, they're never 'sexy'. The very fact they're tiny cartoon women means they can't be sexy. Real women are sexy, tiny cartoon women are 'cute', for want of a better word. And that's the reaction my work has got from female friends- they think they're cute.

    What they would think of figures such as this one I don't know, as few of my friends know anything of the miniatures industry beyond my little niche. My partner is a big fan of Kingdom Death's sexual horror figures and is always nagging me to do something messed up like that, but I don't know if she can be taken as a reliable guide!

    For me, this figure (and many of it's genre) isn't quite ridiculously 'pin up' enough to be cute, and isn't beautiful enough to be appreciated in itself. The composition and design just aren't quite there.

    (Regarding sexy males, how's my Timothy Whopping look? ;)

    1. Ah you see that's you projecting your opinions onto others! :P

      I trained as a psychologist and I happen to believe the misogyny or sexism doesn't necessarily reside in the act or item in question, but more in the mind of the viewer and the motivations of the perpetrator.

      I was given the example once of a women who took umbridge at a man opening the door for her, she railed at him about being a sexist pig and that women could open doors. The man stood their shocked and said "I wasn't opening the door for you I was opening it for my two children you barged in front of". The women in question in that story was an aging lecturer who retold me that story. The act she perceived as being sexist and belittling her as a young 18 year old women in London, was to the man holding the door nothing of the sort. So just because you don't find what you produce sexy, doesn't mean somebody else won't.

      I happen to think your stuff on the whole is fine though. I've not seen anything that makes me go... oh God how lame. I think it's as you say because you are clearly aping a comic book style and as such are exaggerating the human figure that I don't personally find them 'sexy'. I see them as fun lighthearted takes on well worn tropes. Others though might not.

    2. PS Timothy Whopping isn't sexylooking, he just looks funny. :P

      I do like him though, made me chuckle.

    3. Ah no, I don't pretend to know how other people view my work or expect everyone to see them in the same light I do. I know my intention with the figures and I also know plenty of people can misread my intention or have a totally different emotional reaction to the figures.

      PS Yup, Timothy is just a wee joke. Plus I had in my mind how many wargame female miniatures look like men in drag!

    4. lol. I know what you mean. I keep telling people Lelith Hesperax from the Dark Eldar army looks like a drag queen. No-body likes it when I say that... but it's the shoulders and face.

  7. Like in the sketch linked earlier, I do like to see naked women. Because I'm a heterosexual male. (Not wanting to assume anything about homosexual males or any females, I'm just speaking my own opinion.)

    So I do not have any problems with nudity in movies, books or pictures or on models. But what I do cringe at is gratuitious nudity, like in this models. Sure, yeah, she is good looking. Even anatomically correct (for a miniature anyway) -- but why, oh why, would she ride into battle dressed like that? Is her tattoos/warpaint protecting her, why then she wouldn't need any armour on her right arm or a helmet, right? In the end it's just silly, and the miniature screams "hey, it's a nekkid armoured chick".

    Had she been an amazon, or a harem guard, or something else, in a setting that warrants the nudity then I wouldn't have a problem with it. This is one area where I find that Hasselfree Miniatures has it right. Their nude female miniatures have some warrant (mostly) for being scantily clad, and they even do some nude male models and include "dangly bits" on their male monsters.

    And here is the other side of the coin. I also hate when miniature designers (or movie directors) covers up the offensive parts just for the sake of covering them up. Like the small leather speedos in 300 -- hell why do you need panties if you are otherwise naked? (I like the movie, but I think it would have been sooooo much better of the spartans had been buck nekkid. I think they pushed it as far as they could though...) And barbarian girls with fur bikinis? Or monsters with loincloths, why? It's just like Disney painting cows without udders... silly!

    1. Hasselfree and what Kev produces are a very strange mix. I mean Artemis is a good study of a 'classical' nude in miniature form. If you can do that via paintings, sketches, photographs and statues then why not miniatures. Yet other things he's done are a bit well... mediocre and poor. His output in terms of quality varies so much that I would really struggle to judge his body of work. But, at least he shows a lot of varied work off and tackles things others don't or won't.

      As to the Ax Faction Dragon Hunter, I don't want this to become a witch hunt, that isn't my intention. I just wanted to put it out there that I think some miniatures now have crossed a line and basically become softcore porn. So lets be grown up about it and call it what it is. Not problem with that, if we can tag it right and compartmentalise it as a subset of the hobby I think we'll be golden. If we don't define miniatures like this in that way then I think we risk allowing this current trend to spread further and further into the hobby, and maybe mainstream miniature lines. That's the potential risk if we don't say hang on a minute what is this.

      I'm also glad I'm not the only one who found the leader pants in 300 funny. I cam out of the film and we all had a good giggle about them actually. It looked sillier with leather pants than it would have done without any pants at all. I too think censorship of such things is a bit silly, but if it is self regulating and people genuinely feel uncomfortable about it then it's there artistic vision they're compromising, and if they're happy with it who am I to complain?

    2. I just want to add that I don't disapprove of the model or the concept, just that it isn't for me. I would have preferred a straight pin up instead.
      BTW, "soft core" miniatures are nothing new, but they have usually been in larger scales. I remember buying a 1/24 scale white metal kit of a topless woman kitted out in Vietnam gear, at a military model show back in 1987 or so... No excuse, I totally bought it as pure eye candy.

    3. Hasslefree is remarkable not because of their quality or detail (the details on the miniatures tend to be simple). I admire that they make female miniatures with extra fat on certain body parts, not always doing the supermodel body. In that way, Hasslefree female minis is extremely sexy in its own way. I also feel they are very well posed, bringing a lot of character with subtle poses.

    4. @Leif I didn't think you did buddy... and I'm more than aware that these depictions have existed for a long time before this current generation of miniatures. It's just they seem to be becoming more prevalent now... and whereas before I could laugh them of as being cheap tat and badly done, now they not and in many cases in terms of quality they are genuinely some of the best models on the market.

      @Stevej, some of Kev's stuff is good and naturalistic and in the case of his Artemis I think bordering are art, and is itself a fine study of the female form, that I don't think is in any way shooting at titillation. But some of his miniatures aren't all that positive either. I find Hasselfree genuinely bizarre, because some of the stuff is mind bogglingly good and other stuff... well not so.

  8. For me a miniature must make sense within it's own world.
    So for instance I don't like the flying robots in Dystopian Wars because for me they go just that little to far.
    The same is true of this miniatures. My suspension of belief is suspended when someone decides to go dragon hunting in boots, helmet and a thong!
    No, wait, that's not quite true. It's when they go dragon hunting in boots, helmet and a thong and not only does more than the helmet and boots survive but the dragon dies as well.
    As mentioned above by many others I have no issue with the production and sale of the miniature, it's just that I would never buy it because it does make sense to me.

    1. I need more coffee before I post these comments..
      The last line should read ''s just that I would never buy it because it does not make sense to me.'

    2. Don't worry Kev I think we all got what you meant the first time around. I need a coffee actually, woke up early this morning for no bloody reason and couldn't get back to sleep.

  9. I understand and even agree with some points both on the review and comments on how 'sexy/something else' is the mini.
    Considering this hobby is an adult one (if not for more, the price should be reason enough), I normally have a 'lighter' approach at it.
    There's two reasons with I normally buy miniatures: because I intend to use them for playing (fill ranks, special characters, whatever), or because I like the sculpt.
    In the first option they have to make sense games wise (hunting dragons in panties is clearly not the case).
    In the second one I just have to like the mini, no matter what.
    Summing up, I could buy this mini, because it looks fairly well sculpted, despite making no sense thematically.
    There have been plenty of artworks out there with similar approach (aka no sense thematically) that changed the way we see art, and are considered master pieces.

    Clearly different things but what sense does a naked lady over a shell?
    If it was a sculpt of the Venus over a shell that size would it make any sense?
    Just a thought.

    1. I'll tackle the Botticelli's Birth of Venus comparisons first. That is a study of a nude and is set in context with other Gods around her. It's also not for titilation purposes first and foremost. Or I certainly don't believe it is I've been lucky enough to visit the Uffizi in Florence and I didn't once feel titillated. Her legs are together and she's covering her modesty with her hands. She's not posing for the viewer to show off her breasts, and isn't standing legs apart. It's simple a celebration of the natural beauty of women. Does it have sexual overtones? Yes because a naked women is an attractive thing in and of itself, but I never felt that was it's purpose.

      The same can't be said of many of the miniatures out there right now. Not just Ax Factions Gilded Saint. Lets leave that alone for now, I just feel that in many cases miniatures within what I'll term the porno miniature grouping actually exist for no other reason than to titillate me, and exist only really for that reason. There's nothig wrong with that, and I'm not saying we should ban them, but it is worth discussing like adults.

      Also just because the hobby can be seen as for adults, I'm not so sure there's anything all that mature about a semi naked female miniature that exists only to titilate me on the tabletop. In some respects many such pieces are peurile and immature, or they are in my opinion. As I say, the gilded Saint is arguably one of the better examples out there of anatomically (sort of) correct proportions.

  10. As bad as the over-sexualisation of the miniature is the auto-playing cheesy metal on their website is a capital offence. Geocities is gone guys, get over it.

    1. Well you can always press mute.

      I've tried not to turn this review or the comments section into a witch hunt of Ax Faction, and I think having a pop at the music on the website is uncalled for in the context of this review.

      they're a really small firm trying to make miniatures that they hope people will enjoy and Paul has clearly worked really hard getting these miniatures out. Part of me genuinely considered not publishing the review, because I knew I'd feel slightly shitty saying what I have about it... but I'm not one to chicken out of saying things I think need saying. I just try and be civil about it.

      Ax Faction's Victorian Darling Kraken Hunter is honestly one of the better 'sexy' display pieces I've seen in recent years, and as it is their second miniature it shows they actually have great promise. If you have something to add about the miniature by all means do, but please remember this is somebodies livelihood and hard work we're trampling on... so tread lightly.

    2. True, but it is one of those things that puts you firmly in the late 90's as far as web design goes. It's not going to kill them though, bad web design hasn't stopped people from Old Glory to GW being successful.

      The detailing of the miniature is really superb (although I question the decision to split the lance into two parts). It's a very nicely scuplted piece of a subject matter that's been done too often and too poorly to ever really get a positive response from those of us who have seen the worst the internet has to offer. The Kraken Hunter, by compairson, is a great Steampunkey piece that you wouldn't be embarassed about when someone notices it on your shelf.

  11. You see how good I'm behaving here?


    Stupid...behaving good.
    It's stupid.

    1. SinSynn, as far as I'm concerned you're free to comment as long as it's civil and you don't incite hatred and or mass murder. :P

      I'm not your employees and I am fully able to speak up for myself and I don't need protecting from the nasty New Yorker.

      Seriously if you have something to add I'd honestly like to hear it, even if I disagree and it makes me uncomfortable. Your thoughts not matter how insane will always be welcome.

  12. Down with this sort of thing!

    Careful now!

    1. I love that Father Ted episode, and I just generally love Father Ted.

      I'm not for censorship, and I wouldn't want to stop people being able to buy this stuff, but we should call it what it is... and I genuinely don't like the design of the miniature.