Sunday, 14 March 2010

Studio Miniatures Survivors 01

As well as producing what are, in my opinion, the finest 28mm scale zombies on the market, Studio Miniatures also make an assortment of survivors. All of their survivor figures are based on famous heroes and heroines from the movies and most of them are easy enough to recognise. However, due to copyright restrictions, Studio have given all their survivors new names. I can't blame them for that. Shamefully, I have had these for a long time (especially the first two) but have only recently got round to painting them. Oh well, better late than never.
First up is Mia, the only female in the group, and she ought to be instantly recognisable to any reader of this blog. She is, of course, based on Milla Jovovich's kick-ass survivor, Alice, from the Resident Evil trilogy of films. I'm a huge fan of the Resident Evil films and I adore Alice. The figure of Mia represents Alice as she appeared in Resident Evil: Extinction, the third film. It was the only film in which she used a pair of kukri knives, which is what the figure is wielding. Some folk have criticised the figure for being too flat, but I don't accept that. I think it is an excellent sculpt by Chris Jackson, who isn't Studio's regular sculptor, and he has achieved a superb likeness of she who is rightly deified as Saint Milla on the Post Apoc forum.
Next in line is Cole, another Chris Jackson sculpt, and again, he should be immediately recognisable to my blog readers. 'Tis none other than the indominatable Ash from The Evil Dead films. You have a choice with this figure regarding his right hand. Ash had to chop his hand off in Evil Dead 2 and you can have the figure with a bandaged stump, or do what Ash did later on in the film, and attach a chainsaw to the stump. For me, it was a no-brainer, I had to glue the chainsaw in place. Once again, this figure has been criticised for being too flat and once again, I totally disagree. The pose may be flat but a close inspection of the figure reveals no faults with the standard of sculpting. Other versions of Ash (and indeed, Alice) are available but I'm happy to use these two as my definitive versions of the movie characters.
I can fully understand why Studio chose to make not-Alice and not-Ash for their first two survivors as both were noted for slaying zombies in heroic numbers. But the next two survivors surprised me a great deal. In the centre of the photo is Willy, or as we all know him, Detective John McClane, the hard-boiled cop from the Die Hard series of films. Willy represents Bruce Willis's hero from the first Die Hard movie. It's easy to tell when you look at his feet which are bare apart from a few strips of bandages wrapped around them. Who can forget the scene when he has to walk bare-footed through a room full of broken glass? This figure, like the vast majority of Studio figures was sculpted by Daniel Parcy, a man with an abundance of talent. The figure is beautifully animated and armed with a 9mm Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun. If I had one criticism to make it is that the head is slightly too large for the body, which was a failing for the Scrubs zombies. But it doesn't bother me too much as it is great likeness of Bruce Willis.
The other survivor that surprised me was this one, called Dutch, aka Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator. This could be the good Terminator sent back in the second and third films, which would indeed, make him a heroic survivor, but I don't think he is. I think he's the evil Terminator from the original film. Why? Just look at the weapons he's carrying - a Franchi SPAS 12 shotgun and a 5.56mm Ruger assault rifle, both of which he used when he went on the rampage in the police station and just about massacred everyone he found. The pose as well, is indicative of that particular scene. This is the Terminator in full Angel of Death mode! Once again, hats off to Dan for a faultless sculpt, which incidentally comes in two parts. The right hand holding the shotgun is a separate piece.
The final figure out of the group is known as Miguel, and is surely the least recognisable, although I guessed his true identity as soon as I saw him. He is based on John Leguizamo's character Cholo DeMora from George A. Romero's Land of the Dead film. Again, I find this an odd choice for a survivor. For starters, Cholo does not make it to the end of the film, although he is one of the major players. Secondly, I'd have preferred to see figures of the heroes who do survive the film, Riley Denbo, Charlie Houk, Slack, Pillsbury and Pretty Boy. None of which detracts from another fine piece of sculpting from Dan. Miguel/Cholo's weapon is rather unusual - it is a spear gun. It may be a single shot weapon but it is silent and when it comes to shooting zombies that is a major factor to take into consideration.
Each figure costs £3.99 for the white metal version and £4.99 for the resin version. I really like them all and painting them was a pleasant change from all the zombies I'm churning out. I do see one problem with these figures and it is this - how could you use them in a game with the names Studio have given them and use them as generic survivors without yearning to use them as their movie counterparts? Mia or Alice? Cole or Ash? Willy or John? Dutch or Terminator? Miguel or Cholo? Who would you rather play? Yep, same as me!


  1. Great review Bryan, especially since the last three eluded me. I disagree about Cholo, though, he was my favorite character in the flick and probably one of his more memorable acting gigs.
    I kind of thought they may have been going for something with those figs but I couldn't place them. I hope they add some more. A Sarah Polley fig would be cool or Ken Foree. I really applaud Studio for their high quality work and for really taking care of the zombie crowd. I especially like that they aren't done and will continue to add new stuff.

  2. Thanks, Roger. We're going to have to agree to disagree regarding Cholo. I never took to him like I did with Riley, Charlie or Slack. Heck, I even liked Pillsbury and Pretty Boy more than Cholo and they were relatively minor characters.

    However, I totally agree with you about the Ken Foree and Sarah Polley characters. What I'd love to see is all four heroes from Romero's Dawn of the Dead film, (Fran, Peter, Roger and Stephen)fully armed to the teeth as they set about clearing the shopping mall. They'd be instant best sellers, I'm sure. Also, given the success of "Zombieland" I'd love to see Studio make the four heroes from that film as well. There's no shortage of worthy heroes to make.

  3. I am going to need to add these to my collection. Actually, I want to get all the Studio stuff but it looks like it won't be soon with the apocalypse that is the US economy. In the meantime I will just drool over your figs Bryan.

  4. I guess I'm ready for another watch of LOTD because I can't even remember the other characters.

    Zombieland would be a great choice for figs, just so they are careful not to stir up any ip lawyers with this stuff. Maybe sticking to the older less obvious people at this time would be best. I guess if you are willing to do a running tv show, though you must be safe :)

    I would love to see the zombiegirls from Doghouse, at least a similar set. I would like to see a horde of all females. That would help even things up in my horde.

  5. @Willy, Oh man, I feel your pain! Seeing all these nice figures that I keep reviewing and not being able to afford them - ouch! That's enough to make a grown man cry!

    @Roger. There you go, you've got a good excuse to watch LotD again (and I don't mean Lord of the Dance, lol!). I'm glad that you mentioned "Doghouse," as I just bought and watched the DVD last week. I missed the cinema release, sadly. Not a bad film and I agree with you 100%, s horde of the zombie females from the film would be excellent. Amongst the extras on the DVD were pre-production sketches of a lot of the femzombs, and they'd be excellent reference for any sculptor.

  6. Are the extras worth buying the dvd?

  7. Roger, I don't know how or even if American DVDs differ to English ones with regards to content, but I was more than happy with the extras. Plus, it only cost me about a fiver from Amazon. I ought to do a full review of the film but for now here's the extras I got on my copy - "Making of" Documentary (really excellent and almost an hour long), a few deleted scenes (so-so), a blooper reel (not very funny), TV spots (trailers of the film) and photo galleries (the pre-production paintings of the female zombies are excellent).

  8. Theres a theory that blooper reels are faked, lol. Thanks for the info, this one might be worth buying. Horror sells cheap in the US anyway because we are generally mindless blockbuster fans.

  9. Mindless blockbuster fans, eh? That explains so much, lol!