Tuesday, March 4

Review: Life Miniature's new bust - "The Few"

Today we are lucky enough to get one of the new bust from Sang Eon Lee’s company Life Miniatures– either it is a bust of an RAF pilot in the battle of Britain or it is a man with a head of a human and that of a dog? Seriously let’s look at his Battle of Britain pilot and his pooch in our build review of “The Few”

Sculpted by Seung-Yeop Lee
Painted by Sang-Eon Lee
1/10 scale resin bust consisting of 17 parts

Now anyone paying attention to Sang Eon Lee’s company Life Miniatures will know that he likes intriguing and emotion-stirring subjects for his bust choices. His latest work had come from the genesis of an idea by Sang Eon Lee for the creation of this kit while he was watching a TV series about Winston Churchill, he was very impressed by his phrase "Never, in the field of human conflict, so much owed by so many to so few" the source of Churchill’s inspiration now became his motivation.
Now Sang Eon has already sculpted an amazing Churchill – but becoming more and more interested in the RAF fighter pilots during Battle of Britain Sang Eon asked fellow sculptor Seung-Yeop Lee to change the bust he was sculpting to the subject of an RAF pilot from the original idea of a USAAF pilot from WWII. Let’s look at him now and put him together to see if he looks and goes together as well as the boxart makes us believe…

The box is the usual Life Miniatures card and well-padded package. Housing the bust parts in Zip-loc bags as well as some of the delicate R.T. gear sandwiched inside two layers of foam.
This bust – cast in a sweet smelling (I know I have problems) grey resin is in seventeen parts sculpted by Seung-Yeop Lee. This comprises of the main parts of the torso which is very thick and a head as well as two arms and the several buckles, straps and cables which make up his radio gear. There is a round parachute release which pops right into this harness at the front.

The resin is cast with some pretty easy to remove casting/poring blocks still attached to them these prove no trouble and are in easy spots to remove. The resin supplied is bubble free and cast with such lovely detail which we will go into later it is hard to find something I do not like so far. The review is still young though… Let’s look at the parts one by one to see how they look and most importantly how they fit together.

Staring at the head why don’t we? The head is one main part which fits into the neck joint without glue if need be. Either side of the head go the parts of the earphone “cans” and the mic that he talks into. This hangs down off his face in this sculpt so you can see his expression.
He is indeed a cheerful chap as he eyes his sidekick. You can see the smile lines on his face and his protruding chin and slightly protruding teeth quite clearly and the small bags around his eyes bring a touch of realism to the sculpt.
Once attached his cans and face mask hang down to one side as he is looking up towards the pooch on his shoulder. The RT comms cable hangs in underneath there at three attachment points that are set aside for you by the sculptor

His wrinkly leather flying helmet looks very nice and you can see from looking at the top of it especially the work that has gone into this sculpt. Zippers, and the wrinkles on the elasticised strap of his flying glasses are quite evident as is the creasing on the rear of his flying helmet. The only foul I could find on this head was a slight gap where the helmet and head meet the comms cans. There is a gap there you will have to fill on the seam – not a big deal but there none the less.
The torso is next -  it is a solid block of resin alright – layers that go into this sculpt make it a more interesting piece. First the scarf that fits into the high neck ribbed sweater, the flying tunic over that and then the inflatable “Mae West” which was given to all pilots who might fight over the sea and channel, then lastly the Irvin parachute harness. This fits over everything and pulls it to whatever direction it is tied up.
The arm sockets on both sides have a square peg in which the arms are located safely. There is a crease on the left side nicely hidden by the arms which stick tight to the sides – if you are going to have a seam it might as well be hidden where no one will ever see it!
The right side has no seam but some lovely wrinkled life-jacket stitching instead..
Ans the rear of the torso has the criss-crossed parachute straps which pull at the live vest and give some great depth to the bust.
The head and the arms slip straight into the joints provided by the sculptor.
The left and right arm are both hollowed out on the insides allowing them to fit flush to the side of the torso. There is some thick wrinkling on the arm sleeves which must have taken quite a lot of work to get right.

The outside of both arms really shows the hard work here by the sculptor. The casting blocks on the elbows are an easy remove with no detail lost.

In the end of each sleeve there is a hollow socket that fits directly. There is a square in one hand at the arm socket so you do not get the hands mixed up – that is unless you failed the shape tests when you were young.

There are some very nice flying gloves made of leather which he is holding on to. This gives you both the sinews and veins in the hands to paint as well as the stitching and leather on the gloves as well – the best of both worlds really. The fingernails, knuckles and veins in the hand really are impressive in their detail.
Here are the hands and arms and the joints on display – it all helps with the construction of the bust.
Here he is made up – his arm is at a funny angle isn’t it? But hold on – there seems to be two figures in this bust…
The pooch that goes along with this figure is was conceived as a Cocker Spaniel on his shoulder – what a smart addition – everyone loves the squadron pooch! This truly brings “Life” to this sculpt… He has some handy notches that the neck fits into the head so you cannot locate him incorrectly.

His best impersonation of the “Puma” logo
You can see his hairy shaggy coat here that looks very good and rough – just like a dog should really – his long face adds to the cuteness of this pooch.
He is arched because he fits under the arm of the figure – the hand on the right locks him in there – and it must be secured after he is glued in place otherwise ol’ mutley will not fit.
There is even a hollow on the back of the bust where the dog’s paw is trying to get purchase to climb up the pilot’s back.
As well as a pole to mount this figure on there are some twisted wires for the communication gear – this twisted wire joins into the earphones and the mic on the face mask. The thick air tube is on the bottom of this picture and the round shape is the release button on the parachute harness. The arrow shape and roll are both straps to tighten and adjust the helmet on the pilot.
So here he is all put together – what do you think? I am very impressed and it now sits on top of the desk – a little like a picture or inspiration. I suppose a little like the initial idea for this sculpt.
Ok there are some slight seams to fill on both the helmet and the arms – these are largely covered by the dog as he climbs over the shoulder of the figure. They pretty much disappear with the depth of the leather stitching and seams on the helmet as well.
Easy to put together – and it looks really very convincing in it’s portrayal of a young man in a touching moment – I think this will be a very successful bust and it should be on competition tables pretty soon I would think.

This is another top shelf release by Life Miniatures – Further cementing their excellent reputation as one of the best figure makers in modelling.

Adam Norenberg

This kit is now available from Life Miniatures – you can find their distributors are at this link along with the other great busts in this range.

Here is the bust painted up by the very talented founder of Life Miniatures MR. Sang Eon Lee – this is what is achievable folks! I think I need a stiff drink and a sit down now…