Sunday, February 25

Build Review: "At the Edge of the Universe - Strange Company’s Adventures. Episode 1: The first meeting" from Masterbox

Masterbox recently released a brand new series of far our out -space-age new figures that convey a galaxy far, far away. These four sets in 1/24th scale will suit many diorama and fantasy modellers and they blew Clayton's mind when he saw them, so who better to put them together and show you how they look completed in today's build review?
Build review: At the Edge of the Universe. Strange Company’s Adventures. Episode 1. The first meeting.   
From: Masterbox 
Scale: 1/24th
Material: light Grey Injection moulded plastic.
Kits #24031, #24033, #24034, #20435
Product Links on the Masterbox Website
As a kid, I was intrigued with the tiny lead figures from the Dungeons and Dragons game. I never actually played the game, but as a kid that was into modelling, the sculpting and the unique look and feel of the pieces were mind-blowing to me. I loved the backstories the characters came with, and the various tools, weapons and spells that empowered them. Every week I would save up any money I could gather and head into the local hobby shop and buy one…paint it up and spend the next week admiring it.  As life went on, and times changed, the poor old D&D figures went by the by, but it is amazing how even writing this piece triggers such fond memories. 

As an adult, I have revisited the gaming miniatures, but they never really grabbed me like the old school ones. It all became about battle suits and multiple resin cast generic pieces of subjects that seemed to have oversized weapons and just lacked personality. Maybe I was just looking in the wrong places, but I just didn’t ever regain the feeling I got back in the day. 

As we have all seen of late, Masterbox has been expanding their figure range with a whole new scope of 1/24th scale figures. 

Kit #24033 Don’t even think about…”
Masterbox has a long history of 1/35th scale figures and has gained a good reputation with that line. Things started getting really exciting when they started releasing subjects that were a little out of the ordinary. WW1, Native American, Historical miniatures and even a range of ‘fashion figures’.

Kits #24034 "Keep moving, nothing to see here. Everything is under control”
So, with a lust for producing something new and exciting, Masterbox ventured into larger scale figures. Again, the subjects were as interesting as they were varied. Pin Ups, Fantasy, Mythology, and now the alternate sci-fi universe.

Kits #20435 "Back off”
Whilst I found some of the earlier releases interesting, I never actually took the leap and added them to the stash, but when I saw this release, I got the same feeling that the old D&D figures gave me. The characters had personality, spunk and looked completely unique, but somehow familiar. I had to take a closer look… But would the actual models stack up with the artificial renderings that were used to promote them? That was my major concern.

Kits #24031 “Wow, I like it!”
I won’t go into too much detail about the characters because this has already been covered here at The Modelling News.  I will say though, that this is one of the aspects of this release that I found very appealing. On the back of each box, there is a full rundown of the characters and what has found them here at the Spaceport. 

So, lets’ take a closer look at what you get in each of the boxes.

At the Edge of the Universe. Strange Company’s adventures. Episode I. The first meeting Series:
“Wow, I like it!”
Kit # 24031
1/24th scale
A somewhat politically incorrect set…but hey, I don’t design them, I just build them.
The first set in the 4 set series contains three figures: Anton the Space Mercenary, Robie ‘the’ Robot (Home Assistant Model, heavily modified), and Ivet the Android Waitress:

As previously mentioned, great detail into the characters is outlined on the back of the box.
There is one fret in the box but is essentially broken into the 3 sprues that contain one figure each.
This was the first set I looked at and was really pleased with the level of detail.
Here’s Anton. He has the chunkiest blaster in the pack. 
Robie’s blaster is a lot smaller than Anton’s
And finally, the waitress Ivet, who is getting the attention of our robot.
The build is quick and simple. There is a little clean up required, but that is par for the course. Whilst the fit wasn’t perfect, it was nothing that wouldn’t be easy to fill and clean up.  The poses were natural, balanced and dynamic. So far, the figures have exceeded my expectations. 

Here is Anton all built up...
 ...the waitress Ivet constructed with Robie the robot - sounds like a familiar name...

At the Edge of the Universe. Strange Company’s adventures. Episode I. The first meeting Series:
Don’t even think about…”
1/24 scale.
Kit # 24033
Interestingly, the next kit in the series is 24033…so what happened to 24032? This is the only single figure boxing and includes the stunning Jacqueline. In the scheme of the story, Jacqueline is the key figure. 

Another interesting observation is the artwork for this figure featured a cat at her feet, whereas the actual release has no cat present? Maybe this was a last-minute deletion? A secondary piece in the set would have been a nice inclusion. 

In line with the entire release, Jacqueline’s backstory is present on the rear.
The kit contains the one fret but is essentially two sprues joined together.
The stool and table section are found on one of the sprues.
...And the other contains the figure in a seated position.
The figure was assembled very easily and presented a nice, natural seated pose. The challenge here is in the painting of the face and trying to keep soft lines and a feminine finish. 

At the Edge of the Universe. Strange Company’s adventures. Episode I. The first meeting Series:
"Keep moving, nothing to see here. Everything is under control”
Kit # 24034
1/24th scale
Here we have the tough guy and head of security, Drag – Head of Galactic Security Service (ALMAR Space Station). Also featured in the kit is Joker, the impish fellow with four arms who owns the bar.
Their backstory is again on the back of the box.
The sprues come in the same manner as the other kits – One section in the kit but broken into three subsections.
The first piece is the man called "Drag". His leather jacket has been broken into a number of pieces to help simulate its fall. The character is set leaning on the bar, so the open jacket was essential in selling the gravity of the figure. 
The Joker with his rocket looking backpack is next. Given he is a smaller character, he looks more in line with 1/35th scale with his size, but he is meant o be a diminutive character, at least in size.
The third sprue in the box contains a section of the bar and a stool for the characters to interact with. 
And how they actually built up - first the "wee" figure of "Joker"
Here is "Drag" all built up...

At the Edge of the Universe. Strange Company’s adventures. Episode I. The first meeting Series:
"Keep moving, nothing to see here. Everything is under control”
Kit # 24035
1/24th scale
KIT #24035 is the final boxing in the series. ‘Back Off’ -This set contains BungeeBagla (Bgala), the bounty hunter/warrior with her fighting droid Boomer.
The wrap on these nasty cats!
Again, the single section in the box broken into two subsections.
Boomer’s bits.
Bgala’s Bits
I found the construction of the robot in this kit a little odd. The way the limbs attached to the body just didn’t seem right to me. I probably rushed into it a little, but I cut the knobs off the body sections and drilled the pieces out and connected it all together myself. 
I actually altered the pose from the one from the box, but I am sure with a little patience you could match the box art. I do think however you may need to drill out the joints in order for the pieces to come together properly. Other than that, the poses looked balances and natural. 

First, Boomer all built up...
...And the lovely Bgala
So what do I think about the concept and kits?
The beauty of these kits is that they work as well by themselves as they do with all four kits. The characters are sculpted really well and the poses work beautifully.

There were no instructions in the kits I received (as these were advanced copies) however, most of the piece placement is pretty obvious and all of the parts for each character are close together on each of the sprues.
On interesting inclusion with the set was a piece of paper showing some of the future companion sets to go along with these releases. On it the blurb says:
Episode 1 – The adventure begins with people and robots meeting for the first time, in a bar on the ALMAR peripheral space station. They are almost immediately attacked by Government Special Forces on a secret mission aimed against Jacqueline. Having occurred under fire the visitors of the bar become a team just to survive. They manage to escape the Spaceport by stealing the combat attack ship used by the Special Forces. They disappear into the zone known as the Underdeveloped Territories and are now hunted by the most powerful enemy in the whole Universe – The Galactic Security Service…
I have to confess, I am really intrigued by the thought process and the brave nature of a release like this. It really has so much potential as the story expands. New characters pair with old favourites. Imagine if they even started releasing the spacecraft and machinery of this alternate universe?

Without bringing this release down too much, the one downside for me was that all of the women in the kits looked like they had been to the same plastic surgeon and they were showing off their assets. I think, given the universe the ladies came from, the sexualisation could have been pared back a little, but hey, but who am I to judge?

Each box shows all 4 kits posed together, so in the spirit of showcasing the release, here are all of my figures together in a similar pose.

All in all, this is a very exciting series, and a really refreshing release by Masterbox. I really hope the release is supported by the market, because I think once people invest in these characters, there is a great deal of potential if the subject. 

Just got to get around to painting them now….

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Masterbox for sending these kits to Clayton to review and make up for us - You can get yours right now from Masterbox's Distributor stores