Thursday, 23 June 2011

Mass Effect Proxies: Critical Mass Games

British company, Critical Mass Games, produces a number of miniatures easily converted for use in Mass Effect wargaming. Here, we'll take a look at the companies Mercenary range, where you can find a good number of sculpts that, with a little work, will be more than adequate to represent the various races and factions of the Mass Effect universe on the tabletop.

I've ordered a small selection of these miniatures from mail order, and will post up the completed, painted conversions as soon as I'm able.

All the images in this article are copyright Critical Mass Games and are used with permission.

 First up is pack Merc-5, Vadorian assassins. As you can see, the five sculpts represent an all female group in tight-skin suits and closed visors, making them excellent proxies for an Asari commando unit on the Mass Effect battlefield. With their nice, simple rounded heads, it should be easy enough to mould on a conical representation of the Asari "head-tentacles'. In fact, it wouldn't even be necessary to sculpt every single tentacle since they would all be covered by the skin-suit in any case.

For a slightly more difficult modelling challenge, a quick head swap with any available female human figure (relatively easy thanks to the way these miniatures are posed) and a little more detailed sculpting with the old milli-put should produce some fine-looking bareheaded Asari as well.

 Next up we have Merc Packs 6 and 7, the Blockhead Battlesuit sets. It seems to me that the Geth in Mass Effect have two outstanding defining physical features: their single eye and their stylish, curved lines. Well, stylish curved lines are something these figures are certainly lacking, but a little filing at strategic points could go a long way in this regard.

However, the do come with that all important cyclops effect already sculpted on a little bit of mili-put to make the two, vertically stacked lenses into a single, larger lens and the result should hopefully be a very reasonable looking selection of Geth troopers.

 The very bulky weapons on the sculpt are likely to be something of a problem for purists, but a little judicious use of clippers to take off the extended barrels should so the trick well enough to satisfy most people. Including me.

 Set number nine on the range have nicely shaped heads with minimal noses. Although the armour is a little bulky, especially on the leader figure, with a little milli-put to sculpt two horn shaped protuberances onto the figures heads, these figures make for an excellent Salarian Special Tasks Group squad.

Finally, we come to set 12. Critical Mass produce a whole range of Protolene figures, which we'll examine in more detail in a later post, but these are the only ones present in the mercenary range.
This particular race has a great deal of Mass Effect potential. File away the hair and you have yourself some Vorcha. Clip the ears as well and your Protalene should make for very respectable looking Turians.

If these figures have one common limitation (other than the fact they all need a little work to optimise their appearance Mass Effects games) it lies in the limited number of sculpts available for each set. Fortunately, the Salurian STG and Asari Commando's work in small groups, so this shouldn't be an issue for most games. The Protolene figures, on the other hand, have a whole nother range available, making it relatively easy to use some of the sculpts for Turians and some for Vorcha without ever having to mix the two, even without conversions. However,the Blockhead Battlesuits are more of a problem. They are slightly larger sculpts (in retrospect, probably better suited to represent Geth destroyers rather than ordinary troopers) with just three versions in each set. Given how many such miniatures would be needed to represent atypical Geth force, this will leave the Geth player with very little variety in his forces. Not a problem for some gamers, but a real-stumbling block for others.

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