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Pride of Kessarine! (includes Victoria Miniatures Imperial Guard review)

After too long an absence dear bunker dwellers, I return and bring with me the proud sons and daughters of fair Kessarine! Way back in October I introduced my latest venture with the first warriors from the sands. Well, since then I've not been idle... I've just not been blogging. So today we'll meet the rest of C-Company and soon their officer corps with a bit more delicious Kessarine lore.

These three squads bring C-Company to five squads split across its two platoons. In the fullness of time there'll be a sixth squad to fill up the battleline thing and to have two platoons of 30 which will feel nicely satisfying. We also see the first non-missile launcher amongst their number, a relic of lost lamented veteran squad accuracy. But it does mean it's an excellent opportunity to talk heavy weapons because if you want to use third party minis you're going to have to figure those out.

Lets start with the easiest, the mortars are an easy squad to make. Just use lasgun holding hands with a bit of hot water repositioning for pose and chuck a mortar shell in the open palm. The others are the Victoria Minatures heavy weapon squad bits, mostly ammo box lugging.

It gets tougher when you want a heavy bolter. Fortunately my desert lads get a kneeling leg option, so I could get them down to the GW plastics. None of the arms would work with the spade trigger, double handle approach that the GW kit comes with. So instead I went more "bren gun" in approach and used shouldered rifle butts to connect the models to the guns, imagining more of a GPMG style of shooting than a HMG style (lighter and heavier machine guns, I'm getting needlessly nerdy). Either way, they married up nicely enough to their guns and thus I could get some fire support. The paint I'm using for the housings hates being brush painted over large areas (it's designed for airbrush mostly) and I had a devil of a time getting a clean coat on the big heavy bolter furniture. Fortunately that is all behind me now.... twitch.

You can see a slightly better angle on the heavy bolter posing here. In addition we can see an example of the final heavy weapon option I've gone for (for now), the lascannon. This is an Anvil miniatures kit, the portable phase cannon with militia/jungle arms. Wasn't difficult to marry it up to the victoria miniatures body and both being resin meant I could carve bits away until it fit comfortably. I figured the lore for this pattern choice was to do with mobility. The Kessarine like a lighter lascannon, most of the weight is batteries after all. So they sacrifice fire cycle rate and barrel longevity for portability. Doubtless Commissar Dravland has sniffy opinions on that but it seems to work for the Kessarine.

Now then, lets get to talking about the miniature range itself. Because it's a very mixed bag and I would hate to recommend them highly without at least mentioning the flaws. Lets start with the good: The range of look and environment that Victoria Minis do is incredible. For anyone who doesn't want Cadian pattern they do a wonderful job of filling those gaps. The lack of heavy weapons is a challenge but not an insurmountable one as you see above. I genuinely love my Kessarine and wouldn't be without them. However... It has to be said that the casting quality is variable at best. There's a reason I've painted them in kind of a sketchy mass-effect style rather than lavishing love on them. The casting just isn't good enough to reward it in places. Some places I was able to fix with carving or filling but some are just... bad. Now some of this is down to older metal sculpts being recast in resin. Same as the problems with finecast. Because the women are damn near perfect. None of the problems found in the older male sculpts.

As a result, there is a lot of slightly mangled bits and surface texture issues. So I chose to paint in a way that would minimise those problems and let them just blur into a unit rather than a miniature. I'm sure Victoria Minis would have helped out if I'd contacted them about it but given that you're ordering from Australia I just kind a made do. So buyer beware, if you are used to flawless plastic casts, these are not they. BUT! They are wonderful, so much better posed than the competitor third party guard offerings and ooze character. Despite the grumbling and muttering I've had at times with them... I'm going to be ordering more with no reservations. So that's the best review I can provide: They've got problems. Lots of 'em. And I'm happily buying more. But don't just take my word for it. Me guard-brother-from-another-world-mother Harvey is also a user of the Antipodean Poor Bloody Infantry so I shall turn the floor over to him for his thoughts:

Men of Nightfall, do you want to live forever?

I love my Nightfallers, and I am hugely grateful to Victoria Miniatures to have provided the sculpts that pretty much fit the exact idea for a light infantry regiment I've had kicking about my head since I was a penniless teenager with not nearly enough disposable income to consider ordering custom infantry from Australia. That's the single best bit about the range for me; they fit my creative vision perfectly, and I know they do for Jeff too, which allows a fair bit of forgiveness when it comes to the casting quality, because as Jeff says this is less than perfect in places. I've had some very warped las-rifles and pronounced mould lines as my most frequent gripes, along with the occasional issue with a camo cloak - usually the casting being a big thin, with one (of the 100 or so I have currently bought) actually being translucent. These are issues, I would be being dishonest if I didn't point them out in a section specifically designed to review the minis themselves. That having been said, these issues are not insurmountable to an experienced resin modeller, and as much as I hate the old Forgeworld get-out-of-jail-free card of "oh it's just designed for the experienced modeller" it does sort of hold true in this case: I wouldn't recommend 3rd party resin sculpts to an inexperienced hobbyist, regardless of the source of said miniatures.

Actual casting issues aside however, I am very impressed. Their scale fits in well with the current Imperial Guard (Sorry, Astra Militarum) range, and the Border-world Rangers line I've used for the Nightfall 31st Light Infantry feel very 40k right out of the box. Some of the others I feel could do with a las-rifle instead of an autogun to bring them a bit more out of the "alternate historical" sphere and into the "far future space fantasy" realm, but they still look great. The only design choice I'm not a huge fan of are the plasma guns, so I've used GW ones for that which was a very easy conversion that didn't even require greenstuff beyond gap filling.

Left: Border World Ranger, Right: Mkoll of GW's Gaunt's Ghosts. Mkoll is noticeably larger, but the Ghost kit is weirdly oversized compared to other guardsmen. If you zoom in you can see the difference in casting quality, though once you're looking at a painted squad (or platoon!) from arm's reach it doesn't make much difference.

In summary, I love the Nightfallers and have got another sizeable batch planned for the end of this year, despite knowing what I'm getting into regarding casting flaws and the little fixed that will be required here and there. They fit my exact creative vision and are well designed miniatures that fit into the theme of 40k with little to no conversion or squinting needed, and I cannot wait to finish a full infantry company. And rough riders. And attached light armour. And...

Thank you m'dude, I cannot wait for the Kessarine to join the Nightfallers in walking glory road! That's all for today folks, next time it's the turn of the officer corps and their stories, and after that... well if you look in the slightly blurry background of this whole-army-so-far shot you might just see the cavalry arriving...

Until then, lovely people



  1. They look good as Guardsmen should look good; line upon line of poor bloody infantry, not for up close inspection like centrepieces.

    Also, EVERY time you post about the Kessarine (well, both times) I find myself coveting a Guard army of my own. I don't have the patience to paint Guard. I don't have the funds to buy Guard. Nevertheless...

    1. Then my work here is done 😉 joiiiiiin us... Really glad you're enjoying the Kessarine, warms me cockles it does. More to follow soon!

  2. I'm always a fan of Vicky miniatures. Some of the accessories are too fiddly now I'm old with shaky hands and blurry eyesight, But yeah, they're easy to mix with Anvil , FW and even GW bitz.

    1. Absolutely, I've used some of the gun arms on Cadian torsos and they were ideal. Love 'em


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