For Christmas, I gifted myself two sets of Modiphius miniatures for their Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game: the Next Generation Bridge Crew and the Romulan Strike Team. Then, after Christmas, I got the Original Series bridge crew at a staggering discount (see below). Here’s my review of all three sets. Spoiler: it’s not a universally great review. Some sets are much better than others, and the same problems are common to all.
Price: There seems to be a great deal of variation in the price of these sets. Modiphius sells them for $50.99 each, which is fucking insane even for licensed properties like this. Luckily, you can easily find these much cheaper simply by shopping around. I paid $24.56 with free shipping for the TNG bridge crew, and $16.88 for the Romulans, both from Amazon vendors. Then, I managed to find the Original Series bridge crew for only $8.00 plus shipping, which is a truly incredible savings that I still can’t believe! YMMV, but I find full retail price for these to be ridiculous and not at all worth it.
Sculpting: They’re obviously digitally sculpted, and I’m not really a fan of computer sculpting. (That’s my personal preference, of course.) The likenesses are pretty good overall, although I question many of the poses of the TNG crew and the decision to make so many of them and the TOS crew multipart castings. More on this later.
Composition: The miniatures are plastic. Not good, strong plastic; rather shitty, fragile plastic. Be very careful removing them from the sprue. I was, and I still had an annoying mishap (see below). I don’t understand how miniatures today get made out of flimsy materials like this. GW, Victrix, Wargames Factory and Wyrd can make miniatures out of strong plastic, so it’s not like it’s impossible. Even Reaper Bones, with their tendency to bend, are way better than these. Not a fan.
Assembly: Each miniature comes on its own sprue, which includes a circular base with holes to accommodate pegs on the model’s feet. Most of the bases are sculpted to look like metal decking, but some of the TNG and TOS bridge crew miniatures have “scenic” bases. I found using the peg holes to be somewhat aggravating, as they are positioned in such a way that the models are often off-center, which looks weird. To make matters worse, these miniatures are fiddly as fuck, making assembly a huge chore. This is further complicated because many are multipart castings (and they really don’t need to be…see below).
I use Gorilla Glue gel to assemble all my miniatures. Metal, plastic, resin…it doesn’t matter. I find it to give a strong, quick bond, and the gel gives a little substance for fiddly parts to grip onto. Gorilla Glue gel failed me here. For whatever reason, it did not want to bond this shitty plastic. I had to hold pieces together for much longer than usual to get these miniatures assembled.
Now, onto the miniatures themselves…
I’ll get the Romulans out of the way first, because I have the least to say about them. In short, it’s a pretty good set, and you get 10 miniatures instead of 8. These include a commander, 4 centurions, and 5 uhlans. The Romulan commander and three of the uhlans are female; the rest are male figures. Sadly, you get repeats of some of the same figures as opposed to 10 different sculpts, but they’re still much better looking overall than the TNG bridge crew, and far less fiddly to assemble. All of the miniatures are single-piece castings with the exception the two centurions armed with disruptor rifles; they need to have their arms attached.
Onto the TNG bridge crew. I’ll take these miniatures individually, because there’s a lot not to like about them. I’ve already stated my problems with assembly, so just assume unless otherwise stated that they were all a pain in the ass to put together.
First, what I consider to be the best miniatures in the lot. Dr. Crusher looks pretty good, carrying a medical kit in one hand and a medical tricorder in the other, just as she should be. In my opinion, she’s the best miniature among the crew, but YMMV. Next, Captain Picard is the only one-piece casting in the set. He’s not too bad, but I would have preferred he look more “Picard-ish” and not be brandishing a phaser. Lastly, there’s Commander Riker, who looks pretty good dramatically standing with his characteristic “leg-up” pose. His beard is not very well-defined, which could be because Modiphius wanted to give us the option of having a beardless, Season One Riker. (That’s no Riker of mine, but again, YMMV.)
Next, the rest, in no particular order of disappointment. Lieutenant Yar looks good except for her ridiculous karate pose. (They couldn’t give her a phaser? She was Chief of Security. If anyone should be brandishing a phaser, it should be her.) Lieutenant Commander LaForge would be a lot better if he was looking at his tricorder, not looking like someone poured ice water down the back of his uniform. Deanna Troi is ok, I guess…but why give her a tricorder? When did Troi ever use a fucking tricorder?
Lieutenant Commander Data looks just as out-of-place holding a Type III phaser rifle. Again, why? Maybe Modiphius wanted to give some variety, but I can’t recall a single instance of Data using a phaser rifle in the entire series. Even if he did, it’s not like it was a common enough occurrence that he deserves to be sculpted with one. Lieutenant Worf is wielding his iconic bat’leth, because of course he is. I would have preferred him with something like a Type III phaser rifle instead. I can’t recall him ever using one of those either, but it seems to fit his style better than Data’s. Sigh. I can’t decide whether Data or LaForge is my least favorite miniature in the set. They’re both pretty bad.
On to The Original Series miniatures, by far my favorite set of the three, and not because I paid the least for it. You get eight miniatures in the set. Again, I’ll start with the three best miniatures (IMHO, of course); the big three: Kirk, Spock and McCoy.
My favorite miniature hands-down, Kirk just looks AWESOME, talking into a communicator and brandishing a phaser. (He just needs a green Orion female to drape herself around him Frazetta-style and it’s a 100% match.) Spock is looking appropriately science-y, and McCoy looks great with his iconic old-school tape recorder/microphone style medical tricorder. A+ on this trio, Modiphius!
Next, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura. Sulu and Chekov both look great, although Sulu is a tad more dynamic (Bravo on not casting him shirtless with a fencing rapier, Modiphius!). Uhura is also a terrific sculpt (I like her almost as much as Spock and McCoy); although she was rarely on away missions, she looks perfect with her ubiquitous earpiece and a phaser, to boot.
Finally, Mr. Scott and Nurse Chapel. Although he’s still better than most of the TNG miniatures, Scotty is my least favorite miniature in this set. What is he running away from? A warp core breach? (If so, it’s doubtful he will get far enough away on foot…you know, in space…) Nurse Chapel looks fine holding Dr. McCoy’s space clipboard for him, but I question her inclusion in the set. I guess they needed an eighth miniature. I guess they didn’t want to include Yeoman Rand, considering she only lasted 8 episodes…
My biggest quibble with all these miniatures is the quality of the plastic. Worf broke when I was cutting him off the sprue, and my cutters didn’t even touch him. His foot snapped in half when I cut the sprue next to it! Annoying for sure…but it would be downright infuriating if I had paid full retail for this set. I tried my best to fix it, but the problems I experienced with the glue made it set wrong. I have read similar complaints about the fragility of other sets.
Currently, Modiphius offers three additional sets: TNG-era Klingons, Borg, and generic Starfleet officers, many of them alien races included as character options in the rpg. They all look pretty good, but I haven’t been able to find the sets for a reasonable price (less than $30). I would love to see some Cardassians (my favorite bad guys), the DS9 station crew, and some original series Klingons, but we’ll have to see what, if anything, Modiphius releases next.
I’ll be working on painting these Trek miniatures throughout January, so hopefully I’ll have them done soon. Until then, peace and long life!