A big push this year on the site is to expand the list of companies I cover, with the goal of providing the widest possible look into all the options available to an ultramodern gamer. One of the companies that had sat on my list for a while has been Special Artisan Service Miniatures based in the US. As well as their 3D printed vehicles, they also have a growing range of figures. After browsing through the range, I settled upon picking up one of the Operator Juarez packs for my invesitigation.
The CIA Juarez Operators pack is made up of six figures, all inspired by popular culture around the various agencies fighting the cartel in Mexico. There is a nice mix to these figures, giving you a set perfect for a whole host of scenarios. After ordering, the package with them in arrived on my desk after about a week after being sent out. They were securely packaged, with no damaged bits, and the hand written note wishing me well was a nice touch. Preparing was minimal, with the expected amount of of infill and mould lines to tidy up. The figures have a half pill shaped base, similar to many other ranges which almost melds into the base with no adjustment required.
Looking at the figures, there are several different groups. The first consists of three guys perfect for contractors or low profile shooters. These guy are all wearing tactical gear and wielding AR15 pattern weapons. The “balaclava and baseball cap” look is one I particularly like (mainly because they can be used for all sorts of organisations). All three figures are moving forward cautiously, gripping either the magwell or the vert grip.
The next group are two characters designed to lead and support the rest of the team. One is holding his M4 in a low ready position while the other wields a silenced Mp5, holding his hand up while trying to calm the locals. These two are dressed the same way as the first, with civilian clothing and tac gear.
The final model is a little different from the rest. Rather than being one of the other characters ready to cross the border, this guy is dressed for a bit of black ops. Armed only with a pistol, the practical use of this one will mainly be for stealth missions and creeping around in the dark.
As this is a new company for me to look at, it’s time for for another figure comparison. From left to right:
- Under Fire Miniatures
- Empress (older)
- Empress (recent)
- Spectre Miniatures
- Eureka Miniatures
- Crooked Dice
And again in rear view.
Okay, that’s all the basic information, showing off the painted figures. If you are interested in them, they can be found on the SASM site at https://www.footsorenorthamerica.com/28mm-CIA-Juarez-Operators-p/28mmciaop.htm
Personal thoughts below the line.
To be honest, I have mixed personal feelings on this pack. I really love the concept and the ideas behind some of the figures but i’m less impressed with the style. The sculptor is very talented (all the characters were easily recognisable at first glance and they easily fit in with other ranges as part of a game) but there are one or two elements that don’t quite match my expectations. Although it’s not obvious, the figures seem incredibly slight and tall, almost like a 28mm figure from another company that has been grabbed at the top and pulled. I also have issues with some of the detailing – while the characters are packed full of it (such as molle loops and folds in the clothing), the weapons (especially on the three guys with bandanas) all seem a little flat sided. The suppressed MP5 also appears incredibly bulky compared to the other weapons, although I can see the practical reason for this adjustment. I would have also have liked to see a little more variation in the poses, particularly for the trio of shooters.
As always, this is just my opinions. Although they are not the ideal figures, they are certainly not the worst I’ve seen. Importantly they also spark the idea for plenty of scenarios to use the figures in. While I don’t necessarily recommend them, and as long as you like the style, they were certainly an interesting set to paint up and write an article on. As a final note, SASM seem to have a range of sculptors