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Review CK Figures

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by NeilW, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. NeilW A Fixture

    CK Logo.JPG

    CK have several times posted pre-painted figures on this site.

    It took me some time to check them out but when I went to their website I discovered that most (perhaps all on request) are also available unpainted... or when I visited in that 'blackened' effect that you see on pretty rough castings of Tower Wardens, London Bobbies etc in the touristy shops around Trafalgar Square and elsewhere (some now seem to also be offered in plain metal).

    What struck me first was the price* (E2.30-E3 and cE11 for mounted vs cE35 pre-painted) together with the interesting range (Indians; Vikings; Pirates; Ancients; Romans; C13-16th Middle European/Russian/Asian).
    *some figs are more expensive as they're premium quality

    See here: http://skw.su/index.php?route=common/home

    They also retail other suppliers (an interesting and again VfM range, from old style Cowboys 'n' Indians and Napoleonics to patriotic WW2 Soviets and Samurai plus a few 75mm medieval Russian types): http://skw.su/index.php?route=product/category&path=84

    (the English buttons don't always work, but in Google a R/H click should allow you to translate to English or other languages).

    So, I duly ordered three trial figs (see below) only to find that there's no mailing price comes up outside Russia (or collect in store if you happen to be holidaying in downtown Kurk). Upon querying this, Sergey, the owner advised me that 3 foot figs would be E18 on top of the E8 for the figs. I reckoned this didn't make sense but he assured me that this was the Russian overseas postage rate and that 3 figs just wasn't cost effective (eg c150 figs to USA was still only E30-35).

    So, I explained that this killed it... BUT, I explained that it was a pity as I wanted to trial them and review them on this site.

    At which the power of planetFigure kicked in and he sent them per gratis (note: this will not influence my review).

    As it happens, he was able to use a slightly smaller box and as the ten stamps attached to it attest, it cost 950 Roubles, c E13.50.

    So, what arrived?
    First, a sturdy box with 950 Roubles worth of stamps and an awful lot of bubble wrap.
    D1.JPG D2.JPG

    And, inside, three bubble wrapped figs.

    Impressed as I was by Sergey's assurance that they'd tested their packaging by dropping boxes from a great height, upon unwrapping them I discovered that the Tatar had a bent scabbard and Agamemnon a twisted helmet crest (corrected in photos below). Not a tragedy as the figs are metal, but irritating (especially as the crest is only held on by a thin section which could have easily broken).

    Next I noted their size (and weight: hence the postage!). As can be seen, they vary quite a lot and by any definition, certainly aren't 54mm as stated. Scaling between the figs is also variable, especially as we have a shortish Viking, a towering Tatar and a pretty hunky Agamemnon.

    EDIT: Sergey has pointed out that the distortion of the photo makes the figs look taller than they actually are (mea culpa). So, actual heights (excluding the base) are below.

    VIKING: to eyes 56mm; overall 63mm
    ARMAGEMNON: to eyes 55mm: overall (ex crest) 60mm
    TARTAR: to eyes 58.5mm: overall (ex crest) 67mm


    ENOUGH FOR NOW; OFF TO THE PUB FOR A PINT AND A MEAL WITH THE OTHER HALF :)>>>:hungry:>>>:dead:>>>:hungover:
    Nap likes this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Neil

    Thanks for sharing this info

    looking forward to seeing the figures case up in reviews

    Enjoy the pint and meal

  3. NeilW A Fixture

    I'll do a quick review of the three figs I ordered. I'll next undercoat then start painting (these pics are of the standard 'blackened' finish which I hope will take an undercoat OK: I believe that plain metal might also be available on request).

    First up:

    VIKING VK-48
    'Notable Viking warrior'
    E2.70: E32.28 painted

    Height: base to eyes c56mm ; overall c63mm
    So perhaps fine if he's Harald Hardrada but a bit on the tall side for your average 54mm dark/middle ages bod (however much ale and bacon he's consumed).


    I was attracted to this as it's quite a nice dramatic pose: perhaps 'facing the oceans' or 'contemplating the aftermath' with a brisk north-easterly whipping his cloak to the side (and I just like vikings... and samurai... and naps... and... and....and).

    CK describe him as:
    Notable Viking warrior. 9th century Original tin figure 54 mm.
    The warrior has a stylized image of the crow of the satellite (god?) Thor on the crest of his helmet. The same images are present on the shield. The Viking is dressed in a seagull reinforced by polubaydana ??????.
    (anyone's guess what this last bit means... even so, Google translate does a pretty good job. In Russian it says: У воина на гребне шлема находится стилизованное изображение ворона-спутника Тора. Такие же изображения присутствуют и на щите. Викинг одет в стеганку усиленную полубайданой.)

    So, my own first impressions:

    He wears a classic 'spectacle' helmet with strapping, eyebrow ridges and a slightly indistinct raven crest (may be clearer when undercoated).

    Due to the helmet there's not much facial detail other than ear braids and a luxurious bushy beard.

    He's got on a ring mail hauberk (individual rings clearly visible and not linked, so assume they must be meant to be wired together and/or wired to a base: any refs for such mail?). I don't know if this is intentional or a poor attempt at sculpting chain mail. So, although it will probably paint up well, I'd have preferred chain mail.

    Otherwise, he wears a quilted jerkin (the base for his mail?), an undertunic, a billowing cloak (with ring brooch fastening), cross-gaitered britches, shoes, belt and pouch, all quite nicely detailed.

    Arms are a sword (clearly viking in style and with some raised scabbard ornamentation though it perhaps sticks out too much rather than hanging more vertically), a seax and his large double handed axe (with a crescent rather than bearded blade). On his back is his shield with its strap, some nice wood texturing (or should it be leather covered if he's a 'notable'?) a plain boss and Odin inspired applique ornaments (raven etc).

    The level of detailing is fair with lots of fiddly bits to get the brush (and my clumsy frustration) going. Casting is good with no visible seams although here and there the detailing gets a bit fuzzy.

    All of this range are one piece castings, so whilst there's a fair degree of undercutting, there's always the danger of flat figures and the dreaded Airfix configuration of front on, or side on, with weapons, shields etc held at impossible angles. Although most of CK's vikings don't fall foul of this (except a perhaps impossible oarsman/horn-player), one of my reasons for choosing this fig above some of his companions was due to his interesting and sensible pose (well, that and avoiding what to my mind are some dubious garments and headwear choices by some of his shipmates).

    The full viking range is here: http://skw.su/index.php?route=product/category&path=60&page=1

    So, all in all, for E2.70 (postage remains an issue: a group/bulk buy seems the solution) what's not to like?

    I'm sure it will paint up well (hopefully almost as good as CK's in-house painters :notworthy:) so I'll post progress once I get going.
    Nap likes this.
  4. NeilW A Fixture

    Second up:

    E2.94: E35.00 painted

    Height: base to eyes 55mm: overall (ex crest) 60mm

    A1.JPG A3.JPG A2.JPG

    The photos show the transit damage to the L/H crest (and goat's horns that you can barely see). Although the crest is only joined to the helmet by a thin piece of metal I was able to straighten it out without any problem (the group photo shows him with the crest straightened).

    The CK site describes him as:
    Agamemnon - the king of Mycenaean. 1184 BC. Original tin figure 54 mm.

    Agamemnon in the Trojan War commanded the Greek troops who besieged Troy. The helmet of the king bronze, decorated with goat horns and plumes of horsehair. Leather shell, anatomical, reinforced shoulder pads, decorated with gold overlays. The combat skirt of leather bands reinforced wicker elements. The bracers and bronze leggings are a single set, decorated with gold overlays. The shield is covered in leather with bronze or gold overlays. In the center of the shield is the head of the satyr. Bronze sword, typical for this period.

    This is fine in terms of a general description, so I'll major on the details.

    ... which generally are pretty good.

    The helmet's crests and horns are nicely textured and he's got a characterful face with a nice curly beard.

    Leaving aside any issues of historical accuracy, the body moulded cuirass looks good, with a lion's head on his chest and suitably decorated shoulder pieces and skirts, though the latter (described above as wicker reinforced leather?) seem to be a little less crisply sculpted/cast. There is a nice cord belt, with tassels and beneath that an ornamented tunic.

    He wears what appears to be a hooded cloak, with a large round brooch fastening: as with such one-piece mouldings the cloak becomes very thick at its lower edge.

    As noted by CK, he is armed with a typical leaf-shaped bronze sword (no sign of a scabbard: were they common in the period?) and an ornate and large round shield with various embossed decorations and borders and a lion's head boss. The shield's rear is suitably detailed with a rim and typical looped rope handle/surround. He has lion's head embossed greaves and arm braces (again unsure of authenticity of the latter?).

    The casting is fairly good with just a few rough edges, a little pitting on the large expanse of cloak and the slight loss of detail in the skirt. But overall (and pre-priming*), no obvious major issues (other than the bent crest).

    I'm no ancients expert but I suspect that some of the detailing may be a bit iffy... but regardless of that, it's a nice figure that exudes strength and power.

    As with the viking, how can you complain at E2.94?

    The full ancients range is here:

    And Romans here:

    *ref the blackening: Sergey informs me that baking soda and warm water will help prepare for priming: otherwise white spirit should remove it completely... I'll experiment.
    Nap likes this.
  5. NeilW A Fixture

    Final one:

    E2.72: E35.00 painted

    *not sure what 'lateral' means in this context?

    Height: base to eyes 58.5mm: overall (ex crest) 67mm


    The photos show the damage to the sword's scabbard, also the crest has been bent back. Both were easily re-bent into position.

    The CK site describes him as:
    Tatar lateral, 12-13 century. The time of the Golden Horde. Original tin figure 54 mm.

    The warrior’s helmet is a dial, the helmet dome consists of 4 parts, reinforced by plates at the joints, surmounted by a convex rosette and a brush. The crown is made of iron plates. The ears and backs are leather, decorated with gilded rivets. The armor combined, laminar and lamellar, consisting of the leather plates connected among themselves by ropes. Shoulders and pads of similar design are attached to the shell. The box for bows and arrows is reinforced with metal stripes and decorated with gilded rosettes. Also decorated with gilded overlays is the traditional broadsword. The shield is woven from willow twigs and reinforced with metal stripes.

    This (translated via Google) is a fair description of what you get other than the glaring issue of scale.

    Now, I know the arguments around 54mm, 1/35th, 1/32nd but on any measure, a 58.5mm to the eyes/67mm excluding crest figure of a C12/13th steppe tatar/mongol ain't any of these scales (perhaps the nearest is 60mm, 1/30th).

    Otherwise the figure is pretty much the same as his Viking and Greek companions in terms of sculpting and moulding. As with those, the pose is fairly static, others in the range are more dynamic.

    So, working from top down:

    The helmet is well sculpted, as the CK description says, with reinforcement banding plus a tallish crest, fur band and neck guards, all nicely done and crisp. The face has a nice pointy beard and looks about right for the part, perhaps surveying his domain or the battlefield's aftermath. The eyes are well defined though partly hidden by the helmet's visor.

    He wears laced laminar armour, comprising a cuirass with a short skirt at the front and longer ones each side. On his shoulders he wears Sode style plates. Individual plates are nicely shaped: the lacing is visible but, perhaps inevitably at this scale, is at times a little heavy-handed and the L/H side skirt looses virtually all of its detail behind the arrow case. Around his neck is a segmented collar with rounded studs. According to my sources, all this looks about right in terms of design etc although at times the detailing is a little iffy (though I suspect it will still paint up OK).

    Underneath the armour he has a calf-length tunic (a midi for those old enough to remember such garments :) and over it a waist length jerkin, encircled by a cummerbund cum corsolet with a laced front fastening, very broad at the front but shallow at the back. Clothing folds etc are well done and sit nicely, pulling in in all the right places. Above all, he's got an ornamental segmented metal belt, presumably gold, plus a nicely detailed leather one with a pouch and his sword suspension slings.

    No trousers/breeches are visible but he wears leather boots, suitably crinkled around the ankles. Just to finish things off, he stands on a sandy/bouldered surface... plus a skull (so perhaps he's revisiting the scene of some old conflict?).

    Having covered the armour, weapons-wise he has his sword (as noted delivered bent but easily straightened) which conforms to type being subtly curved and looks as if it's got an ivory or similar hilt, suitably tanged and riveted and, correctly, no crossbar. The scabbard has ornate fittings, again quite token detailing due to the scale. Otherwise, he's got a bow, encased within the quiver/bow combi-case, so little detail is visible (pity, a nice bow with some arrows would have added interest) other than some ribbing and bosses on the case itself.

    The shield is as described by CK, circular, made up of a ring/spiral of withies or whatever with metal reinforcement. The rear is a little rough around the edges but shows an upper arm strap and lower hand grip with a central quilted padding in the centre (a nice tough). However, the shield is also subject to one of the few design issues in that it is sculpted so flat to the body that it almost merges into it and to me is visually very uncomfortable.

    The above shows what I mean (as well as one of the few moulding seams).

    Overall the sculpting is fairly good and at this scale (whatever you decide it to be) is more or less what you'd expect from a one-piece metal figure. The moulding is generally clean and crisp with few major mould lines and other than the roughness to the rear of the shield and loss of detail on the L/H skirt, is fine. Otherwise, I don't like the positioning of the shield and I think they missed a trick by fully enclosing the bow*.

    * other figs such as this one do show the bow: http://skw.su/index.php?route=product/product&path=61&product_id=150
    [note the price difference, Sergey informs me that this is due to the status of the sculptor]

    So, what can one say other than repeat my view regarding the earlier figures: at E2.72 what's not to like (except the postage... so buy in bulk*).

    To give an overall impression, this is CK's painted version:

    And this is the link to the rest of the extensive and interesting 'Middle Ages' range:

    *BTW: I found a couple of threads suggesting that the range are re-casts. From my dealings with Sergey I don't believe that this is so, but if anyone can find the originals under another brand it may cast light on this point (oh the irony if this proves true as I've been banging on about unlicensed celeb figs/busts :nailbiting:)

    Nap likes this.
  6. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Neil

    Thanks for the reviews , very well done and really good constructive comments that are highlighted in the figures

    I have reworded the paragraph ref another company who is a known prolific recaster and took out the link as per PF guildelines

    Hope we see more

  7. NeilW A Fixture

    Fine... thanks, I'd never heard of them so didn't know.
    Nap likes this.
  8. Nap A Fixture


    No worries Neil

    Thanks again

  9. Warren SMITH Well-Known Member

    Very interesting review, will have to take a look at the figures... I do like the idea behind this type of figure.. almost Toy like but no assembly required. (y) Sorry but I did have a little chuckle when you mentioned the re-cast line.. ;)
    NeilW likes this.
  10. NeilW A Fixture

    Hi Warren .... as you say, they are old style one piece castings and a few notches above toys. That's not much different to some of the solids around when I started in the 1960s until Historex came in with what were then considered ultra-detailed figures.

    Glad you got the ref to the re-casting (which I don't believe these are)... neither do they purport to resemble stars of stage and screen ;)
    Nap likes this.
  11. Warren SMITH Well-Known Member


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