Black Knight from Valkiria Miniatures

Pin-Ups...

Love them or hate them they are here to stay.

Many conversations on social media often turn into aggressive exchanges between the haters and the defenders of this genre of our amazing diverse hobby.  Often someone will inject their opinion on someone else’s painting or sculpture and cause a stink over the subject, and then it all gets brushed under the rug till the next time a set of boobs is on show then it all starts again.

It is a general consensus amongst many that the over sexualisation of female miniatures and busts is not necessary to sell a nice model. But on the other side of the coin, a lot of hobbyists love that kind of thing so the argument will rage on eternal.

My own view on the subject is gratuitous use of over sexualisation is just crass and many companies have blatantly used sex to gain sales in a male dominant hobby so I have often swerved models with over sized proportions and needless nudity. However; in June 2016 Valkiria Miniatures launched their range of 70mm resin pin up girls and in my opinion these are done in the most tasteful way while keeping the pin up aesthetic.

I first saw the Valkiria minis in my time writing for Figure Painter Magazine when I noticed VHP-01 their very first pin-up; the Texas Ranger.

Now by my own admission this one was just that bit too risqué for me but the paint job on the Ranger was outstanding and actually saw me liking that miniature. So thanks to the very talented Krzysztof Kobalczyk for a very nicely done piece which also won silver at Scale Model Challenge back in 2016.

I digress...

Since the launch of Texas Ranger I have followed Valkiria Miniatures along their journey and each release from then has not stepped over the line into gaudy titilisation, and each release has not failed to keep my interests in the range. 

I have VHP-07 in my GreyMountain stash and on purchasing this copy I approached the guys at Valkiria to ask their interest in reviews. Pawel Surowiec got in touch and arranged to send The Black Knight and the Swedish Veteran my way so this review, as the title suggests, is taking a look at the Black Knight VHP-12 and a review of VHP-11 follows soon.

So what do we get for the €35.00 price tag?

Let’s see what in the box.

A quick note about the box...



I have seen some very high priced miniature recently in boxes that wouldn’t hold up if you sneezed on them and you can tell it was all about the cost rather than the quality.


But Valkiria have set out to go for quality throughout. Nice sturdy printed box with concept art stuck to one side and the bare resin model on the other so straight out of the box (bad pun intended) you can see that quality starts with packaging.

First impressions and all that...


When you pop open the box you can see the parts are protected very well and the torso parts even have their own card inlay for extra protection thus reducing damage in transit.

The Black Knight sculpted by Alexandre Piovani has been cast in resin and comes in 9 nicely detailed parts all nicely protected in ziploc bags and bubble wrap.


So you can see Valkiria want their products to arrive in the best shape possible from their journey from Poland across the world.

Stop waffling and tell us about the faults I hear you ask...

There are none...

It’s that simple...

We have some mould lines capillary thin all placed in places which hide the line, and where that is not possible the mould line crosses flat, detail free areas so I cannot pick fault with that at all.


There are some casting gates left attached and you can see that they have been placed to reduce the amount of clean up as they are located on detail free surfaces.


The upper torso is shiny and this can happen for a few reasons but I think in this case it’s the resin they have been cast in. The resin is a harder type. Once set so it looks slightly plastic so the smooth areas in the mould have caused the hard resin to cure very smooth.

There is another couple of reasons this could have happened like too much mould release, too much oil in the silicone or even resin was not mixed correctly. But as the resin is not sticky or oily I refer back to my initial thought on the matter and when it is undercoated it will be a nice smooth surface to paint on.

The Black Knight is a legend in med-evil history and is spoken a lot of in Arthurian Legend but does appear in other literary sources. One thing is for sure, he is said to be dark and handsome and always wearing the best black armour to vanquish all his foes. This miniature echoes all of that with her dark smouldering looks and her equally dark armour. Even as a pin up you can see zero skin except her face. Yes her boobs are a little pronounced but this is the nature of a Pin-Up girl.



The lower torso is equally as detailed and the tunic under the armour simulates a skirt of sorts but is not revealing at all as it is covering her leg armour. The straps on the reverse are a nice detail and when painted this will be a very nice piece.

At 70mm in size this gives plenty of scope for weathering and picking out detail, you can reflect light off the chain mail and weather the edges of the armour, or you can simply go full on gloss effect and have her parade ground worthy.

I would say the only detail I had trouble seeing was on her shield but I think that is just my old man brittle eyes haha. The shield has a skin on it covering the wooden detail which leaves the surface fine for painting details on and the emblem on it is sculpted well but I will need to wear all my pairs of specs to paint it ha ha... But the emblem is the one you see on a lot of Teutonic flags and imagery.

She is definitely a pin up with her feminine figure and flowing long hair and looks like she is strutting along a catwalk rather than into battle. But the actual sculpt sees her stood in a resting pose with the sword over her shoulder, stood upon a scenic base of stone steps with a fire pit bowl as her companion on the steps.

The sword is very thin and has very little flex to it so be careful if you are handling this because it could snap easily if caught the wrong way.


The armour on the arms seemed thin at first but a slender lady is not going to have chunky or muscly arms so the detail is just fine. The shield hand comes on its gate as the handle for the shield is quite thin and this could snap in transit so its good to leave it on the gate. Just take care when removing it as it looks quite brittle, but I won't know till I attempt it.

Just the Arthurian Legend alone sees this release my favourite one of the Bartek’s Pin Ups but I really do like the whole range for its reduced level of sexualisation than most pin up ranges out there.

Based on this copy I would easily purchase more of the range because of the price. You can see there is total value for money and in recent times I have found it hard to justify prices for some of the things I have purchased. But at €35.00 these miniatures are bang on the money for me.

So a quick summary sees me very happy with this miniature and I would recommend this release to anyone who likes the pin up genre.

So head over to http://valkiria-miniatures.pl and check out this release and all the others in the Bartek’s Historical Pin-Ups Range.

Valkiria also sell two sets of Illustrated Playing Cards at €9.00 each as well as a book that teaches you how to paint and touches on colour theory, but I think it’s in Polish but a pictures tells a thousand stories so maybe check it out too.

Thanks for reading this review. I hope you found it useful and if you decide to purchase and of the Valkiria range please let us know. If you want to see more of their range and keep up to date with future releases check their social media on Facebook and Instagram.

So have a great week ahead and remember Don’t Drink the Paint Water...


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3 comments:

  1. Hello
    Two notes - the surfaces are shiny simply because the printed master was finished in this way - like every figure from Valkiria - it has nothing in common with casting process. And the second thing - I'm afraid you've made a minor mistake in your 'historical research' - if you'll check the coat of arms on the shield, you'll discover that it belonged to Zawisza Czarny (Zawisza The Black - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zawisza_Czarny ) - one of the most famous Polish knights. BTW, he was fighting against Teutonic Order at the Battle of Tannenberg (the first one, in 1410).
    Best Regards
    ~kamil

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kamil.

      Thank you for the comment.

      You'll find that there are many factors which can result in a shiny smooth cast like this. One is the printed master and the rest are all to do with mould releases and resins used. Casting is also part of Norm's work I'm afraid 😉

      As for the coat of arms; Zawisza was only one user of it as it is the Sulima coat of arms and variations were used by over 270 families in Poland. But also bare in mind that the Black Knight appears in various Mythology and Norm wasn't reviewing this as a historical figure. It he were then there would be many questions regarding the armour design.

      Kind regards,
      Steve.

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    2. Hello Steve
      First of all - I definitely do not judge this mini from the historical point of view - as it was mentioned in the review above - it is pin-up style figure (anyway, it is still fun to watch discussions about 'heeled boots, which are not regular uniform pattern' etc.).I just suggested what the inspiration of Bartek's illustrations was (and this figure, as well); interpretations may vary.
      As for the castings - I know that there can be many reasons for such a smooth surface finish, but in this case it is the result of the way the master was prepared. I'm not smart enough to deduce it, of course. Simply, the manufacturer mentioned several times here and there that this is how he finishing the 3D prints
      All the best
      ~kamil

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