A few years ago, a custom sculpt resin Ultramarine captain appeared on ebay, along with a couple of other sculpts (a scout and a cadian, if I remember correctly). I thought they looked pretty good—though the head of the captain was a little off, scale-wise.
Still, I figured they’d make a nice, unique piece of terrain for my games, and wanted to buy one. However, there were a few problems in the way. The first was that it just seemed sketchy. First of all, it’s buying models made with GW IP, so that was clearly an infraction and, despite the fact that the auctions listed as if they were US based, people had said the packages were coming from Singapore. Lastly, the price was higher than I wanted to pay (though I can’t rightfully recall what that price was—I’m guessing about $40 per model).
Still, I watched the auctions come up and down for a while, and monitored feedback. Many people complained in the feedback that shipping was slow and/or overpriced, and others complained that the models were broken and/or of poor quality. Of course, some people gushed positive feedback about how great they were. When I finally broke down and bit the bullet to buy one, the ebay seller stopped listing them, and was very bad about replying to questions, so they slipped quietly into oblivion.
That is, until I got a wild hair one day. I decided that I wanted to track it down, but didn’t have much to go on. I had the old picture from ebay and hoped that a Google image search would be enough, but sadly, that came up empty. After changing up search terms for a while, I did manage to find a picture of the model, and from there, I came up with the name Donnell Belleza. At that point, it was just a matter of searching for likely candidates on social networking sites that seemed to be artists/sculptors, which is when I came across his facebook profile.
For the record, though he has his profile photo as this specific model now, it wasn’t that way when I was searching for him, so I was actually quite proud of myself that I’d managed to track him down. Anyway, I asked him if he still made them, and he indicated that he did (along with a host of other new versions), and said that he’d send me one and I could pay him after I received it. Well, after a month or two, nothing had come, so I called him on it (at this point, I can see why former ebay people would’ve called him slow or flakey).
He apologized and directed me a new startup venture that’s selling his models called Steam Punk My Hero (a name that sounds like a non-English speaker designed it). Low and behold, the site sprung up, and started selling the sculpts on the very next day. Not wanting to wait a few more years to order, I bought immediately.
Sadly, there was no confirmation email, no contact what-so-ever that indicated that my order had been placed (or shipped). So, after three weeks, I contacted him (and the site’s owner) to find out what the status was. They assured me that the pieces had been shipped, so I just had to wait.
Well, this weekend, they arrived, and I’m pleasantly surprised. Granted, the models aren’t perfect, and they have an almost 2nd edition cartoony-style (which isn’t altogether out of place in my forces), but I think they’re going to make great statues for my games.
Obviously, I opted to buy his berserker model and the captain. From a sculpt standpoint, the only beef I have with the captain is his head, and the weird points on his toes. The points I could file down, but I have a feeling that I won’t.
The berserker has the classic 2nd edition “goofy” skull theme, which isn’t the prettiest, but it’s not all bad. The dynamic position goes a long way to making my opinion of him relatively rosy.
To give you an idea of scale, I’ve taken a few pictures of each of them next to a standard marine, as well as to the statue from the Honoured Imperium boxed set. They’re about perfectly to scale with the latter, and obviously far larger than the former. Still, I think they’ll look pretty fantastic on the battlefield, and hope that there are rules to include them in with the upcoming Stronghold Assault book.
Anywho, that’s about all I have to say about them for now. I figured I’d refrain from doing a detailed review of them, as that’s not really my expertise, but if anyone has questions, I’d be happy to answer them.
Hhis webstore doesn’t seem to actually include any products. What is he charging for them now?
Sure it does. The product tab has six different sculpts available for between $45-49 each–although I purchased these two for slightly less than that, based upon my frugal gaming report. I don’t recall if there was a discount for buying multiple, or if they just wound up raising their prices since then.
Fair enough. If you click on the “Our fist two products are up …” link on the front page nothing comes up.
Yeah, it’s definitely not the friendliest page (again, seemingly designed by a non-native English speaker). I think I ran into that same problem the first time I went to the site, so I PM’d the guy on facebook–at which point he guided me to it. I chalked it up to site updates as well, but perhaps it was just the same problem you’re reporting?
I bought the Captain back during his initial eBay offering, and was/am one of the initial detractors. I paid by Paypal, and received a tracking number that repeatedly registered at the shipper’s site as “invalid.” I waited 40 days, and filed a Paypal dispute. I got my money back, and chalked it up as an overseas snafu. Shipping from that area of the globe is very hit or miss.
Then, months and months later the Captain showed up in the mail, beaten to hell and back. I opened the box and almost passed out from the resin fumes. My son was playing on the floor nearby, so I brought the whole thing out to the garage to air out for a week. The model is still languishing in a box somewhere.
The sculpt itself is nice, though the feet are a tad small and some of the trim and skull details are “soft.” If it hadn’t been for the months waiting, false tracking number, and knock-you-out resin fumes, I’d have left positive references for it.
Well, that sucks. I guess it isn’t all bad that you wound up getting the model for free–even if it was badly damaged in shipping and slow to arrive. Sad to see it worked out that way though.
Have you considered turning it into a piece of terrain? If it’s as mangled as it sounds, that might be the only thing to do with it.
Yeah, I’ve thought about turning it into terrain or a fallen/damaged/worn statue for a display board. I’ve just never pulled the trigger on it since I’d shoved it in a box and forgotten about it ’til your post.
Very interesting – what a sleuth!
“When I finally broke down and bit the bullet to buy one, the ebay seller stopped listing them, and was very bad about replying to questions, so they slipped quietly into oblivion.”
Does this mean that you bought one via ebay originally and lost your money? Did you get your money back? Did you mention this to him when you did track him down?
The models do look nice, I have to say. I think you should file off the points though!
No, I didn’t buy one originally. What I tried to convey with that sentence was that I was super wishy-washy about it, and when I finally decided to do so, they just didn’t have any more auctions, and stopped replying to my emails. It sounds like TheRhino was one of the original purchasers (see his comment above), and fell into the camp of unhappy buyers. I s’pose the end result is that the product is relatively good, but the communication problems might be enough to turn anyone off.