Colonies/clouds of bats show up in very many of the media that inspire my miniature games, so I have been looking out for ways to include them in my games for a while. Reaper miniatures made the bat cloud models above in metal for the last few years , but as I wanted more than one model to represent the colony, I could never justify the expense. Another issue was that the “swarm” was a multipart metal kit that would be a headache to assemble/store/play with, so I resisted the temptation to purchase.
Then Reaper turned loads of their items into cheap Bones plastic, eliminating a lot of the above problems, so I got my hands on three “flocks” and finished painting them the other day (along with the single bat familiar, also Bones).
Up until now my experience with the Reaper Bones material has been that its a bit awkward to clean up, but fine to paint, if a bit bendy. The detail level on the Ice Wyrm, Eye Beast and Elemental Familiar that I painted recently was more than acceptable.
This was not the case with the Bats, which seem to have lost a lot of detail in the transition from metal to plastic, particularly around the faces. The detail loss is so bad that many of the bats faces are really just earless blobs, which meant that although I started painting these models in October, I ran out of enthusiasm and they sat half painted on my painting desk since. I finished them last week in an effort to clear away some of my unfinished bits and pieces before the end of the year. The detail on the bats faces would have been hard to see on the gaming table anyway, but I would have painted it if it was there. Disappointing.
The detail on the bat familiar is better quality. His furry little body and tiny little face have enough detail to be picked out.
As I plan to use the models as bats from spaaace and the standard black and brown bat palette is nearly as uninspiring as the models indistinct faces, I decided to add some blue to the heads and bodies. The chances are that if I use the bats in a modern setting – unlikely in itself – it will be in some sort of Resident Evil inspired zombie game. Would bats turn blue if they came in contact with the T-virus? Id say so.