Sunday, March 10, 2024

Space 1889: Kraag Warriors unboxing

Hopefully I don't scare off any potential readers with the term unboxing. I must say that I find the genre (notably on youtube) to be enormously boring and uninteresting. When I popped open this box I could feel the vintage leaking from the plastic wrap and disappearing into the sky so I thought I should take some photos.

Space 1889 is, of course, the colonial/victorian adventures on mars where everybody wants 'liftwood' that only grows there to allow for playing naval vessels. I played in a RPG campaign that was fun, and there are a lot of wargaming aspects that predate the rpg. 

The martians come in 3 flavors (which I suspect match the general racist categorizing that happened around egypt/sudan at that period of history): canal martians (civilized), hill martians (nomads) and mountain martians (feral/slavers/flyers). These are the latter, and live in fortified vertically oriented mountains fastnesses that they raid for slaves from. Easy fodder for villains. The Belgians are also the canonical bad guys resulting from their rapacious activities in Congo that are duplicated on mars. 


 The castings are quite clean with respect to mold lines. There is an alright amount of variation. One thing I quite like is all of them are duplicated in flying and non flying poses. Even better, they come with stout flying base equipment (metal bases! precut wire!)

Perhaps the most nostalgic part of this was the booklet that came enclosed. It gave information about martians in general and mountain martians in particular. And then it gave painting directions! They even describe various techniques like washes and glazes without formally calling them that. How retro. How useful in the age pre internet.

These figs are still available through RAFM, a Canadian company. I suspect RAFM has a bit of a twilight existence, but they still have some old minis with charm (including 15mm traveller stuff, and 25mm fantasy). They had a bit of a resurgence a decade or two ago with some sort of modern rule set.

My interest in 1889 was piqued by some photos and reading some war game reports. It's already slipped to the backburner again, but hopefully these charming figs will see some paint before too much time passes.



  1. I also don't really like unboxing videos (there's a list of box contents right there on the website) unless they take the extra step of painting stuff up or comparing to something else...
    I enjoyed the line of vintage leaking.
    This actually looks like it'd be a fun game though. 😁

    1. The problem with colonials comes down to zulu and pony wars: the rules are usually all about plucky white folks scything down hordes of 'primitives' with 'advanced' weapons. I really don't want to paint that many figs. And it's not particularly rewarding game play. I played in a 'sword and the flame' game at a con, and the GM went right out and told us: don't be clever and go to ground or approach fancy. Your only chance is to charge straight ahead with everything once you clear sight blocking terrain.

      I played that once. I'm good.

      Space 1889 at least has cloud ships. And flying martians. There's definite pirate fodder there.

  2. Late to the party - apologies! Man these guys make me regret not buying a bunch of stuff from Parroom Station when they were about - different story setting I know but still Mars! I gather the sculpts are still available from Ral Partha so when I've saved enough for the postage I may still invest.

    We've often joked about sniffing that 1980's air when opening a blister pack of that vintage - no idea if the cardboard backing would actually keep it in but I get what you're saying about the vintage leaking out!

    I also get what you're saying about colonial type games and it not being a great deal of fun for the "native" player. Not to bang on about Oldhammer but I think GW nailed it with the Orc's Drift scenario pack - a set of scenarios with loads of character for both sides, force strength and composition in the final battle being affected by the outcome of each scenario and a relatively low miniature count, at least by modern GW standards.

    1. I'm so bad about noticing comments stuck in moderation. Apologies. The Parroom Station sculpts from Ral Partha have me interested. I just need my list of priorities to change a bit.....

      You make a good point about the Orc's drift scenario. I guess the same vein is present with the lichemaster. Have multiple slightly unbalanced fights that affect the final mashup. A good thing to contemplate.