Thursday, 2 January 2014

Unboxing Malifaux - Ramos's 'The M&SU'.

The 'Union' is recruiting again...

Once in a generation, a person is born who has both the pure genius and the charisma to find himself with enough political sway to change the world. Doctor Victor Ramos, President of the Miners and Steamfitters Union is one such man. He is the mind behind the Hollow Marsh Pumping station, which has contributed greatly to the safety of Union miners. He has become a hero to the workers, protecting them not only from physical disasters, but also from the designs of the tyrannical Guild.

What the common worker doesn't see, however, is the truth about the Union under Ramos's control. While he has been earning the love of the common man, he has also been earning a place in the back alleys and black markets of Malifaux, using the Union as a front for a far-reaching crime syndicate. Those who find themselves in the upper ranks are those who Ramos trusts most.

His greatest battles are fought in the political realm, finding a way to twist every attack the Guild makes back upon them, raising himself only higher in the minds of the union workers. Even for someone as smart as Ramos, however, physical combat cannot be completely avoided. Ramos often travels with a few of his constructs, dangerous spiders that cling to his enemies. If the fight is not going well, Ramos can use his strange connection to his creations to sacrifice them, causing a burst of electric energy that will damage even the strongest foes.

The 'M;SU' box contains enough parts for six to ten miniatures (depending on how you configure the Steam Arachnids)...namely Ramos, his Brass Arachnid Totem (4SS), Joss (10SS),  Howard Langston (12SS) and six Steam Arachnids that can either be put on individual 30mm bases (4SS each) or three can be put on a 40mm base as a Steam Arachnid Swarm (8SS). It also contains stat cards for each one including six Steam Arachnid cards and two Steam Arachnid Swarm cards so you have enough for whichever configuration you pick for them. Also included are six upgrade cards four of which are for Ramos, one is for Joss and there's one that can be given to any M;SU model.

This makes the Soulsstone value of the box different depending on your chosen Arachnid configurations but for the sake of simplicity we'll go with what's on the outside of the box...

Ramos (0), Brass Arachnid (4), Joss (10), Howard Langston (12), Steam Arachnid Swarms (8, 8) Total (42) or (46) with a maximum Soulstone cache and (54) with maximum 'out of the box' upgrades.

The box has two sprue sets in it as well as the aforementioned cards. Here's pictures of both sides of them.

Lets have a look at each of these models in turn. Should there be any assembly issues with any of the models then they will be listed in the appropriate section and you can view larger versions of the smaller pictures or instruction pictures by clicking on them.


Some General Notes on Assembly.
Many of these models contain quite small parts so depending on how dexterous you are you might consider getting yourself some tweezers. Dry-fitting is also always a good idea in case a part needs a tiny bit of extra filing or filling as some of the fits are quite tight. Where the parts on the sprue are quite thin (chains, weapon shafts, cables and the like) then it might be better to remove parts with a sharp scalpel rather than cutters.

I would suggest that when assembling the Brass Arachnid and/or Howard Langston that you remove from the sprue and then attach to the model one part at a time as per the diagram. 'Remove all parts and put in a pile' is not a method of assembly I'd recommend in these circumstances.

The Sprue

Stat Card

Upgrade Cards

His left arm slots between his body and the cape which means you'll need to dry fit first in order to make sure that it fits together neatly. Also the spider held in his hand is quite small so expect some fun 'where the hell did I drop that' moments...
The shoulder joint and the tiny spider both require some attention as mentioned earlier.


The Sprue

Stat Card

 He could also take the 'Bleeding Edge Tech' upgrade as he's M&SU so we'll leave it in this section rather than include it everywhere there's a model with the M&SU type.

He's not that tricky to assemble until you reach Wyrd miniatures new favourite thing which appears to be tiny bits of easy to snap cabling...if you don't own any tweezers then I suggest you go invest in some. They'll come in useful on many of the new plastic kits, especially if you have fingers like mine...

Brass Arachnid
The Sprue

Stat Card

There are two main issues with this model. Firstly it's important to follow the instructions carefully as each of the eight legs has to be in the correct place and secondly even if you get that bit right its a bugger to fit onto the required 30mm base. As I have no intention of entering a tournament with this crew I put mine on a 40mm though I've included some pictures of it next to a 30mm so you can hopefully see the's not is however something you need to plan for at the assembly stage as the default locations for the legs makes this difficult to achieve.

Howard Langston
The Sprue

Stat Card

This model has the 'legs only fit in one place', 'fiddly bits of cable' and 'may be awkward to fit on the appropriate base' issues. Follow the advice I gave in other sections above and you'll be just fine.

Steam Arachnid and Steam Arachnid Swarms

Stat Cards

The legs are fairly small but other than that these are no problem.

Comparison Pictures
For those of you interested in comparisons between old metal model sand the new plastics (I get asked this a lot for some reason) here's some pictures for scale.

Ramos...and Ramos...

Steam and Steampunk Arachnids

Steam, Alternate and Steapunk Arachnid Swarms

Howard Langston and Steamborg Executioner

There's also a third version of 'Howard Langston' in the form of a 'Miss' model. Here's some pictures of the three of them only slightly marred by my painting...

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.


  1. Wow this is probably the best deal for a starter pack, because unlike other starters this can get to 50ss and still have 2 SA's to summon when others only get to 35ss! (Almost) defiantly going to grab this as my first box (But then again my mind is unsettled and I'll change my mind my tomorrow :P).

    1. It is an amazing kit (if a bit fiddly to assemble in places) and an interesting one to play with.

      I'm glad these articles are proving helpful :-)

  2. I just recently got into malifaux, and currently working on M&SU crew box. Do I need to get more bases for this particular box? And how do i figure out which base the model must be on?

    1. The kit comes with enough bases for either swarms or individual spiders (well mine did anyway).

      Also, each stat card has the correct base size on the rear of the card in the bottom right hand corner. You can see it on the stat card pictures in the article.

  3. I called in assembly help on Howard Langston also, and he magnetized the connection between his torso and the construct legs. The top half of Langston, cables and all, fits in a regular 28mm scaled slot in the foam, and the bottom half is shallow enough to be much easier to transport.

    For steam arachnids I was on my own. My first solo minis assembly. Some of their legs took some shaving down with an x-acto knife to fit into the holes enough for plastic glue to take over. Fortunately they are pretty forgiving. A lopsided steam arachnid can be explained away as an action pose. Also, mine were for some reason already clipped from the sprue and boxed, and I got four tail pipes for three spiders. Therefore one of mine is an experimental "duomatic" model with twin tooters. ;)

  4. this is a fiddly kit. even with wyrds assembly instructions, I managed initially to get the 2 upper claws on Howard the wrong way around. I'm of the opinion the 3d modEllery was showing off and didn't design these minis for game play given the number of breakable bits on Howard and joss


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