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Victoria Miniatures Heavy Weapon Crew Arms

Catalog picture from Victoria Miniatures Website

Who did it?
The troopers are from Victoria Miniatures from Australia.
Victoria Lamb is a production designer and Australian Golden Demon winner. Victoira Lamb offers her own range of miniatures and a large number of conversion parts for tabletop miniatures.

Why do I want this?
I recently bought some Rogue Trader era Imperial Guard and Titan Crew miniatures from eBay while being in a bit of a nostalgic mood. I really like the old Imperial guard with their combination of scifi, WWI and Victorian elements. Together with the current Regimental Advisors, I'd like to create something like an Imperial Navy landing party - maybe I can convince my gaming group to have a go at Necromunda again…
The metal bodies themselves have aged well, but the plastic arms and weapons from 20 years ago are not up to todays standards. A lot of companies offer conversion parts to fit GW models or even single bits from the current plastic Guard boxes. However in sculpting circles, the 80's have never gone out of style as most arms still have gigantic shoulder pads :) - I know that most current guard models have some kind of body armor, so it makes sense , but that's unfortunately not what I was looking for. Victoria Models hat just the right combination of 'plain' arms and retro-look lasrifles that I need for my models.

What's in the box?
The Heavy Weapon Crew Arms set contains 14 different arms including :
4 right arms with rifles
1 pair of arms with ammo crate
1 left arm with ammo crate
1 left arm with binoculars
1 left arm with remote control box
1 left arm pointing
1 right arm pointing
1 right arm shading eyes
1 left arm waving
1 left arm with lighter
1 head with goggles and cigar
All arms have plain sleeves and no gloves. The rifles and equipment parts have a nice retro style and do not follow the more popular chunky style of many sci-fi manufacturers. The ammo boxes, binoculars and other bits of equipment will give everything a unique look and are a nice alternation from the usual 'full auto-fire' poses you get with a lot of other models. One of the details that amaze me is the holding strap dangling from some rifles. It adds a lot of character to the part and to my pleasant surprise is much sturdier than it looks, so I don't have to fear that the strap will break after the first game.

All parts of the Heavy weapon crew arms set

Assembly line
All parts are metal. The casts are very clean with just minor mould lines on a few parts. Cleaning the parts is quick and painless. Victoria Miniatures arms are sized to work with the current GW Cadians, but they also fit the 20+ year old Rogue Trader Guards without problems. Conversion means, that you try to do things with your models that they were not especially designed for. You will need to bend things slightly here or there and use a drop of green stuff plus a few tools to get the desired results.
Most arms are interchangeable, so the posing variants are almost endless.

Two Citadel Rogue Trader era Titan Moderatus miniatures with Victoria arms

The Price to Pay
As far as I know, there currently aren't any distributors or licensed casters in Europe, so you can only buy directly from Victoria Miniatures.
Victoria Miniatures has changed the currency of the shop from AUD to USD since my purchase, so the current figures might vary slightly.
The Heavy Weapon Crew Arms pack was 10,50 AUD and single Rifle Arms were 0,75 AUD each, which is roughly 8,30 and 0,60 EUR. These prices are OK for high quality metal pieces from a small manufacturer. The 'trouble' starts with the fact, that Australia is the end of the world when viewed form "good ol' Europe". Victoria Miniatures charges a flat rate of 10 AUD for shipping, which is neither cheap nor expensive as far as I'm concerned. I think, a German shop would charge similar fees for the opposite direction. Nevertheless, it adds to the overall costs of the parts.
The other big factor to consider is import duties, as Australia is not a member of the EU. While there is usually no special duty on model kits and toys, you are required to pay import tax, which in Germany is the same as VAT, so you have to add 19 % EUSt to the bargain. There is one exception to this rule. When the sum of merchandise plus shipping and handling charges is less than 22 EUR, the consignment is tax exempt. I'm not sure if there are similar thresholds in other EU-countries, but a quick look at the websites of your national customs authority will tell you. In other words, you have to make a trade-off. Either you keep the total amount low, having to face relatively high shipping charges per item or you order many items and have to add import tax to it. I've heard, that some carriers charge an additional fee to present and declare the goods at the customs office. I haven't encountered this with German carriers. German Post automatically presents all parcels at customs and delivers everything to your door at no extra charges when the shipment is cleared. If the customs officials want to check the parcel, it is delivered to the nearest customs office in your area and you have to present the goods yourself for examination. You have to show an invoice with all items listed and a proof of the transaction - a hardcopy of the PayPal transaction is usually sufficient. The customs official will open the parcel, check its contents against the paperwork and will send you on your way if everything adds up.
You might read some advice on the internet to get the shipment declared as a personal gift (which is tax exempt) or to ask the seller to reduce the value of the items on the customs declaration to dodge or reduce the amount of duties you have to pay. I strongly advice against trying to do this. If you are lucky, you might be able to smuggle the odd eBay purchase from a private seller past their guards, but getting a shoebox full of stuff from a foreign business address, labeled as a gift or with a suspiciously low declaration value will get you busted for tax fraud! The additional duties and fines you'd have to pay will most certainly be more than the value of the original shipment.
To cut a long story short, the parts themselves are fairly priced, but the extra costs drive the total amount you have to pay up significantly. Please note that Victoria Miniatures is not responsible. This is due to the fact, that everything has to be shipped halfway round the world and across borders.

From left to right: Imperial Guard Medic, Sanctioned Psyker, Fleet Officer, Titan Moderatus
Medic, Psyker and Moderatus are Rouge Trader era GW bodies with Victoria arms and the Officer is a single cast from the current Regimental Advisors 40K blister

The parts are high quality casts and great designs with a unique feel to them. I'm happy with my purchase and can only recommend Victoria Miniatures. In due time, I will surely get a few more goodies from Australia.


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