Monday, December 28, 2015

Hard Copies, Hunters and Halfbreeds

This last week I got some new toys in.  One thing I've noticed is that most of the internet is posting videos when they want to show something off.  I actually much prefer static pictures - just so I can read at my own pace, or easily refer back to them.
The first item is the new Uncharted Empires book - with 9 new army lists, including 2 completely new armies (while the other 7 are based off of models that Mantic does not currently make).
The first supplement for Kings of War 2nd Edition

I've been excited about this book for some time (when I saw the first Ratkin beta test list, I went out and dug out all my old skaven that I had never finished), especially when the Rules Committee asked me to be part of the secret beta test for the two super secret armies (The Trident Realms of Neritica and The Night Stalkers).   Being a major part of the beta test (because the lists were secret, it was not open to the public, so we had to get in as many games and as much testing as we could).  I believe the lists are balanced (even if I never managed to actually win a game with the Night Stalkers).  Of course it is always very cool to see your name in print - and most of our gaming group is listed as playtesters in the book!
So cool seeing our names in the credits of the book!

One of the things that Mantic has been doing to address the concerns of store owners over their use of kickstarter is to start making "retailer exclusive" item.  These are simple products that are not available through kickstarter.  Uncharted Empires is one of these, and the new Ogre Hunters are another one.

The second edition ogre list saw a lot more variety added to the list.  In addition to the warriors, braves, shooters and chariots, they added Hunters and Siege Breakers.  Hunters add ensnare and pathfinder to the standard ogre profile, while Siege Breakers add big Shield, TC(1) and up their Crushing Strength to (2).  The kickstarter saw them add the Berserker Braves models (and the oh so cool warlock - man I love that model), the Ogres got the new Hunters as a retailer exclusive in November.

Hunters Front

So the hunters are all wearing fur capes.  They have three different bodies and four heads (much like the berserker braves - I posted previous pictures back in September here.  What I really like about these however is that you get 4 left and 4 right arms.  Granted, one pair are both attached to a single large spear - but it ups the opportunity for 'unique' models (by my calculations there are 120 combinations available from this kit).  I like that, like the berserker braves, the arms are all cut on a flat angle just above the elbow - which allows you more than 90 degrees of freedom to position them - which if you are looking to differentiate your models just opens up even more choices.
Hunters Back

Being metal, they are heavy, and I would expect you would want to pin the arms.  Several of them came slightly bent - but metal has the advantage of being able to straighten them out with just your fingers.  While slightly harder to get (since they are retailer exclusive and do not come in any box set) and because they are metal a little more expensive (retail $34.99 for a regiment of 3), they definitely add some interesting options for Ogres (especially if you have played against nature or neriticans) - having ensnare and pathfinder are a great combination.  Stick these guys in the woods and nearly anyone charging them will be -2 to hit, and they get no penalty when charging out.

Then comes the big guy.  The Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Halfbreed.  This is based on the Dungeon Saga dragon - and impressive model that fills the 75x75mm base it comes one, and is a whopping 175mm (yes, 7") high to the tips of its wings.  I really want to see how this compares to the Greater Obsidian Golem which is on the same base and is nearly as big, or the Archfiend of the Abyss for the abyssal army (for which we have still only seen the 3D render here) which is also on the biggest base as is supposed to have just as big a wingspan.

Like about half (blacksouls, decimators, the old immortal guard, the Angkor Mortar and Katsuchan Rocket Launcher) the abyssal dwarf range, this is a hybird kit.  That means it requires a bit more work to assemble as it has both plastic and metal components.

You get the dragon body and wings, however they have removed the head already.  I find it interesting that you can actually see the glue where they had to pry the head off the neck.  The dragon actually us molded in 7 pieces (you can see where the legs are glued to the body, and possibly a seam between the bottom and top half of the body, plus the head and wings).  I understand needing them pre-assembled for Dungeon Saga (as it is being sold as a board game), so I guess it would actually raise the price to have some assembled and some not.
front
Out of the box, the wings are a bit 'duller' than the body - not sure if this is residue of the release agent on the body or what, but I recommend a good wash in warm soapy water before painting, just to be sure.

left
I've seen a post on facebook where one entire back leg was miscast (no scales) and the poster added their own.  I see no issues with the body at all.
back
The wings fit on quite well in the unique shaped slots for them.  The head/saddle will require some greenstuff on the back, as it leave a gap between itself and the body through which you can see the head stub.
right
The wings are a little 'duller' (I also find it interesting how the background color seems to be a different color for some of those shots), and the detail on them is a tiny bit softer (specifically the scales).  This will definitely require a lighter paint job - if you just glob it on you will lose some of the details easily.
bottom of left wing/arm
I was quite impressed with the lack of mold lines and flash on the plastic dragon pieces.  There is a small amount of flash on the tips of the talons on the wings, and some very tiny mold lines on the edges of the wings.  All very easy to remove with a sharp hobby knife.
top of left wing/arm
One of the few mold lines below.
top of right wing
Nice skin detail.  The wings remind me of the restic gargoyles - but cleaner and much easier to work with.
bottom of right wing
Next comes the heavy stuff - the metal parts.  The head has three pieces, the saddle two.  There was actually more flash (and those funky thin little metal 'strings' that are so often seen on metal miniatures.  The saddle actually had a large bit of flash on the top - very easily removed.  The horn each had a bit of a 'lip' on one side.  I find it kind of funny that while heavy, metal is fairly easy to work with.
Saddle, saddle back (bottom left), head and horns
The back side of all the pieces
back of the back.  Yes I make jokes to amuse myself.
I've generally not had a problem with the quality of models from Mantic.  In the first Kings of War kickstarter I received some miscast fleabag riders (the mawbeasts were missing a foot - easily fixed as described here).  Well out of all the Mantic models I've gotten - this is the second one where there is an issue.  I blew up the picture - and you can see that the back of the head is seriously cracked.  It isn't even on the mold line - which can be see on the horn on the left above the crack, which is across the entire back neck and hair.

So what to do?  Some people will immediately call them and ask for a replacement.  If this were missing, or much more horribly mangled then I would do that.  However this miscast should be quite easy to fix with a bit of green stuff.  It is basically on smooth skin and hair - two of the easiest textures to emulate.  So while an error, it is one I can fix and live with.

miscast but fixable
The last bits are for the rider - the Supreme Ironcaster.  It appears to be a variant on the retailer exclusive Iron Caster that came out in July with a bigger body, but at least one of the same heads and right arms (with scepter).  The left hand is different (being open instead of holding a fireball he is ready to throw).  The alternate head has a topknot, and the alternate arm is holding a sword instead.

Looking at these, I decided to initially go with the sword and helmet.  I have a second one coming, so I'll then make one a bit different.  At this point I'm thinking of using it as an Overmaster on Abyssal Dragon (maybe cut off the horns and bend the wings to the ironcaster version to make it a bit different).
Iron Caster
Of course seeing all the pieces and parts isn't nearly as much fun as seeing them put together.  I added a bit of chain glued to the horns for the rider to hold to 'control' the beast, and green stuffed in the gaps.  The rider is just blue-tacked to the seat and holding the chain - I'll paint him separately.
Front view
I also re-based the model.  My abyssal dwarf army is all on volcanic themed bases (for details, check out this blog post), so to make it consistent I had to do the same here, which first mean removing the glued on base.
left side 

Removing the base was not overly difficult, if a little tricky.  I used an ex-acto knife to cut between the foot and the base - the fore leg came off easily, but I has a bit more of a challenge with the two rear legs, as the blade did not reach cleanly all the way.  Thinking back,  I should have gone and gotten the 3" long blade I had in an old ex-acto knife box, it would have made this much easier (always use the right tool for the job boys and girls).
back
What I did try however is a little bit of super glue remover, assuming that is what they used to attach the model to the base.  This had two benefits - first the foot itself now came right off the base, plus it seemed to soften the plastic up a bit, to make it easier to cut the rest.  Each of the feet has a peg that goes through the base that had to be cut off.
right side
Then I simply cut out a 75mm piece of plasticard, added a bit of sheet magnet to the bottom and a bit of cork to the top with some sand on it.  I primed the base flat black (mainly to lock the sand on the cork), and then pinned the three feet into the base.  With the drying time for the pva glue (for the sand) then the paint (amazing - it was 60 here that night - in the second week of December!) it took a few hours to complete.  I was hoping to try him out the coming weekend, but while I did get to show the model off, I ended up playing demoing Dungeon Saga instead.

Lastly, I thought I would take a quick comparison shot of the dragon vs. the Great Winged Halfbreed. With the bulk of the head and saddle, this actually comes out bigger than the base dragon, especially the dragon neck bends down immediately after it joins the body.
Dragon vs Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Halfbreed
So these are my new toys.  I was going to do Ratkin for our new escalation league, but with this now on my desk, the grotesques almost finished and a greater golem (and another of these) coming soon from my wave 2 of the kickstarter (plus I have a box with about a bunch more models) I may just go ahead and build out the additional 1500 points of evil stunties I have (which will basically put me able to field at least the smallest unit of anything in the list).

Update - I originally wrote this up a few weeks ago, but it got pushed back in the queue to post. Since then I have actually finished painting this figure, so without further ado
front

left

back

right

head

rider
Because it is all fun and games . . .

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