Monday, January 18, 2016

Sometimes it is the size that matters

One thing I have heard in the past is the lack of monster models from Mantic.  The lists have a few monsters in them, but they did not have any corresponding monstrous models, so people had to look elsewhere to fill these positions in their army lists.

Well, the wait is over, at least for a few of these.  Mantic has jumped into monsters in a big way, with some clever re-use as well.

First off, unless you have been hiding under a rock, is the new dragon.  This model fills a 75x75mm base - there is no way to get it on something smaller without overflowing with dragon feet and tail everywhere.  This is a truly massive kit - not some skinny, malnourished worm with delusions of grandeur.  Even though it is plastic, there is still some weight to this beast.  Truly menacing, he is almost 7" tall from base to wing tip.  It manages to both be a nice model and to fill it's role as a gaming piece very well.  The details are not quite as crisp as they would be had this been made in resin or a hard plastic kit.  It comes partially assembled in three parts (as it is just too big to fit into a box otherwise) - the wings are separate but fit snuggly into the body.  It is intended to be usable out of the box, and pretty much is.
Dungeon Saga dragon
The picture here is the base dragon from Dungeon Saga, the centerpiece of the "Tyrant of Halpi" expansion.  The expansion even comes with large tiles to allow this monstrous beast to have enough room to fight the adventurers (it takes up 9 squares in the game!).

Not wanting to let a good model go to waste, Mantic then re-packaged it with three varieties for Kings of War - as an Elf King on Dragon, Basilean Lord on Dragon, and the Abyssal Dwarf Supreme Ironcaster on Greater Winged Abyssal (makes me wonder if those evil stunties are tying to compensate for their squat size by having huge names?)

Mantic had previously made a dragon and rider for the elves in metal
old metal dragon
and you can see similarities in the design - however using plastic allows for a bulkier body and bigger wings than the old metal sculpt.  In addition, it is simply bigger - the new dragon barely fits on the 75mm base it is provided with, while the old one comfortably fit on a 50mm base.  (Unfortunately I don't have the old metal dragon to do a good size comparison).  Of course the metal rider is much improved as well.  This dragon comes in four parts, as the neck/head is a different, separate piece than the Dungeon Saga one - with a saddle on it instead of the bare neck.
new plastic dragon with metal rider
In addition, the same dragon is used with a different rider for the Basileans.  The Basilean Lord on Dragon is shipping to those who bought it in the kickstarter, but will not be available for retail purchase until this summer.

The third option (and the one I personally have) is the Abyssal Dwarf Supreme Ironcaster on Greater Winged Halfbreed.
Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Abyssal
For those of you that HAVE been under a rock - you will like the next one.  The Greater Earth Elemental (for dwarf and nature armies) / Greater Obsidian Golem (Abyssal Dwarfs) is just that - a huge rock.  This was available in the kickstarter as a dual kit, and I mistakenly believed that it would come as such in the army deals, but I was wrong.  However I do believe that if you purchase the Greater Obsidian Golem that it includes two sets of arms and three heads, to allow you to make either. But the one in kickstarter nature army just has one set of arms and a single head.
parts
The difference between the elemental and golem are the armor on the golem's arms and head.  Overall a nice piece of resin - very easy to clean (the chest had the most to clean off, but it was still quite quick with a sharp hobby knife).  Assembling was simple, the chest fits nicely (a tiny gap at the top that is barely noticeable in front view
front
The head and arms are ball and socket joints.  Because of the sculpt on the arms, the 'ball' is not actually round but faceted (like the rest of the sculpt).  As such it does not fit tightly in the socket - I used and recommend a gel super glue (as opposed to the straight liquid) that give some gap filling capability.
left
The arms however are fully posable within the socket, so you can have some variety.  It wasn't until after I had him assembled that I realized I went for the same pose as the dragon - I'm trying to get the additional golem bits to make an alternate one - and I'll make sure to raise the right arm on that one instead :-)
back
Lots of detail - the crystals can give a good opportunity to get away from a standard rock paint scheme.  I plan to use this as a Greater Obsidian Golem even without the armor - so I'll paint the crystals in a very deep purple with some lighter purple streaks in them (to make them look like obsidian glass) and then do orange in the cracks to represent the glowing lava from the abyss.
right
Speaking of the Abyss, I picked up the third big guy in my kickstarter pledge, and he will be available in commercially February with the release of the Forces of the Abyss.  I've shown promotional pictures of the Abyssal Fiend before (here and here), but it is always good to see the real thing.
pieces parts
The only option this model has is to build it with or without wings.  I was able to glue everything but the back piece on and am able to switch them out fairly easily, to give the ability to use either option. Unfortunately this will result in a slight gap when putting either piece in place.
if you want to be boring (or don't have the 50 points to spare to purchase wings)
I am looking at putting in some rare earth magnets (I like to get mine from Amazing Magnets, though I have found them much easier to find now than when I first started magnetizing my ogre models ten years ago).  Adding magnets will keep the wings from falling off (the back piece without them is light and stable enough to not easily be knocked off), and may also help to pull it closer to the body to lessen the gaps.
the fiend in all his glory
Fine detail, and he just lords over the battlefield.  I like the detailing on the ankles and lower legs - giving the classic goat leg look (and of course cloven hooves).
left
Right now I am only building a 1000 pt demo force of Abyssals, of which this beautiful model will NOT be a part of unfortunately.  Having a 300 point model (plus the option of a 25 pt Lightning Bolt(5) and an artifact) out of a 1000 points for a  demo just isn't reasonable.  If (I should say When, but get real here - I have so much to paint that I actually am using I may not get to this guy) I get him painted up nicely, he might be fun to bring just to show off.
back
 Of course the obligatory pointed tail.
right
He isn't pictured on the 75mm base he comes with (he is actually quite stable without it)

One of the things that I wondered when I saw the original renders of all three of these kits is how big are they actually, and how do they compare one to the other?  Well now that I have them all assembled (and one painted, we can see!)

I did grab a comparison shot of the dragon vs. halfbreed at my son's for a previous blog entry, with the bigger head making it more massive.
Comparing my son's Dungeon Saga dragon to the unpainted Greater Winged Halfbreed
Comparing the Greater Earth Elemental to the Abyssal Fiend - the elemental is blockier and more massive (though in this shot he does seem to suffer slightly from the Mantic tiny leg syndrome that plagued a lot of the models from the first kickstarter (Trolls are the worst for this, but others are similar).  Mantic needs to whip them into shape and make sure their models quit skipping leg day at the gym!  For monsters they do compare nicely.
golem v fiend
When comparing the elemental to the winged halfbreed - the wings really tend to overpower the rocks, and the body does have a bit more mass (especially with the huge metal head).  However it does appear they would be evenly matching in a fight, and either could hold his one against the other).
halfbreed v golem
When comparing the halfbreed to the fiend, it is all about the wings.  The fiends wings are much more massive, though not as spread open as the halfbreeds.  The halfbreeds also stand up a bit taller (since they are more spread out) by about an inch on the taller wing tip.
halfbreed v fiend
And finally all three - that are so big even my Foldio 2 can't quite contain them.  I do like (since they are my main army) that of the big monster kits, two of them are in the Abyssal Dwarves.  2nd edition only gave us 2 new units (Grotesques and the Grotesque Champion), but it did give us some nice new kits.
all three
Finally, a comparison shot of three abyssal models for scale, the fiend, a moloch and a lower abyssal.
As it should, the fiend dominates

Now I kind of wish I was going to make a full army of abyssals just to use this guy

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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