Monday, February 1, 2016

Trolling

Trolls are stinky, nasty monsters, and I don't just mean those on the internet.  Ever since The Three Billy Goats Gruff scared me as a young boy (It was the first book I can remember reading all by myself) I have seemed to keep encountering trolls in my gaming.   The hardest part about fighting these creatures back in my RPG days was they kept regenerating - if you didn't burn them then they would just get better

From spells to troll slaying knives adventurers have been trying to kill these nasties who just won't stay dead and keep getting back up again.

But what happens when you finally do manage to kill a troll and it stays dead - and then gets up anyway as undead?  Yes, there is some question as to how a regenerating creature can become undead, and it takes a lot of work (and a lot of trolls) to figure it out - but one of the greatest necromancers in Mantica has figured out how to do it - Mortibris is the first to create Zombie Trolls.
And you thought they stunk when they were alive!
First part of Dungeon Saga - the Undead Zombie Troll was destined for the Kings of War battlefields. Released as a retailer exclusive in last November these are finally making it to the tabletop.  I finally got my hands on some to show off.

There are metal, so they are heavy.  Apparently Mantic has stopped making the plastic resin models (often called Restic), with now all models being in one of four materials - hard (sprued) plastic kits, softer 'game quality' plastic (such as Dungeon Saga or the upcoming Walking Dead), straight resin and metal.  Now metal was the first and has been the traditional way of making toy soldiers, going back as the first wargaming rules (Little Wars, by HG Wells (yes, that HG Wells) (like there is any other HG Wells out there?)) and even (according to Hollywood) back to the revolutionary war (so tragic, if not realistic - that scene still breaks my heart)).  Of course they are now made of lead-free pewter and not lead.  However the price of pewter has skyrocketed, making metal miniatures much more expensive (though the molds for them are apparently the least expensive to create).

A lot of people would complain about restic - I liked it however.  Once you learned to remove the mold lines (which got much better over time with later models) it was very easy to work with - and the ability to heat the pieces in hot water to bend them back into shape - or to bend them into other shapes (for conversions) is really nice.  Metal is heavier, almost always requires pinning, and while bendable (somewhat), it is not a simple as dunking in hot water for a few seconds.  However, my opinion be damned, it is what it is, and what it is is metal.

Much like the Ogre hunters, the zombie trolls have three different bodies, and four head options. They have three left and three right arms. The shoulder joints are flat, allow any arm to go on any body, as well as to allow for a variety of positions (by rotating the arms).
Undead Zombie Troll Parts
The fact that Mantic is making these new units that consist of all unique models is really fantastic. Plus the customization potential for them is simply fantastic, even if bending an arm is a bit more difficult.
same parts, back sides
As you can expect from metal models, the level of detail is exceptional, with scars, wounds and entrails as you would expect from any zombie.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the metal zombie troll to the 'gaming' plastic Dungeon Saga one.  I 'blue-tacked' one of the models together that would match the post as much as possible to compare them.  Of course, as you would expect from a Zombie, limbs kept falling off practically every time I touched it (the blue tack just did not want to stick to the metal - they might need washed, or will simply need pinned when building them (I got these as a pathfinder reward, and intend to use them as prize support, so did not want to actually glue anything together)).

While the DS troll is noticeably smaller than it's Kings of War cousin - it is at least comparable in quality if not even superior to it.  Details such as the entrails and wounds on the DS troll are cleaner, deeper and more detailed.
Comparison - Kow vs DS
When looking at the back it is even more pronounced - the DS model doesn't just have a wound, but shows the skin stretched over exposed muscle and bone deep into the model.  The zombification here is much more 'complete' - while the metal pieces are dead, the plastic one is long rotting.  The metal models do have the advantage of both multi-parts and posability, which would while you can bend the DS trolls arms with hot water, it is just not as flexible as the other models.
Same models from the back
With a little 'basing magic' to add to its height (i.e. stand it on a rock on the base instead of just flat footed) the DS model would fit in very well with a horde of Undead Zombie Trolls in Dungeon Saga. (My son pointed out that even though the games are set in the same world - the zombie trolls do NOT have regeneration in Kings of War, while they keep it (not that I managed to roll it when playing this weekend) in Dungeon Saga.

It also occurred to me to compare Mantics 'living' trolls to the undead versions.  I have six in my goblin demo army, so pulled one out.

The most obvious comparison is that the zombie trolls did NOT skip leg day at the gym as the live restic one did.  That is one of the biggest complaint of some of the initial large infantry models Mantic produced - the tiny leg syndrome.  My guess is that when sculpting the original trolls, the sculptor assumed that they would have to fit on the 15mm round plastic disks that all the Mantic infantry models are based on (so that they fit into the Mantic plastic bases).  This mean the legs had to be small enough to fit this, instead of spreading out as would be expected.

It also appears that death helps to improve your posture, as the undead models are not nearly as hunched as the living trolls.  The hunch helps to hide the tiny legs, but causes it to lose some height (so the living trolls are nearly the same height as the DS one.  Detail on the restic models is comparable to the metal model (though being painted it does look a bit better).
All three types of trolls
The restic trolls do have some nice detail such as scars and stitching on them, though the new models do have a larger loincloth in the back (so you don't have to paint troll but cheeks that the living one has due to the thong it is wearing under its front-only loin cloth.  In addition the restic version had poor mold lines around the face.
again, from the back
Unfortunately I was not documenting things as much as I am with this blog, so I don't have any pictures of the parts of the original restic trolls.  However I do believe they also did a flat join on the arm - which, if so, would allow for quite a bit more flexibility by using some intact parts on the undead torso, and undead arms and head on the intact torso.

So for all you undead players - there is fresh meat (well, maybe not so fresh) to add to your roster.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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