Thursday, February 2, 2017

I'm not weird, I'm unique

Maybe it is just me.  Scratch that, if it is one thing I've learned in my decades walking this earth is that ANY time I start a question with "is it just me or . . ." - I inevitably find it IS just me.

I like the Arhak Soulbinder sculpt that Mantic put out years ago with the Hellfire and Stone campaign supplement for Kings of War 1st edition.  The dwarf with the steampunk spider legs and evil claw. Yes, his rules were overpowered and broken, but then so was his dwarf nemesis - Sveri Egilax.  Sveri got smacked down hard with Lucille the nerf bat for 2nd edition, but Arhak got hit even harder, not making the cut at all.
a face only a mother (and I) could love
I can understand the reasoning for not making the cut.  The Sveri model sold well (I have heard his nickname was Taz because when he first came out he was like the Tasmanian Devil).  Plus you could use him as a Berserker Lord on Brock (which is how he is currently packaged on the Mantic web store)
Sveri Egilax
Poor Arhak, on the other hand, was not so popular.  He came out in the unmounted version (there is no current version of Sveri that is unmounted) and for some reason, I appear to be the only person that actually likes the sculpt.  Arhak had a mounted option in the book as well - he could ride his faithful Manticore.

There was a 1st edition tournament a few years back that was allowing (almost to the point of requiring, but not quite) living legends - so I finally had a reason to paint him up.  My army ended up as the ringer with three different people playing a game each (I was one).  He was as every bit as broken in game as he appeared on paper (C'mon - he gave all war engines within 12" elite - back when elite was re-roll 1 miss).

Well after I painted up my Arhak, I figured I should make a Manticore mount for him.  You can see what I got started with on one of my very first posts.  And since then he has sat on the shelf above my desk for two years.

Well a few weeks ago, I hear through the grapevine that there is a second model that was sculpted for Arhak Soulbinder - this created to fit on a Manticore model - specifically the Manticore produced by the French company Raging Heroes.

Unique sculpt of Arhak Soulbinder
The legs are different, and he has some sort of saddle
The best part is no one else has this
I had heard of the company before - they almost exclusive produce female miniatures - the Toughest Girls in the Galaxy line.  They have done a couple of kickstarters and have some very cool miniatures. Not only that, but my favorite professional miniature painter, Claudia Zuminich works for them (a great gain for them, a sad loss for those of us who so appreciated the fantastic Mantic models she painted.  (She even made the horrid goblin casts look fantastic)

Just - wow!
Well, to get back to the point I was actually on, eventually that Igor part of my brain kicked in, and in a "It Must Be Mine!" moment I bought this unique sculpt of Arhak Soulbinder - and I ordered the Raging Heroes Manticore (with Shedu head) to mount him on.

Alternate head
Of course this didn't mean that my conversion was going in the trash - it is still there waiting to be painted, but this will jump up in the queue in front.  

Of course the miniature is coming from the UK - but the Manticore from France got here already - so let's take a look at is, shall we?

Nice box - I like the little sticker saying the Shadu head was included
Inside the box was the packing slip, information on cleaning and priming the resin, a postcard about the company, a book mark and a couple of drink coasters.
Then packing peanuts.  Lots and lots of them.  More and more of them - I almost wondered if there was anything in the box.  I eventually found two bags - and I have to say my first impression is that they are a LOT smaller than I expected (however I may be spoiled by the bulk of the Mantic Dragon and Greater Obsidian Golems).
The important stuff
Raging heroes does have an assembly guide on-line - so we'll go through the parts based on that.

First up is the head.  I won't be using it because I'll use the Shadu head instead.
Head 'sprue' front
Head 'sprue' back
Shadu head front
Shadu Head back
First thoughts - the Shadu head is SIGNIFICANTLY bigger than the normal head.  I did do a little dry fitting however, and they both seem to fit into place ok.
Head size comparison
I also noticed how much extra material there was, something I was not used to seeing so much of with resin.  The Shadu head was what I was expecting - the normal head no so much.  A lot of the other pieces seemed almost to be on sprues.  There was also a lot of flash to clean off.

The body comes in two halves
Because of the amount of flash, these don't fit together well before cleaning.  At first thought they almost seemed miscast - however a bit of hot water during assembly should help with that.

Next are the arms and tail - and one of the feet
The top arm and tail are much more what I expect from resin kits

I'm not saying these are bad (not having assembled them yet) just different.

Then come the wings
Interesting that each wing is two pieces

I am curious how the join will be since it is a long, thin strip connecting the two wing pieces.  It looks like a lot of cleanup for these.

Then comes the feet and tree that the Manticore is climbing down.

It is an interesting design to have the body in a vertical position climbing down (rather than the more common position of it launching itself into flight).

Last comes the rider.  This is all on one sprue, which is good since I don't expect to use her anyway. Since all these pieces are much smaller, it looks like a real paint if I had to clean it.

So now comes the fun part - cleaning and putting this monster (that isn't saying anything about the quality here - it is truly a monster :-) ) together.

The assembly pdf was actually very thorough and complete - so there was not much challenge to the assembly.  Most everything went together in sub-assemblies, which fit rather well, leaving few gaps, and none large.

The first step was assembling the head, but since I was using the Shedu one (which was one piece) that was done.  I then assembled the body - once I cleaned it up it fit rather well.  Then the head goes on.
Body and head - the pose prevents a good shot
other side
The next sub-assembly was the tree he is climbing out of.  This also makes up part of the base - which is meant to fit on a 50mm round base - so fits a 50mm square one quite well.
tree base - with the back feet molded on.
from the back
Now I'm going to deviate from the printed instructions - to keep the 'narrative' going.  The instructions have you build all the sub-assemblies before attaching any together, bit the story flows better if you attach each piece as you assemble it.

So the body attaches to the tree via the two back legs, which fit into the two back feet.
body attached to tree
other side
This was a surprisingly good fit.  I had prepared a cup of hot water to use to heat and manipulate the pieces, and tried this with the body.  It didn't really need it, and the pieces didn't have much give anyway.  For this, only a slight amount of pressure and the left leg snapped right into place.

Next up was the two piece left foreleg - another piece of the tree with the foot molded on and the rest of the foreleg.
left foreleg
This view you can see the notch that attaches to the body - as well as the 'tongue' that fits into the tree base.
 Once again these went together easily, and fit onto the main body.
left foreleg attachement
some very minor gaps
What I see is more is the muscles not lining up - plus a small area where I nicked the shoulder when cleaning the piece.  Note the slot for the wing just above the shoulder - there is a very good chance that you won't be able to see the shoulder in detail at all after assembly.  There is also a gap in the base - about as minor an issue as you can get.

The right foreleg was attached to a rock, again with the foot molded on
right foreleg and back of the rock
right foreleg
The right foreleg then attaches to the body, and the rock to the rest of the base.  The rock here did not fit quite as well, and left a sizable gap underneath it - which is gone as soon as I glued it to the base. I prefer gel super-glues, and for this piece it was probably essential. The shoulder however fit fine.
right foreleg attached
from the back
There are also gaps in the base.  As my mother used to say, I'm not complaining, I'm just imparting information.

The next piece (which like the shedu head) did not require a sub assembly.  The tail just fit into place.
right side of tail - again a tiny gap
left side of tail
From the back you can see most of the minor gaps that are left - it won't take much green stuff to fill these.  What I thought was king of interesting was the horizontal gaps in the tree - the top one is actually a cut molded into the piece.
the very minor gaps to fill
Next is the wings.  These were the fiddliest of the parts - they are two thin pieces glued edge on.  The one thing to make sure you are careful with here is the top and bottom wings are not together on the 'sprue'.  The left top is with the bottom right, and the right top is with the bottom left.  It is simple if you make sure the concave / convex sides both match - however if you blindly put them together they won't be right.
right and left wings - bottom (concave side)
right and left wings - top (convex side)
The wings then go in the slots on either side of the body.  The long slot on the right for the sing that is swept back, the smaller slot on the left for the  one sticking straight out.

I glued the model to the base before attaching the wings to make sure it was stable.
I mentioned when I opened the box that the pieces looked a little small - and yes, it came out quite a bit smaller than I expected.  I remember even seeing the model showing the height - and I found that image.

Model with a ruler showing the size
I looked at the wingtip at the top - went across - awesome - 7".  A very tall model.  Now take a good look at the picture above - can you see what I did wrong?

I'll wait while you look.

Ok, that's plenty of time.  See, the company is in France, and uses the metric system.  Not really a problem - they just use centimeters instead of inches - I can convert those.  However they show the ruler with metric and imperial measurements - i.e. inches on the right side.  So naturally I just look over to see 7".  What I didn't see is they used the image of an old ruler here - centimeters on one and inches on the other, both reading from the left when that measurement is on top.  Meaning that inches start above the top of the screen - you will see they count up going down, while centimeters count up going up.

So the 7 mark here isn't 7' high, it is 12 - 7 - or 5" high.  Yes, the ruler there is deceiving, though I doubt it is intentional.  At this scale, a difference of 2" is HUGE.  (Ask your wife, she will say the same thing).

So I'm expecting a 7" model and I got a 5" model - yeah I'm a bit disappointed (again, like your wife).

So how much small is it really?  Well I'm used to the Mantic dragon, which fills a 75mm base, and is 7" at the wingtip.  Let's compare the two.
but she said size didn't matter
try the profile
does this make my butt look big?
no matter which angle you look from
Wait - there is one angle where the size difference is an advantage, and in some of the games I've played it would have made a huge difference.  Look at the base comparison.
50mm base on bottom of 75mm base
The Manticore fits on the standard 50mm monster base for Kings of War - while the dragon can't fit on smaller than the 75mm.  That is an inch on either side.  If you know you kings of war - you cannot be within an inch of an enemy unit - so a very common tactic against flyers is to not give them room to land.  For the mantic model - that means you need at least 100mm to fit him and be far enough from an enemy - while with the Manticore that is reduced to 75mm.  And when trying to get in tight spots, that is a HUGE difference.

Now I bought this for a specific model however - so how does that look.  Well the night I put this together the unique sculpt for Arhak had not yet arrived - so I took the one from my manticore conversion to see - but his legs hold him way too high.
He could fit with some work, but that was not the intention.
I thought it would be interesting however to compare the two Manticores.  They fit the same base size, but the raging heroes one is cooler than my lion w/ wings & tail.

Another  thing though - Arhak Soulbinder on manticore is no longer in the rules - he no longer exists. The new one is a much better great winged halfbreed than my lion conversion.

So my thinking is to keep both (of course).  My conversion is Arhak Soulbinder on his Manticore, the new one is a Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Halfbreed.  And the Mantic dragon version can be my Overlord on Abyssal Dragon.

So here is the latest version of my conversion.  Yes, I bought a third model because the idea of the huge flamethrower was just looking - well stupid.  I want the model to look like Arhak, and I like the smokestack on his butt, and can put another little flame coming from the exhaust or whatever the hell that is in his right hand.
This will then, of course, match the version of him on foot that I rebased to fit on a 20mm base to use as a regular ironcaster - because I like the model better than the other ironcaster models.

So here are the three models so far.
Overlord on Abyssal Dragon, Great Winged Halfbreed (awaiting Supreme Ironcaster), and Arhak Soulbinder on Manticore.
. . .

I have actually kept this in my queue until I finally got the model in - and it arrived today!  As of the time I'm writing this, I have three weeks to get both him and the mount painted for the US Masters.

Arhak on his saddle - there are some interesting details (bags, some of his armor is different)
And he fits perfectly.
Everything I need to finish for my list for the Masters.  Time to get busy!
Stay tuned for updates!

Because it is all fun and games . . .

1 comment:

  1. That model got some serious look from my pal as a Twilight Kin lord on black dragon. Raging heros has some really... um... Attractive casts.