Scarecrows and Spectres and Shades, oh my

Be careful out there, these woods are full of all sorts of creatures.  Lions and Tigers and Bears Scarecrows and Specters and Shades, oh my.

During the Mantic Vanguard kickstarter one of the big new items (no, not the giant) was the new hard plastic sprue for Nightstalkers for Scarecrows and Spectres.

While Nightstalkers are not undead, they are similar to them.  Mantic made this sprue so that it is intentionally compatible with their existing zombie and ghoul sprues, with the stated purpose that you would combine them to make dopplegangers.

It turns out that I will just have enough models for my demo army with a few left over for Vanguard, so I didn't get any to play with the ghoul and zombie sprues.  I did use two sprues however to make some scarecrows and spectres.

I really liked the hats and pumpkin heads for than the 'normal' ones for the scarecrows, though since I'll be making a horde of them (at PMC, 28 models) I will have more variety there.

There is also one of the spectre heads I didn't care for.

So when assembling these, I found it better to use both sprues and make a set of each, rather than try to make a set from one.  For the scarecrows, there are only two sets of legs that don't have the misty vapors on them (they are not tentacles).  And for the spectres, there are only two bodies without a pre-attached arm.

The paint job is really going to differentiate these even more - the spectres should be pale and ghostly, building on the vapors swirling around them.  The scarecrows, of course, will be much more solid, most likely with black clothing, and de-emphasize the legs that do have the mist on them.

So what do the other night stalker models look like?

First off, the one that will catch everyone's eye the most (well until the ShadowHulk comes out) is the Mind Screech.

These things have been a pain in my @$$ to fight, but the model is simply fantastic.  One piece resin the amount of detail is staggering.  I think the tip of mine got broken (I have some more coming, so I'll have to see how they look).  I'm tempted to see if I can find a place for this guy in my Trident Realms of Ryleh army!

The Shade is a bit of a tricky model.  Only two pieces, it takes a bit to even figure out what they are supposed to be.

I should have used hot water on the upper half, as when I glued it together one of the arms didn't quite match up with the hand (a little green stuff will fix it).

It helps to understand the model when you look at the description from the Uncharted Empires book:

Phantoms that have fused while trying to consume one another to end their suffering. Shades are indeterminate forms that shift between fleeting glimpses of melted faces and a vapour of blood and flickering lights.
This is why there are so many mouths on it, trying to escape.  Also realizing it is on top of a large rock (and has two arms and two legs also helps.  Mantic actually has a youtube video on painting this guy that really helps.  A cool sculpt, but like so many nightmare creatures, it is hard to identify exactly what it is.

The banshee is an interesting take on the tradition Irish ghost.  Most of it is 'normal', but her face is split open like a venus flytrap.  While these models do not resemble H R Giger's work (you know him as the guy who designed the Xenomorph for the Alien movies) as such, they seem to have the same disturbing quality he did (without the sexual overtones however - this is a family friendly game with nightmarish horrors trying to suck out your soul).

One note - be very careful clipping the head off the bit of sprue - there is a small tab at the bottom that fits into the neck when putting it together.  I didn't see this and "cleaned" it off after cutting it from the sprue - and then when I went to put it on I realized what I had done.   So better to leave a bit of sprue on it until you can figure out where exactly to cut it.

Of course, I was still able to glue the head in place

The butcher is an interesting model - especially with the asymmetry of having two right arms but only one left.  There is also a bit of disappointment for me.  There are two pairs of right arms, but only a single left one.  If they would have made a second left arm you would then have 4 easy variations on the model instead of just two.

 Again the eyeless head reminds me of Giger's work - at least the butcher doesn't have a second, smaller mouth inside his 'normal' mouth.

The shade is a model that I can see having some issues ranking up - I only plan to have 7 in my troop of them, so there should be enough room.

Note - the tongue for the phantom is actually on the sprue with five legs on it.  As such it is fairly obvious that the shade,  shadow hounds, horror and reapers are all on the same tool.  As such the two sprues for 'parts' are all mixed together.  This does make me wonder exactly how these will be packaged up into larger unis for Kings of War.  Though from the description this may be why the phantoms, reapers and shadowhounds are listed as "Resin and Plastic" instead of just plastic.

I do like the faces in the cloak of the phantom - this reminds me of the ghost of Christmas future from Scrooged.

The 'sprues' here have parts from three models on them, the horror, reaper and shadowhound.  Though looking at them, I really wonder why they didn't put all the shadowhound pieces on a singel sprue, it doesn't seem like it would ave been difficult (2 heads and 3 limbs - simply replace a reaper arm with a shadowhound arm and the horror head with the shadowhound leg and it is done).

The same goes here - the shadowhound leg and arm would be swapped for the horror head and the other reaper arm.  At least this would have made the shadowhound packaging easier.

The way they did the horror peaks my curiosity.  They manufacture him with the other PVC models - so in a kickstarter warband you get 3.  However I'm not sure that you would ever want more than one in your warband OR Kings of War army.  I can see a lot of these hanging around - the key will be to find a way to use them for something interesting (just from my warband and 1000 pt army (made from the kickstarter because I was too impatient to wait for the actual army boxes to come out) I will probably have 7 of these I'm not using at all.

The reaper has a command variant in Vanguard, so they game you the choice of two different pairs of arms.  This also means that you can mix them, giving you four different configurations for making your Kings of War units.    Of all of the NightStalker models, this was the mode fiddly.  The arms did not want to fit easily into the shoulder sockets, nor did they have a clear direction they fit in.  Definitely dry fit each arm before attempting to glue it, so you will at least have a close idea of how it fits.

I didn't notice until I was gluing these to the Shogun Miniatures magnetic bases that one of the models was a bit bent, having it's legs more spread out, or the other had them too far together.  I haven't opened the third baggie to see which it is yet.  However this made a pleasant pose variation for the command model.

The last of the models is the shadowhound.  You can easily tell it's legs from the reaper because they are all flat on one side of the 'hand/paw'.  The head sockets are such that the heads can only go on their respective sides - I'm not sure why they needed to do that (it would have been a nice variation to be able to swap them out of the box).

So there you have the new Vanguard nightstalkers.  It will be great seeing warbands and armies of these on the tabletop (though many of the conversions people have done for their nightstalker armies are pretty amazing).

What is your favorite NightStalker model?

Because it is all fun and games . . .