Holier than thou

One of the four original factions featured in Mantic Games Kings of War: Vanguard fantasy skirmish game is the Basileans.


Some of the new models are new sculpts for existing models - and are a distinct improvement.

The models are split, like all the other initial factions, into a starter set and a resin booster set.

In the booster you get three resin models

Ogre Palace Guard

This is probably the most anticipated of the new models.  Ogres who have given up their mercenary ways and sworn fealty to the Basileans and Shining Ones.  Clad in heavy armor and wielding huge glaives, they are truly a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

You get two heads and two sets of arms, for a total of 4 poses.  The arms have to be done in pairs, as one set holds the weapon with two hands.

I didn't order any extra of these, as I already have a Basilean demo army.  They are nice, but I don't expect to play them either.  However I would like another of these, just to have both poses.

As the only large model in the faction - I can see him showing up in nearly every warband build.  Some people have said they want to see Elohi from the Kings of War army, but those would just be a bit too powerful (large flying fighting models - ouch!).  (Yes the Night Stalkers have a large flying model, but it is a spellcaster ).


Dictator
This is a nice model for the faction, both for Vanguard and Kings of War.  In fact I can see a LOT of these models showing up in Basilean Kings of War armies.


One of the drawbacks in the Basilean line is the lack of hero sculpts.  The initial release only had special characters - two Ur-Elohi and Gnaeus Sallustis, who was mounted on a giant lion, so not really usable as a 'generic' hero.  Later they added a high priest sculpt, and then with Dungeon Saga they a added a Sisterhood and a Paladin model (available with points if you don't have the expansions they came in).  Oh, and the new High Paladin on Dragon just came out (and eventually they will be releasing the War Wizard commercially (so far he has only been available as an add on in the Kings of War II and Vanguard kickstarters).

So now having some hero sculpts is great!  The dictator is a powerful option - the leader of the Basileans, he is not afraid to get in a fight and smite his enemies.   It would have been nice to get an alternate head and weapon, though doing conversions with the PVC models should not be hard.


 Abbess

The abbess, like the Dictator, doesn't come with options (this is somewhat of a trend with this faction).


A true warrior nun, actually wearing armor (and not stupid boob-plate either).  Wielding two weapons, she is ready to kick some butt!


Then comes the starter.  Like the others, there is a set of PVC models, and a couple of plastic sprues.  The PVC models come in a baggie, with some 'mini-sprues' and a smaller bag of bits.  Unfortunately, much like their arch enemies the abyssals, the bits are a little challenging to sort out.

I wanted to show pictures of all the pieces, then I'll have them group (and removed from the sprues) by model.

sprues
bits
arms
bodies
Panthers

One of the cool aspects of the Basilean faction was the panthers.  These are only usable by the warrior nuns, the sisterhood.  They already have Panther Lancers for which there are excellent panther sculpts, but it is nice to now have a separate one.  There also used to be panther chariots for the sisterhood, however it appears they are no longer available (they are not on the web store).



I generally do not enjoy painting animals much - I am simply not good enough to do justice to the natural color variations they have.  However I have been able to do some pretty good versions of the panthers.   If you have an airbrush it is easier, but even "rattle cans" will work.  Get a dark yellow / tan color, and an off-white (I used bleached bone).  Spray the model with the tan on the top and the sides.  Then spray the underside with the white, but do not go far up the sides.  You will be able to get a nice gradient from the spray on the sides - achieving the blending and gradual color change that is closer to how they look in nature.  Now one thing - DO NOT do an all over wash in an attempt to shade it - because this will end up pretty much hiding the nice gradient you worked to build (a voice of experience).

Anyway, that is how I plan to do these.  Very nice sculpts - it is again a shame that there is no pose variation (maybe some hot water to adjust the tail at least will help).


Sisterhood

The original sisterhood models for the Basileans had an issue with the hands being a bit oversized.  These two new sculpts DO NOT have that problem, and are really nice.

Much like the Northern Alliance female figures however, it is a little challenging to pick out the correct bits for each model.  For the arms - I found it was easiest to match the sleeves - the sword had a much longer sleeve hanging off the wrist than does the flail.

For the heads - you need to test fit these vs the scouts - the scouts have much smaller neck tabs.  My first thought was the two hoods would go with the scouts - but no - there is one hooded and one bare head for each.


While I'd like to say that with two heads and two pairs (like the ogre, you have to match the arms since they both have two handed weapons), IF you are wanting to have all the profiles available and matching the cards - then one of these is actually the Veteran Sister.

Once again these also have the flaw of having a leg up in a running pose - and also the other leg has her on the ball of her foot.  Very dynamic, and a pain to attach to the base.  My first attempt I put the back foot flat on the base, and she was a very awkward angle.  So I redid them, leaning a bit forward.  This gives very little contact with the base, which is something that really annoys me with so many models (especially female ones it seems).

The hands are correctly proportioned however, and overall the sculpt is very nice.


Sisterhood Scouts

As much as I think the Ogre is cool, this may be my favorite of the new Basilean models.  When I first saw it at Adepticon I thought it was great.  Maybe I just like cloaked, crouching shooting models (the Enforcer Sniper for Deadzone is probably my favorite enforcer model).


Again, you get two heads, two left arms with bows and two right arms.  Unfortunately it appears that the left arm holding the arrow only really works with the bow arm that is near horizontal - the placement of the vertical bow does not line up with the arrow.  So this limits you to four variants.  However, unlike the other models - there is only the one card for these, so you do actually get variant models of the same profile!


Men at Arms Sergeant

The man at arms sergeant is a lower level hero and standard bearer.  Like the sisterhood model however, the variations actually go with two different profiles, the sergeant and veteran sergeant.  The veteran sergeant has the inspiring rule - so you obviously should use the banner for representing him (though you could still change the heads and weapons in the right hands to give some variation).


I made these to match the cards - the normal sergeant (on the left) has a spear and shield, the veteran on the right with the banner and sword.  A nice and dynamic sculpt - I like the implied movement just by having one leg bent and the spear thrust forward.  It is amazing that the sculptor can do this with a male model and keep BOTH HIS FEET ON THE GROUND - but is unable to do this with a female one.

Paladin Defenders

The final PVC model is the Paladin, which again has two profile cards, so you really don't get options.

An interesting design choice is that all the higher level heroes (Abbess, Dictator, Paladins) have halo as part of their helmets - fitting in with the religious zealot nature of the army.  (Interesting that the Elohi, who are actual angels that come down and fight for the Basileans in Kings of War, DO NOT have halos)

The Paladin Chaplain (on the left) holds the mace and sword, while the Paladin Defender as the two handed sword.  You could do head swaps (and it appears on the cards that both the models use the head on the right).

The original Man-at-arms HIPS models were, unfortunately, just not great.  The detail was soft, and they scale was a bit big.  These (and the goblin spitters) were the first plastic sprues that were made in China for Mantic, and (my guess) is that when going from the computer model to the mold, they expected the models to shrink a little bit more than they did, thus ending up a bit bigger than they should have been, and the detail not as sharp.

In addition, the idea to have open hands and then allow either swords or spears, while good in theory, in practice results in the hands being a bit too big due to the molding requirements - and leaves them looking like lego hands.  The faces also did not come out well - there are a couple I can picture that just didn't work well - one specifically appears to be  prototype for the bad CGI done on Henry Cavill as Superman in the Justice League movie to remove his mustache.

So the kickstarter funded new HIPS men at arms - as far as I know this is the first plastic model that Mantic has redone.  And they did a great job.  It turns out these are two sprues - a smaller one with bodies and shields, then a full size one with bits (and bits and bits, so many marvelous bits).



Six shields is interesting - I guess they just had the room on the sprue (and why waste the space).

There are enough bits to make 5 spearmen, or 5 sword & board (hand weapons and shields), or 5 crowwbowmen (YEAH - no more metal conversion bits!!!!).  There are 7 heads (though five of them are identical helmets).  One is a bare head (I started typing that as bear head, and looking at it thought "that isn't right" - but then how cool would THAT be!), and one (only one) with the plume on it.  And no bad CGI faces.  There are a few extra details (five quivers for crossbow bolts - nice) like an empty scabbard.

As good as these are, I did find the left arms and crossbows a bit confusing.  The shields have the hands molded on - which actually makes them a little harder to assemble than if they either had the entire arm and shield as one piece, or had the entire arm  & hand as one piece, and the shield as a separate piece with tabs that fit around the arm (like the huscarls for the Northern Alliance).  Instead you have a bunch of handless left arms in a variety of poses.  Then there are some handless right arms, plus two holding bolts, and one holding a crossbow stock.  Some of the crossbows have a hand in the middle, but there is also an arm with an open hand to hold the crossbow.  Some of the left arms are extended, and others are tightly bent.  None of these are obvious.  (I actually think that I used a crossbow extended left arm for a shield for one model).

Instructions actually wouldn't do much - what this needs are some letters matching up various parts.  Each arm could be marked on the sprue with a letter, which then fits the appropriate hands.

At least since these are polystyrene, you can use normal plastic cement on them, which is both fairly sticky and takes a little while to set - so you can adjust the fit much easier than when you have to use superglue on PVC.

It is WONDERFUL having so many choices, and being able to get such a variety of poses out of these new models.  I would give a bit of caution however - you will probably want to decide what options you want to take for your warband or company before assembling or you may have to have a lot of extra guys (spearmen or hand weapons, or spears)?

Not having any kind of warband list yet, I did two crossbows, two spears and one base guy.  (and all the models have both feet on the ground - imagine that!)




I did take a group shot of the models - since the old plastics didn't fit well, I wanted to compare the various models for size.  Dictator, Paladin, Sergeant and Man-at-Arms models - all the same scale with the more important models being just a touch taller - as would be expected from heavier armor, bigger boots and more imposing status and helmets.


Even though I'm not a huge fan of humans in fantasy games (for some reason I kind of like when I have painted up historical models (i.e. the Romans and Celts, and someday Spartans)), these are all excellent models.

Because it is all fun and games . . .