When you stare into the abyss

With the release of Kings of War : Vanguard, Mantic has updated the range for their Forces of the Abyss Kings of War army as well as creating new units for the game.


Like all the warband releases (at least the first wave), there is a booster of resin models, and a starter set with PVC and HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene - or hard plastic - aka sprues).

The resin booster has three models.  The first is the Seductress - a succubis command model with wings.

A nice model - I can see it migrating to many Kings of War armies as taking a Abyssal Temptress with Wings of Honeymaze is quite common. Of course she is no slouch here either.

I did have an issue with assembling it however - I glued the wings on first, and then was unable to actually get the tail on - I just don't have tiny enough hands or the dexterity to get that tiny piece to fit.  But honestly, I don't notice it is missing.


When I first saw the Abyssal Warlock, even before I knew what it was, I thought it was cool.  A bit of a twist on the idea of a demon on a palanquin, the mount is just very flavorful.


The only problem with this is the dilema - do you take this, or the despoiler, as you can only get one large model in a standard (200 pt) warband.  Unlike the Northern Alliance, you don't get any way to take more than a single model.  Decisions, decisions.


The Despoiler is the most complex of the resin models.  The four legs are not obvious as to where they go.  (This would have been a great opportunity for Mantic to have marked the connections).  The legs appear to be identical, but it does seem that there may be subtle differences.  I did dry fits to see which leg fit best in each position, and even then there still ended up a few minor gaps.


A big monstrosity and a beast in battle - it will be a difficult decision to pick which will end up in your warband.


The starter set has some PVC sprues, as well as a baggie of other PVC bits.  (Much like the Northern Alliance, I wonder why these weren't just on another sprue).  I took pictures of all of these, then tried to get shots of the pieces for specific models together.


Being an Abyssal Dwarf Kings of War player, there is a fondness in my evil heart for Gargoyles - the best chaff in the game.  Unfortunately the models for them are . . . well let me say they are not my favorite.  Mantic took the opportunity to offer a new gargoyle sculpt - and now I want to see a non-living legend Gargoyle hero so I can use this in my army (sorry Ba'su'su).


For one, the very solid connection of the body to the base just brings joy to my heart.  The huge double wings are just a bonus.  Adding a bit of a skirt (as opposed tot he chastity belt the originals have) is a bit of nice detail and a place to actually add a bit of color and contrast to the model.

I am a little curious to see if the original heads will fit this new model to give some more options.


Another new sculpt of an existing model, the Flamebearer again stands out against the previous versions.  I can see this showing up as and Efreet in abyssal armies.


When assembling him, the join between the base and his crotch did not fit well.  Where it is supposed to look like he has a bit of a skirt between his legs, it doesn't fit well up against the body - leaving an awkward gap that will definitely require some green stuff to fix.  Other than that, it is really a cool model.


The Succubus Lurker is an alternative to the Succubus - a bit more regal (being that she is actually fully clothed for one).  This model has two heads and two weapon arms, though the difference between the arms is not obvious until you assemble them.


I'm not sure I like the masked head.  This model, more than the seductress, looks to be a leader - no longer needing to flaunt her obvious seductive powers - instead hinting at the pleasure and pain that lies beneath her cloak.


When the abyssal army came out, the Lower Abyssal / Flamebearer sprue was supposed to be able to make Abyssal Guards as well - which are better armored and equipped lower abyssals.  However there was no actual way to do this - so it is nice to get an official abyssal guard model (and better than the Dungeon Saga one - who really doesn't have anything that stands out as being better on him)

This comes with two weapon arms, two left arms and two heads - giving eight total variations.  While still being a lower abyssal, he is obviously better armored and equipped, just as he should be.


I again wonder how compatible this is with the Lower Abyssal sprue - it would be nice if the two handed weapon could be given to those models - the unit has the option to take them, but there is only one per five models - so it makes it hard to model a unit of them.

Oh, and he is pretty awesome for Vanguard too.


The Hellequin is designed to be either a warrior or a command model (the Blood-Masque).  The only difference here is the weapon and the head (two of each) - so if you have both in your warband you will want to differentiate them with the paint job as much as the model.


The only mounted cavalry model in the Vanguard range, I both like and dislike the horse.  It is very static, simply standing.  However it is also a very solid and stable sculpt - none of the issues of rearing up and only having a thin point of contact with the base.


Overall I have mixed feelings about these models.  The booster models are great, and there are some very good sculpts in the starter set - but it feels like they are just new variants on existing models.  Even the hellequin seems to be just an updated abyssal horseman.

Unlike the NightStalkers and Northern Alliance (neither of which had models previously), this is supplementing an existing range from Kings of War.  I wonder if Mantic is planning on repackaging some of the KoW models for Vanguard (like the Abyssal Champion).  On one hand I hear all the voices (no, not in my head) asking for profiles to use their existing KoW models in Vanguard, yet on the other part of me wants this game to have have its own packaged range - as a lead in to the mass battle game, but not one that requires you to seek out anything from that range.

One difference that I noticed however, is in the kickstarter there is a sprue of Succubi as well as the Lower Abyssals/Flamebearers.  The retail release does not have that, only having the one sprue.  There are several models that you need to get from the Kings of War range, and as these are all packaged as units it just makes me curious as to what non Kings of War players will think of that.

Because it is all fun and games . . .