Winter is coming!

The Northern Alliance is the entirely new army from Mantic Games for Kings of War: Vanguard.  Right now there is no Northern Alliance army for Kings of War, so there are no other models to consider for this.

However once I started looking at mine, it occurred to me that I could make a Varangur list out of them (until the NA list comes out).  I had ordered enough models so that I could make a unit (usually a troop) out of each type - however since Cave Trolls are irregular in the Varangur list, I had to make one unit a full regiment - so I need a few more Huscarls.

Anyway, enough of that - let's look at the models!

First up is the kickstarter exclusive, clear blue resin Ice Elemental.  While the ice elemental will eventually be coming to retail, it will be plain white resin.

The model is only three parts, the body, arm and 'face'.  The arm fits fine, but the face left a bit of a gap.  Unfortunately you can't use green stuff to fill this (though I may try using some Vallejo water effects gel to do it).

This model will be best unpainted or barely painted.  I'm thinking of just a light blue wash, then a some edge highlights with either very light blue or white.  This is a case of it possibly being challenging to meet a '3 color minimum' - so maybe some special work in the base.  It doesn't have eyes, so you can't use that for some spot colors either.

The only problem I have is that I can't fit it into my 1000 pt Varangur list.  I thought about using one as a Devourer or Cavern Dweller - but with the Frostfang actually bigger than this, it just didn't really fit.  So I'm going to be saving these (I am getting 5 of them total) until the actual NA list comes out (which may have to have a Frost Giant in it :-) ).

Next are the three resins.  These will come in retail as a booster pack.  For Vanguard, the number of Large models is limited to one for every full 150 points (or one total for smaller warbands).  Northern Alliance can take one additional large model (ogres can also take as many as they like as long as they are ogres).  Also, if your command is a large model, then it doesn't count toward this restriction.  As such, you can get 3 large models in a 200 pt warband - and they have tree cool models to take.

The Frost Fang may be my favorite of the new Vanguard models.  I am going to make a regiment of three for my Varangur Direfang riders.

In the kickstarter, Mantic said
At $280,000 (we will count funds raised during the pledge manager towards stretch goals too) we'll produce variations of the Frostfang Cavalry with different heads/riders so you can create a regiment of them for your Northern Alliance Kings of War army.
Talking of regiments, there's also the opportunity to pick up two Frostfang Cavalary (and these will be the alternate versions). Combined with the Frostfang already included in the Northern Alliance Warband, that means you've got a fantastic unit of large cavalry for your Kings of War army.
Well I don't yet have my kickstarter shipment yet, so I can't show the alternate model.  However the 'standard' version does have 2 heads, 2 left arms and 2 right arms - so you can make 8 versions of the rider!

It did surprise me a little when I saw the stat card for this that the rider is a half-elf - so the heads aren't quite as 'vicious' as I would have expected.  But I'm still very happy with this model.

The Ice Queen is the spellcaster for the warband.  A nice model, though it is a little difficult to actually fit it (with the ice effect) on a 20mm base - I kind of which this were on a 25 instead (and for my Varangur army I will probably put her on a 25mm base)  (Oh wait, Varangur don't have an Ice Queen . . . )

Apparently Mantic had a little bit of extra clear blue resin left over, so made at least one of the ice effects 'sprue' out of it - Martin Thirlwell snagged this for his studio warband (and us mere mortals can't get it :-( ).

Not that I'm jealous or anything :-)

Finally is the Thegn - a command model - so I'll use it as a Skald to get some inspiring into my Varangur list.  I haven't actually made up my Vanguard demo lists yet, so I'm not sure if he'll make it in or not.

A little disappointing that they didn't make 2 heads and 2 weapons for this guy, but we can't get everything.  Plus it should be quite easy to do some swapping with the extras from the Frost Fang riders, or even the Huscarls to add variety.  Of course in Vanguard you most likely will only have one of these, if any.

The starter set is all PVC plastic - so not as brittle as resin, but still requiring super glue.

In the starter set are two small PVC sprues, and a tiny bag of other bits (I'm not sure why these aren't just on another sprue).  These took me quite a while to figure out what heads / arms went with what models (for the female models at least)

It does make me wonder how they might package these for Kings of War.  While army sets would not be a huge deal, breaking these into single sets by troop type may be a challenge since the parts are all mixed between the sprues.  For example, in the picture below, the four bits on the upper right go to four different models.

When I get to the individual models, I will show which specific bits go with which specific models.

The first thing is the third large model - the Snow Troll. There are actually two profiles - a command version and the 'normal' one.  The command version is what gets you three large models in your warband.  These will be Cave Trolls in my Varangur list.

This comes with two weapons and two heads, giving a total of 4 variants without any conversions.

The huscarls come with two heads and two weapon arms, as well as a separate shield - so four variants (or eight if you include with and without shield).  However I did happen to have an extra head and weapon from my Frost Fang - so a quick trim to give me another variant.  These will be my Sons of Korgaan - though I'm still a few models short for a regiment (I want to go with at least 14, while if I use two thegn's then I have a total of 11 (MMC, so legal, but far from optimal).

<picture of bits missing, I'll try to add this once I get my kickstarter in>

Then come three female models.  Now I think it is wonderful that Mantic is being inclusive and doing female warriors - however these three were some of the most challenging to figure out what bits go where and how.  I had to use the card pictures as reference (and those are not big shots) for some, fitting attempts for others, and just trying to match the actual sculpts for things like shoulders.

The ice naiad is the first of this.  (I'm taking these as a warband troop).  Now there are only two heads that have a 'socket' in them instead of a tab - so they obviously go here ( and the hair at least looks like naiads).  They are equipped with the ice trident, so that was easy.  The net also, based on the Kings of War models (though there is no option for them to take a net (and they all come with tridents).

So next is the left arms.  The one without a hand looked obvious, but I was looking at the Ice Kin Hunter as well - specifically the bow - and didn't it need a left arm to hold it?  Finally I looked at the shoulder for the right arms, and the left arm shoulders matched.  The ice ax was the alternate.

So with two arm pairs (since the trident is two handed, you can't really swap out just one arm) and two heads you get four variants.  I will probably keep two with tridents for my warband, and use 7 with a mix for my KoW army.

Then comes the Half-Elf Barbarian.  This has two cards - you can take an Ice-Blade as a command model.  Using those pictures to try to get the bits sorted.  With the two pictures I picked the two heads that matched - as any of the four remaining heads actually fit.  What was really confusing was the three right arms and two left.

I figure the right arm with the blade up is for the Ice-Blade - the two with the blade down are for the normal Barbarian.  With two weapons I'm using these as Reavers (which reflects their low defense an 20 attacks for a troop.

 Once I figured out the bits, I started putting them together.

These did NOT go together well.  The small sockets on the body did not have an easy or obvious fit for the arms.  Plus there is one elbow that just seems to be bending the wrong way.  I could not get it to fit in a 'natural' position.  Nor would the right arm with the blade pointing straight forward - again it just didn't feel natural.  These are my least favorite of the set - plus once again they are all on one leg - a pose I really hate for stability.

Finally the Ice Kin Hunters (Night Raiders for my Varangur, as they have bows).  It took me quite a while to find that the bow attaches directly to a slot in the body - it was NOT something I expected.  There are two heads, but no variety in the arms (and no real way to add any variety without chopping the model apart).  Much like the normal elf models (hey, Ice Kin - these are also elves - go figure) with the shield molded onto the body, it severely limits what you can do with them.

<picture of bits missing, I'll try to add this once I get my kickstarter in>

What I'm not showing are the Elf, Dwarf and Human clansmen.  Elf and Dwarf are simply those - using the ordinary Elf and Dwarf sprues ( a Dwarf sprue comes in the retail version of the starter set).  The human card has a picture of the Dungeon Saga Varangur model that was only released on Germany and is not available - which makes me curious as to what Mantic plans to do for this.  They have said they are not going to be putting out new stats for models they don't make.  So does this mean they are going to release this model?  Maybe make it a points exclusive version?

It will be interesting to see what the first non-kickstarter releases for Vanguard are going to be (or even the kickstarted models that are not part of the initial release).

Because it is all fun and games . . .