From the borders of the Abyss they come

 The latest release for Mantic's skirmish game set in the Kings of War universe (with models fully compatible with Kings of War) Vanguard is now available - and it is an army near and dear to my heart - Abyssal Dwarfs.

Abyssal Dwarfs were the models I first bought to get started with Mantic way back when, and it is great to see them getting some much needed love.

To get started, there is the warband set.

Of course, this has the base set of cards for the warband, including the army special rules and unique army spells.

There are also nine profile (several with multiple copies, of course) as well.
The profiles you get in the warband box are:

  • - Overmaster - command (new)
  • - Iron Caster - spellcaster
  • - Mobile Katsuchan - support
  • - Immortal Guard - support
  • - Abyssal Halfbreed - large
  • - Decimator (x5) - warrrior
  • - Blacksoul (x5) - warrior
  • - Slave Orc (x3) - grunt
  • - Mutated Mastiff (new) (x2) - grunt

There are two new resin models in this box - a new Overmaster model and the Mobile Katsuchan.

The mobile Katsuchan is a hand held version of the feared Katsuchan Rocket Launcher - and in addition to being part of the warband, it is also an upgrade you can now take to your decimator untis in Kings of War.

 It goes together easily with very little cleanup required.

The overmaster is a new version of the Kings of War hero.  Much like that sculpt, he almost appears as if he is wearing power armor from Deadzone/Warpath (and I've seen the Deadzone character used as an overmaster and he fits right in).  Being resin is a great advantage over the old metal version however (though not being able to get him outside of the warband set may limit the amount you see in Kings of War games).

Again, very little cleanup required (many props to Kirsten and the resin casting department at Mantic, their resin models are simply getting better and better).

A comparison shot of the new Overmaster and the old metal one (this is one I got off ebay - my painted one is actually broken right now).  (I was looking for a

I thought I had a Helfather figure from Deadzone, but I can't seem to find it.  The one from the Mantic website does show the similarities (I think Kara Brown used him in her Abyssal Dwarf army way back in 1st edition!).

Then there is the Booster box.

Ok, yes, there is something else in the warband box - the new blacksoul / decimator sprue.  However it deserves it's own blog post - so watch for it next!

Ok, back to the booster:

The only thing I dislike about this booster is it is the only way (currently) to get the Charnox and Hexcaster models, and I'm thinking I want 4 Charnox and maybe 3 hexcasters.  To top that off at most I'll only need the one Immortal Guardian (as he doesn't have a use in Kings of War).  And that is just for my Kings of War armies (yes, I have three hordes of golems that I want to upgrade.  That isn't too much at all!)

The booster actually has six profile cards (three of which are new profiles)

  • - Gargoyle - support
  • - Immortal Guard - support
  • - Lesser Obsidian Golem - large
  • - Charnox (new) - large
  • - Immortal Guardian (new) - support
  • - Hexcaster (new) - support

For the models, the Immortal Guardian is once again nice to assemble with very little to clean up.  One note though - all of the resin models (except for the Hexcaster) have large vents on their feet - a great place for them as you never see the bottom of the feet - however I had to trim these off before taking any pictures in order to get the models to actually stand up :-).  Usually I like to take them exactly as they come out of the box, this is one exception.

I said he can't be used in KoW, though you could use him as a Champion in an Immortal Guard unit, or trim the halberd to make him a standard bearer (yes, some of us still put standards in our units, even if they don't have any effect on the game).  However since Immortal Guard lost the option to take two-handed weapons he no longer really fits in with them there.

Then comes the hexcaster.  When I first saw this I was a bit surprised - from originally seeing the profile (with it on a heavy infantry base) my mind was thinking it was a slave orc shaman.  No, it is a crab/spider like construct.  It kind of grows on you after a while though.

The two pairs of legs are marked for the left and right side of the body, and each leg only fits in one spot - so be sure to dry-fit before gluing to make sure each is in the right place.

The other thing is the body.  When I first looked at it, I assumed this was the bottom.  It isn't, it is the top!

The bottom has the sockets for the legs.  (I did see a post on facebook someone complaining about how much cutting and green stuff it took to assemble this model and nothing fit - and then he realized it was upside down - and if you assemble it correctly everything fits easily! :-)

The hexcaster is then summoning and casting a mystical flaming symbol.  I like this, but was a bit confused about how it is assembled.  I was also puzzled because the box had a clear flying base in it - and nothing in the army flies.

I finally realized the flying base is used to hold the flaming symbol over the hexcaster (it is magic after all).  I am NOT gluing this in place yet as I don't want to paint over the clear base.  I used poster putty (can I call it blu-tack if it is an off brand and is white?)

Also, on the front is a circle with a hole in it - from the painted pictures I've seen, I'm guessing this is a single eye (where the hole is how the iris is sculpted), but I'm not 100% sure - in the end it is whatever you want to paint it as (who knows, maybe it is a socket to attach Arhak Soulbinders vacuum cleaner into :-) ).

The model I was most looking forward to is the Charnox!  This is both a Large option in Vanguard, or a unit upgrade in KoW.  For 30 points is turns your golems int something similar to the Northern Alliance Ice Elementals (though not as many shots) - a hard hitting surgable combat unit with a breath attack  steady aim 12" shooting to soften the target up a bit.

(yes, that is an unfortunate placing for the vent - but at least it isn't really part of the model (unlike the fantastic Mierce monsters that are a little too 'anatomically correct' for my tastes (no, I don't need to see that minotaurs schlong hanging down, thank you very much (now let me go pour bleach into my eyes)))
Clean and simple to put together again.  Unfortunate it doesn't seem to be compatible with the existing Lesser Obsidian Golem sculpts at all, though cutting off the magma cannon and cutting off an existing logs arm to replace it with shouldn't be too difficult.

I do like the hoses on it, connecting this to other parts of the body.

There are two blister packs available in this release as well.  One of the most anticipated is the new Infernox model (again usable in Kings of War).

I was surprised to see that it came in a new, larger blister pack.  Maybe this will have better luck with stores NOT covering up all the art with their own labels :-).

It comes with two cards
- Iron Caster - spellcaster
- Infernox - Large - (new)

I'm not sure why they put a second Iron Caster card here - it will be rare that a warband has more than one, and it doesn't have any synergy with the Infernox either.  However I can see a lot of these showing up in Kings of War armies.

Personally, I had confused some of his profile with the Hellfane - I was thinking he had an 18" ranged attack (he doesn't have any ranged attack).  AD are missing any ranged units that are not War Engines that have a range of more than 12" (and most of their war engines are indirect, so NONE of them can shoot within 12")
Yes, I ran out of new Shogun magnetic bases, so had to dig up an old GF9 one I had previously replaced)

What I did find interesting is the new renewed interest in the Arhak Soulbinder model - as people now want to use him as an Infernox.  He actually comes on a 40mm base, so it makes sense, though he is a little smaller than this one.  (I rebased him to fit on 20mm by squeezing his legs together, and have just used him a an ironcaster).   Mantic may just want to bring him back into print (even if web only) provided, of course, they still have the mold for him.  I only have 4, so I'd buy more :-).

There is one more blister pack, but it actually doesn't include any dwarfs - so it is one more thing to put in another post.  (The Ratkin slaves - which have the profile cards for the slave driver and the ratkin slaves).

The new release sees 7 new profiles for the AD warband - bring their total to 17.  (Undead still has the most at 18).  A bit more variety, and a very hard choice to make on your single large model for the warband - all look to be strong choices.

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. while I enjoy your humour in the headlines, you might think of search engine optimisation to attract ppl to your blog. all your reviews don't seem to be properly tagged as such and can not be found using Google...

    1. Thanks - I'll start adding the #review tag. (a bit ironic that I'm a computer programmer, but still don't get a lot of the social media / search stuff) (Granted, I have punched cards (though never programmed on them), which just goes to show how long I've been doing this stuff (of course what goes around, comes around. Lately I've been doing some stuff that was my favorite way back in school (when we used to program by carving it rocks :-) ) dealing with writing parsers! )

    2. i think it already might help to label images and that doesn't require a lot of extra work: simply name pictures with review-mantic-abyssal-dwarfs1.jpg or so.. my understanding it that this might be picked up by the algorithm.

    3. I never thought of that - I've just been lazy and not renaming the names from my phone/camera


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