Back in the very early days of Kings of War, before the game we currently know and love was fully fleshed out, Mantic was making miniatures. (answering the eternal question - which comes first, the miniatures or the game?). They had elves, dwarves, orcs and undead, with hard plastic sprues and some metal heroes.
Then ten years and two months ago, in April of 2011 (still two years before the kickstarter for the 1st edition hardback rulebook finished), Mantic released their drakon riders. There were a pair of metal models, and a third single model for the Lord on Drakon. (Looking at them, they are actually wyvern riders (i.e. dragons with no forelegs).
I was close to picking up my first Abyssal Dwarf army box (I think I got it at Gencon that summer), so I wasn't actively involved with the Mantic community at the time. As such I don't know what the initial reaction was to these. I do know that later opinion on them was, well mixed is possibly even two generous. Eventually I heard the molds had broken, and they went out of print.
At one point several years ago, some concept art was released for new versions of the Drakon riders. And there was much rejoicing.
Finally, new Drakon Riders were coming. Just a little bit of time. Soon. Like any time now. Quickly. Ever?
Well, they FINALLY are here in an all new resin regiment!
The box contains everything to make the three drakon riders and large cavalry (i.e. 50mm) mdf bases for them.
Like all of their resin releases lately, the resin 'sprues' are all marked with id codes. For these, there are four groups - riders A, B & C, then the D sprues for heads that can be mixed between the models.
When I went through the sprues, I found I was missing EDRB6 (Elf Drakon Rider B 6) - but quickly deduced that was the body without a sprue (as EDRA6 and EDRC6 were both bodies).
|I can't help but think of this as the speeder bike view :-)|
Assembling them is actually not hard, though I ran into a couple of little gotchas.
For all of the models, I started with attaching the rear legs to the bodies.
I found that on several of the legs, the resin sprue 'vents' connect to the top edge of the legs, and it is difficult to remove it without taking off part of the edge of the legs. This isn't great placement, and does require you to fill in a major gap with greenstuff.
Putting on the tail after the leg gives us a little hole in which the foot nicely fits.
I found that I wasn't sure if I should assemble the rider arms or the wings first. For the first model, I did the wings first.
I just picked the heads, going from left to right for each model. Two of the heads have separate jaws, but they are keyed to each jaw only fits on one head. The heads are ball & socket joints, so you have some flexibility if you like on positioning them.
The lance, as is so common with them in resin, can use a little hot water to straighten it out.
For B, I again did the legs first, then the tail, but then did the arms before the wings.
I think this gap may be poor positioning on my fault. Also note the obligatory straps on the drakon's legs.
The joints for the shield and weapon arms are tiny
little pins - they did not fit well for me - at least not well to not need some zap-a-gap and will require some greenstuff to fill them.
I assembled the C version in the same order
'C' has the riders torso separate from it's legs (where the other two have torso (and legs) molded to the body).
The sculpts are very well thought out - each one has it's wings at a different height, so you can rank them up into regiments (or hordes) very easily.
Overall, I really like the models. The posing is great for gaming, though may look a little strange in a non-game (i.e. display) environment. The quality is good though not great, as some of the vent placement makes it very difficult to remove them without damaging the pieces.
So from long out of print, Drakons are now hitting the shelves once again. I just need three more myself!
One of my readers (Thanks to Page Neo) wanted me to add a note basically saying that "your mileage may vary" on the gaps I had when assembling these models. He kindly sent me a picture of his to show that he had much less trouble with gaps than I did. He didn't want people to be scared off because I screwed up cleaning the pieces (though I've always felt that not only can I show how to assemble models, I also often show how NOT to assemble them as well - I make the mistakes so you don't have to.
|Better trimming of the legs and better positioning means fewer and smaller gaps.|
Because it is still all fun and games . . .
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