Friday, 24 April 2009

The Orcish Horde


Heres the first of the reviews of the forces in Leviathan. I am starting with the orc horde as their range is most complete and they have some rather nice warbeasts available.

The orcs were beaten by a combined elven, dwarf and human army thousands of years ago and banished to the barren steppes to die. Despite the harsh conditions the orcs survived and flourished. They tamed mighty reptilian beasts which they ride into battle and with the return of their god Goranth have launched numerous expeditions and assaults across the Ironwall Mountains to attack the shattered civilisations of the other races.

The orc horde is constantly attacking the other races as its population keeps growing so rapidly (every orc litter produces between 10 and 20 young) they need to keep expanding to survive. Coupled with their bloodthirsty nature, orcs are one of the few races flourishing since the breaking of the great seals which unleashed the fallen.

The orcish horde relies heavily on its tame warbeasts in battle but also has a good selection of infantry available.

The leaders of the hordes are the orc Khans who often ride into battle atop warbeasts. Excellent in close combat and with a much needed leadership these mighty warriors range from the great Khans who lead the entire army to unit leaders.

Goblin leaders and heroes are called Khadins and while pretty poor combat troops, give any unit they lead a much needed leadership boost. Also arming them with magic weapons can make them capable of holding their own against better characters.

One of the best things about the orc army is that their god can be featured as part of it. The Eyes of Goranth are small versions of him (they still stand 20 feet tall!) and are both excellent in close combat and have the ability to automatically rally fleeing troops.

At present there are no rules for magic in the game but the orcs can field shamans whose ability to issue potions to boost their troops is a definite plus. Also the orcs can be accompanied by shades. These ghosts of dead shamans can move through any terrain without penalty and their attacks ignore armour making them excellent for killing characters or artillery crews.

The Infantry consists of primarily orc warriors armed with a variety of weapons ranging from double handed weapons to bows. Reasonably good in close combat but lightly armoured orc infantry is best either supporting warbeasts or taking on opposing infantry as they will struggle to take down opposing big guys.

Goblins are also available and are, as one would expect cheap, they are pretty poor at close combat but can be equipped with shortbows making for nice support units. Also when armed with hand weapons they make good cannon fodder and shields for better units as orcs dont panic at the sight of goblins getting destroyed!

Great orcs are a good assault choice and cheap too. Every second litter in orc society produces a great orc making them quite numerous, if dim. Armed with double handed weapons these ogre sized orcs should hold their own against any infantry and even warbeasts. They also have high leadership (for orcs) making them less likely to turn and run when they take casualties.

Goranths Chosen are orcs blessed by their god making them bigger and more aggressive than normal, quite heavily armoured and well armed these troops are the elite of the orc infantry forces.

Orcish cavalry is heavy and hard hitting. Riding necrodon warbeasts orcs can either skirmish with their bows or drive into the opposing line with polearms. Goblin cavalry is lighter but faster riding Carnodons with an impressive charge but are better being used to skirmish with their bows or charging to support other units in close combat already. Another use for these rapid moving beasts is to assault artillery pieces or small exposed infantry units.

The warbeasts of the orcs form the bulk of their forces and consist of the following choices:

The largest beasts available are the mighty Titanosaur and can cause huge amounts of damage by themselves, a howdah full of orc warriors make them doubly dangerous. Surprisingly speedy these behemoths can also be armoured making them even more difficult to destroy.

Some orc Khans strap two Titanosaurs together creating a platform to support heavy catapults giving the orc army both heavy artillery and a massively dangerous unit. Admittedly at 420 points each you wont field many and they tend to become missile targets so keep them screened or armour them up a bit.

The most numerous orc warbeast is a Carnosaur. Armed with jagged teeth and mighty talons and riden into battle by up to two orcs these beasts are renowned for being difficult to kill.

Necrosaurs are larger versions of Carnosaurs and sport a howdah full of orcs as well. Slow moving but very nasty with a bite that can crush even a dwarven steam tank these beasts are well worth the points.

Goranthosaurs are Goranths gift to his people Imbued with his power these beasts are not only capable of holding their own against other wabeasts and infantry in close combat but are also capable of spitting large quantities of highly corrosive acid.

Lesser goblins are also featured in the army and come in two varieties. Lesser goblin rabble are a mass of tiny goblins hiding behind shields and wielding a mixture of spears and shortbows. Rubbish in close combat but unbreakable these tiny beasts can be a real pain to destroy and make perfece shielding units.

The other variety is the lesser goblin Carnosaur. These lucky bands have managed to acquire a Carnosaur and proudly ride them into battle. The model for this is great with a howdah full of tiny goblins!

Hopefully that will give you a brief overview of the orcs and their forces. I plan on building an orc force in the coming weeks and am currently painting up some infantry units to support the warbeasts. As soon as I get them finished I will get some pictures up on the site!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Dwarven Gateway Review


Just time for a quick review this tome of the Dwarven Gateway.

The miniature comes in a sturdy box with the usual colour photo on the front and black and white images of the building on the back. On opening the box I found it very well padded with packaging peanuts.

The kit itself came in 10 pieces, each tower came in three pieces, the gate, parapet, wall and finally some nice winch apparatus which can be used to add a drawbridge to the model. As usual the bits are bubble free and nicely cast and the finished gateway will weigh a ton!

Gateway Gubbins!

There's lots of really nice weathering on the gate giving it an ancient, battle scarred feel. The only real quibble I have with it is that the parapet running along the top is a bit tight to get even a 20mm square base into. It will fit but only just. This is a bit of a shame but may have been caused by shrinkage when the original model was moulded.

Good Stuff: An excellent piece of kit that looks suitably dwarven and is ideal for those wanting to add some interest to their battlefields. The detailing is excellent and I suspect its going to turn out really nicely when painted.

Bad stuff: As already mentioned the parapet is a bit narrow and its difficult to position the defenders on it. Also theres no guide to constructing it! Its not too much of a problem as its fairly straight forward but it may have been handy as I had to do a bit of head scratching before figuring out what went where and which way round to put it!

I plan on using this as an objective in games with dwarven defenders desperately trying to stop an attacking orc horde from breaking in. I may have to construct some sort of cliff face with the gateway built into it as it would make an excellent entrance to a dwarven city!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Orc and Goblin Reviews


Heres the second batch of reviews!

First off theres the Gorathosaur box set:

The model arrived in a sturdy cardboard box with a color photo of the model on the front and various black and white pics of it on the back. The box was also stuffed with packaging peanuts which ensured it didnt get damaged in transit which is a plus (again I lost the pics I took of the box!)

Gorathosaur (apologies for the blurry pic!)

Unlike many of the other Grendel resin kits I have, this one is cast in a yellowish resin rather than the typical gray. The kit comes in three pieces, the body, head and orc crewman. The kit is well detailed with the usual highly effective looking lizard skin effect on the beast while its head also has tons of character (it actually looks a bit depressed!).

The crew figure is quite nice and features an orc with a sword at on a throne. A nice element to him is that his armour is made up of bones! Alas as he's a one piece resin sculpt he's quite static.

The Gorathosaur Crewman.

The howdah itself is a bit odd as the Orc seems to be looking at a big pile of skulls sat in front of him and the sides of the howdah are non existent. Essentially he's just sat on a raised platform. I plan on building up the sides a bit and possibly adding a second crew figure in the form of a banner bearer as the orc on the throne looks quite characterful.

Good stuff: Buckets of character as usual and the Gorathosaur is nicely detailed and unlike most of the other orc warbeasts is armoured to some extent. The orc characters armour is also really nice and quite different from the usual chainmail.

Bad stuff: The howdah is a bit of a let down as its more of a stage than an armoured fighting platform. Also the static pose of the character is a bit of a shame as it would be better if he was waving his sword and bellowing. The Gorathosaurs pose is a bit depressed too with it staring at the ground. I plan on extending its neck a bit to give it a better pose.

Next up is the Goblin Carnodon archers:

The miniatures arrived safely wrapped in bubblewrap and consists of four identical Carnodon cavalry mounts and four identical archer figures. The Carnodons themselves are brilliant. I really like their tubby frame and bad tempered looks and they remind me of really big, angry squigs from warhammer.

Carnodon Bits!

The crew figures are quite nice too which came as quite a surprise. They are nicely sculpted and look suitably goblinesque (as long as you don't mind them having topknots!) As per usual with the resin and metal kits the goblin is in two pieces. The upper body is metal while the legs come as part of the resin mounts.

Carnodon Side Views

Carnodon Front and Back Views.

Alas all the figures are identical which makes making larger units of them a bit difficult. Saying that the goblin riders are provided from the waist up, allowing you to pivot their bodies to a certain extent. The metal components are well cast and without mould lines but the resin beasts are going to need a bit of work as there's a thin line of resin running along their spines which will need cleaning Also one of them has a bit of a blob stuck to one side (it actually looks like a piece of rag which doesn't look out of place and actually adds a bit of variety to the sculpts)

Good stuff: Really nice models, they have tons of character and I can see myself buying more. These look FAR better than the traditional goblin wolfrider!

Bad stuff: The models are all identical and need a bit of cleaning before assembly and painting.

I continue to be very pleased with the range so far. If I'm honest the Gorathosaur is a bit weaker than the rest of the stuff I've reviewed so far as its pose is a bit dejected and doesn't really fit with the enraged beastly namesake of the orcs dark god. Otherwise the range continues to contain some pleasant surprises, being generally far more detailed and interesting than the pictures online would lead you to believe.

I will add some more reviews later but will leave you with a work in progress pic of my Eye of Gorath. He's a very interesting model and will look really good once he's finished. I am going to give him the same colour of skin as normal orcs but he's going to be covered in mystical tattoos to make him really stand out on the tabletop!

The Eye of Gorath

All the best!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Big Batch of Reviews!


Well I received my order from the chaps at Scotia Grendel this morning and have been feverishly rummaging around the box and taking some pics for reviews. The nice folks at Scotia even included some nice extras which will be reviewed as time allows!

I thought I would start off with the Eye of Gorath for my first review:

The miniature arrived in the big box well packed in bubble-wrap and consists of six pieces, the head, body, legs, two arms and two horns. The miniature is cast in hard grey resin and stands about 80-100 mm tall (he's quite stooped and I havent assembled him yet so its difficult to tell!)

The figure himself is nicely sculpted and appears like a huge orc waving his fist and bellowing. The cast is fairly clean with a slight mould line running down either side and a couple of bits of resin which will need cleaning off (such as some on his loin cloth and parts of his fingers) The only poorly cast part are the resin horns which arrived with large pieces of flash attached. This shouldn't be too much of a problem as it will clear off easily (I may even be tempted to sculpt some larger more brutal horns to replace them!

The Eye of Gorath. Alas the pics a bit blurry and doesn't really do the actual model justice!

Good stuff: The miniature is really full of character and very large (easily out bulking the likes of the GW plastic giant) He's also VERY cheap at £9.99 he's great value for money. Also he's a lot more animated than much of the Leviathan line and really looks like he's roaring abuse at his enemies (or indeed his own side!)

Bad stuff: the miniature will need a bit of work with a file and scalpel before he's ready for assembly as there are visible mould lines and some sharp bits of resin needing removing.

Next off I have the Gorathosaur with two crew:

The Gorathosaur is one of the orc hordes medium sized warbeasts and is capable of transporting up to two of Goraths chosen into battle. The miniature is again nicely sculpted with lots of lizard like scales which will i believe, paint up nicely. The goathosaur comes in two pieces, the body and head. The crew figures are metal torsos while their legs come as part of the gorathosaurs resin body. I am not too keen on the crew figures as they aren't nearly as nicely sculpted as the beast. Still hopefully they will paint up ok (I may well replace them with something more suitable)

Both the crew and the beast are free of mould lines and the resin is bubble free (oddly the head is cast from a more yellowy resin, while the body is the usual gray)

The Gorathosar!

Good stuff: Again the miniature is nicely cast and sculpted with lots if interesting detail without being too fiddly. Unlike the Eye of Gorath there is very little needing done to it before assmbly and painting. The Gorathosaur itself is quite characterful as its been sculpted rearing and his head is nicely grumpy looking!

Bad stuff: The crew figures are the weakest point of the kit but as their top half is a separate piece its not too difficult to replace them. Also the picture of the Gorathosar on the Scotia website shows one orc with a bow and the other with a spear, the kit I got had two identical spearmen. As they are going to be replaced at some point its not really a problem for me!

Next up I ordered a pair of Black Orc Warbeasts. Essentially they are identical to Carnosars but appear a bit scalier. I plan on using them as armoured Carnosaurs!


The kit came in a sturdy cardboard box with a colour printed picture of the models (unfortunately I managed to misplace the pic of it!) The beasts themselves are two piece castings, the head and the body.

A nice feature of the kit is that there are two different heads, each with lots of orcish character. Slightly disappointingly there's only one body pose but that's a minor complaint. The beasts are smaller than the Gorathosaur but more heavily built and are sculpted with heavily scaled hides. The crew figures are also resin and come attached to a small resin rectangle which needs removing. A big plus for me is the fact that the warbeasts and crew were sculpted by Kev Adams, creator of the classic GW orcs. Although not to everyone's tastes they are the classic orc look which I far prefer to the apelike GW stuff.

The crew figures.

Although the beasts are mainly flash free there is a ridge on the howdahs which looks like it will need quite a bit of hacking at to remove. Other than that there's a few air bubbles in the open mouthed heads teeth but it's no big thing to fix.

Good stuff: Sculpted by the Kev Adams! Also these are a pair of monsters with real weight and character. With their heavily scaled hides I think they are going to paint up very nicely.

Bad stuff: the resin ridge on their backs are a bit annoying as are the rectangles the crew figures are stuck in. Also the beasts bodies and crew figures would have been nice with more variety in pose. Saying that they are nice sculpts and can easily be swapped for something more suitable or to add variety to units!

I have a ton more stuff to review but will leave it there just now as I need some lunch and I've got some uni work needing done. All in all I am very pleased with the ongoing quality of the Leviathan and Grendel ranges and am itching to get them built and painted! As soon as I've got stuff built I will post some size comparison pics showing the range of sizes from infantry, to cavalry and all the warbeasts!

All the best!