Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Hobgoblins Hoard Kickstarter Review

A few months ago I backed a small KS to produce four new miniatures by Hobgoblins Hoard. The KS was successful and the package arrived with only a two month delay.

Size Comparisons
These are the miniatures the KS aimed to create,
I pledged for one of everything via the ultimate pledge,
Pledging to the KS gave you a coupon to spend on the Hobgoblin hoard web store, where you could buy the models at a reduced price, along with some extra bits.

I selected one of each model and then an extra succubus to convert.

I seem to be missing the A4 poster.
Art book on top of t-shirt.
The art book is a quality magazine.

Collectors cards showing the concept art, these were a bit boxed around the edges during transport and could use being packed differently in future.

Signed art print, now proudly displayed on my wall.
On to the first of the models: Er'eli, this is a big model.

Reverse of Er'eli.
Stop! Traffic light time!

I'm tempted to add some sort of aerial to the hole in the back.

The survivor is by far the least interesting sculpt. It does however fit with the game I am making so I am pleased with it.

The succubus on the other hand is great, there was a lot of debate during the KS about the sculpt. Mostly this stemmed from the sculpt being posed very differently, and noticeably less curvaceous than the concept art - this second point was a result of the creator not wanting to make an overly sexual model.

The final pose selected by the sculptor is going to require an interesting base as justification.

The models are sculpted in high quality resin, mould lines are manageable and for the most part should be easy to remove with a sharp scalpel. Overall the quality is what I would expect from models in this price range.

Table top usage:
The models are not linked to any particular game at present.

All of the models are in 32mm scale, somewhere between true and heroic scale.

Cost per model:
The survivor retails for £10, the succubus for £12 and the brute and Er'eli for £16 from
For the survivor I consider this to be expensive, a comparable model in metal would retail for £4 to £8 and I don't see anything in that model that justifies the extra expense of resin.
The succubus brute and Er'eli are all fairly priced given the size and detail of the models.

I'm happy I backed this KS; both because I like the models I have received and because I think they are great additions to the modelling world.
The KS delivered close to on time but there seem to have been several issues with the packing such as items missing and the boxing of the collectors cards. Nothing major and the main component of the KS was the models which all arrived correctly.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

West Wind - Empire of the Dead - An Invisible Man - Review and unboxing

The invisible man arrives contained within a standard clamshell pack.
West Wind kindly gave this pack as a gift for review, I posted an unboxing video here:
1 Invisible man
1 round 30mm diameter base

The invisible man is well sculpted, mold lines are intelligently placed and will require little work to clean up. Details, such as the rags over the face, are crisp and should paint up well.

The invisible man depicts a man who, in a direct reference to H G Wells' novel, has somehow become invisible. Rather than just an empty base, which would be very boring, or casting the model from translucent material, which is very expensive, West wind have chosen to sculpt a man desperately working to make himself visible.

Table top usage:
Until the supplement is released the invisible man has no official rules for EotD. I suspect that he will use a form of hidden deployment.

The invisible man is clearly sculpted in 28mm heroic scale:
The invisible man next to a 28mm heroic model

Cost per model:
The Invisible man retails for £4 - for a single metal miniature in 28mm scale this is highly competitive.

Similar to Raphael the invisible man is a great miniature at a solid price. He will work well as a roleplaying character - porting easily to other universes. The forthcoming supplement for EotD will add rules for him to the game. In the meantime he could easily work as a lightly armed gentleman or thrall. Overall 10 out of 10.

West Wind - Empire of the Dead - Victorian Servants 2 - Review and Unboxing

The servants arrive tightly packed into a standard clamshell pack - this seems highly indicative of their lot in life!
1 butler
1 governess
1 maid
1 house boy
4, 30mm round plastic bases
Each servant is cleanly cast in white metal, flash and mold lines are minimal. The maid has one across her face that you'll want to be very careful when removing.

Each servant is clearly distinguishable, with an element of their role indicated in their sculpt. The butler stands rigidly at attention, the governess holds a candle to shoo wayward children back to bed, the maid clutches a mop whilst the houseboy's insignificance (house boys would serve other servants without ever being seen by any of the house family) is indicated by his relaxed stance.
Table top usage:
The Victorian servants are non combatants in Eotd. They can take part as targets in the civilians scenario described in the core rulebook. They also lend themselves to general use in scenarios as either objectives or bystanders.

The servants fit neatly into the 28mm heroic scale.
To the left a 32mm scale model, to the right a 28mm heroic scale model.
Cost per model:
At £12 for a pack of 4 the servants work out at £3 each - highly competitive for metal models in this scale. The 4 models for £12 are actually the best value packs West Wind sell being slightly better than the 8 models for £25 of the starter packs. The exception to this is the zombies box which is £25 for 10 models.

I like the servants a lot, they have a strong visual theme and lend themselves to a great number of game systems. I feel significant improvement could only come from moving away from metal into resin or hard plastic. Overall 9 out of 10

Saturday, 17 January 2015

West Wind - Empire of the Dead - Infernium Hound and Handler - Review and Unboxing

The hound and handler arrive together in a standard clamshell pack
Westwind kindly gave me this box for the purposes of review, I have uploaded an unboxing video Here
1, handler
1, hound
2, 30mm plastic bases

The hound and handler are neatly cast in white metal. The hounds legs are very close together, not however, to the point of being fused into a single lump. This is an indicator of quality and will allow the model to be posed less statically if it is freed from the tab. I recommend using a jewelers saw if you intend to do this.

The handler has a different hat to regular bobbies, this seems a little random as special branch don't. Maybe it is to clearly mark him out as a non-combatant. The hound strikes a nice balance between being overtly mechanical and still resembling a dog. Whilst the pose is too static for my liking, with both pairs of legs posed identically, this does lend the model  an air of robotic unnaturalism - which may have been intentional. 
Table top usage:
At time of writing, the the hound and handler have no published rules. I anticipate that the hound will be a strong melee combatant whilst the handler will be weaker than a normal bobbie. There will also I expect, be rule for what happens to the hound if the handler is killed.
Personally, I would have the hound require both line of sight to and being within 12" of the handler in order to be given new orders. Otherwise, it would simply complete its current order and then act only in response to being attacked. This seems 'realistic' given the level of technology in Eotd and it rewards tactical play in terms of both protecting and attacking the handler.

The handler is 28mm heroic scale.
To the left a 32mm scale model, to the right a 28mm heroic scale example.

Cost per model:
At £7 for the combined pack the models retail at £3.50 each, this is highly competitive for metal models.

I think that a pair of hounds in individual stances could be a good seller, they'd have a wide range of appeal. The handler ties this set to the Eotd universe, for which they currently have no rules. If that isn't an issue for your group then I think this set is good buy to expand your bobbie force. Overall 8 out of 10

Monday, 5 January 2015

West Wind - Empire of the Dead - Order of the Dragon Masked Thugs - Unboxing and Review

The thugs arrive packed tightly into a clamshell pack; this might explain their angry demeanor

4 metal 28mm Thugs
4 30mm round bases 

The thugs are cleanly cast in white metal. Mold lines are few and intelligently placed. Westwind are very good at sculpting and casting which is highly in evident here.

Similar to the thralls included in the Vampire starter box, the thugs are individualistic yet linked in appearance. I like this, as it allows the painter a chance to experiment, avoiding the monotony of uniforms, yet tie all the models together as a single force. I feel this suits the fluff of a vampire group, which, is likely made up of disparate individuals - who while likely to have made some effort to resemble the vampire leader haven't been issued any sort of full formal uniform. The opera masks are the obvious example, however the cloaks tie them to the thralls in the vampire starter box.

Table top usage:
I was very excited at the release of the Thugs, as possessing both the Vampire starter box and the order of the dragon starter box I have a lot more heroes than I can legally field at once. This is due to the rule imposed by Empire of the Dead's core mechanics, which requires three henchmen be fielded for every hero.
Outside of allowing a Vampire player field more vampires (all vampires are (anti?)heroes) the thugs act as standard henchmen: grabbing objectives, attacking enemies and acting as human shields for their vampire masters. 
Personally I tend to equip thralls with heavy pistols and swords, this gives them a strong melee attack and keeps them cheap enough to be fielded in large numbers.

The thugs fit neatly into the 28mm heroic scale
To the left a 32mm scale model to the right a 28mm
Cost per model:
The Thugs retail for £12 this works out at £3 per model. For metal models of this scale this is highly competitive.

The Thugs are a neat little pack, allowing vampire players to expand beyond their starter box. I would have liked to see a female Thug or two for verity, variety and inclusivity however. Overall 9 out of 10 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Westwind's Empire Of the Dead - Game Review

High level overview:
Empire of the dead (EotD) is a skirmish game, set in a steampunk universe, expanded to include horror elements such as werewolves and vampires. EotD uses a modified version of the necromunda ruleset published by Games Workshop with some additional mechanics.

Setting is one of EotD's strong points. This is exposed mainly through an enjoyable introductory piece within the core rulebook.
EotD depicts a world set in the late Victorian era, where the discovery of a material known as Infernium has allowed for the development of wondrous inventions - such as mechanical servants known as clickers. This discovery, compounded by general human expansion, has brought formerly fringe groups such as Vampires and Werewolves into action. Action EotD hopes to bring to your tabletop!
Fluff is  EotD's main strong point!
Official Miniatures:
West Wind produce a range of 28mm heroic scale miniatures intended for use with EotD.
These can be grouped into three categories:
  • Starter factions: Vampires, Werewolves, Gentlemen and Brotherhood, who have rules printed in the core rulebook.
  • Secondary factions, who currently have no rules published.
  • Individual characters, most of whom have no published rules.
My vampire gang out in force!
Each faction within the game has a starter box containing 7 or 8 miniatures, consisting of a faction leader, 2 heroes and some henchmen. The Gentlemen, Vampire and Brotherhood factions can be expanded beyond their starter boxes through the purchasing of blisters of henchmen.

Core Game Mechanics:
EotD uses a reskin of the Necromunda ruleset.

  • EotD uses ten sided dice (D10) primarily.
  • Each model within the game has a statline, reflecting their skill at movement, shooting, fighting etc, newly added is a magic stat. Higher stats are better.
  • Each player activates each of their models in turn, choosing to walk, run, charge into Close Combat (CC) or remain stationary. Models that did not run or charge may then shoot or cast spells - models that remained stationary receive a bonus to shooting.
  • After both players have activated all CC is resolved simultaneously. Each combatant rolls a D10 for each attack they have and selects the highest. The player with the higher result rolls each of their attack dice again to attempt to wound the target model. Ties are resolved by comparison of weapon skill (WS)
  • Models that are injured lose wounds until they have none left, at which point they roll on the injury table with varying results.
  • Players may elect to play a series of games forming a campaign; in between games players may spend gold generated by the game on leveling their characters (resolved by rolling on a table) or purchasing additional equipment
  • Players may also spend campaign gold on purchasing influence tokens which can be used in game to generate certain events such as changing day to night or summoning reinforcements such as zombies or angry mobs.
EotD's rules are serviceable, the move to D10 is a good step, as is clearing up the issues regarding what a model can be equipped with and the removal of experience points saves a large amount of post game paperwork. There are some minor negative points such as double handed weapons remaining demonstrably inferior to taking a pair of melee weapons.
Mostly there feels to be something of a missed opportunity to progress the ruleset forward to a greater extent. Melee between characters for example could be much more than just rolling more dice than normal.
The vampire starter box

Support from Creator:
Release Schedule
EotD's release schedule is not publicly listed and does not seem to correspond to any particular time scale. Customers would do well to assume only what is available will be available and not make purchases based on expected releases.

Community interaction
An official forum exists and is linked to from the West Wind site, (free) membership is required to view posts.
West Wind staff post a few times a year on said forum however these posts fall short of keeping the community usefully informed and fail to address key questions raised.
West Wind have neglected to respond to (polite) requests for information that I have emailed directly to them, they did respond promptly to an email relating to the ability to purchase their products.

West Wind do not seem to manage releases in a manner designed to promote EotD.
The game was initially released with the rulebook and starter boxes for the first four factions. The subsequent EotD Requiem kickstarter funded a large expansion of the available models. Only the gentlemen, Police and brotherhood factions, however, received blisters to allow expansion beyond their starter box. A second vampire faction was released allowing vampire players to expand somewhat. Given that campaign play is clearly an intention of the rules having a situation where players cannot expand their gang as it grows over the course of a campaign neatly curtails that element of play.
The back of the box shows some of the models included, the models are shown on scenic bases which are not supplied, less than honest!

EotD is a fun game to play; as a skirmish game most of the fun comes from the scenarios - which the rulebook helpfully provides several of. Creating additional ones and testing them out is a great way to play the game!

Not depicted on the vampire box are the bat swarms, here is one of mine.
Prolonged play:
EotD's simple rules allow for it to scale well with larger numbers of models. This plays into the attached campaign system. The problematic availability of models to expand your collection with, punches several holes into this element however.

EotD is fun to play and has attractive models. My lack of faith in its creator, stemming from a consistent absence of transparency and support, makes me wary of recommending it.
This is especially so, as there is no word, as to if the next book released will supplement or replace the one currently in publication.  I have spoken directly to westwind who confirmed the next book will supplement the current one.

The fact that only the first four factions released have any rules published should be taken into heavy consideration, as if you want to play any of the other factions, you can't!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

West Wind - Empire of the Dead - Raphael - Unboxing and Review

 Raphael arrives in a standard single miniature pack
1 28mm Raphael
1 30mm base
Raphael is cleanly cast. The outer mould lines run along his sides and over his head; the choice to use the 'exaggerated strand style' of hair makes cleaning these away simple. The secondary lines within the empty space between arm and body will be tricky due to the small area. I plan to attempt to clear out this area with a length of course wire.

Raphael has a strange shape, he seems to be modeled after a man with a pot belly holding two of a weapon I have never encountered before, likely because they would be awful.
Tabletop useage:
I believe people who backed the Empire of the dead Kickstarter have rules for using Raphael as a character. These rules have yet to be released to the general public so at time of writing he has no defined rules. If you have suggestions please do include them in the comments.
I intend to use him as a thrall in my vampire force, Westwind have yet to release a blister of thralls, presumably out of fear of their game becoming successful.

Raphael neatly fits into the 28mm heroic scale - as used by games workshop.
Cost per Model:
Raphael has a RRP of £4, this can be reduced to £3.60 by buying from firestorm games. For a single metal miniature this is very competitive.

Raphael is neat miniature at a reasonable price. For a roleplaying character or some other use not directly related to Empire of the Dead he is a great buy. Personally I feel he fits in with the aesthetic that the vampire faction uses well making him a viable thrall. Overall 10 out of 10