Saturday, 30 March 2013

Pendraken Dwarves - Review

I'm currently working away on a little fantasy project, and the orcs are nearing completion.  They'll need something to fight of course so I recently acquired a dwarf army from Pendraken.  

The little 10mm chaps turned up today so i thought i'd kick off with a bit of a review.

FD2 Dwarf with bow



The pack contains basically the same sculpt but there are variations on that theme within the pack; some are cloaked, some have shields.

Interestingly, Pendraken archers usually have derisory bows, small stubby things.  In this case these dwarves are sculpted with large, almost longbows!

As with most Pendraken figures, these are cleanly cast, and satisfyingly good.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 3
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 8

FD1 Dwarf with mace




The first thing to say is that these little chaps appear to be armed with a ball & chain weapon rather than a mace.  Again they're basically the same pose with variation put into the figure by different shields, or none at all.  the head seems a little small, and the odd pose is a bit static.  Also the robustness of the figure itself will mean simple alterations (bending limbs, etc.) will be impossible.  

This appears to have come from an older mould as there's an unusual amount of edge flash on these.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 3
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 6
Casting: 6

Overall: 4


FD4 Dwarf with sword

This appears to be the same basic figure as the FD1 code, modified with a sword instead of a 'mace'.  It suffers from similar issues, although there appears to be a little more variation in the sculpts.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 3
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 6
Casting: 6

Overall: 4

FD4 Dwarf with spear


I don't really associate dwarves with spears so i was interested to see what turned up for these.  They're a satisfyingly diverse mix, including some sculpts with very large heads!

There basically appear to be figures from different sculptors here, which is something Pendraken figures 'suffer' from.  As i understand, Pendraken don't have in-house sculptors  nor a sort of 'Pendraken style' really so you can find wildly different styles and types within the same rage.  Personally i really like the big head chaps, more than the small heads, but i guess we're into personal preference on that one.

They are cleanly cast with robust spears, and helpfully all the spears are held upwards.  Nothing worse than levelled spears that overhang the front of a base and prevent 'ranking up'.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 4
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6


FD16 Dwarf druid attack group


'Druid attack group' eh?  Well i really had little idea what to expect with these chaps.  One of the main issues i have with Pendraken is the lack of pictures on their website which means you're often buying figures unseen.

These chaps appear fairly pedestrian figures, in a simple, flat pose.  There's a bit of variation but not much.  

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 5
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 6
Casting: 7

Overall: 5

FHD1 Dwarf with sword and armour

Pendraken have two 'dwarf' ranges, Dwarves and Hill Dwarves.  These figures are from the Hill Dwarf range.  Its a nice sculpt, well proportioned, and satisfyingly 'dwarfy'.  The head's a little small perhaps and it could do with a few details like scabbard, or shield, but otherwise this is a nice figure.

The pack contains no variation in the figure poses.  The casting is very clean.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 8

FHD3 Dwarf with hammer


This is a very nice sculpt, well proportioned, characterful, and very 'dwarf-like'.  The casting is very good, but again its a single pose in the pack, giving no variation.  This of course isn't necessarily a bad thing, as for regular troops you may want identical figures. 



My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6

FHD20 Dwarf flamethrower team




This is a delightfully odd little vignette figure; a dwarf flamethrower team.  It's relatively interesting but there are a couple of elements that don't quite work for me.  The crew appear to be wearing Tam O'shanter type hats, rather than perhaps some sort of anti-flame gear.  Also, the actual flame projector tube is a simple rod.  I think i'll be looking to tack some sort of nozzle on to make it a bit more impressive.

These are however, solid clean sculpts and well cast.

As you can see, there's also an extra crew included in the pack.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 7
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 9

Overall: 6

FD6 Dwarf with axe


Aha!  A dwarf with an axe.  Now we're on firmer ground.  These are odd little poses though with two basic types; one in a fighting pose with axe and shield, the other in a sort of 'hail' pose.



The sculpting is well detailed, and the the casting quality good.



My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 3
Sculpting: 8
Casting: 8

Overall: 7

FD23 Dwarf armoured with two-handed sword


With these we're back to the 'big head' sculpts, that sort of remind me of the goblins in Legend or Labyrinth . These are lovely little heavily armoured dwarves; well sculpted, and with minor variations (shields again).  They are well cast with only a very minor bit of flash. 

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6

FHD18 Dwarf berserker with two axes


Back to the Hill Dwarves again, we have these little chaps.  The pose is a little odd with the dwarf 'showing' his axes more than wielding them, but the sculpt is high quality, well proportioned and has a good amount of character.

Once again, casting quality is top notch.


My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 8
Casting: 9

Overall: 6

FD5 Dwarf with crossbow


With these we're back to the 'big head' sculpts, that sort of remind me of the goblins in Legend or Labyrinth . These are lovely little heavily armoured dwarves; well sculpted, and with minor variations (shields again).  They are well cast with only a very minor bit of flash. 




My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6

FD8 Dwarf wizards


 Not traditionally associated with magic using, the Pendraken dwarf range includes these wizard figures.  They are bizarre little cloaked chaps with a large skull staff that put me in mind of Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python's Holy Grail movie.  Not sure why really.

These are however well sculpted and characterful little fellows, and as ever are well cast and mercifully free from flash.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 9

Overall: 6

FHD11 Dwarf mounted with spear


Now we come to that rarest of things, a dwarf rider!  In this case these little chaps appear to be riding some sort of dog. It's an interesting idea and a nice sculpt, with the rider and dog mount coming in two separate parts.

Clean, well-proportioned, and well cast, these are nice little figures.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 8
Casting: 9

Overall: 7

FHD9 Dwarf Command



The command pack (there are four shown here mixed together) i found a little disappointing.  There are only two casts, a 'leader' holding a sword aloft, and a simple standard bearer with a wooden cross.  They're well done, but a little uninspiring.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 9

Overall: 6

FHD8 Dwarf with handgun


These dwarves are listed as armed with 'handguns'.  They appear to be some sort of blunderbuss type weapon, possible a coach gun or something similar.  This is a very nice, cleanly cast sculpt, that is well proportioned and looks suitably menacing.

Again there's only a single sculpt but i've no doubt these chaps will look splendid ranked up in a firing line.


My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 9
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 8
Casting: 9

Overall: 7

AC26 Boulder elemental


And now for something a little bit different, from Pendraken's Fantasy Accessories range: Boulder elementals.  These appear to be basically aggregations of rock in humanoid form.  They do have a rather odd little comical face though, and i may file that off.  These are top-notch sculpts although the pose could be better and they are well cast once more.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 9
Casting: 9

Overall: 6

FHD10 Dwarf musician


FHD10 is a musician pack containing five dwarves playing matterhorns.  The sculpt seems a little clumsy, with the instrument itself lacking a 'crisp' quality.  But overall these are nice little figures, and something different to the usual horn blowers or drummers.  They're more suited to a baggage vignette than a fighting unit though, as it's difficult to see this lumbering horn being carried into the front line.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 5

FD22 Dwarf with bunderbus


Good grief that's an impressive weapon!  FD22 are dwarves armed with extremely large blunderbusses.  These are jolly fun and characterful sculpts that come in two poses.  Its a shame neither are levelling their weapons though.  There is some flashing on a couple of the figures especially on the barrel and muzzle of the guns.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 6
Casting: 7

Overall: 5 (although it should be higher, i do like these little dudes!)

FGN5 Gnomes enhanced with axes



Another departure, this time into the realm of the gnomes; traditionally 'cousins' of the dwarves in many fantasy settings.  I wasn't sure what to expect with these chaps, but being described as 'enhanced' i had an expectation of some sort of clockwork effort.  These however, appear to be sort of pointy eared dwarves.  they are exceptionally crisp in detail, and are very nicely sculpted, although the single pose is very static.



My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 9
Casting: 9

Overall: 6







FD9 Dwarf high king


 


FD9 is the dwarf high king, a rather self important looking fellow being borne aloft on a litter-throne by a small cadre of robed dwarves.  Very much of the 'big head' variant, this is a delightful sculpt.  I was particularly surprised and pleased to see that the throne itself is adorned with two 'face discs' that appear to be taken from the Pendraken orc standards!  Very fitting for any dwarf king worth his beard.  The casting, particularly around the bases has some flash issues, but nothing too difficult to snip off and file down.  I'm looking forward to getting this chap painted up.


My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 7
Pose Number: N/a - he's unique!
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 7

Overall: 7

FHD2 Dwarf with sword


This is the Hill Dwarf variation of a dwarf with a sword.  its a simple, fairly static single pose that is well proportioned.  Its casting is good, with little flash.


My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 5
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 5

FGN1 Gnome with sword



Hmm.  OK.  Hmm.  Well now, these are apparently gnomes.  They look to me however, remarkably like goblins.  In fact, they'd not look out of place working in Gringott's Bank.

They are however jolly good sculpts and well cast in two poses.  They just don't look like gnomes.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6

FD7 Dwarf Command



Like the Hill Dwarf command, the Dwarf command is equally disappointing.  With only two poses, a rather nice solid looking leader figure and and a resolute looking flag bearer, there's little selection to be had.

They are however nice poses, and good quality casting.  The flag is furled, which makes it difficult to paint a nice icon for those inclined to do so.

My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 2
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6

DN4 Rock man 


Another departure, again along a dwarfy, stony theme is the Fantasy Dungeon Monsters range 'rock man'.  They're suitable solid looking figures and like the boulder elementals look like humanoid piles of stones.  

A single pose that is well sculpted and well cast.





My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 6
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 5

DN59 Tile Golem


And finally, DN59 Tile Golem.  Designed i think for the Pendraken Dungeon game, this is a nice litle 'emerging rock creature' sort of thing.  Again, only a single pose but well sculpted and cast.







My rating (out of 10) 


Pose Quality: 8
Pose Number: 1
Sculpting: 7
Casting: 8

Overall: 6

So, overall some very nice figures.  I' looking forwards to assembling them into a dwarf army to oppose my orcs and goblins.

Friday, 29 March 2013

After Dorking 1871: The Battle of Crawley

Following the disasters along the North Downs Ridge the day before, and as the Prussians attack to the North at Cherley Wood, General Fitzsimmons has organised a hasty counterattack.  He’s hoping to avoid the same debacle as happened during the counter moves into Brighton a few days earlier.

Fitzsimmons, a Sandhurst desk-Johnny has organised the regulars and such militia units as he could muster into a fairly well coordinated attack with the intention of cutting the Prussian supply line north to Reigate.  


At Crawley the Prussian General Horst has organised a hasty garrison along the main supply route north to the Prussian front at Reigate.  Reinforcements are beginning to flow north for the coming assaults towards London and therefore securing the road trough Crawley is essential

Horst is a competent but unambitious commander known more for his logistical and administrative flair than his battle élan, so when an unexpected British force approaches from the east it takes him somewhat by surprise!

The British attack begins at 12 noon, shortly after the engagement at Cherkley Wood to the north west.  The    British columns approach from the east through the villages of Ardingly, Turner's Hill, and Crawley Down.






The Prussian garrison at Crawley quickly formed defensive positions on the edge of the town, and deployed its terrifying Krupp steel guns to the north along the road to Reigate.  



As the British lumber forwards towards the Reigate road, a second Prussian command camped to the west quickly mobilised and headed south towards the Bolney crossroads. 

 
  
South of Ardingly the British bring up batteries of heavy and medium guns.



British columns stormed forwards towards Crawley, advancing through the woodland to avoid the attentions of those Krupp monsters. 

However, the 63rd (West Suffolks) weren't so lucky.  advancing directly into those guns, their commanders and the head of their column were decimated in brutal long range fire.  The West Suffolks made little further progress for the rest of the battle, as the junior officers desperately tried and failed to restore order.


To the south, the British columns backed up and they struggled through Haywards Heath and out towards Bolney.


The British deployed cannon at the head of the advance to screen their deployment for the attack.  The Prussians bravely threw out their Dragoons to try to sweep away these guns...




Meanwhile over at Crawley, the British assault was underway and made some initial headway, hacking their way into the outskirts of the town at the point of the bayonet.


Prussian reserves responded swiftly, bolstered the position and repelled the exhausted British.


With the northern British flank shattered by Krupp artillery, the Prussians swept in from the north, flanking and cutting off the British attack on Crawley.

 
Crawley was secured and the Prussians were hastily regrouping to head south towards Haywards Heath where the British attack was faring better thanks to their massed heavy and medium gun batteries.



Darkness fell and the bitter, contested fighting ceased with the British in a strong position at Haywards Heath and the Prussians retreating to their camp at Crawley.



Overnight, both sides would bring in reinforcements to fortify their positions.  The road north to Reigate wasn't cut but it was now contested and very dangerous for the Prussians...

Perhaps the British could turn the tide.  Perhaps all was not lost.

This was a brutal, hard fought battle which saw both sides lose a flank, but neither gain the upper hand.  The British attack on Crawley was disastrous, but to the south they were able to rout the Prussians before them while maintaining a strong defensive position to reinforce.  Overall a great fight, lots of fun, and our conversion of the Hordes of the Things rules work surprisingly well.  Still a few factors to tweak but they're pretty much spot on.

Next up is likely to be the major British counter attakc into Reigate.