Montag, 29. Januar 2018

Review: Freyja's Wrath Shieldmaidens and Cats

This is the English translation of a German-language product review I wrote for tabletop wargaming news website Brückenkopf. You can find the original version here. I don't normally do articles in two languages, as that would be way too much work, but I did want to share this one with a bunch of English-speaking friends online and I had some time, so... here it goes! Some liberties may have been taken with the translation.

I apologize for the horrid formatting and tiny pictures, blogspot's text editor is driving me insane and I can't seem to fix the pictures. I would suggest opening the Brückenkopf-version of the review in a second window and alt-tabbing between them to view the pictures as you read the text. Sorry for the inconvenience.


I recieved some early review samples from Bad Squiddo Games' current Kickstarter so that I may show you what you can expect from Freyja's Wrath!


Product: Assorted miniatures from the “Freyja’s Wrath” Kickstarter
Company: Bad Squiddo Games
Material: Metal
Scale: 28mm
12,00 GBP per 4-Pack; 6,00 GBP for the cats (see pictures above)
Review samples: provided by producer.


The samples arrived in a sturdy box, which was filled with packing peanuts for additional protection of the valuable contents. Inside, I found several flyers, a charming, personal note and a bag of delicious tea! Oh, there were review samples, too. These came in the usual zippy bags, just like the Kickstarter rewards will do.

The blister you might have spotted in the first picture is a certain Jarl Lathgertha I just couldn't resist ordering. Might as well, if the post is already lugging around a parcel, right?


Three of the models (archer, warrior with axe, berserker) previously appeared in Bad Squiddo's first few teaser pictures and thus had been given Annie's groundbreaking "boot polish and pants" treatment (patent pending), in order to make the details stand out a little more clearly on photographs.
The "fresh" miniatures are: two of the scandinavian cattos, two spear women (warriors) and two hearthguard (axes), all with shields. Well, not the cats, of course. Stop being silly.

The warrior with axe is one of the few models in this Kickstarter that (aside from spears and shields) come in more than one part. The arm is a separate piece to make the pose possible. Since the model previously worked for Bad Squiddo's PR department, the arm was already glued on. The spears, which come with the miniatures, are the popular North Star Wire Spears, which are made of a harder metal and thus don't bend or break as easily as ones made out of white metal would.

"Wait, which spears!?" you ask? Well, the parcel was sent out real close to the launch of the Kickstarter campaign and as those were hectic times indeed, the two spears were accidentally left in Cardiff. But worry not, obviously an investigative reporter of my caliber won't be so easily put off a promising lead! Utilizing the most modern of research techniques and taking advantage of the expansive network of contacts my years in the industry have provided me with (*cough*), I was easily able to track down some pictures for you! 😉
Carole Flint, owner and operator of wargaming-blog “Hippolyta’s Tiny Footsteps”, and gamer of many a little-known wargaming system (TooFatLardies, I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, Hordes of The Things and many more, do check it out!) also recieved an early sample, which you can see here:

(Copyright Carole Flint, used with permission)

Casting quality:
Crisp detail, only a minimal amount of mold lines and barely any flash at all: top quality! Due to the small number of parts, clean casts and the fact that none of the few mold lines/flash were in problematic areas, everything was cleaned up zippy-fast!

There isn't really much to assemble, and since I want to paint the shields separately and still haven't decided what bases I want to use, I just white-tac'd it all together. There really shouldn't be any issues with assembly, though. The shields have indentations on the back and the shield arms have small nubs to fit into those indentations, as is common practice to increase the contact surface and make for a stronger fit.
For the spear women, you'll have to drill a hole into the fist holding the spear. To make this easy and prevent you from ruining your model's hand with a slip of the drill the fists, too, have small indentations. These are well done, as you can see here:

Carole's next pictures show you how well the spears fit into the hands, as well as what the tip of such a spear looks like:

(Copyright Carole Flint, used with permission)

Here you have the assembled models from all kinds of angles. Really do check out the bigger pictures on the Brückenkopf version!

Size comparison:
As we usually do at Brückenkopf, I asked a couple of other companies' miniatures to kindly line up with the review samples:
(f.l.t.r.: Warhammer Fantasy, Freyja’s Wrath, Lord of the Rings, Freyja’s Wrath, Infinity, Freyja’s Wrath, Warhammer 40k)

(f.l.t.r.: Warhammer Fantasy, Freyja’s Wrath, Lord of the Rings, Freyja’s Wrath, Infinity, Freyja’s Wrath, Warhammer 40k)

(f.l.t.r.: Warhammer 40k, Freyja’s Wrath, Statuesque Miniatures, Freyja’s Wrath, Warmachine, Freyja’s Wrath, Batman Miniature Game)

HA! You thought I painted something? If only... No, the following miniatures have been painted in record time by the awesome members of the official Bad Squiddo Facebook-Group “Baggy’s Cave” and do a great job of showing off these wonderful sculpts!
First off we have Amber Beccari, who had a teeny little problem many of us probably know well: getting the eyes right. So she reduced this problem by 50% by going for the one-eye-battle-damaged look. I hear it's all the rage in Heiðabýr these days!

(Copyright Amber Beccari, used with permission)

Will take better pics when there’s actual light out, but I really wanted to share my sample maiden :)
(Yeah she’s blind in one eye, cause after messing up her eye 6 times in a row, that seemed the best course of action to keep sane… Somewhat sane anyways)
Next up is Carole Flint, who didn't just come to our rescue with her assembly pictures, but also whipped out ye olde paintbrushe to give her model a lick of paint, as they say. You can find her blog entry here, which includes a few insightful words on the process.

(Copyright Carole Flint, used with permission)

Our final painted sample comes courtesy of Ralph Plowman who, among other things, painted for White Dragon Miniatures in the past. Check out his blog, too!

(Copyright Ralph Plowman, used with permission)

Conclusio Finalis:

The models score top grades in both design and execution! Realistic proportions, clean sculpts and lots of charming detail, you'll really get something for your money here. Casting quality is near spotless and so Bad Squiddo's Shieldmaidens won't have to fear comparison to competitors!
The decision to make the miniatures mainly single-piece casts of course means that you won't have the extravagant poses common in recent fantasy or sci-fi models, but that fits the topic better, anyway, and saves you a ton of time spent pinning tiny fiddly bits together. Fewer pieces also means fewer chances of your heroines losing an arm to an unfortunate fall just before the decisive battle! The Wire Spears further press that advantage, removing one of the main weak points of many other metal or plastic miniatures.

You won't be paying for these advantages with too great a loss in variety, either! Contrary to common practice, these miniatures don't just have 2 or 4 precast bodies with different heads and arms sculpted on. Every single one of the 50 or so shieldmaidens in the Kickstarter is her own model and looks the part! Of course I only recieved a handful of samples, but looking at the Kickstarter page you'll find a (long)boatload of awesome models: steadfast troops, heroic leaders, lovable animals and even a few mighty characters from Norse mythology! The huge range of miniatures in the Kickstarter should make sure that you will have plenty of variety in your Saga armies, Frostgrave warbands and so on, and even mass-combat systems such as Kings of War should work for these models. After all, spears and swords and axes are easily swapped to increase the variety inside a unit, and different paintjobs can break up even more models if you're going for huge hordes.
The only area where swapping won't be quite so easy is with the ranged weapons, where a regiment of archers, crossbow-women or slingers might run into a few duplicates. But who knows, if the Kickstarter is a huge success, maybe we'll see even more sculpts for those troop types in the future?

I am definitely going to back this Kickstarter, as there are just too many gorgeous models not to snatch some up! And discounts, too! Maybe this will be my first step into playing Saga? I hear, there's a new rulebook...
(Also available via Bad Squiddo!) ;)

Link: Bad Squiddo Games
Link: Freyja’s Wrath on Kickstarter

If you want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so over at Brückenkopf! English-language comments are very much permitted! :)

Mittwoch, 3. Februar 2016

DIY Tokens for Infinity

Sadly, painting isn't going as fast as I'd hoped due to lots of other, more pressing matters, but here's a short DIY post:

German tabletop wargaming news site Brückenkopf reviewed the USAriadna Army Box today, and mentioned that the cardboard tokens might be a little hard to pick up off the table due to how thin they are, and might also not last forever. I had the same thought when I got the tokens out of the Icestorm and USAriadna boxes and decided to share how I deal with it.

Inspired by a post on I-don't-remember-which-message-board, I went and looked for "Bottle Cap Epoxy Dots", small, self-adhesive, circular, well, dots which come in a convenient 1-inch diameter. I feared they might be hard to find in Germany, but it turns out Amazon is my friend and I was able to order them there.
Now mind you that they're sent from the US, so plan about 2-4 weeks of delivery time, but hey, no postage cost or customs fees. Awesome! Also, don't be scared when you see only 25 of them in the packaging, there's two layers for 50 per pack.

Now you go grab a bunch of those cardboard tokens, and glue the Epoxy Dots on them!

Of course, this also works with the tokens you find on the Infinity miniatures' boxes and with printed tokens, such as the free token PDF from the official Infinity website (scroll down to "Markers"), or this wonderful generator that lets you pick and choose exactly what tokens you need and how many. I believe there might be more than just this one generator, but that's the one I used.
I use thick 160 g/m² paper, the same I use for my papercraft terrain (more on that in another post).

Now, I don't yet own any of the MicroArtStudio tokens, but from pictures and videos I believe that they are a good deal thicker than my epoxy dots, and are also flat cylinders, not the little "bubbles" I get. I do like how my custom tokens feel and handle, though, but I do believe the MAS ones might handle even better, in addition to being prettier.

My tokens are cheaper, though, as you're paying between € 8 and € 10 for 50 of the dots, depending on the exchange rate at the time (€ 0.16 - € 0.2 per token), whereas the MAS ones will cost you € 12.30 for the biggest set (€ 0.34 per token) to € 3.69 for the smallest sets (€ 0.74 per token)

I did order a Cutter TAG and matching 55mm TO-Camo marker from the wonderful people at Laughingjack today, though, so I'll soon be able to compare the MAS token to mine firsthand and will be sure to share my findings here.

Another option, of course, would be to simply glue your cardboard or paper tokens to the backs of 25mm round bases. I prefer more shiny options.