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We’ve been working hard to get the store ready for Fate Reforged pre-release:

Here are some pics of what we have been up to, we’ll be making additional updates over the coming few days as the store comes together.

Our pre-release events are:

  • Fate Reforged Prerelease – 11am Saturday 17th January – 11:00am
  • Fate Reforged Prerelease – MIDNIGHT Saturday 17th January – 12:00am
  • Fate Reforged Prerelease – Midday Sunday 18th January – 12:00pm

You can pick-up tickets here: Fate Reforged Pre-release

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Eldar Wraithknights are huge ghost warriors many times larger than even a Wraithlord – a Wraithknight is swift and dextrous even given it’s great size.

The Eldar Wraithknight boxed set contains 114 components and an Eldar Transfer Sheet, enough to build a single 9″ high Wraithknight model.

The Wraithknight comes with two heavy wraith cannons but can be equipped with other weapon options including a suncannon, ghostglaive or scattershield.

Additionally the kit comes with a number of shoulder mounted support weapons including: starcannons, shuriken cannons and scatter lasers.

Eldar Wraithknight Sprue 1
Eldar Wraithknight Sprue 1
Eldar Wraithknight Sprue 2
Eldar Wraithknight Sprue 2
Eldar Wraithknight Sprue 3
Eldar Wraithknight Sprue 3
Eldar Wraithknight Complete
Eldar Wraithknight Complete

One of the first things I noticed whilst putting this kit together was the fact that the legs are not terribly poseable. This is a major disappointment as the model begs to be posed leaping across the battlefield as only an eldar construct of this size could.

This is somewhat countered by the fact that there are two pairs of arms included in the kit allowing for a degree of posability and the option to attach different weapons to different sets of arms and then magnetising to get greater flexibility from the kit through primary weapon swaps.

One of the nicest features of this kit is the fact that the secondary (shoulder mounted) weapons are entirely swappable without the need to magnetise – they are simply plug and play…

The Wraithknight was an easy build despite it’s apparent intricacy and nothing more than the occasional glance at the instructions was required. Once complete the Wraithknight makes for an impressive and elegant addition to any Eldar army.

Taking a step back for a moment there is also another key difference to the Eldar Wraithknight boxed set – the box itself. It is of a new corrugated design and does not come sealed in cellophane. This is likely to be more robust, meaning your miniatures will arrive in tip-top condition, but is possibly less useful for storage (if you use miniatures boxes for model storage) than the old lidded design.

Eldar Wraithknight Box Painting Guide
Eldar Wraithknight Box Painting Guide

One other new feature of the new Eldar release is a more comprehensive painting guide on the box. Previous versions listed a handful of colours that you might choose to paint your model. You would need very large hands to hold the nine paints listed on the back of the Wraithknight box.

Lastly, value for money, at £70 RRP the Wraithknight is a little on the expensive side, even for a model of it’s size – a Baneblade is far bulkier and is the same price.

Summary

The Eldar Wraithknight boxed set contains 114 components and can be equiped with either heavy wraith cannons, a suncannon, ghostglaive or scattershield. Additionally the kit comes with a number of shoulder mounted support weapons including starcannons and shuriken.

The Wraithknight was an easy build despite it’s apparent intricacy and nothing more than the occasional glance at the instructions was required. Once complete the Wraithknight makes for an impressive and elegant addition to any Eldar army.

However, at £70 RRP the Wraithknight is a little on the expensive side, even for a model of it’s size – a Baneblade is far more substantial and is the same price.

Overall score: 8/10

Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels Death Company Review: 8 out of 10

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The Phoenixes of Ulthuan are attuned to fire magic and can harness it at will. As a Flamespyre Phoenix grows older, its body cools and begins to draw heat from its surroundings. Eventually it’s plumage becomes covered in frost and ice as it becomes a Frostheart Phoenix.

The High Elves Flamespyre Phoenix / Frostheart Phoenix is a multi-part plastic kit with enough parts to build a single model, either a Flamespyre Phoenix or Frostheart Phoenix, and both of these models can be built mounted or unmounted.

The Flamespyre Phoenix kit is quite simple, it contains a total of just 44 parts – The Phoenix itself can be built with just 14 parts.

High Elves Flamespyre Phoenix / Frostheart Phoenix sprue 2
Flamespyre Phoenix sprue 1
High Elves Flamespyre Phoenix / Frostheart Phoenix sprue 2
Flamespyre Phoenix sprue 2

The Phoenix is as easy to build as it is simple and most hobbyists won’t find a need to refer to the instructions at any point during the build.

High Elves Flamespyre Phoenix / Frostheart Phoenix
High Elves Flamespyre Phoenix model

One point of note is the fact that the kit can built with or without a rider, leaving you the option to build the rider on foot if you wish, plus some magnetising would allow you to swap the mounted rider with the back feathers / flames if you wanted to. The two head variants could also be magnetised meaning you can switch to the new character Caradryan and back. Sadly however, due to the large number of unique components, it is not feasible to build both a Flamespyre Phoenix and Frostheart Phoenix from the same kit.

One final comment on the model build would be that the base and model should ideally not be glued together simply for the purpose of transporting the model. When fully assembled and attached to the base the model becomes too big to fit in any conventional carrying case so keep in mind how you intend to carry your new Phoenix to its next battle.

The kit is highly detailed but should be simple to paint using a few basic techniques – base coating, followed by some dry brushing (the feathers lend themselves nicely to this technique) and then a layer of wash over the top should produce a great looking result.

Once complete, the Flamespyre / Frostheart Phoenix makes for an impressive sight in any High Elves army and is a great new addition to the Glittering Host’s roster.

As with any model it’s the rules that can make or break a model and the Pheonixes don’t disappoint. The Flamespyre & Frostheart Phoenix are Rare choices in a High Elves army, with the Frostheart costing slightly more points than the Flamespyre. Glancing over the two entries you can immediately see that the iced version has a slightly increased stat line over its fiery sibling, whilst the Flamespyre has a unique ability, Phoenix Reborn. Upon death it can do what a Pheonix does best; rise from the ashes to live again! You can find out the full rules in the new High Elves army book.

Lastly, value for money, at £35 RRP the Flamespyre / Frostheart Phoenix represents reasonable value for money and is comparable in price to similar Games Workshop kits of a similar price.

Summary

The Flamespyre Phoenix kit is simple to build, containing a total of just 44 parts – The Phoenix itself can be built with just 14 parts.

The Phoenix is as easy to build as it is simple and most hobbyists will find that they do not need to refer to the instructions at any point during the build.

The kit is highly detailed but should be simple to paint using a few basic techniques to achieve great results and once complete the Flamespyre / Frostheart Phoenix makes for an impressive addition to a High Elves army.

Overall score: 8/10

Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels Death Company Review: 8 out of 10

Tau Empire XV104 Riptide Battlesuit review

The XV104 Riptide is the latest Battlesuit to have been developed by the Earth caste. It stands twice as tall as the XV8 Crisis Suit but retains the fluidity of movement typical of all Tau Battlesuits.

The Riptide Battlesuit box contains a multi-part plastic kit featuring 108 components which provides parts to make all of the weapon and support system options from the new Codex, two Shielded Missile Drones and a Tau transfer sheet

It is always nice to tackle a larger kit from time to time as there is often much less fiddling with smaller pieces involved in the build. Construction of this kit should be a lot easier than many kits, especially for those of us who are not blessed with slender fingers.

Tau Empire XV104 Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 1
Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 1
Tau Empire XV104 Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 2
Riptide Battlesuit Sprue 2

In fact it turns out that the Riptide kit is so simple to build that there is little to mention in the construction part of this review, certainly there is little to criticise. The instructions are clear and parts fit together with little fuss.

Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit
Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit

One feature of the build to note however, the Riptide has “location pins” on the hip joint of the legs which hold the legs in the default pose, but these can be snipped off, freeing the ball joint and making a greater range of poses possible. This is a great idea – for a quick and easy build use the pins – to build something a little more unique, snip them off. The knees and ankles also have some movement complementing this flexibility at the hip. The arms are basically ball sockets also allowing a wide range of positioning.

The Smart Missile System, Fusion Blasters & Plasma Rifles, the additional weapon systems, could be easily magnetised to allow weapon swapping. The main weapon, either Heavy Burst Cannon or Ion Accelerator, also looks magnetisable as they attach underneath the arm, but there is a small pipe that runs between the weapon and arm that might make this slightly tricky. However this can either be left off or could potentially be pinned or magnetised separately if desired.

Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit size comparison
Tau XV104 Riptide Battlesuit size comparison

Visually, I have to say I’m undecided on the Riptide. Some of the weapon options look like after thoughts rather than parts of the kit – specifically the Fusion Blasters / Plasma Rifles than can replace the default Smart Missile System. Also the head is out of proportion with the rest of the Battlesuit – I know what the designers were doing here, they were thinking “It is simply a group of sensors so why should it be bigger on a bigger suit” and this is only a personal gripe, but it does look odd / unbalanced.

I want to just quickly discuss the fluff (background) for a moment. From a personal perspective I’m not happy about a few things in the new Tau Codex and the Nova Reactor fielded by the Riptide is one of them. In previous Tau Codexes I have always had the feeling that the Tau were cautious in battle (not cowardly but cautious), for example they do not sacrifice Tau lives without reason and more to the point their plasma technology has always specifically been low Strength but stable. We now have numerous entries in the Codex for items, like the Nova Reactor, that can be overcharged or used with a risk to the Tau that uses it. To me this seems to go against what we have been told of the Tau in the past. With that said, if putting your life on the line is for the “greater good” who am I to argue?…

Lastly, value for money, at £50 RRP the Riptide represents reasonable value for money, for a Games Workshop kit. Looking at it compared to the Slaughterbrute we reviewed a couple of months ago it is a much more substantial model at the same price point, whilst compared to the Broadside we reviewed yesterday it is at least double the size for less than double the price.

Summary

The Tau XV104 Riptide kit is a pleasure to build and contains parts for all of the various options that are included in the Tau codex.

The kit is highly pose-able and lends itself to magnetisation/weapon swapping, so you are not stuck with only a single build.

Visually it is not my favourite model from the new release but that is just down to person taste.

All in all a very nice kit indeed!

Overall score: 8/10

Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels Death Company Review: 8 out of 10

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The XV88 Broadside Battlesuit which is, by default, equipped with a twin-linked heavy rail rifle is the tank hunter of the Tau Hunter Cadres.

Looking at the box, the new Broadside is much more dynamic looking model than it predecessor!

This multi-part plastic kit contains 91 components and a Tau transfer sheet with which to make a Broadside Battlesuit and two Drones. The kit comes with a Shield Drone and Missile Drone.

Broadside Battlesuit Sprue 1
Broadside Sprue 1
Broadside Battlesuit Sprue 2
Broadside Sprue 2

Taking a look at the sprues I was struck by the level of detail on this kit, especially with the leg architecture, the rear cooling unit and ‘particle accelerator’, which all look great.

Completed Broadside Battlesuit
Completed Broadside Battlesuit

On construction, the Broadside kit is easy to build, the various parts generally fit together snugly and require minimal pressure to hold together. There are a couple of build issues with this model, however. There are a large number of small plates and pieces that seem unnecessary in places – such as the heavy rail rifle being in 9 pieces, this could have been less. Also, the model lacks posability – the positioning of the legs is fixed, which makes the high-yield missile-pod equipped version look strangely posed. This is a shame as Crisis Battlesuits are fantastic for conversions.

One piece of advice with regard to putting the Broadside together – if building a heavy rail rifle equipped suit, the arms should be dry-fitted and then glued to the body before attaching the heavy rail rifle. If this is not done, the heavy rail rifle overbalances the model and the arms droop as the glue dries. Finally, a very, very minor gripe – Parts 25 & 26 are labelled the wrong way round in the manual, these parts are the two fore-arms used on the heavy rail rifle build. This is a small error and is easy to notice.

Broadside Size Comparison
Broadside Size Comparison

There are a good number of options featured in this kit. Of note are the 3 different heads, one traditional battlesuit head, a more ‘techy’ style head and a curved one (featured). Also, as with most recent Games Workshop kits, all weapon & support system options from the codex are present on the sprue, including the 2 drones.

Once built this kit looks amazing – the heavy rail rifle version being one of the coolest looking models from any army in the Warhammer 40,000 range. An unfortunate side-effect of this high level of awesomeness is that the new Broadside makes the standard XV8 battlesuit model look very dated. I was really hoping the VX8 would get a re-sculpt with the release of the new codex, switching to under-slung weapons would have been a big plus on the XV8.

Although this is not a gaming review – I feel a quick note on the Broadside in the game is required. Tau veterans will have noticed that I have talked about a heavy rail rifle rather than a rail gun in this review, I’m sorry to say that the Broadside no longer totes a rail gun, rather a slightly lower strength (strength 8) heavy rail rifle. On the flip side it is now only about two thirds the points cost that it used to be.

Finally on to value for money, at £30 RRP – this is an expensive kit, several pounds more than the kit that it replaces. That said, you do get a lot more for your money in terms of model size and options.

Summary

All in all this is a very good kit. It looks great, is enjoyable to build and includes a good number of options.

However, a certain amount of conversion work is required to make a squad of 3 suits look suitably diverse.

Overall score: 9/10

9-10

Warriors of Chaos Slaughterbrute review

The Slaughterbrute is the largest kit in the new Warriors of Chaos release. It is a multi-part plastic kit including 78 parts with which it is possible to build either a Slaughterbrute or a Mutalith Vortex Beast.

A Slaughterbrute is a huge vicious muscle bound monster, while the Mutalith Vortex Beast is a terrifying fusion of monster and magic, a creature mutated beyond all reason by the power of Chaos.

Looking at the box this is one cool looking beast!

Contained within the Slaughterbrute box are two sprues & a 50mm x 100mm monster base.

Slaughterbrute Sprue One
Slaughterbrute Sprue One
Slaughterbrute Sprue Two
Slaughterbrute Sprue Two

On inspecting the sprues the model initially looks quite difficult to build, a feeling that is re-enforced by the 24 page instruction booklet. After an easy start, putting the legs together, it seems this initial impression was correct. The body must be built in a very specific order, otherwise the various parts will not fit together properly. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows for a very neat looking result, no obvious ball joints or similar from some older kits, but it does mean that following the instruction booklet is highly recommended.

There are other features of the build that are also of note – the way the back ridge fits together for example, the join weaves between the spines avoiding running straight down the middle, this has the effect of concealing the join nicely. Also, the sprue join points are well placed and don’t interfere with assembly, nor do they occur on delicate parts overly much. The sprues are well laid out with the body on one and the options and extras on the other .

A side effect of all this complex build is that the model is not terribly poseable – that said it does include a huge number of options (more on this later).

For all this complexity, it looks like it would be a doddle to build this model in such a way that it could be used as both monsters that can be built from this kit through magnetising the head and just slotting the alternate back mounted options in place, both can be completely built from the parts in a single kit.

Warriors of Chaos Slaughterbrute-mutalith-vortex-bast
Warriors of Chaos Slaughterbrute-mutalith-vortex-bast

The way we have built the kit also leaves lots of tentacles left over, these make for a cool addition to any bits box.

With regard to value for money – this is a pricey kit and although there is the option of getting two kits for the price of one through the use of interchangeable parts, £50 is a lot of money for a single plastic model. Only much larger Warhammer 40,000 vehicles are of comparable price – this is the most expense individual Warhammer Fantasy Battle model available.

Summary

This is a fantastic looking model that comes supplied with a good number of extras and has the potential to be built in such a way that it can be used either a Slaughterbrute or Mutilith Vortex Beast.

The only downside is the particularly high price point…

Overall score: 7/10

7 out of 10

Big Orbit Games was up at Games Day this year and we took a few pics to share with those that couldn’t make it.

Forge World Angron Model (WIP?!).
Forge World Angron Model
Forge World Show Model 2012 - Skin Wolf
Forge World Show Model 2012 – Skin Wolf
Warhammer 40,000 Dark Vengeance Three Ups
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Three Ups
Talisman Computer Game
Talisman Computer Game
Full Sized Ultramarines Rhino
Full Sized Ultramarines Rhino
Warhammer 40,000 Orks: Banzai Bommers
Warhammer 40,000 Orks: Banzai Bommers
Armies on Parade: Nurgle Army with Reaver Titan
Armies on Parade: Nurgle Army with Reaver Titan
Warhammer 40,000 Asteroid Fortress
Warhammer 40,000 Asteroid Fortress
Forge World Imperial Fortress
Forge World Imperial Fortress
Games Day 2012 - Victory
Games Day 2012 – Victory
Games Day 2012 - Club & Store Banners
Games Day 2012 – Club & Store Banners
Games Day 2012 - Mail Hall
Games Day 2012 – Mail Hall

Anything we missed may have been caught by Neil Challis who was also taking pics at Games Day: Tykens Rift

Also just seen Steve Yates’ pics of Game Day – Check them out on the Toyz n the Hood blog

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance review

The much anticipated 6th edition boxed game for Warhammer 40,000 is finally here!

The standard version of Dark Vengeance contains 48 miniatures, all of which are snap-fit plastic models (meaning that the use of glue is optional). The box also contains a mini rulebook, an introductory guide entitled “Dark Vengeance”, two quick reference sheets, assembly instructions and all the dice and templates you’ll need to play the game.

The boxed set contains the following models:

  • Dark Angels:
    • 1 Dark Angels Company Master
    • 1 Dark Angels Librarian
    • 5 Death Wing Terminators
    • 10 Dark Angel Tactical Marines
    • 3 Ravenwing Bikes
    • Exclusive to the limited edition (available at launch): 1 Interrogator Chaplain
  • Chaos Space Marines:
    • 1 Chaos Space Marines Lord
    • 6 Chaos Space Marine Chosen
    • 1 Chaos Space Marine Hellbrute
    • 20 Chaos Cultists
Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Space Marines Hellbrute
Chaos Space Marines Hellbrute

All the models in this boxed set are of great quality – the sculpts all being of a standard that would traditionally have been thought of as superior to those expected in an introductory boxed set. The models lack the mono-dimensional aspect of some of the models in the old Assault on Black Reach boxed game – I’m thinking particularly of the Ork Boyz models from the Black Reach box.

Games Workshop continue to improve the sense of depth in their plastic kits with the 8 part Hellbrute being built in layers, making this model extremely intricate for a model comprising so few parts. The thought that goes in to doing this is impressive as I’m sure it needs to be considered throughout the design/sculpting process.

From a personal perspective, I like about 90% of the models in this boxed set, (and am crazy about 50% of them) just one or two of the Chaos Cultist models don’t work for me, but this is just my opinion and I have spoken others that have no problem at all with these selfsame miniatures. The highlight for me are the Chaos Chosen, these are truly beautiful sculpts.

Here are the sprues for you to look over:

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Sprue 1 (the box contains 2 of these)
Dark Vengeance Sprue 1 (the box contains 2 of these)
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Sprue 2 (the box contains 1 of these)
Dark Vengeance Sprue 2 (the box contains 1 of these)
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Sprue 3 (the box contains 1 of these)
Dark Vengeance Sprue 3 (the box contains 1 of these)
Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance Interrogator Chaplain sprue (only contained in limited edition)
Dark Vengeance Interrogator Chaplain sprue (only contained in limited edition)

Just as an observation – I have to say that I am surprised to see the Chaos/Imperial models grouped together on the sprues, making it easier for people to break up the boxed sets and sell individual armies on eBay etc – this reverses the situation with Island of Blood which mixed up the Skaven and High Elves quite extensively. Maybe Games Workshop didn’t want to make life harder for those that wanted to split a box with a friend…

It’s not just about the models however – also included is a mini rulebook that includes the full game rules. The difference between this book and the full Warhammer 40,000 6th edition rulebook is that it doesn’t include all the background and hobby information but more importantly it doesn’t weigh over 2kgs (weighing in at a couple of hundred grams) so is easy to carry around.

Warhammer 40,000 Dark Angels Company Master
Dark Angels Company Master

Also included in the boxed set is an introductory guide to Warhammer 40,000, entitled “Dark Vengeance”. This book helps those that find the 156 page mini rulebook a bit intimidating learn to play. It contains 6 missions, the first focusing on individual elements of the game and the last two represent two larger battles that can be played once the basics have been mastered.

Above and beyond this are the usual accessories you expect from a Games Workshop boxed game, dice, templates etc but an unexpected gem is the  quick reference sheet (of which there are two), these are really useful and will save wear and tear on the rulebook when looking up some of the most commonly used charts and tables.

With regard to value for money – some of the models in this boxed set don’t have a direct equivalent available separately so it is difficult to calculate what they might cost if bought individually, but by using logical equivalents – Hellbrute for Dreadnought, Cultists for Imperial Guard etc the models could be valued at approximately £175. Add to this the mini rulebook – worth £10-£15 of anyone’s money and the boxed set represents great value for money.

Summary

All the models in this boxed set are of great quality – the sculpts all being of a standard that would traditionally have been though of as superior to those expected in an introductory boxed set.

Also included is a very handy mini rulebook that is much more portable than the full hardback rulebook.

The models could be valued at approximately £175. Add to this the mini rulebook – worth £10-£15 and the boxed set represents great value for money.

The only potential downside is if you don’t want to collect either of the included armies…

Overall score: 10/10

10 out of 10