Avatars of War Daemon Champion review

Avatars of War Daemon Champion blister contents
Daemon Champion blister contents

Avatars of War have been releasing miniatures since 2007 and are highly respected for their 28mm models.  They have released approximately one sculpt per month and now have a catalogue of around 30 different designs available.

AoW models are characterised by high levels of detail, a wealth of options, and a style influenced by their main designers previous employment with a little known Nottingham-based company quaintly known as Games Workshop. I already own the AoW Vampire Countess and Necromancer, and I’ve been following the development of the new Daemon Champion model on the Avatars of War website with some interest.

The model comes in a large blister, well padded with a thick layer of foam.  Opening the box releases the main components (head torso etc) plus an optional tail, tongue, and a set of spikes to glue onto the back.  As is expected from an AoW figure, the components are rich in detail, from the creased brow to the intricate carving on the sword.

Avatars of War Daemon Champion completed
Completed AoW Daemon Champion

Putting the model together is made simpler by the use of loose ball and socket connections for the head, torso and legs.  As with any metal model, pinning is very much required, but the joints make moving the model into a pleasing position a bit easier.  I would have liked the arms to have been separate as well, as it would make altering the position of the sword, or giving the model more items to carry, much easier.

The spikes are a bit more of a problem as they are so thin they’re almost impossible to pin without the aid of precision machinery, my shaking and quaking limbs on their own were only able to get the fattest horn pinned.  In the coming months I fully expect to be bringing the model out of its case on multiple occasions only to find that I have another repair job to do on it.  It is a shame, and perhaps a trade off for something that really helps set the model apart and give him a fantastic look.

Avatars of War Daemon Champion & Bloodletter
Daemon Champion & Bloodletter

“We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives…inside ourselves.”  It isn’t on record whether what Camus quote was in any way an influence to the writers of the Realms of Chaos, though I like to imagine that the Absurdist did have a scrap book with “Ideas for Wargames fluff” scribbled on the cover.  Just as that quote meshes well with the philosophy of Khorne, so does this model harmonise well with the Games Workshop Daemons of Chaos Khorne models – looking like a Bloodletter that has maybe drunk a bit more blood for the blood god than he should have.

This model might make a good unit champion, or a herald.  The arm would need some dramatic work in order to turn it into a Battle Standard bearer, though it may be possible to have the standard coming out of the models back instead of one of the spikes.

All in all there is very little to fault with this model, as a hero for your army or for AoW’s own arena deathmatch games, this model makes a beautiful and characterful addition to any collection.

Diabolic delight: 9/10.

Warhammer Daemon Prince review

Daemon Princes were formerly mortal Champions of Chaos who have been elevated to daemonhood by the Chaos Gods. They have bartered their humanity for unearthly power and immortality.

In order to attract the attention of their patrons, Chaos Champions have to perform great and terrible deeds. They sacrifice enemies and allies alike for their ambitions and risk their demise at the hands of both their foes and gods.

While Daemon Princes come in various shapes, most are of hulking stature, displaying numerous mutations such as horns and wings. Even more notable are the supernatural powers they wield, some of which are associated with their patron god. What they maintain of their former selves are the driving ambition and ruthless cunning which helped them earn their ultimate reward.

First impressions

The thing that surprised me most upon opening the new Daemon Prince box was that there were only 2 sprues in there. Having seen the pics of all the possible builds I was expecting more.

Also there doesn’t seem to be that many components on the sprues, so I’m amazed at the level of variety that has been achieved through such a small number of parts.

You can see the two sprues by clicking the thumbnails below:

Daemon Prince Sprue 1
Daemon Prince Sprue 1
Daemon Prince Sprue 2
Daemon Prince Sprue 2

On closer inspection

After taking a thorough look around the sprues, I found that although there are not a large number of components the way that they are used is quite intelligent. Whilst using the same back, you can each of the different chest options as the basis for either a Warhammer 40,000 Daemon Prince, or Warhammer Fantasy Daemon Prince, this core then determines which options you add from that point onwards.

There are a host of options included, most obviously a huge pair of wings, but there are also weapon options, extra armour plates and a tail. In fact, referring to both the Daemons of Chaos Army Book and the Chaos Daemons Codex, the only option that isn’t really covered is Daemonic Robes. I feel this is a job well done, the robes would have been very difficult to sculpt as an add-on as they would need to cover the bulk of the model so we could never realistically have expected these.

In general the model was very easy to build, with large points of contact between individual parts, this is particularly important for the wings otherwise they would be a nightmare to hold in place while the glue set.

The only issue I had with building the Daemon prince was that the body didn’t quite fit together perfectly and the tiny distortion this created meant that the raised sword arm got in the way of the wings slightly. This was rectified by shaving off a little of the outside of the models right chest but was a little annoying.

Daemon Prince Built
Daemon Prince Built

The model could easily represent a Khorne, Slaanesh or Tzeentch Daemon Prince, the only power that it wouldn’t look right as a Daemon Prince for is Nurgle. This is to be understandable as a Nurgle Daemon Prince would require unique components for almost the whole model.

It’s a good looking kit and you can easily field a couple of these guys in a single army without them looking too samey. The only real issues I have is that there are few posing options, the legs are in a fixed stance and the arms lock in a single position. This isn’t too much of an issue as there are different arm options, which are fixed at different angels and the legs can be modified through the addition of armour plates.

However, whilst discussing the model’s appearance, I have to say that there is some small undefinable aspect to this kit that just doesn’t set me alight, it’s not anything I can put my finger on and I’m sure it’s an entirely personal thing but I had to mention it.

Summary

The Daemon Prince kit is intelligently designed and provides a multitude of options using a small number of easy to work with components.

It is also a good looking kit, that looks suitably daemonic and could easily represent a Khorne, Slaanesh or Tzeentch Daemon Prince straight out of the box.

However there is some small undefinable aspect to this kit that just doesn’t set me alight so, even though it does what it sets out to do extremely well, a possible 9/10 becomes…

Overall score: 8/10

Games Workshop’s daemons models are usable in a number of different armies over the two main games systems. Unfortunately the bases used differ between these systems meaning that ordinarily you need to buy a complete set of models for each system.

I have come up with a way of using cheap magnets, purchased from eBay, to base the plastic daemon models, I hope that you find this guide useful either to copy the techniques or as a basis for your own techniques. If you have any other tips to share please let us know your thoughts.

Extra Materials needed

  • Wine corks
  • Paperclips
  • Zeodymium magnets
  • Standard steel washers
  • Spare metal from models*
  • Superglue

*Or something similarly small and weighty that does not attract magnets to glue to the underside of the bases.

Tools need

  • Side cutters (clippers)
  • Hobby saw
  • Pin Vice (hobby drill)

Step 1.

You may need a responsible adult to help with this stage. You will use roughly one wine cork per 5 bases, so for a squad of 10 models, drink two bottles of wine.

Step 2.

Daemon Basing Guide Step 2Once you have sobered up, saw the bases across the cork to make circular sections, these should ideally be about 5 to 10 mm thicker than the magnets.

Step 3.Daemon Basing Guide Step 3Distress the edges of the cork sections with the clippers. You may want to have your daemon legs to hand to make sure that you can pose them in a satisfactory manner.

Step 4.Daemon Basing Guide Step 4Hollow out a pocket on the underside of the cork sections, wide and deep enough for the magnets to fit into. Use the superglue to glue the magnets into place.

Step 5.Daemon Basing Guide Step 5Glue the washer to the centre of the underside of the plastic bases using superglue, then also glue those bits of junk metal as well. This extra weight is to make sure that the bases don’t repel each other when you are trying to rank them up.

Step 6.Daemon Basing Guide Step 6Drill and pin the feet to be attached. I used paperclips for the pins as it is a bit thinner than brass rod. Make the pins long enough to go right through the cork; then trim them down to the correct size.

Daemons mounted on switchable bases
Bloodletters mounted on switchable bases

And that’s about it, the cork will now stick magnetically to the base of your choice.

If you want you can glue them together now, though I prefer to paint the model and base separately and then glue the two components together afterwards using superglue.

A simple way to paint the corks is:

  • Undercoat Chaos black
  • A wet coat of codex grey, leaving some black showing.
  • A heavy drybrush of fortress grey.
  • A Badab black wash
  • Highlight the edges with skull white.

I used wine corks as they fit perfectly on 25mm bases (and I have a plentiful supply of this material). Other materials that would also work include cut up bits of plastic sprue or small pieces of chip board. If you have any ideas for basing, we’d be happy to hear your suggestions.

Warhammer Bloodletters of Khorne review: A retrospective

It’s a good thing that the Realms of Chaos remain firmly in fiction, otherwise minor tears into the immaterium would occur every morning on the London Underground. As seats are stolen from sweaty commuters; people push their way on to trains before others have disembarked; and people old enough to know better play music through their tinny, mobile phone speakers; surely enough curses to the dark gods would be raised, and the tunnel-mouth at the end of the platform would become a maw leading straight to the warp.

Although the other major gods would have their share of worshippers, it would surely be towards Khorne that most would lay their benefactions. The god of anger probably wouldn’t have much to do with the London rush hour himself though, it’d probably give him a headache. Far better to entrust the task to some minor minions, such as the bloodletters.

Yes, all that introduction was basically in order to submit a slightly better word count than: “here is a review of the bloodletters”, but to be honest who couldn’t imagine the lesser daemons of Khorne running amok in an underground station slaying all and sundry? Think: “An American Werewolf in London”.

The current line of miniatures are the latest in a line of style changes, the original Alan Perry designs from 1989 being more arched, and lithe looking. Released in 2008, the reviewed iteration have been with us for a couple of years now and, with the new daemon wave hitting stores in August, it’s worth taking another look at these miniatures.

The basic cardboard box contains three sprues that make up a basic 10-man (-daemon ?) squad, with two sprues for basic troop building plus a command sprue. Unlike the better GW kits, there is a paucity of extras, though things such as the spare khorne iconography can be useful for your other chaos models or themed scenery, there is also a spare head (mine will be going on a daemon hunters base) and that’s about it, disappointingly (apart from a couple of spare arms). The box also comes with both 25mm square and round bases so you can use the models in either 40K or WFB, though as you’ll see in an article coming soon, basing needn’t mean limiting yourself to just one system.

Bloodletters of Khorne Sprue 1
Bloodletters Sprue 1
Bloodletters of Khorne Sprue 2
Bloodletters Sprue 2
Bloodletters of Khorne Sprue 3
Bloodletters Sprue 3

The mould lines, though not very pronounced, are visible on almost all of the components. In some places it’s right on the detailed areas, such as the ridged hand grips of the hellblades, so a delicate hand is required to remove them. Despite that the casting quality is generally high, with the sharpness of the details being represented.

Speaking of that detail, some areas fare better than others. The taut muscle and sinew are present but the armoured parts could have been better realised, with something other than spots to define them. On the whole, the detail is done well where it counts, especially the heads.

The limbs work in a very fixed manner when used out-of-the-box, they fit into angled grooves rather than using ball joints. The hobby saw will be needed if you want to vary limb positions; you could also increase the dynamism of the poses, as a few of them are quite static for blood-crazed daemons.

One concern I had was the rankability of the models, as they are carrying some huge weapons. I found that although they would happily stand side by side, a bit of attention was required when adding extra ranks to make sure that they didn’t interfere with each other (interfering with each other being more of a Slaanesh thing).

Bloodletters of Khorne Built
Completed Bloodletters of Khorne Unit

On a more personal level though, the feel of these models seems just right, the models being suitably menacing and demonic. I also like the way that you glue the head on by threading the tongue through the mouth. And a bit of minor jiggery-pokery can get them leaping at your foe in a more effective manner.

Are they the best models ever made? definitely not; but they’re not far from being a good kit. All in all they are fine foot soldiers in the armies of Khorne.

Feelin’ khorney: 7/10

7 out of 10

Warhammer Bloodthirster of Khorne review: A retrospective

Bloodthirster BoxThe release of “The Realms of Chaos” in 1989 was a true landmark event for the hobby, and to my mind marked a coming of age for Games Workshop. It was at this point where they found their voice and really fleshed out the dark side of their universe(s).

Of course, with the realisation of the story side came the fulfillment of the physical side, in the form of a plethora of models. As a kid at the time I was unable to afford many of them (and as a married man today it might be argued that I’m not much better off now), but one model I saved up for was the Bloodthirster. It was the dogs, erm, head.

After a 15-year hobby gap, one of the first things I did was to check what vintage gold I still had stuck in my parent’s attic, and yes, you guessed it, it was finding the old Bloodthirster that I was most pleased about. It had lost none of its charm over the intervening years.

So, when the guys at TW suggested that I reviewed the latest incarnation of the Bloodthirster in order to celebrate the release of the new chaos daemons in August I narrowed my eyes and sharpened my pen. I’d seen this Bloodthirster interloper on the GW website and I was not keen on the aesthetic at all; I was preparing to tell the world why GW should never have messed about with a design classic.

Bloodthirster Components
Bloodthirster components

Having reviewed a number of Mantic products recently, I have been somewhat spoiled by the way they package their models.  I’m not saying that I fully trust those boxes to work as proper carry cases (though many on the internet seem happy), but certainly the way GW pack their models seems poor by comparison.  The flimsy cardboard box doesn’t seem as good and the way the components rattle about in their plastic compartments is begging for a bit of foam padding.

The box is heavy and this is because GW have seen fit to give you not one, but two torso’s: one for each of the heads supplied.  I wasn’t really keen on either design (my prejudices to the old design immediately showing themselves), but of the two, I slightly preferred the head without the horns already attached.

The model is rich with detail, mainly of the skull kind, this being Khorne’s (and GW’s) thing.  This detail is well rendered, as you’d expect from one of their metal kits.  There is obviously quite a bit of flash to be cleaned with this kit, what with their being so many components, lots of spikes, generally pointiness and such-like.

Bloodthirster built with adjusted pose
Bloodthirster built – pose adjusted to make it more dynamic

The models is assembled in quite a static pose out of the box, but the components are so heavy that some major pinning is going to be needed in order for this thing to stay together.  The one good thing about having to pin this model together is that at least it is an invitation to alter the pose with the judicious application of green stuff, but with the release of the plastic daemon prince kit, it can only be hoped that there are plans for the greater daemons to follow.

Compared to my original model, this Bloodthirster stands much taller and has a much more fluid pose, indicating movement in a much better way; I may prefer the old model’s head, but the new model wins in every other area.  It seems that my initial thought on them improving on perfection were based on a flawed interpretation of what was perfect.

Khorne to be wild: 8/10

Games Workshop have unveiled pics of 4 new models for the Daemons of Chaos Warhammer army & Chaos Daemons Warhammer 40,000 army.

Daemon Prince: The most impressive thing about this kit is that there appears to be a large number of options available for it. Specifically, as opposed to the old Chaos Space Marine Daemon Prince model, it can be built with both a fantasy and 40k feel. click for pics

Pink Horrors of Tzeentch: The new plastic pink horrors replace a metal boxed set and contains twice as many models for just an extra £3. Looking at the pics I think I prefer the old models, that said there is a nice retro looking beaked Horror (see Howler at www.solegends.com) harking back to 1991. click for pics

Seekers of Slaanesh: Mounted Daemonettes haven’t been available since before the release of the current army book/codex and it looks like this could be nice kit. 5 cavalry for £15 also seems pretty good value for money.  click for pics

The Changeling: This is the only metal miniature of the 4 new releases and to my mind is also the coolest looking. click for pics

Daemon Prince
Pink Horrors of Tzeentch
Seekers of Slaanesh
The Changeling