Mantic Undead Revenant Cavalry review

Revenants are ancient heroes infused with a Necromancer’s power that rise to become deadly undead warriors. The Revenants form the armoured elite of a Necromancer’s army and when mounted on the unholy remains of their once revered war-charges, there are few living warriors with the strength or nerve to stand against them.

Mantic Games’ Undead Revenant Cavalry are made from a resin/plastic mix, the Undead Revenant Cavalry Regiment contains 10 miniatures & the Revenant Cavalry Horde contains 20 models, each box contains 1 champion, 1 standard bearer and 1 musician.

This is the first time I’ve worked with a resin/plastic kit and I was surprised to find that all the parts were loose in a couple of plastic bags, maybe naively I was expecting sprues.

Wanting to know more about resin/plastic I gave Mantic a call and was told that the revenant cavalry were a trial to see how well this new material performed and that if it goes well we can expect more of these types of miniatures from Mantic.

The reason behind trialling resin/plastic is that the moulds for plastic kits are very expensive to produce, so miniatures that are likely to sell in smaller volumes, think specialists and character models, cannot be economically manufactured in plastic. Traditionally this would mean miniatures would be cast in metal but metal prices have sky rocketed in recent years, these revenant cavalry boxed sets would have cost twice as much if the miniatures were cast in metal, so Mantic have turned to resin/plastic. Additionally metal miniatures are always difficult to work with, if trimming or bending heavy weight parts is required, another reason to try resin/plastic.

Why resin/plastic and not just resin? We’ll anyone that has worked with resin will know that while it produces great levels of detail it is much, much more fragile than plastic (or metal of course) and adding plastic to the mix strengthens the miniature. This is an advantage as miniatures can be bent and twisted into shape easily during construction and are less prone to damage during play.

Anyway, on opening the bags included in the Revenant Cavalry Regiment boxed set you are presented with 70 plastic/resin parts along with 10 plastic bases. 3 parts for each horse including a mounded base and 4 for each revenant rider, see image below:

Mantic Games Revenant Cavalry Box Contents
Mantic Games Revenant Cavalry Box Contents

From the parts provided it is possible to build 4 differently posed horses, 7 differently built lancers plus command, a nice level of customisation.

Preparing the miniatures too little time, there was some flash on the miniatures, especially on the horses backsides, but these parts were easily cleaned up.

Construction was pretty straightforward, a little trimming and filling is required to get the two halves of each horse to fit together perfectly but this doesn’t present too much of a problem, I also found a lump of green stuff was needed to create better contact between horse and rider. NOTE: Resin/plastic is glued with super glue.

The only real complication is that the small resin scenic base poses some modelling problems as it sits on top of the plastic bases supplied. Some blending in with green stuff or similar will be required, this could have been avoided if the kit included recessed bases like those supplied with Mantic’s infantry.

The sculpts themselves are pretty nice, the standard bearer especially looks fantastic when built. To my mind there is only one piece of the kit that lets it down and that is the torso with the abdomen exposed. It doesn’t sit too well on some of the legs provided and the shield arm seems to want to sit lower than the lance arm on this torso. Both these issues can be resolved by trimming off the fitting peg and gluing on in the position of your choice, this doesn’t pose any durability issues as the resin/plastic mix sticks very well, much better than metal. Finally I would have liked to have seen tails on the horses but I guess this is the first thing that drops off when a horse enters unlife….

With regard to cost, at first glance this kit seems expensive for a box of Mantic miniatures, Mantic being well known for their great value for money. But once you accept that this kit was not going to happen in plastic and that the only other option would have been metal you soon realise that you get a lot of miniatures for your £25 or £50 RRP outlay. Were you to purchase the approximate equivalent Games Workshop miniatures (Black Knights) the prices would be £77 and £154 accordingly.

Mantic Games Revenant Cavalry
Revenant Cavalry charging into battle

So, all in all, there is little to fault this kit. The miniatures look great, are easy to build and represent good value for money…

Overall score: 9/10

Mantic Revenant Cavalry Regiment

Mantic Revenant Cavalry Horde

*Accurate as of 8th January 2011

Mantic Games: Mhorgoth’s Revenge review

Mhorgoth's Revenge Fantasy BattlesetThe Mhorgoth’s Revenge Battleset contains everything you need to build and play your own Fantasy Battles, including two complete  armies and a copy of Mantic’s new ruleset written by Alessio Cavatore.

The Mhorgoth’s Revenge Fantasy Battleset includes; Kings of War Ruleset, Dice, 25 Dwarf Ironclad Warriors including Command, 20 Ironwatch, 1 Ironbelcher with crew, 20 Skeletons including Command, 10 Revenants, 10 Ghouls, 15 Zombies, 1 Balefire Catapult with crew, Undead and Dwarf Poster Guides, Undead Sticker Sheets, 3 Mantic Points & enough 20mm bases for all the models.

First impressions

The first thing that hit me on opening Mhorgoth’s Revenge was just how full it was, I had a quick count and there are 33 sprues in this box.

 

(OK, calm down… We need a level head for this review, using three exclamation marks is never justified – Ed)

Mhorgoth's Revenge Box Contents
The Mhorgoth’s Revenge box, just crammed full of plastic

On closer inspection

OK, deep breath, lets get stuck in to the box contents.

What you get in Mhorgoth’s Revenge is basically just over 100 miniatures, some dice, a Mantic journal, background information on the 2 armies & a copy of the long awaited Kings of War rule set.

I won’t dwell too long on the quality of the individual miniatures as most have already been reviewed on the blog previously (see existing Mantic reviews). In general Mantics miniatures have been well received at Big Orbit Games, the contents of this boxed set, Undead and Dwarfs, particularly so. All of the miniatures contained in Mhorgoth’s Revenge have received ratings of 7/10 upwards. Highlights include the Skeletons & Zombies for the Undead and the Ironclads for the Dwarfs.

Kings of War Rulebook
Kings of War Ruleset

On to the rules, the first thing you’ll notice about them is that this is not Warhammer, i.e. you’re not looking at a five hundred plus page rulebook. The Kings of War game is  intentionally being kept simple and it’s parred down, 12 page, rules make for a faster game.

As a result the Kings of War rule set won’t appeal to everyone, some people will just want to play a more involved/complex system but it does make for an interesting change if Warhammer is the only system you use currently.

Areas where the rules differ substantially from Warhammer are close combat and casualty removal.  In close combat each side only attacks in their own turn, this also does away with the need for an initiative attribute. With regard to casualty removal, this just isn’t done at all, damage caused to a unit is recorded and used during nerve (rout) tests, should the unit fail it’s nerve test it is removed from play, until this point it fights at it’s original strength.

One final thing I’d like to add about the Kings of War Rules is that I love the open source approach being taken by Mantic (the rules are available free online – here) and I’m very interested to see how the rules develop in the coming months and years.

Summary

Mhorgoth’s Revenge represents spectacular value for money and if you are thinking of starting a Dwarfs or Undead army you could do a lot worse than starting right here.

The Kings of War ruleset, offers a quick play, simplified alternative to Warhammer and it will be interesting to see how this open source rules system develops.

All in all, this is a great starter set and gets a whopping…

Overall score: 9/10

Pick up the miniatures from this review at Big Orbit Games and save 25% off RRP*.

Mantic Mhorgoths Revenge

*Accurate as of 15th November 2010

Mantic Zombies review

Mantic Undead Zombie RegimentZombies, the fleshy undead, hideous shambling perversions of nature, the restless… (they know what you are talking about – Ed). OK, well Mantic’s long awaited Zombies finally arrived last week and we’ve been having a bit of a play around with them…

The Mantic Zombies come in 2 boxed sets. The 30 Zombie sized Zombie Regiment and the 60 Zombie sized Zombie Horde.

First impressions

After tearing off the cellophane and opening the box the first thing that hit me was that there is only 1 type of sprue, the Zombie Regiment contains 10 of these sprues and the Horde contains 20.

This was disappointing as each sprue basically contains 3 models (with some extras) and I was hoping for a little more variety.

Anyway, after the initial disappointment, it’s time to get stuck in.

The Mantic Zombie sprue:

Mantic Zombie Sprue
Mantic Zombie Sprue

On closer inspection

The sprue contains 3 sets of legs & one ground-burster base. 3 torsos are included, one of which has two arms already attached and two that have one arm already attached. The sprue also includes 6 heads, 3 arms and a spinal column. This is a fair number of components for a small sprue, Mantic’s sprues are always about half the size of Games Workshops, and offers a respectable number of build options.  However, as many arms are supplied attached to torsos, pose-ability is limited to some extent and you can’t get away from the fact that you will be using the same torso, with one or more fixed arms, 10 times even with the smaller of the two Zombie boxed sets.

Looking at the sculpts themselves, the level of detail is impressive. The torsos in particular are superbly detailed as are the arms and hands, these are some of the nicest sculpts I’ve seen from Mantic, and are some of the best zombie sculpts I’ve ever seen. The only part of the models that I’m less than keen on is the way that the torsos attach to the legs. The join is pretty obvious and, although basically a ball and socket,  doesn’t allow for much variation in positioning.

One really great thing I spotted whilst building the zombies was  that there is actually scope to get 4 zombies out of each sprue (rather than 3) as long as you are happy to have a large number of “ground-bursters” and guys that have been severed at the spine (see pic below). This is brilliant as the two Mantic Zombie boxed sets already represented great value for money at 3 zombies per sprue. You will of course need extra bases but, as they come in at just £1RRP for 10, this is no problem at all, you can pick up Mantic Bases at Big Orbit Games.

Four Mantic Zombies from one sprue
Four Mantic Zombies from one sprue

Talking of value for money. The Zombies work out at £0.60RRP each when buying the Zombie Regiment or £0.50RRP when buying the Zombie Horde. However if you are happy to include lots of “ground bursters” and Zombies with severed spines then these numbers drop to £0.45 each with the regiment and £0.38 each with the horde, astounding value…

Summary

The Mantic Zombies offer a respectable number of build options but suffer from limited pose-ability due to the fact that there are just 3 different torsos with either one or both arms already attached.

That said the sculpts are some of the finest zombie sculpts I’ve seen, definitely head and decaying shoulders above those produced by Games Workshop.

Finally, the Zombies are the best value miniatures Mantic has ever produced, this is quite a statement as Mantic miniatures always represent great value for money.

These Zombies definitely deserve a place in any undead army.

Overall score: 8/10

Mantic Undead Zombies Regiment
Mantic Undead Zombies Horde
Mantic Bases

*Accurate as of 7th October 2010

Mantic Games Vampire Lord on Pegasus review

I’ve been lucky enough to review a few Mantic Undead products now. I have been impressed by the quality of the pieces and the value they represent. None of the products have been perfect, but taken in context with the aforementioned value for money, they can still be considered pretty amazing products which any undead general should be jumping all over.

The next item I’m reviewing from the Mantic range is the Vampire Lord on Pegasus.  This is another metal sculpt, as were the wraiths; my initial thoughts with the Lord revolved around how difficult to assemble it would be considering how thin Mantic’s components are and how a model like this would definitely need pinning to stand any chance of holding together for more than five minutes.

Vampire Lord on Pegasus ComponentsOn opening the box those fears were somewhat allayed. The pegasus is fairly chunky, and the arms were already attached to the rider; so it looks like it’s only the wings that might cause a headache during construction.

Unfortunately those same thick and heavy components provide their own set of headaches. The components weigh so much that annoyingly long pauses are needed for the glue to dry at each stage, even with more pinning than a voodoo doll.  Then there is the fact that judicial use of green stuff is needed in order to fill in the gaps, this is normal for metal cavalry (especially mounts in two pieces), so can’t really count against this figure.

When you finally get the whole thing together there is even more disappointment.  The thing is just tiny, and doesn’t at all seem suitable to represent a powerful army general. Mantic have the whole true 28mm shtick going on, but even when lined up with other mantic miniatures, it looks a bit wee.

Vampire Lord on Pegasus CompleteScale issues aside, the rider doesn’t cut it at all. Many of the problems for me are from the neck up: the face, the hair, everything. It took me a while, but I eventually worked out who I was reminded of – the count from Sesame Street. The skinny body looked more like it belonged to a size-zero model, and not a powerful, blood-mad vampire.

When it comes to Mantic’s heroes, it looks like the value-for-money army idea comes undone, as what you need are options: different weapons, a shield, armour variant (a helm etc), you get nothing extra for this thing and it’s another nail in the coffin for this vampire. [You’re fired – ed]

Finally the base comes as a vaguely shaped lump of metal for you to glue onto the supplied square bit of plasticard, another shocker on this product. More green stuff is needed to get that flat expanse of plasticard up to the level of the rest of the base.

So, in summary, a disappointing product with little going for it, the winged undead pony is OK, but the rest of it is truly awful.

Dead beat: 3/10

Mantic Games Undead Wraiths review

Mantic Undead Wraiths Box
Mantic Undead Wraiths Box

Having recently reviewed Mantic’s Undead Warhost, I was very eager to check out more models in their undead range. As a Vampire Counts player with a number of Games Workshop figures already in my collection, I was pleased to see that the Mantic figures fitted in reasonably well with my collection.

Now, having painted the figures  to match the rest of my army I can report that the models gel even better than I  originally thought. Indeed, having painted the revenants ready for a game last weekend, the gamers in my group  expressed great interest in my “Grave Guard” unit, especially the other VC player present.

So, you can imagine my delight when the postman dropped the Mantic wraiths through my letterbox. I had been eyeing these models greedily since they were first put up on Mantic’s website, and since reviewing the Warhost I was curious as to whether the metal figures were of comparable quality.

On opening the DVD-style box, I found the five wraiths securely padded, not only between foam sheets, but also in bubble wrap; despite this most of the attached weapons were bent to some degree, and with the scythes being so thin, a delicate touch was needed to straighten them. It does raise a slight concern about the figures arriving damaged being a possibility, but as the kit I was sent was fine we can let that slide.

There are three different poses in the set, with scythe, great-sword and morning star-wielders present. Also included with the set were six bases and a sheet of stickers. Mantic figures are very slender, being nearer to true 28mm scale than Games Workshop figures. This could be a problem when it comes to pinning, which is required on the arm of the Morning Star armed wraith, as there is not much shoulder to drill into, so extra care and patience is required for this operation.

After removing the minimal flash that was attached models, I glued them into the bases. The fit isn’t quite as snug as you’d hope, so some green stuff is necessary to fill in the gaps.

Mantic Undead Wraiths Built
Mantic Undead Wraiths Built

Aesthetically,  the wraiths look quite nice, they are somewhat thinner than their GW counterparts, but this isn’t a problem, they are wraiths after all. They do tend to stare downwards though, as if one of them has lost a contact lens and they’ve all been told not to move whilst they look for it. They look a bit small next to the GW banshee, this can probably be rectified by building up their bases, but their heads are still quite a bit smaller than the banshees.

So again a few minor niggles mean I have to stop short of saying they’re perfect, but I’d still have to say that mantic have produced another stunner at a great price.

You’d have to be brain (un)dead to not want these.

Overall score: 9/10

Mantic Games Undead Warhost review

Mantic Games Undead Warhost
The Warhost contains the Omens of Undeath & Soultaker Detachments

Mantic Games are a new company that are releasing whole races one at a time.  Having started with Elves last autumn, they are now in the middle of their skeleton release.  Taking “cheap cannon fodder” literally, these models appear to be good value when compared to replica watches uk most other manufacturers.

With no core rules system of their own, the troops are intended for use with other gaming systems. Now I am not going to be coy about this: they seem to be designed primarily as an alternative to the Games Workshop range of miniatures for use in Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

Undead Warhost contents

The package is presented in two plastic boxes enclosed within an artistic sleeve. The two boxes are split into the ‘Omens of Undeath’ detachment containing 20 skeletons and a catapult with two crew, and the ‘Soultaker’ detachment of 10 ghouls and 20 revenant skeletons.  These characterful names are a nice touch and put that smile on your face that you should always experience when opening a new box of toys.

Inside, the contents are protected by thin layers of foam; I was immediately struck by how densely packed the sprues were – hinting at numerous conversion opportunities.  There is also a paper foldout with background on the undead, information on the company, and some nice artwork (including a poster on the reverse side).

Many of the sprues have a hole and peg system for assembly, which is useful for trying out combinations before committing to gluing.  Not every model has this and a certain amount of “tweaking” looks to be needed if you want to make your models as unique as possible.

Skeletons

There are two highly detailed sprues for the command section and troops.  The skeletons have a Ray Harryhausen aesthetic, which is A VERY GOOD THING.  Removing some of the components is problematic with the sprue attached to a delicate piece of collar, or a joint, etc.

Mantic Games Skeleton with Hand Weapon
Mantic Games Skeleton with Hand Weapon

Despite the 5 different leg types, there isn’t much variation to the vaguely erect poses.  Most of the torso’s have the shields attached, which is a problem if you prefer to paint the shields separately or have shields of your own.  Heads pre-attached to torsos are best left where they are as they’re difficult to reposition or swap.

The biggest disappointment is the weapon options: some of the torsos have hand weapons attached, and there are not enough spears for you have a full block of spearmen.  You’re kind of stuck with what they give you unless you have a bitz box, patience, and in some cases, a fair amount of skill.

Catapult

A good looking model, the catapult isn’t a valid option for a Vampire Count army. Nevertheless, it’s generic enough to be suitable for any army, and it’s such a cool piece with its characterful crew that it would make a great diorama.  One minor gripe is that there are no instructions for putting the catapult together, a diagram would be useful.

Ghouls

The well-sculpted ghouls look more like deranged humans than Games Workshops ‘devolution of man’ interpretation.  Of everything in the warhost, the ghouls are the most limited: with only three heads, two torsos and two (pairs of) legs on a sprue, you’ll need to break out the hobby saw and get repositioning for a suitably indisciplined mob.

Mantic Games Ghouls

I liked the way that the torsos and legs use a ball and socket connection, meaning that you can twist and turn the parts around until you have a satisfying pose.  This provides a means of adding much needed variation, with extra hands also adding to the permutations, sans bits box.

Revenants

These figures use exactly the same legs as the normal skeletons, which is somewhat annoying.  This annoyance increases with the realisation that the command section is also shared.  OK, you can only have so much variation on a sprue, but if you’re selling a different unit I’d like it to be, well, different.

Mantic Games Revenants & Skeletons
Mantic Games Revenants & Skeletons Comparison

The torso’s however, are different, very different; and detailed in a way you don’t normally associate with plastics.  When painted that extra armour on the torso should prove the dissimilarity that sets them apart from the skeletons. The picture shows two revenants on the left and two skeleton troopers on the right.

Summary

On the table, the models neither sit perfectly next to the Games Workshop equivalents nor look completely alien, and would certainly not look out of place with heroes and other models produced by Games Workshop or Avatars of War, for instance. With regard to conversions, the parts are smaller than their Games Workshop counterparts, swapping bits between the two manufacturers doesn’t really work but the Mantic figures look so good that you wouldn’t want to do this anyway.

The options seem limited, but as you put the components together you notice that isn’t the case.  The ease of construction means that you can build the whole warhost in an afternoon, and a bit conversion work leads to a unique force. Special mention must be given to some of the extras, such as the skeletal dog, which go to furthering the character of the content.

Despite the quibbles, the warhost really is one of those rare things: a quality product that is also a bargain – at £22.50 on Big Orbit games that’s well under 50p a model.

In short, they’re putting the Mantic into Necromantic (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Overall score: 9/10