After the infantry, comes the cavalry. The kit I built the past week is the new Warlock kit. I believe many Dark Elf players will join me in a sigh of relief at obtaining a new Dark Rider model. The old kit was fairly simple and to the point, but I wasn’t fond of the kit. The heavy metal rider on a light plastic horse made the model unbalanced. The horses had hard-to-break-but-terrible-to-fix tails… and their poses betray that were secretly stolen from an old Carousel. So I more than welcomed, and eagerly bought, the new model!
Contents of the box
There is little peculiar about the contents. The models come in three sprues, one which focuses on dark riders, one which focuses on warlocks and one for the both of them. There’s a booklet with the construction plan and that’s it.
Noteworthy point: the distinction in this dual kit is made from the torso and up. When making Warlocks this gives us spare chests, cloaks, heads, helmets and weapons from the Dark Riders. That’s a generous amount of bits to spare for conversions. In particular the cloaks intrigue me as they seem usable for a mounted rider. Perhaps this could be used as a cloak for kit bashed mounted characters.
The riders are on the horse (well duh)
The first thing I noticed when looking over the plastics is that the riders are already mounted on the horse. Some older models forced the player to glue the rider on the horse. This didn’t always prove a good method in my experience. Apparently it was a challenge to make a rider fit the horse perfectly, and green stuff was regularly called to save the day. Not so with the new model, where the legs of the rider come with the horse.
A bit of a surprise is that the horse comes in four pieces:
- A left half
- A right half
- A part of the saddle and the lower body of the rider
- A mouth piece of the horse
This unusual construction permits a very solid fixation of the rider, which is fitted and glued in between the two halves of the horse. It gives a smooth, perfect surface to glue the upper body. It also seems to enable the modelling of the reins, which is a welcome detail to the model.
High quality, frail detail
With this new kit, G.W. continues its latest trend in the quality of the models. There’s hardly any mould lines, though one or two horse legs did require some scraping. In total, I spent only a couple of hours assembling the horses and the leg piece of the riders. This is definitely another improvement over the last models.
The new quality and more complex construction method permit more details such as the reins and mouth piece to be added. Unfortunately, these details are really quite frail. As these need to be clipped and scraped clean from the sprue this step requires some patience and care. I managed to break one of the reins, and glue it back but I’m unsure if that will prove solid over time. Repairing a broken rein may be a challenge, as may be any repair at such a fine scale.
The mouthpiece of the horses also comes with a rein so that’s another part requiring a patient hand.
I thought this would the only frail part of the horse, until a weapon of the warlocks crumbled under the abuse of my hobby knife. The Warlocks wield rather thin blades, too thin to withstand my overconfident application of raw power the likes of Chaos have never seen. A more subtle touch works wonders here, but it does mean that a lot of parts of the model have to be assembled with caution.
Limited but effective modularity
The horses come in 5 different poses and so do the riders. And here comes the fun part: the riders (chest and up) are interchangeable. This is a welcome treat which may provide just enough variety to avoid creating clones. The poses of the horses do seem limited to these 5, though I have not experimented with assembling different “halves”. This could be the price of having a more dynamic looking pose for the mounts, a price I’m willing to pay.
The plan makes this modularity “clear” by offering one plan to assemble the mount and one plan to assemble the upper body and weapons.
Another cool aspect of this build is… KITBASHING AND CONVERTING! By only needing to glue on another model torso and up, I suspect this kit to provide a very easy basis for kitbashed or converted characters on dark steed. Provided you like the legs that come with it, of course. But if they succeed in selling the same legpieces for clothwearing Warlocks as well as lightly armoured raven rideers, then I suspect a smart paintjob could make it work for various types of characters.
No love for the painters?
I forgot to take a picture, but as I glued the first warlock’s upper body to his legs I quickly noticed it would become a near impossible task to get the model painted properly once assembled. The riders hunch over their mounts, blades sticking out in striking or aggressive positions. The chest becomes difficult to reach with a brush even though it remains very visible. Because of this, I’ll be assembling and painting the warlocks in two parts. I’ll be pinning the riders to their mounts because… why not? I’m drilling them anyway to get them painted.
The end result
As I behold my warlocks like grim trophies of a battlefield, I’m quite pleased with the results. The models look quite thematic and they look like they can be “defined” by the colours with which you paint them. The very concept of “Warlocks” lends itself to varying styles and themes by which to paint them. G.W. gave them a craven expression, almost cold looking torso, ghostly hair and a rather mundane looking blade. But they could just as well be painted with a more malevolent look, carved or tattooed chest, magical or poisonous blades… and exhibit a completely different air. I won’t overthink their colour scheme, but I will deviate considerably from the theme presented by G.W..