Friday, 5 April 2013

Another Review: Plastic Vikings


Well, it seems I've got a bug for this reviewing lark.

Next package for the secret project arrived yesterday – 28mm plastic Vikings. These models were from Wargames Factory and their series called Hammer of the Gods. I bought the armoured Huscarls (from Ebay) as a starting point and was very interested to see how it compared to the Roman kit I've been building.

For those of us who play at the more expensive end of the hobby, the idea of paying less than £1 per model seems alien. With this particular plastic box set the models cost less than 50p each – absolute bargain in my eyes… and even cheaper than the Roman Veterans from Warlord Games!


You open the box and are greeted by a stack (literally) of sprues. There are multiples of two different sprues, each set making up 4 complete vikings. There are 4 different body sculpts but then you have 12 different heads, 20 different arms and an immense selection of weapons to choose to complete the figure. To say that there will be bits left over is an understatement. Once complete you have a whopping 32 models to game with.

This has by far the largest selection of options I've ever seen in a plastic kit. Weapons-wise you have several shields (all the same sculpt), swords, spears, bows, axes, two-handed weapons – the options are mind-boggling.

The models go together easily enough. The strangest thing I found was that the weapons are not attached to hands at all, so you literally have to glue every/all weapons into hands. On the one hand (pun – sorry) this is great – you can use almost any hand with any weapon. Unfortunately the flip side is that the hands never look like their quite holding the weapon properly – a bit Action Man before he had gripping hands – swords look like they might be dropped at any moment. The only other thing to niggle is the necks can be quite long on some of the heads and some of the poses look hunched, but I'm really picking now.


The quality of the plastic is good, sticks well and there's almost no mould lines. The poses themselves are alright, a little wooden perhaps but that could just be my choice of arms, heads and weapons together. There is scope for some converting due to the sheer volume of extra bits and I wouldn't be afraid of hacking some of these guys up to get just the right model.

There is no stand out leader in the box set, unlike the centurion and standard bearer in the Roman plastics, but it wouldn't take much imagination or greenstuff to promote one of the vikings to commander status. I have to say I really like this kit.


There is a big issue I've noticed, but it's not with this kit. Scale. It's not something I've ever come across before with the games I've played because all the modes came from the same manufacturer. The photo above shows the difference between these 28mm Vikings and the Warlord Games 28mm Roman Veterans that I reviewed earlier – not much in it but the Centurion is definitely looking on the diminutive side (though the angle of my shot hides the true difference). Thanks to Myincubliss for pointing it out after my last review – I totally see what you mean!

The scores…

Price: 10/10
A jaw dropping 32 models for 15 quid!

Plastic Quality: 9/10
Great quality and, whilst some of the weapons seem delicate, nothing's bendy at all.

Sculpt Quality: 7/10
Not as sharp in places as they might be, but not at all shabby.

Poses: 7/10
Lots of options, just not sure about the weapons in hands.

Extra Bitz: 9/10
Never seen a kit with so many extras and options. The only thing missing was extras to use on bases, pouches, trophies, alt shields, etc.

Overall: 8/10
A cracking set and lots of models for your money. I would have given this kit a higher score but the whole hand-holding-weapon thing annoys me so it misses out on a 9 or 10. If this is the way historical plastics are going then the future is looking rosy… and my bank balance too!

I wonder what I'll be reviewing next…?!



UPDATE…

I have to say that I am quickly going off this kit. The 'weapon in hand' issue is becoming a pain – it looks really poor and weapons keep falling out. Shame really because it's a pretty good set of sprues.

Overall: 7/10




10 comments:

  1. First Romans, now Vikings - you're just having far too much fun!

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    Replies
    1. I am, but my wife isn't impressed.
      Three times the usual amount of plastic models on our dining room table is becoming a sore point – lol.

      Delete
  2. The price is outstanding. I'm thinking about those hands too. It makes me wonder if they'd be any better for a skirmish campaign where weapons might be upgraded, lost or switched over time? One of the aspects of that kind of gaming of course, even with plastic models, is the work needed to do the conversion, and the possibility of the paintjob being damaged in the process. Here they might more easily pop off.

    I could also see a handful (unplanned pun) coming in handy (unplanned pun) for henchman and adventurers in roleplaying too. Weapons often get switched even in the course of a single session and here a spot of paper glue might hold a painted weapon on a painted hand well enough for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We intend to use these for something other than their original use (hence the round bases) and an RPG or Necromunda type game would benefit from all the alt weapon options.

      I like the idea of being able to swap out weapons but I would worry that (because of the plastic glue) that damage is an inevitability. What would be a good idea is hands holding weapons that could be 'plugged' into the arms – you wouldn't need glue and could swap them easily!

      Delete
    2. It would be very useful, and not so much of a slow-down during assembly for those who don't need it, plus it would add a little more poseability. I'm surprised we don't see more of it, even if not on all the arms, only the ones where there's a strap or band of some kind to hide the join. It might be tricky getting the pegs to hold, but even a bit too tight for removal would be fine as the peg could be thinned with a file.

      Delete
  3. Good review. One of the most common complaints about the WGF Vikings and Saxons is that some of the detail is "soft". For the price, they aren't bad.

    The equivalent packs from Gripping Beast are comparable in price per figure, have slightly more variety of posing, come with 2 leaders and 2 standard bearers, have various pouches and knives you can add on and generally mix well with the WGF ones. Oh, and the weapons are already in hands if I remember right. The detail is somewhat better as well.

    Re. the size comparison with the Romans - that's not actually unrealistic. Southern Europeans tended to be quite a bit shorter than their North European counterparts, probably a result of dietary differences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, no sooner had I done the review of these than I 'discovered' the Gripping Beast plastics. I looks from a distance as if they could be even better than these WF plastic kits but I'll reserve judgement until I have them in my hand.

      I found the scale thing rather unsettling. I did wonder if Europeans might be a little shorter but it does look odd – the photo didn't really capture the difference properly, looks like a guy 6ft 5 standing next to a guy 5ft 6.

      I'm finding my voyage into historical very interesting and unnerving at the same time. Things I took for granted can't be relied upon anymore but by the same token I'm discovering some amazing stuff. Having said that I doubt I'll ever play a full-on game with 100s of figures – I'm definitely a skirmish level bloke.

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  4. Ray would disagree as he constantly swore while making his plastic vikings but a good review Mike.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes he did!!!!
      Great review though Mike, I think I prefer the Gripping Beast plastics to these even though they were a $£!&^ to put together, these ones just seen to lack a little life to the figures to me, but you can't beat the price!

      Delete
    2. I've only built 4 models but I know what you mean. I think a box of Gripping Beast plastics could be next – I do like the look of them.

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