Or is it dwarfs?
Anyway, I've long been interested in a dwarf army. Even when my wargaming consisted of nothing but 40k, I was interested in fantasy and had plans of starting an army. My first aborted attempt at a fantasy army was when I picked up a box of the brand new, state of the art plastic, mono-pose high elf archers back when 2nd edition 40k was current. That army never went past that one box. Later during the height of my 40k period, I grabbed three army books to explore the possibilities of starting Fantasy: Orcs and Goblins, Empire, and Dwarfs. Ultimately, the lack of Fantasy players in NE Tennessee discouraged me from beginning, but dwarfs were always a favorite of mine.
Ten years later, I am sitting on two Fantasy armies (Tomb Kings and High Elves), and even though both are getting quite large, I still find myself adding to them. I also have limited play time (one tournament per month and one day of weekend gaming per month), and finding the time to play both armies is challenging. Nonetheless, the siren call of a new army is always strong, so I decided to take the plunge.
However, I did not want to sink a lot of money into them, so I set a limit. I decided that if I couldn't get a fully functioning army for under two hundred dollars (US) I wasn't going to start one. Mission accomplished. Using the Battle for Skull Pass sets from GW, a heavy helping of Mantic's dwarf models, Ebay, and an after-holiday sale from the Warstore, I was able to put together the following list for a grand total of $107.25:
Runesmith (Reaper Margera)
40 Dwarf Warriors
2 Organ Guns (all of this from the Mantic Dwarf boxed army and one extra box of Hammerers)
20 Battle for Skull Pass Miners (dirt cheap on Ebay)
2 Battle for Skull Pass Cannons (a little more expensive on Ebay)
At this point, I have about ninety more dollars budgeted with which to get 2 grudge throwers and some character models, which I think is highly doable.
My biggest concerns with starting this project were appearance based. I didn't know how well the Mantic models and the Skull Pass models would mix together, and I wasn't sure how I would like working on Mantics figures. I have one painted now, and I'm pretty happy with the model. Here's a shot:
As for the first concern, I think they will look fine together. Here's a comparison shot:
You can see that the Mantic model is actually more bulky, but not outlandishy so. The two models' beards also are strikingly different. I will say that the beard was my favorite part of painting the GW model. However, I do like the braided beard look of the Mantic figure. I did an informal taste test with some non-gamer friends and family, and they actually preferred the Mantic model, saying that "he looks mean." Ultimately, I think that people will notice a definite difference in the two company's models, but no more so than when old GW figures are mixed with the new (and larger) ones.
As for working with the Mantic mini, I have no complaints. They are not nearly as customizable as the GW ones. Most of them are basically two or three part models, so you end up with fairly similar poses throughout the army. That's no big deal for me as I think dwarves should be fairly orderly. That minor quibble aside, working with the models was very easy. They were very clean of mold lines, and they went together easily (very quick construction). Overall, I found them to be excellent models, and you really can't beat the price (and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do with their new Sci-Fi game).
Here's another comparison shot of the two figures:
That's it for this week. I'll be playing a tournament this weekend. There's no comp rules (except for no power scroll and no special characters) and no painting score in this one, so I'm going to take what I think is a powerful high elf list to see what kind of damage I can do. I'll post a report sometime next week.