Monday, February 13, 2012

Menoth Bastions Model Review

My Exemplar horde is growing steadily each day. I have to get a few more models in the mail and everything will be ready for the great crusade to beat face and light stuff on fire!  That said, today, I received a unit of 5 Bastions and a second unit of 6 Knights Exemplar in the mail, both through an excellent deal I made at Bartertown.  I was so excited about the Bastions that I decided to go ahead and put them together.  After my experience, I thought it would be cool to do a little product review.

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A new box of Exemplar Bastions comes with a unit of 5 Bastions consisting of you leader and 4 grunts.  You can run them in a group of 3 (leader and two grunts) or the full squad of 5.  This particular box set is a plastic set, the only plastic minis I have collected from Privateer Press so far.  Unlike many, I really prefer metal models over plastic.  I think the detail is generally a bit better and I love the heavy feel they have.  It makes the army feel substantial.  Suffice it to say, I was slightly disappointed when I discovered Bastions only came in plastic as they are going to be the only plastic minis in my entire army as it now stands. 

Down to business.  Bastion models come in 7 pieces and a base.  The pieces are the body, two arms, two shoulder pads, a head, and their halberd.  All pieces have pre-cut holes and posts cut to insure that only one piece can fit any one joint.  This was meant to make the assembly process easier, I'm sure, as it is literally impossible to put these guys together incorrectly unless you cut mounting posts off of pieces. 

Right out of the bag, I noticed that the plastic used by Privateer Press is very hard.  It doesn't have nearly as much give as resin or softer plastics like those used by GW in their plastic kits.  Each manufacturer must have their own proprietary blend. This did two things, one good and one bad.  The detail on the minis was great.  Each model has quite a bit going on and all details including scrollwork on armor and the etching on their blades is definitely of high quality.  However, the hard plastic actually made it harder to get pieces into their correct position.  In many cases, I had to cut down or shave away portions of mounting posts so that the pieces fit easier.  This proved to be a slight annoyance and required some application of strength to get pieces all the way into their fitting (in one case I actually had to clamp my jaws down on an arm joint to get the arm to fully slide into place).  On the upside the design elements used for assembly to add some structural strength to the models.  I am not worried about dropping a mini and having pieces pop off.  These pieces will stay in place.

Another small problem I had with the minis is that many pieces, due to the packaging, were bent.  Several of the halberds were bent along the haft of the weapon.  I have found with resin and plastic alike, the only easy fix is to stick the model in near boiling water, heat the plastic, and then reshape it into its intended straight appearance.  Again a minor issue, but one that takes a bit of time to correct. 

That said, other pieces of the model fit very well with little to no trimming required.  In each model's case, the shoulder pads fit easily into play and on the squad leader, the shoulder pads (coming in two pieces) fit very easily. 

Another great aspect of these models is a noticeable absence of flash.  There were the odd pieces here and there, but for the most part, these models simply didn't have flash on them and in fact, there were few if any mold lines on the minis.  I really like this because I tend to be lazy with mold lines to begin with, so having so few made it really easy to get the models cleaned up quickly. I don't know if Privateer Press has better molds than other companies, but even GW has regularly occurring mold lines on most plastic models. This was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. 

Finally, I want to head back to appearance for a minute.  The models are sweet.  I love them. They are suitably bulky, coming on medium bases. They have the feeling of butt kicking awesomeness.  The models also have fairly decent poses.  Hulking models covered in armor generally don't look terribly agile, but the sculpts, as with many of PP's sculpts, look dynamic utilizing flowing banners and robes and more aggressive stances that make the models look like they are advancing towards you.  PP really knows it sculpting.  I love their stuff.  It simply looks dynamic and epic without looking overly hokey....despite massive shoulder pads. 

So, to run it down for you, the pros are:

- Great sculpt, very dynamic pose and good sense of movement achieved
- High level of detail, even for plastic, makes an interesting looking mini
- Lack of flash and mold lines
- Solid construction through the use of mounting posts at joints means that models won't be losing pieces often
- Easy construction as each pieces only fits in one place unless you cut off the mounting posts.
- Lighter weight than metal
The cons are:

- Very hard plastic.  This makes it hard to trim and shave, it also means those mounting posts sometimes fit too tightly to make pieces join snugly.
- Bent pieces require extra effort to correct
- Lighter than metal (I like metal models)

Overall, I really like the models and would give Privateer Press a solid A for them.  They possess everything you would think a model of their magnitude should have, are fairly easy to construct, and only provide a small handful of headaches to get around (but what wargaming mini doesn't!).  Privateer Press continues to amaze me with the quality of their products. 

Here are some other Warmachine articles:
Warmachine the Way I See It: Warcaster Study, pKreoss
The Harbinger of Menoth: Model Review
How Important is the Front Arc, Really?
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