Sunday, 16 October 2016

Unboxing: Macrocosm Miniatures - Dark Dwarves

I first found out about Macrocosm when I was at UK Games Expo 2015, where their stand was tucked away on one corner in a particularly cramped trade room. While I wasn't looking for anything in particular, their Digger Corps and Malignancy ranges caught my eye, and the gent behind the stand was willing to cut me a deal on the Sunday, which is always appreciated.

When I heard they were doing a Kickstarter campaign to make some Dark Dwarves, having picked up the range previously released by Hasslefree Miniatures, I decided to back it to both support a small company and get some quite cool armoured Dwarf models. While I wasn't a major backer, I did spring for two 5 Dwarf units and a character, as a potential starting point for a force for Dragon Rampant.

The campaign went pretty well for Macrocosm, raising £6,713 against their initial goal of £1,000. Delivery was listed as November 2016, so I'd mentally pegged them as arriving in the new year - imagine my surprise, then, when I received a package towards the end of September.

With the package in hand, I thought it might be taking a look at what was inside. And yes, I know it's taken me nearly a month to get to this point...

Box of mystery

So, let's start by taking a look at the package itself. It might not look it in the picture above, but Macrocosm have found a surprisingly small box for shipping these guys out - don't take the stamp's label of "Large" for granted, as I could almost hide it under my phone. A dwarf box for Dark Dwarves, perhaps?

One thing I would say to Macrocosm, though - it may be worth getting an updated stamp to include your company name as well as the address, as until I got inside the box I had no idea what was in my hands. I initially thought I may have ordered some dice or something, given the rattling from within.

Smooth on the outside, crunchy on the inside...
Having busted out the modelling knife to clear the tape so we can open the box, let's see what was inside. The advantage of metal models shows itself here, with the lack of foam peanuts or other packing materials. One small box, one row of bases, two bags of figures, no damage in transit.

Can't argue with that.

I did wonder initially where the Mage was hiding, and it turned out he'd been added to the bag with the Dark Dwarves with Crossbows.

Moving on, let's take a look at the figures as they arrived.

Every sinister force needs some missile support, right?
First up, the Crossbowmen. Four of the five models are single piece, with the exception being the guy to the left of the above picture with the crab claw, who I've been viewing as the leader. His crossbow and forearm were easy enough to remove from the tab on his base and glue into place. His compatriots needed a little cleaning in places to remove minor bits of flash, but nothing significant. I'm not certain, but the guy with a tentacle (second left) may need to have his tab bent a little to get him into a more upright pose - he leans forwards a bit on his base at present, as if dashing forwards.

A small arcane bundle of evil
Any army needs a leader - and for now, by Dark Dwarves will be lead by this Mage, a quite understated sculpt that appealed to me when I was browsing the range initially. Unlike some magic users I've seen in other ranges, he isn't bogged down with extraneous detail or fiddly bits. Instead, outside of his base, there are four areas which need painting - armoured boots, cloak, hair and helmet. Nice and simple, yet still a characterful sculpt.

Time for form a shield wall
Finally, the line infantry - for this starting force, I went with five Dark Dwarves with axes and shields. As you can see, the shields are a separate sprue, with moulded details, while three of the axe hands are also separate pieces. The bodies which need the axes adding come with a long pin extending from their forearm, which I found needed to be trimmed down slightly before you got a flush join. The hands for them seem to have been moulded with the socket in place, though I found that wear on the mould meant that one of the sockets on mine was filled with metal - still, it gives a clear target to drill out with a pin vice, so isn't a major bother.

Final thoughts

Suffice to say, I'm happy with the results of my pledge with Macrocosm. The Dwarves turned up ahead of schedule, are nicely cast, and have a lot of character to them. As the start to a force for Dragon Rampant, I have no complaints - though I'm going to have to actually read the game to figure out what I'm going to need to pick up to expand the force further - some of the Beasts or Trolls for a monstrous infantry unit would be cool, as would Bull Centaurs as a cavalry option.

This was my first time dealing with Macrocosm through Kickstarter, and they proved to be quite adept at handling it - there was plenty of communication during the campaign, and regular updates afterwards so that people knew what was going on. I'd certainly back another project of theirs if there was one for a range that I was interested in, without worrying that the backers were going to cut and run.