Friday, 17 February 2017

Tor Gaming - Day of the Tentacle

Back in January, I was fortunate enough to get access to the C'thu Prime a little early, as you may have seen. This all happened because Gav1 was dealing with an order I'd placed at my NSLBFGS2.

That was cool, but I wasn't expecting a repeat. However, when I was at the store last week picking up my new Blood Bowl team3, the Chris I was dealing with noticed that I had pre-ordered the two new C'thu units due out this week - the Barbs of Thamos and Thorns of Thamos. Chris had a quick word with Gav, and soon enough I had the blisters in my hands.


So, given I have these ahead of the general release, let's take a look at what you get for your money this time...

Before we look at the miniatures, let's take a moment to consider the lore. Both the Barbs and the Thorns are manifestations of the entity Thamos, which burst from the ground around the C'thu's main holding of Krakenshearth seemingly at random. Thamos is imprisoned by C'thu, and the two units are said to represent different emotions felt by the prisoner - the Barbs representing anger at his situation, the Thorns representing his guilt. While they appear at random, the armies of C'thu can also force these to manifest where they are fighting, assisting them in defeating their enemies.

Which is pretty cool, I reckon.

Finally, before we move on, what is Relics? Well, it is a skirmish game created by Tor Gaming, with an aesthetic that Gav has described as "stitchpunk" - something most apparent with the Britanan faction, made up primarily of animated puppets fighting for a mad king.

The game is currently in the build-up to a release of the second edition of its core rules - though these, as well as the unit profiles, are all available as a free download on the Tor Gaming website.

I've not yet played a game of Relics, but I have most of the Britanan range, a few Mercenaries, and now a smattering of the insane tentacle faction. I'm hoping with the rise of the second edition that I might be able to take them for a spin on the tabletop, but until then, they're a fun painting project with their own distinctive look.


Two blisters full of tentacles - something I should see a doctor about...
Both units turn up in the standard Relic blister packs, with the components in a small plastic bag inside the blister. It's a good thing these packs are as robust as they are, as there's a lot of metal in each one - yes, the figures are made of metal, unlike the Prime, which was a resin cast. While there is room for things to rattle around a bit in there, the fact they're metal, and that the blisters are so full, means that they're not going to move unless you really shake the blister - and even if they do, the worst you might get is a slight bend to a smaller piece, which is easy enough to fix.


Barbs above Thorns - hmm...
What did I get for my money, then? Well, each blister contains quite a lot of white metal goodness, comprising a full unit of four miniatures in each pack. Both units share a design when it comes to the core tentacle, which is then topped off by a two part head/mouth. You also get enough bases for the figures, as you'd expect.

The pieces seem quite well cast, without any significant mould lines or slippage, which is always a good start. As they're a metal cast, there are quite a few vents which need removing, and a little flash here or there, but that is to be expected.

The one thing that threw me is that there only seems to be three designs for the main tentacle in a four model unit, meaning you'll have a duplicate in each pack. It does appear that the duplicate isn't the same for each unit - and might not be the same for each pack - but for a unit of four figures I'd've liked to have had four different tentacle designs.


"Thorns to the left of me, Barbs to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you..."
For this review, I've assembled one model from each unit so you can see how they look in the metal. Each tentacle from the two units is, as I mentioned above, made of three pieces - a two-part head, and a tentacle root.

After cleaning up the flash, the heads go together really nicely - make sure the facial detail lines up, and you'll find the rear lines up properly. As long as you make sure the base of the root has any flash or vents removed and cleaned up, then you have a decent surface area to attach them to the base4.

What I found interesting was when I came to attach the heads to the roots. Some of the roots have a little nub sticking out, which is odd, as I can't see any sign of a reception socket on the heads. The other strange thing is that the top of the root is a flat surface, when the base of the heads appear slightly convex, so you'll need to file that down. I'd've liked it if the top of the root had been slightly concave, as then you have a bit of a ball and socket effect going on, which would've made for a better join.

The surface at the top of the root seems a little larger than the base of the heads, so you may need to use some green stuff to shape the joint. I haven't done that in these pictures, but may well come back to do so in the future.

Final Thoughts

While Trollkin Heston doesn't seem bothered about the Thorns, I get the impression Scale Dwarf is worried about the Barbs' plans for him...
What did I think about the Barbs and the Thorns, then? Well, overall I quite like them. There are a couple of design choices that I might've done differently, but that comes down to personal preference. They're well-sculpted figures, and they should be fairly simple to figure out a colour scheme for. I'm currently trying to figure out how I'd do a "bursting through the ground" look for the base, as that seems quite important from a lore perspective.

If you're planning a C'thu army for Relics, then they're going to be a decent addition, helping to diversify your forces. As with the other Thamos unit - the Teeth of Thamos - they would also work quite well as generic tentacle-with-teeth monsters for a Lovecraftian RPG, or possibly even as components in a Tyranid conversion.

The Impertinent Details

TG-RELC10Barbs of Thamos£16.00
TG-RELC9Thorns of Thamos£16.00

1 - Gavin Moorcroft, the mind behind Tor Gaming and Relics
2 - Not So Local But Friendly Gaming Store
3 - Go Giants! Well, so long as I can find something to do about the beard-jumping Trollslayers, that is...
4 - I'd make sure that you cover the slot in the slottabase before you glue the roots down, if only to make basing the model easier down the line.