Monday, January 20, 2014

Model Review: Gripping Beast Carolingian Franks

Review by Mike Wood

Here are a collection of models from Gripping Beast that can be used in their Saga Franks army, Carolingian variant. You can see that the helm is different to other Saga factions.

Some examples of various Gripping Beast's metal Carolingian contingent...

Gripping Beast Carolingians - left to right: Warlord, Hearthguard spearman, mounted Warrior.

Let's take a look at each unit in turn starting with "the boss"...

The Carolingian Warlord... SF01a

Gripping Beast Warlord model with mount
This mounted unit consists of the horse moving at a steady pace and an armoured rider with a sword and shield.

The mount is a graceful looking model with a long flowing tail and with a metal tab under the rear right foot that is intended to be cut off. The casting is bright and clean  with a typical mould line running lengthwise along the back, down the neck and under the belly. It looks quite fine and therefore easy to clean off with a file or craft knife with no need to worry about damaging any detail. Overall the horse requires little cleanup work and should make a strong model when based as three legs are designed as in contact with the ground.

The Warlord is posed in action with shield drawn up to his left side as his right hand is upright about to bring a blow down with his sword to some poor unfortunate. I can see no mould lines on the bright clean casting other than under the riders legs which are hidden when placed on the saddle of his horse. The detail and pose of the model make him something special. You can see folds on his cloak, segments on his plated mail armour, a broach holding his cloak, rivets on the straps of his shield grips and even the turn outs on his boot tops and of course the stirrups.  The sword hand is part of the sword and comes separately. The hand is design to fit into a recess on the right arm, adding strength to the model. Overall a great model.
Carolingian Warlord (Copyright GB)

The Nobles (Hearthguard).... SF03

These are standing figures holding spears straight up. Each figure is unique but looks part of a regimented whole. Each figure has different headgear and armour to help a look of individuality in such a regimented unit, some with chain mail others with plated mail. The shield arm is drawn in close to the body and the spear arm has its hand ready to be drilled for a spear. There is a sword hilt on the left of each model hidden from the front by the shield. The models are again fresh and crisp castings. There is a little flash to be trimmed off from the bases but otherwise I couldn't see any work for the modeller to do, no mould lines to trim back. These figures are simple and clean and make for a straightforward build but they do not lack paintable detail. On the wargame table, they will be able to be ranked easily due to their posture. Good for massed ranks and usable for skirmish too. Another set of superb castings.

Carolingian Warband (Copyright GB)

The Warriors.... SF04

The horses supplied with these figures are similar to the one for the Warlord, so I won't say too much here. The castings were all dynamic and different with almost no flash to speak of. Mould lines would need a little clearing up but with no harm as per the Warlord's mount.

The riders are helmeted but in different styles but are also unarmoured, just a shield modelled in the left hand and a raised right hand ready to be drilled for a spear. There is detailing around the belt pouches, stirrups. and shield strap rivets. The riders simple tunics are belted and flowing so that there is some non-flat surface to add depth. All in all, very functional figures, each a little different from its neighbour. There is a little mould line just visible across the shoulders of some figures and on one of the shields. These should be easy to clean up with file or small craft knife with no loss of detail to the model. You may need to adjust slightly the set of the legs to get them to sit comfortably on their mounts. All in all, fine figures that should give an opportunity to paint some colourful tunics!

Carolingian Warriors (Copyright GB)


I really like the unique look of the Gripping Beast Carolingians. The headgear sets the models apart from other Saga factions. GB seem to have done a really good job of capturing the details of each social level of soldier. The Warlord is one of my favourite figures I have seen up close so far. 

Any feedback or thoughts or experiences? Please use the link to the forum below....

Mike has his own wargaming blog at www.not2oldtowargame.wordpress.com

Carolingian 4 point Warband (Copyright GB)
All figures provided by Gripping Beast.

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