Monday, May 26, 2014

Model Review: Gripping Beast Swords for Hire Units

I thought it would be interesting to review some of the Saga Swords for Hire units instead of one specific faction.

These units can usually be bought by almost any faction in the game and help give some variation and tactical differences to forces.

Lets start by taking a look at the Gall-Gaedhil, "The Sons of Death"... you can read more about them here. Additionally, you can find the models here.

Gripping Beast 'Sons of Death'

This 'Swords for Hire' Unit comes as a unit of eight Warriors. These are armed in a variety of ways (the pack came with seven shields, a two-handed axe, two hand axes, two spears and four swords).

There are also eight 25mm round plastic Renedra bases.

Each warrior model is unique in terms of design and armour. All the models have a 'charging' pose. They really do look very dynamic. This is as it should be as they are "raiders" and "looters". Shields are usually held close to the body with a weapon in the right hand. One of the models had a two handed axe to add some extra interest.

First off, the casting is crisp with very little flash (almost none and that mainly on bases). Mould lines are almost non-existent, good since the detail may well have been impaired. There is nothing worse than having a line running along chainmail or across fancy belts. You will need to remove some pieces of metal from under soem of the "running" feet with a craft knife.

 Secondly, the sculpts are crammed with details. There are plenty of belts, swords, greaves, helmets, beards and cloaks to give the painter plenty to work with. Cleanup will have been minimal.

Adding weapons is easy enough for some of the models as the weapon
hands are drilled to take swords and hand axes.

Two of the models will require drilling to accept spears and one more to take the two handed axe (held aloft).

 This is the only real work. One model takes no shield but has his right hand drilled to take a left handed sword. Nice.

This has to be one of the cleanest and dynamic units I have reviewed.
Once built, the painter should have a lot of fun with the sheer variety of models.

Next off, we have the Flemish Mercenaries. You can find these guys here.

Gripping Beast Flemish Mercenaries

These come as a unit of eight Warriors. There is a weapons pack with two swords and eight spears. Finally there are also eight 25mm round plastic Renedra bases.

These models are a mix of a leader with sword arm thrust forward, a few models with spear held upright and a few with right hand raised overhead. All seven spear-warriors have their right hands opened and ready to have the spear glued in place. No work here! The right hand on the leader figure may need to be adjusted (or the sword hilt cut down) as their is no obvious way to attach the sword to the hand.

The modeller will have to do a little bit of work to accommodate the sword.

Looking again at the inside of this models sword hand, it looks as if the casting can be drilled to accept the sword hilt so you will need a pin vise or similar tool and a drill bit of the correct size.

All the models come with long coats of chainmail and helmets. It's worth noting that all the figures some with kits shields already cast to their left side. There's not much else in the way of detail to mention.

Mould lines such as they were were limited to the inside legs of the model (unusual as they are usually seen on the outside of the model).

This would be easy to remove with the edge of a craft knife in a few seconds.

Flash was almost non-existent as far as I can see which makes cleanup that bit easier.

The inbuilt metal bases the models sit on are a bit smaller than the normal ones on the Gripping Beast Saga models I have seen so far but should still sit tightly on their plastic Renedra bases with some superglue.

All in all, a simple and stock unit that will look orderly and sit tightly grouped on the battlefield if needed.

Finally, the last unit of Swords for Hire in the batch are Jarl Sigvaldi and three Jomsvikings. I received four extra models and have reviewed the pack as it came. You can find the models here.

Gripping Beast Jarl Sigvaldi (right) and co.

These models are all unique but some have the distinctive square shields that add some variety to the battlefield from the usual circular ones.

All the shields on these models are part of the castings. Jarl Sigvaldi has a hand axe already pre-moulded too.

The other models can have either a spear or hand weapon attached (the pack came with two spears, two swords and an axe). There were four Renedra bases as well, one large round base and three smaller bases.

Mould lines were non-existent as far as I could see.

Flash was almost only seen on the bottom of the base (and easy to clean up with a craft knife).

All the models wear chain mail, but all had differences such as head wear and cloaks. The painter will find each model unique and inspirational.

I like the character of these guys and think they would make another interesting unit on the battlefield in the same way as the 'Sons of Death'.


There we have it, the Gripping Beast models available to you to make three interesting 'Swords for Hire' Units for the Saga wargame. I hope you find the inspiration to give them a try!


All models kindly supplied by Gripping Beast.


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