Monday, July 14, 2014

Model Review: Gripping Beast Swords for Hire: Monks and Minstrels!

Gripping beast have sent some more metal figures from their extensive range for the Saga wargame. This time it is the turn of the Bards and the Angry Monks.

Let's start with the Angry Monks...

Gripping Beast Angry Monks - armed to the teeth!

SFH07 The Angry Monks

This unit is comprised of 12 monk figures, all armed. They are off to fight the good fight after many years of anger at being attacked and pillaged by invaders. There are only four different types of figure, three models of each. You will need to use colour to give some individuality to this unit.

Each man is armed with sword, knife, spear or hand axe. The figures are reasonably animated with
movement to the clothing and weaponry for some models contrasting with the more subdued look of the others. The heads all have different expressions, from bemusement to anger. There isn't a lot of detail you can add a man wearing a habit, but the plaited belts help to break up the lines.

The figures seem to be fresh clean castings with very little flash to clean off. Mould lines are pretty subdued with some cleanup with a knife edge down the sides of some models. This doesn't seem to cross over detail and is mainly on the robes so should not detract from the models.

The models own metal cast bases will need a little cleanup to get the figure  to sit flush on a surface, such as the Renedra plastic base.

A group of models that should not be difficult to clean up and paint. Some of the weapons may need a little straightening. They come with Renedra round plastic 25mm bases (glue required) and a Saga rule card.


Each figure comes with a Saga rule card and a Renedra base (round for infantry, rectangular for the horse).

SFH06a The Wandering Bard

Here's a Harper playing his little instrument and singing out loud no doubt. It is said that the Irish King Brian Boru was a Harper, so its no wonder this figure has a Celtic look and feel.

The face has medium length hair and a moustache. The cloak is definitely Celtic. The pose is staged and "just right" for a bard, with one foot resting on a little rock.

The details are nice, such as the right hand held aloft with its thumb and forefinger pinched together as if ready to move down and pluck the next note.

This is a nice clean model with no flash of any note. There are some minor mould lines on the sides, along tunic/boots. A sharp knife will have these off with no damage to the detail.

A great little model and one that should add some colour to a Saga faction.

SFH06b The Wandering Bard

This Bard appears to be playing the Bodhran, a little hand held drum.

He seems to be finely dress in cloak and with neatly tied hair. With sword and dagger on his belt he also seems ready for danger!

The model appears to be caught up in his performance with hands and head raised. A figure with long hair (very long this time) and again a moustache.

There doesn't appear to be any flash on this model and the mould line is harder to spot as it runs up the inside of the cloak - cleanup should be very easy here.

Detail is crisp and with belt, sword and dagger there is more to paint. The drum has what looks like rivets around the back edge so that gives some extra detail as well.

SFH06c The Mounted Wandering Bard

This guy looks well at ease on his mount. The horse is moving at a trot while he plays a tune on his little harp.

The model sits well atop the horse and balances well. There is a plastic Renedra base for the horse to be mounted on.

The rider has lots of detail. Apart from the raised right arm ready to play his tune, he has long parted hair, a headband of some kind, a moustache and a goatee style beard.  He wears an unusual tasseled jacket(both to the front and rear of the model), a bit "Davy Crockett" that adds some character.

some mould line cleanup here...
I like the character in the face of this model. On the slight down side, the mould lines are slightly more pronounced running down the right side and noticeable on the left shoulder (less of a problem). Cleanup would involve a sharp knife and a little care on the right side where the line crosses the belt.

Again, no noticeable flash on this figure. As a side note, Gripping Beast seem to go a long way with what seem to be the newer models to reduce flash and keep mould lines as minimal and unobtrusive as possible.


The model of the standing Harper is my favourite of this batch of models. The detail and pose make him a striking figure to include in your Warband. All said, the Bards and Monks are good quality models and will make a charismatic addition to your Saga warbands.


Feel free to discuss these models on the forum....

--Figures kindly supplied by Gripping Beast.


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