Avatars of War Dwarfs – A Review

AoW_logo_300Awhile ago Avatars of War did a kickstarter to get their Dwarf range off the ground for their game Warthrone. Always one to support a good cause I immediately got involved, helping AoW hit their total and a couple of stretch goals. The result? Lots and lots of lovely dwarf models for those with bearded leanings can buy and drool over.

Avatars of War kindly sent me a box of goodies including three of the new Dwarf regiments – Pathfinders, Warriors and Berserkers – amongst other things which will be reviewed in due course, which I’ve been pouring over. For your benefit obviously…

Now, just to be clear, I don’t have the foggiest idea of how Warthrone plays or how nails the Dwarfs are in it but I’ll tell you this: the models are the absolute tits.

The quality of the sculpting is superb. I mean really really gorgeous. I’m forced to make direct comparisons with the Games Workshop kits as a frame of reference and, to be perfectly candid, they wee all over them from a very great height. Granted the Games Workshop models have been knocking around for a few years but whereas the GW models are tiny little men with big beards wearing dresses from Human ladies, the offering from Avatars of War feel entirely more in proportion. I suppose, to put it another way, they feel more like a civilisation than a themed army. Which is just better.

The design of the models just make sense. The Beserkers are stunning. They’re big burly bastards with slabs of granite for chests and big manly beards that look like they might actually grow from someone’s face rather, coils of ship rope painted ginger and sticking their instead.

AOW_plastic_berserkers-700x560Again, it just comes down to the AoW models feel more real. The weapons whilst being fooking huge, don’t have ludicrously thick hafts being gripped in equally ludicrously big hands. In fact, the weapons from the Avatars of War models are all lovely. Every one of them has detail that far outstrips other ranges. And the standard for the Beserkers is hella cool. If slightly impractical.

All the models are covered with lots of lovely, thoughtful, detail that go a long way to making the regiments feel distinct beyond the obvious visual cues like big beards or massive axes. They really are very cool models. And they go together. Properly. Even the bits that afford you variety, like crests of hair and backpacks. I know it seems silly to harp on about it but other models from other companies that shall remain nameless (Mantic) struggle with that from time to time. And the relative prices are the same.

And now for the rub. Penny for penny the basic unit types, like the Thunder Warriors (Thunderers) are more expensive than their GW counterpart. You get 4 more in the AoW box but you pay a tenner more for privilege. Which makes the decision, assuming you’re not bothered about where your Dwarfs come from, a very easy one. The Beserkers, by contrast, are mad value because GW punt out 5 for £15.50 and they’re old and shit. You’ll pay twice over for much poorer models.

If I’m honest, the older kits aren’t quite as sharp as the Beserkers on the casting front. I could be wrong but they look like rastic – that God awful stuff that Privateer Press use, which whilst casts consistent, it can sometimes can feel a bit flat and soulless. But that’s just me being a moany old bastard, they’re still much better Dwarf models than just about anything out there.

When it comes to proxying models from one range to another there comes a bit where you have to hang the expense. Pound for pound the Avatars of War range is more expensive. Yes, someone finally outdid the Games Workshop. But two things are worth bearing in mind. 1. If you’re buying multiple units you’ll make savings as the special units, like the Beserkers, are significantly cheaper than the Games Workshop models (half the cost). And 2. They’re really really good models. So hang the expense. Basically.

The Avatars of War range is available from Firestorm Games, prices starting from £8.95.

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