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  • WAMP Review: Dark Sword Raccoon Thief

    Cregan Tur
    My wife gave me the Raccoon Thief from Dark Sword miniatures for my birthday a few years ago, so Iím very familiar with the piece even though it still gets shuffled around me lead mountain and hasnít seen any painting except as a cloth demo on the cloak about a year ago. Really need to strip him down and give him a good paint jobÖ but I digress.


    If you donít know what a raccoon is, then youíre not from the United States and have never seen Disneyís Pocahontas. Theyíre omnivorous rodents that commonly steal food, especially from trash cans, so portraying one as a thief is a cute pun. By now Iím sure youíre all tired of my digressions and want me to get on with the review. Fine, have it your way.


    This is a single piece figure from Dark Sword that portrays an anthropomorphized (yes I did spell that correctly from memory without spell check) bipedal raccoon wearing leather armor, a cloak, and holding a coin purse. The base is attached and is saved from my complaining by the addition of several gold coins on the ground which I like because it makes this into a scene instead of being a very good figure on a plain base.


    The head of the raccoon is overly large, but it looks good because this is a very cartoony and fun figure. Let me be clear- I like this miniature. It shows character with the wide smirk on the face, the coin purse held aloft on his palm, and the other hand resting on his hip. Heís a confident little sneak-thief who doesnít mind mocking his marks (look mom, alliteration!).


    Everything about this figure is done in a loose, cartoony style that works incredibly well without sacrificing any detail. The fur is sculpted with such precision that it looks like it should be soft to the touch. The leather armor is interesting in its design and all of the other costume elements form a very cohesive design.


    There are a number of animal-as-people miniatures available from a few different companies. Reaper immediately springs to mind, but none of their come close to this level of detail or character. Their Legion of Justice and Caeke series is the closes comparison, but it has a very different style. The Dark Sword variety of animals have a much more realistic bent that make them stand out from the crowd. There is also a very wide selection, so you will be able to find a number of different animals as fantasy heroes that your friends would love to receive.


    Captain Sprout
    Dark Sword miniatures have quite a number of animals as people fantasy miniatures in their lineup and this Raccoon Thief fits neatly into the range. It's sculpted by Dave Summers, who has sculpted a number of other animal figures in the range and this is as good as his others. The mini is in 30mm heroic scale and cast in white metal with 2010 marked on the bottom of the base.


    The mini is packed in the usual sturdy, well designed packing material on a piece of foam that ensures it has no transit damage.


    The mini is cast in a single piece including the love it (or not) cast on broccoli base. The mini shows a 'thief' figure holding some loot / an old fashioned 'purse' where the body and legs are human like but the head and the long fingers are that of a raccoon. These little animals are probably more familiar to Americans than people in Europe, though there are apparently loads of them in Germany (ah the wonders of Google!). Apparently quite clever / brainy and able to figure out puzzles as well as spending a lot of time stealing food and apparently dining on cat food with skunks (Google images fail to lie) they suit their anthropomorphism into a thief rather well. It does look like a raccoon too in terms of the head sculpt, which is no bad thing.


    The details on the mini are well sculpted with a cleverly realized tail, good boots and trousers and the well rendered raccoon head. The armor is leather and the details have cast out well. The cloak is very well sculpted with realistic drapery and its large expanse will suit a painter wanting to practice their freehand or blending. The little bag will be good for a bit of practice on leather as will the armor and boots. Some good opportunities for a colorful paint job with different surfaces here. The sword, which goes behind the model's legs inside the cloak, works well and has clean surfaces.


    There are very few mould or flash lines and the one piece cast will be easy to clean up and suit even the least experienced modeler. Indeed, if the subject matter takes your fancy it is a good model to make a start with as its not covered in too much detail but it does have some nice touches. Itís a good balance between intimidatingly plain and horribly over detailed.


    The integral base would be easy to remove if the modeler chose to but itís quite simple and not unpleasant so itís just as easy to either leave it in place or integrate it with a larger one. It has some coins on the base which might have come from the bag so has a point if you like it for gaming. I really don't like these bases but itís a personal choice and it doesn't make me hate the mini.


    The mini is quite 'cutesy' but this is the range and they are actually well sculpted, pleasant to look at and have something for the gamer or painter to get their hands on. Before I had these minis I wouldn't have looked at 'animals as people' much but these little minis have a sense of fun as well as being high quality stuff. It doesn't hurt that the paint jobs are always well executed and interesting and the DS website is a good place to gain some inspiration for the pure, simple, elegant PJ.


    In terms of other minis out there, there are not that many in this sort of style apart from DS themselves, though MSB do a range of ninja animals including frogs and pandas. The masters of this sort of mini are doubtless DS themselves though.


    This is a fun, well sculpted, well cast model that proclaims the company's production standards. It's fun and would be a good mini for a beginner to start with and its audience is modelers with a sense of fun.


    NeatPete
    This furry little guy looks cute, but watch your wallet. Dark Sword added to the list of animal personalities they have with another great one here. The raccoon animal matches up with the thief personality perfectly. The mini is sculpted with a smirk and posture that proudly displays the recent bounty. The armor and accessories are done in a cartoony style that also compliments the subject matter nicely.


    Detail wise it matches previous DS miniatures with very clean, crisp edges and tiny mold lines. I am again impressed with the great depth they were able to obtain in one piece model. The tail comes around and clearly has the classic rings on the raccoons tail sculpted into the fur. Fine detail like this helps me a lot when I'm painting. The rest of the mini offers good surfaces to paint and the cloak is rather flat and pretty much symmetrical. This will be a great chance to use the cloak for some freehand designs or that ninja raccoon pattern you always wanted to try. Finally, the mini just feels good in your hand; it could withstand the roughest and rowdiest of gaming sessions.


    ShaneRozzell
    Standing 27mm to his eye, Dark Sword Miniatures, Raccoon Thief is one of my all-time favorite miniatures that they have produced. Everything about this guy is very well done. This miniature, with its cocky stance and smug look while holding up his swag, shows how full of character it is. Itís also testament to Dave Summersí ability as a sculptor to follow Des Hanleyís concept art so closely.


    The sculpture, while being quite simplistic, is full of detail; the fur, armor and decoration are beautifully rendered as is the sword and satchel. On my version there is only one small mould line that has to be fixed and that is along the line of his cloak so itís easy to get to.


    Like all of Dark Sword miniatures the base is integral but this one is well sculpted so I hardly think this is an issue any more as it can easily be blended into a base of your own design.


    Because the miniature is cast so well, I feel it offers a painter plenty of scope for some detailed brush work but while I was researching this miniature (yes I do research them) I checked out a certain website, known for its miniature gallery and was surprised to see only one version of this miniature, painted by our very own Valloa. This got me thinking as to why itís not been painted by every man and his dog and I can come to only one conclusion. The only problem with it, if it is a problem at all is the fact that because the pose is very strong itís going to be hard for the display painter to customize this miniature and make it something unique. The only possible chance for any conversion is swapping the swag bag for something else, but what?


    The Ratings


    Cregan Tur
    Quality: 9 / 10
    *Excellent execution of solid design
    *Amazingly crisp details, especially in the fur


    Assembly: 9.5 / 10
    *Minor mold lines are the only thing youíll need to deal with


    Value: 9 / 10
    *Slightly more expensive than traditional styled DS miniatures, but well worth the money


    Overall: 9.2 / 10
    This is a very fun and unique miniature that shows how you can create fun animal characters that feel real, as opposed to the anime style you normally see in this genre. If you want something realistic, then Dark Sword is where you should look. This figure has a great blend of fur, open fabric, and details to be painted and would be a fun project for any painter.


    Captain Sprout
    Quality: 9/ 10
    *Well detailed quality sculpt with high production values.


    Assembly: 9 / 10
    *Single piece and a clean cast requiring little clean up.


    Value: 9 / 10
    *Retails for $9.99 (6 approx) plus shipping. Good value for a white metal mini of this size.


    Overall: 9 / 10
    Worth buying if you like the style or want to try something new or work on your larger surfaces not covered in 'skullz'. Worth thinking about. These minis are the definition of quirkiness.


    NeatPete
    Quality: 9/10
    *Well planned and executed character brought to life


    Assembly: 9.5/10
    *Right out of the box, one piece mini that could take a beating


    Value: 8.5/10
    *For $10 itís a finely detailed metal miniature


    Overall: 9
    Another cleverly detailed miniature with great character from Dark Sword!


    ShaneRozzell
    Quality: 9.5/10
    *everything about this guy is top quality from the concept art, through the sculpting to the casting.


    Assembly: 9.25/10
    *this is a single piece casting so no fiddly bits to pin and glue. My version had one mould line to clean so from that point of view this guy is almost ready for paint straight from the packet.


    Value: 9/10
    *$9.99 is very good value for any miniature but one of this quality means itís excellent.


    Overall: 9.25/10
    What can I say, I love this guy but was surprised to see so small a number of painted versions of him, I know of only three and that includes the box art. Itís decided, this guy is getting some paint this evening.