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  • WAMP Review: Alkemy Dahlia and Guhlams

    Alkemy is another game system developed by Studio 38 that seems to be geared to high fantasy with sculpts that seem more detailed than either of their other games. For this review, Iím taking a look at product #109, Dahlia and Guhlams.

    Dahlia is a cat woman dressed like a sultan: baddy trousers, an elaborate headdress, and jewelry. The Guhlams are her guards: were-lions with large polearms, scarbarded scimitars, pauldrons on one shoulder, and bracers on their forearms. The studio artwork for these figures is gorgeous, but how to the unpainted minis look?

    Dahlia comes in 3 parts: body, left arm, and her tail. She is a very delicate sculpt with many fine details, such as her beaded necklace; the scrolls, spellbook, and other adornments on her belt are also painstakingly detailed. You can even see the fin lines of whiskers on her feline face and her catís teeth are quite visible as well. Even her left index finger, which is extended, was cast well, giving us a very thin digit that many other companies may not have been able to cast well. The detailing on her is very, very good.

    Prepping Dahlia will require completely removing the gate tags from the bottom of her feet, otherwise she wonít sit well on the included base, which is a beautiful patterned tile floor with a step down to bricks. The mold line on her front, which ran down her right thigh and leg, was easy to deal with, but the one on her back took a lot more care and work. It was a much thicker mold line and ran all the way from her left shoulder down to her left ankle. It wouldnít be a problem to remove except for the fact that it goes through a lot of flowing fabric, which means taking care so you donít ruin the great detail.

    The biggest preparation issue, however, was that her front left thigh was riddled with tiny air holes.

    Assembly is not hard with this figure, but it will take a little time. The locating plug that is on her arm does not fit well into the socket on her body. I found that shaving it off was the easiest way to get a good fit. Getting her tail to fit in place was a fiddly endeavor that ended with me making my best guess of how itís supposed to fit and then using a little putty to hide the obvious gap between her body and tail.

    The Guhlams come in 2 different poses. One of them is kneeling with his fist pressed to the floor, while the other is standing in a defiant poster and roaring. The standing one comes in 4 parts: body, right hand and weapon, tail, and scimitar. The kneeling one is in 5 parts: body, right arm, left hand and weapon, tail, and scimitar.

    Attaching the hands with the weapons for both of these figures took a lot more work that it should have. The locating plugs were worthless because the holes were too small and the plugs themselves didnít line up. In the end I just removed the plugs and pinned them in place. The tails are easy fits, but you may have to shave down the plug a bit. The scimitars are interesting because thereís no designated spot for where they belong, so you can put them wherever they fit and where you think they look nice. The kneeling oneís left arm was tough to attach. I never felt like I had it in the right spot, so in the end I took a guess, glued it down, and puttied the gap a little. They have identical bases with a neat emblem on the worked stone floor. The thing I hate about them is that they have huge gates coming off of the side, so you have to cut them off and hope you can make it look good.

    One of the Guhlamís tails snapped on me with barely any pressure and I found out it was because there was an air bubble right where it broke, which meant simply gluing it back together wasnít going to fix it. In the end I was only able to get it together and strong enough to take a little pressure by using green stuff and superglue together to fill the tiny air hole and make everything bond. It was a bit of a pain.

    Prepping the Ghulams was easy- no real problems with mold lines or anything else.

    There are a lot of fine details on all of these pieces, from flowing fabrics, to detailed jewelry, to delicate script engraved on the guhlamís weapons. They offer a lot of varied surfaces for a painter to have fun on without feeling like they are cluttered with detail. After suffering through all the prep work, I think any painter will have fun with these figures.

    This set features some elements that make it very unique. The anthropomorphization of the animals is very well done without making them look too human. The cast has a petite grace and frame that makes it look very good. The Guhlams are very unique, being the first time that I have ever seen were-lion miniatures.

    The Breakdown:
    Quality: 8 / 10
    *Highly detailed figures that are very nice to look at
    *Some issues with unusually thick mold lines
    *Air bubble issues ruin some surface areas and weaken thin parts
    *bad gate placement on the bases

    Assembly: 8 / 10
    *Dahlia required a lot of work to cover air bubbles
    *Careful gap filling required on parts that donít have a perfect fit
    *Locating plugs fail at their job

    Value: 7.5 / 10
    *Good figures, but the price is a little higher than expected because they are game related

    Overall: 7.8 / 10
    These figures have a few things going for them: they are unique figures that have great details. The problem is that some quality issues mean an increased prep time. Theyíre also a little overpriced. They are not bad by any means, and if you play Alkemy or just really like the sculpts, then you wonít be disappointed in purchasing them.