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Taking the Pith

An Undave's eye view of AoW's plastic dwarfs.

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Quote Originally Posted by Undave View Post
Well it's been a long time but the box of Dwarf Berserkers I pre-ordered from Avatars of War has finally arrived. In hindsight it would probably have been a better idea to have ordered them from a UK distributor instead as I would have got them cheaper and by all accounts faster than from AoW themselves. Still, when they first popped up all those months ago I thought I'd go for it and order a box and now they're here I feel like writing a review.

At about £22 for a box of 20 including command these little guys really are very good value. The first thing you notice as they come out of the box is how well cast they are. To be honest though, that's what I've come to expect from plastic kings Renedra who seem to be the choice for most of the up and coming mini companies around at the moment and I'm glad to see that AoW were no exception. The box contains five sprues of four dwarfs, a command sprue and 20mm bases. Also included is a 100x80mm movement tray which is a very useful addition.

Each Dwarf comprises a pair of stunty legs, a barrel chest, a beardy head, a choice of six hairdos including four obligatory crests, two arms and either a pair of axes or a great axe. The chests are very nicely detailed with scars, piercings and whatnot and it's almost a shame to cover them up with the beards. Assembly is pretty straightforward as dwarfs don't lend themselves to much variation in pose. Most importantly they rank up easily as there isn't much overhang or potential for weapon entanglement. There are plenty of extras on the sprue including a beer mug, a severed orc head and a finger flipping the bird. One thing to note is that the right hand that holds the great axe comes separately and in two halves allowing it to slide up and down the haft of the axe making it much easier to attach to the arm. You can also use this hand to hold the beer mug, severed head or whatever else you feel like. It's very easy to miss the host of minute extras hiding along the edges of the sprue. Minuscule ancestor discs or coins, a nose chain and even add on piercings seem like they should be far too fiddly to clean and attach but provided you choose the right place they actually go on without too much fuss.

The command sprue holds additional pieces which allow you to turn three of your dwarfs into a champion with a bigger crest, more ornate axe and a troll-skin cloak, a horn blower and a standard bearer. The standard itself is made from loads of optional bits at the core of which is a stone effigy of a slayer, arms outstretched, triumphantly brandishing whatever you decide to give him. On the box art the stone slayer is holding a pair of severed bronze dragon heads which seems to me to be a bit too over the top. Our standard bearer would have to have the strongest wrist in the world to be able to keep that lot upright. Thankfully there are plenty of other things you can use like a book of grudges and severed giant head which can also be fixed to the standard's pole. You could remove the open hands and add a pair of axes from the other sprue or simply remove stone guy altogether and replace him with one of the dragon heads. If you were in an odd mood you could even substitute a beer mug and the runic comb also found on the command sprue to create an effigy of the dwarven god of ill advised, drunken coiffures.

As far as fitting in with that other company's dwarf line (and let's face it that's what most people will use them for) they are ever so slightly taller but this isn't really noticeable when you rank them up and put them in with the rest of the army. As an alternative to expensive one part metal minis you can't really go wrong in getting a box of these guys. As a rule I'm not all that fond of stunties but even I rather like this set. The only minor niggles that I have are the fact that you get 20mm slotta bases and the minis don't actually have tags to slot into them leaving a hole in the middle of each base. All the rest of AoW's metal line have tags so they probably don't have any solid bases to include in these sets. Maybe as they produce more they'll start supplying solid ones instead. The other thing is that the sprues are cast in the UK before being sent to Spain to be put into boxes only to be sent back here (and elsewhere) to be sold. Obviously Renedra aren't going to do the packing for them but it does seem like a bit of a waste to me.

Even though this isn't an “Official Wamp Review” I might as well add the conventional scoring:
Quality:9 Casting is excellent, sprues are laid out in a straightforward manner with only a couple of awkward vents on the hair crests.
Assembly:7.5 Easy but doesn't allow for much variation in pose.
Value:9 You get lots for your money and they've included everything down to a movement tray.
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  1. MamaGeek's Avatar
    Great review, thanks!
  2. Noddwyr's Avatar
    Thanks for the review, its very thorough.
  3. Red Corsairs's Avatar
    Nice review, thanks! Looks like a cracking kit.