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Male Ranger by Dark Sword


  • Male Ranger by Dark Sword

    Cregan Tur

    The Male Ranger (not to be confused with Male Elf Ranger from a previous review. Everyone still with me? Okay, good) from Dark Sword has become a pretty well known figure thanks to the incredible monotone paint job by Jen Haley that Miniature Mentor made a tutorial forÖ but thatís an entirely different review. Here the focus is on the miniature itself.

    First off, I have to be honest and say that I always thought this guy was holding a hunting horn. Only after taking a closer look, and reading the description, did I realize it is actually a wineskin. This is a 4 part kit with the body and base sculpted as a single unit, a bow for the right hand and an option for the left between the wineskin and a sword held in a reverse grip.

    This is a very beautiful and dynamic sculpture that suggests a lot of movement. The direction of the flowing hair and rippling fabric suggests a strong wind at the rangerís back as he steps atop a boulder to assess the scene below. The attached base is a little plain, being only bare rock, but it is incorporated into the figure so well that the two parts form a scene. This is wonderful because it creates a great miniature, but itís also good because it would take a lot of work to separate.

    There are locating plugs on the wrists and holes in the hands, but I had to spend a good bit of time filing down the plugs to get them to fit and even then it was a pretty rough fit. The left hand I ended up having to pin after filing away the original plug. It wasnít hard to attach the hands, but I have found that a good bit of work is almost always required for attaching small parts on Dark Sword miniatures. The only true problem I encountered is that the bottom half of the bow snapped off. Luckily it broke right where the bow meets the hand, so it was a simple pin job to get it back in place.

    As per usual for Dark Sword, there were only minor mold lines to deal with and a couple of gate tags that were easily removed. The only thing I did not like was seeing a small chunk of metal connecting the outside of the left arm to the cloak. Itís very easy to tell that it was put there as a part of the casting process- otherwise there would have been a pretty serious undercut to deal with, but it still does not look good. It would take a considerable amount of work to remove this piece, so itís something youíll just have to deal with if you donít want to take a few hours to carefully remove it. It wouldnít be so bad if it werenít so noticeable.

    Iíve mentioned before that Dark Sword understands how to balance open spaces with fine details and this is another good example. The cloak and clothing provide a lot of open areas for painting fine fabric and adding your own details through freehanding. There are also a number of small details, like filigree on the gauntlets, laces in the shirt, and studs on the armor that provide excellent opportunities to show off your brush control. This is a figure that begs to be painted.

    The Breakdown:

    Quality: 9 / 10
    *Beautiful, dynamic figure that gives a painter a lot to work with
    *Thinness of bow caused breakage at hand
    *Awkward piece on left forearm adds distraction

    Assembly: 9 / 10
    *Pinning may be required as locating plugs donít seem to fit

    Value: 9.5 / 10
    *Extremely reasonable price for an excellent figure

    Overall: 9.2 / 10
    This is an excellent miniature that is a genuine piece of art, even with a couple of small issues that knocked some points off of its score. Itís a figure that would be a joy to paint and is really unlike anything else available. Sure, there are other ranger miniatures out there, but I dare you to find one with this much character and interest. I can honestly say that this should be a must have piece for every avid miniature painter.


    We've all seen that sweet muted palette paint job of this mini around the interwebz. While I also drool over that sweet paint job by DS house painter Jen Haley, itís not why I love this mini. The mini leans over a rock and the entire sculpt compliments his pose. The hair flows forward as the cloak ripples around and extends forward. This mini feels to me as if it's peering into a large open space from an elevated position. With the wind at his back overlooking the cliff, the ranger surveys the land before him and ponders his options. This mini offers great diorama and extensive basing opportunities.

    The detailing and cast is great. The face has a strong brow line and goateed chin that tell you this dude doesn't mess around. He sports a curved bow in the right hand, while you get the choice of a wine skin or a sword that is held upside for the left hand. The joins are small and delicate but the cast-in holes and stubs match up pretty well. If itís to be used for a gaming mini, I'd recommend pinning it.

    Quality: 9.5
    This entire sculpt compliments itself and depicts a very cinematic character in a perfect pose.

    Assembly: 8.5
    The dynamics are worth the assembly and you get a choice for the off hand.

    Value: 9.5
    $10 is very fair for this mini. I'd pay at least 50% more for if I had to.

    Overall: 9.2
    It's the good stuff!


    Thanks to Jen Haleys iconic paint job of this miniature it has become very well known and I have to say at first glance that it really does step up to the mark.

    Dark Sword Miniatureís Male Ranger comes on an integral base and in three pieces, the two hands carrying weapons being separate from the rest of the miniature. There is also the option to change what his left hand is carrying, either a sword or a wine/water-skin; I plumbed for the sword option. These pieces are very small and will need pinning and on mine the bow was broken during transit so I had to do some repairs. This meant bring out my smallest drill bit and very carefully pinning the upper bow-stave to the hand grip. I attached his hands at the same time and to be honest, I was pleased with the results, fixing such tiny parts is difficult but I took my time and it all worked out well.

    The male ranger is sculpted by Jeff Grace who, in my opinion, has done a superb job capturing a very dynamic pose and adding fantastic detail and an elegant subtlety to the miniature which really makes it stand out. This miniature isn't that new either but it still stands heads and shoulders over some of the newer sculpted stuff being released today. It has a nice balance of detail and smooth open areas that has and will continue to attract superb paint jobs and I look forward to getting some paint on mine too.

    The casting, like 99% of all of Dark Sword's miniatures is very good but this guy has one mould line, down his left leg, that was pretty hard to get to simply because it was close to the billowing cloak. It took a bit of time to clean off which I'm not complaining about as it gives me ample time to learn about the miniature and work out what bits to paint first. I made a few notes about certain areas in my painting journal (yes I do have one, how big a nerd am I?). There are a few other mould lines but they can all be gotten easily enough. I decided that this miniature deserved some special attention so he was first filed with my diamond impregnated files, this was then smoothed out with some finer metal files then some GW Liquid Green Stuff was used. Once that was dry I went at it with some 400 grit wet and dry then some 800 grit wet and dry to get the smoothest of finishes. Once this guy was prepped and primed he really did look the business and I was very pleased with how it came out.


    Quality: 9.5/10
    He really is worth every point.

    Assembly: 8.75/10
    I would have given a high score but for the broken bow stave. For some miniatures it hard to justify the time it takes to prepare a miniature for painting but this guy deserves it.

    Value: 10/10
    it's very rare to review a miniature that gets a maximum score especially in the value category but $9.99 (about £6.15) is almost ridiculously cheap for this miniature.

    Overall: 9.5/10
    I have seen a lot of miniatures in my 25 years or so in the hobby. I do think this is one of the best ever and if you haven't already got this in your collection go get it now!
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    About the Author


    Cregan Tur Painting since 2002 | married and proud father Find out more about Cregan Tur

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