Conquest Model Review: the W’adrhŭn – Part One

Special thanks to Para Bellum for providing a significant amount of review material. If you want to get 10% off and support Goonhammer, make your Conquest purchase by clicking here for US/Canada or here for EU/rest of world and enter code “goonhammer” at checkout. 

Welcome to Dinoctober, a mystical month unrelated to our sad modern calendar, where through the power of chronology Goonhammer is pleased to offer you six whole weeks of wonderful W’adrhŭn goodness! Who needs other factions when you can have the grandest faction concept in all of wargaming history: orcs on dinosaurs. Who play like elves. For some reason. Today, let’s check out some of the wonderful models of the W’adrhŭn, and hope we spell it right every time!

We’ll be diving into the dinosaurs and other great scaly beasties later this Dinoctober.

Dinoctober comin’ atcha like. Credit: Robert Bass @rob_o_bass

General thoughts

Para Bellum has really leveled up its miniature making game over and over again since they launched, and it really shows. Modern kits are, well, modern, and are wonderful to build and paint, with great instructions and minimal flash or wasted sprue space. The problem is, W’adrhŭn are not all modern kits. The first kits came out in May 2021, more than half the life of this game ago, and definitely show some of that early design. We’ll get into this as we go through the different kits and the joys and tribulations they may bring, but we just wanted to flag this at the beginning: some of these kits are a little rough.

The art design here is fascinating, blending elements of various African and Mesoamerican cultures alongside more traditional fantasy aesthetics. Unlike some of the other factions (particularly City States and Hundred Kingdoms), there’s no direct correlation between the W’adrhŭn and real world visual identity or history, which makes them a lot more interesting than either a direct drag-and-drop, or something more alien like the Spires. 

Physically, the models are stout, making them much more resilient to tray rattling and random gusts of wind than City States models. As part of that though, these are all chonky lads, and unless you’re very damn careful, they’re almost impossible to easily and politely rank up – and even when you manage to do so, their size and scale makes them look kinda stupid all perfectly organised in nice neat ranks, especially considering their skirmishy lore. Given this we strongly recommend considering playing W’adrhŭn infantry three to a base – they look better aesthetically, and they’re more playably useful. We’ll be upfront here that the rules heavily imply (but never outright state) that an infantry stand has four models on it, but being brutally honest, if you’re putting in the effort to paint and model your whole army appropriately, anyone who calls you on this doesn’t deserve to be playing you. 


Get to da choppa! Credit: Robert Bass @rob_o_bass

The Predator gets his own section because he’s the only W’adrhŭn hero so far to be done in plastic. Good on him! I personally love this model, and it’s probably the one I’d recommend first for someone who wanted to try and paint a little bit of art, rather than just a gaming piece. He’s got a whole swathe of different textures on him, including a freshly predated dinosaur taking on the job of being a hero rock. The model is pretty common (I somehow have three of them), so it’s also a good choice to give to friends who might be interested in Conquest – he’s pretty damn imposing when put against similar hero models from a lot of other games.

Conquest Last Argument of Kings Credit: Magos Sockbert
Puny heroes from other games quail before him! Credit: Magos Sockbert

Heroes of the W’adrhŭn: Scion of Conquest, Matriarch Queen, Chieftain and Aberration

Conquest Last Argument of Kings Credit: Magos Sockbert
Heroes of the W’adrhŭn tribes. Credit: Magos Sockbert

Four resin heroes currently stride across with the W’adrhŭn tribes, and all exist in the same superb design space. Of these, my favourite is probably the Aberration with his plethora of boney growths across his body combined with a pose that simply screams rabid. Both the Matriarch Queen and Scion of Conquest have been sculpted to embody both resilience and passion, with the Scion’s streaming hair and the Matriarch’s subtle lean and clenched fist evoking the potential of a coiled spring. Of the four, my least favourite is probably the Chieftain; after the animation of the other three leaders, he’s just a bit… blocky, almost Dweghomish, and while his sculpting is great from a technical perspective, I’m not entirely sure I would’ve gone with a wood and bone apron for his garb…

Considering the models themselves, there’s a fair bit more flash and mould lines on these than the City States I’ve put together, likely due to it both being an older mould and earlier iterations of the creation process. The flash is easily removed with just a light brush from a modelling knife (or slightly rougher with a toothbrush), but the mould slipping is the bigger issue. I’m an army painter and not aiming to win awards for it, but I can see some frustration if you’re trying to create a work of art and the Matriarch Queen’s front and back don’t really line up. On the positive side, each model is designed to be easy to assemble, with little sockets that help line up where various bits go. The Matriarch Queen’s back banners have L and R on the inside which was quite the pleasant surprise. 

Overall, I really enjoy the variety of models that are offered to W’adrhŭn players for their tribes’ leadership cadre. The sculpting really shows off the different roles they have in the army, rather than just a variety of slightly different dudes in armour (sorry City States and Hundred Kingdoms).

We’ll look at the mounted heroes when we also look at their mounts, next week


Para Bellum
Even Para Vellum can’t get slingers to rank up properly. Check out how those bases are skewed! Credit: Para Bellum

Most of these models are mostly good most of the time, but we’re also about to encounter the first of the W’adrhŭn’s weaknesses from a hobby perspective. Unlike modern sculpts from most companies, multiple parts of these models, particularly the arms, don’t “click” into place, resting against a flat surface. This makes getting things right a little challenging, particularly with the, uh, slightly lackluster instructions. It’s never clear which arm goes with which hand, so you’re going to have to experiment, even if you do manage to note down which muscular forearm goes with which bulging bicep. The… backpacks? Banners? On the slingers look great, but also make them fairly awful to rank up, once again, with the slings themselves the most fragile bit of any plastic W’adrhŭn model I’ve yet found which, to be fair, still means it’s tougher than half the City States range.

Overall, these models do a good job of being pretty playing pieces, and you’re definitely going to want to get used to building them, since both units are so damn good – check out our Faction Focus later in Dinoctober!


Conquest Last Argument of Kings Credit: Magos Sockbert
W’adrhŭn Blooded and Aberration. Credit: Magos Sockbert

Your wonderfully choppy infantry, these units also feel better three to a base, with both models doing a lot of manspreading (orcspreading?) with their weapons and poses. The only real complaint I had about this kit (other than, once again, the instructions) was that I somehow ended up putting the wrong weapon and hand on the wrong side (left hand on right arm, for example) multiple times. Skill issue? Maybe, but the fact that I fell for that multiple times with only this kit suggests it’s not going to be a unique experience.

Veterans/Chosen of Conquest

Conquest Last Argument of Kings Credit: Magos Sockbert
W’adrhŭn Veterans and Chosen of Conquest. Credit: Magos Sockbert

Para Bellum. We love you. But why, dear friends, is the Chosen of Conquest kit TEN SPRUES?! That’s almost one per model! I understand that these are largely additional sprues that let you build Chosen of Conquest out of the originals Veterans kit, but after assembling 12 models, I realised I only took the bodies from the Veterans sprue, and got to the final four models before I cut into my second main Chosen sprue. This is a horrific amount of plastic to throw away and this kit should absolutely have been recut from scratch – there’s really no excuse for this much waste.

Both the Veterans and Chosen have a lot of flash around fine parts, with the worst offenders being the spikes on the shields near the middle of the sprue; in multiple cases I had to resort to carving the spike into shape because the detail was so poor. These are probably the lowest resolution kits overall and, bluntly, Para Bellum’s painters have done a fantastic job hiding this in their own paint schemes.

On a slightly more positive side it’s neat to see faction lore embodied in models in this way; the Cult of War is the only Cult allowed within the W’adrhŭn to forge metal, and it’s a nice nod to the importance of the Cult of Conquest and the Ukunfazane, the living Goddess, that these guys are trusted with more steel than even their Veteran cousins.


Conquest Last Argument of Kings Credit: Magos Sockbert
W’adrhŭn Warbred warriors. Say that three times fast. Credit: Magos Sockbert

I love the Warbred. The models are such a different style to the infantry or dinosaurs of the rest of the range, so they really stand out, and I’ve always loved big chonky ogre-type monsters on the tabletop. They’re also super fun to paint, particularly as someone who struggles with fine details on small models. 

Physically, some of the detail on these guys is softer than I’d expect (particularly around the chains and hands), and almost looks like it was sculpted at a smaller scale and then scaled up. The instructions are, well… the subject of their own editorial down below.

I complain, but I currently only have six of these guys in my army; a moral failing I am very much looking to soon correct.

The tontorr in the room: the instructions

Whenever we here at Goonhammer do a review, we try and be fair. We aren’t marketing for a company, but being rude about a product rarely serves anyone’s interests, and we really want to encourage good games to grow. That being said…

The instructions for far, far too many W’adrhŭn kits are cartoonishly bad and need to be redone from scratch. Many only show one variation of how you might build something, and then tell you “Godspeed!” to try and figure out what to do with the rest. Developing a good instruction sheet isn’t a hard thing to do, and the fact that most of the more modern kits have vastly superior instructions shows they’ve learned from it; there really isn’t an excuse to not go back and adapt the older kits too.

I’m calling out the Warbred kit in particular for being the single most frustrating and aggravating model kid I have ever put together. There are three main models to build here, with six heads, six main arms, and six necklaces to put on. The instruction kit shows you how to build one model, leaving you entirely in the dark as to which of the five other arms may go with the other two bodies – or the one you just made, if you want the alternate build. The arms are fairly soft in detail, so you’re reduced to squinting at the assembled models on the Para Bellum website to try and see what fits, then wriggle the arms around to try and make them click. Some of the other bits, around the waist, barely click in at all. This is absolutely a kit you need to spent a lot of time dry fitting just because you’re given almost no guidance with what goes where.

I could go on like this for almost every plastic kit we’ve spoken about today, but I don’t want to end on too harsh a note. At the same time, these instructions are unacceptably poor for a company that wants to grow their game and community. This isn’t a “skill issue”, and even if it was, that kind of proves my point about how bad these instructions can be; if you’re pushing away people with less skill or experience, how exactly are you going to get Conquest to be taken seriously?

Wrapping up

This is what we refer to as a “teaser”. Credit: Robert Bass @rob_o_bass

The infantry in this army are designed as playing pieces for gamers and army painters, not for artists. That’s fine, and not a crack; I can pump out 2000 points in a week at decent quality, but I’m never going to win awards. What I can do is play awesome games with awesome models, and I really do love the W’adrhŭn range as a whole, despite the negativity in parts of this article.

I commented in my City States model review that I’d love to see more lore about each unit, and how City States models told a bit of story through their models, but needed more written narrative to back that up. While I always hold that more written lore is good, W’adrhŭn do a much better and honestly really good job of embodying narrative in the model sculpts. Veterans and Chosen are the only models with a lot of metal, Slingers are clearly high up the tribes’ social ladder, and each of the hero models has so much character; none of them feel like “a slightly larger standard dude”. This is an army that doesn’t just fit into the narrative world of Conquest, it expands it with every release.

Enjoy our thoughts? Check out the rest of our Conquest coverage here, and make sure to check back next week for the next article in our Dinoctober series, a whole month of focus on the W’adrhŭn!

Special thanks to Para Bellum for providing a significant amount of review material. If you want to get 10% off and support Goonhammer, make your Conquest purchase by clicking here for US/Canada or here for EU/rest of world and enter code “goonhammer” at checkout.