Goonhammer Historicals: Wargames Atlantic Foot Knights

Fresh out of the Foundries of Wargames Atlantic comes the Foot Knights (1150-1320) plastic boxed set, providing 24 highly detailed plastic Knights in a versatile kit that should prove to be a mainstay of Medieval gaming. I was bloody excited to hear of the kit so let’s dive in to have a look!

Thanks for Wargames Atlantic for providing this kit for review.

There’s a surprisingly large period of the Medieval era that hasn’t been well served with Knight kits recently, and this box, the first in a new range for Wargames Atlantic designed for the Footsore Miniatures Barons’ War is going to go a long way towards making up that shortfall. It might seem a bit strange if you don’t know your Medieval history to have that very specific 1150-1230 era on the box, but it covers a huge range of popular conflicts in wargaming, including (but by no means limited to):

  • The Anarchy
  • First and Second Barons’ Wars (England)
  • 100 years of French-English conflict
  • Second through to Seventh Crusade in the Levant
  • The Northern Crusades
  • Most of the Intra-European Crusades

That means if you want Knights after the Normans and before plate armour, you’re wanting this kit. Given that there’s a wide range of wars there, there’s a correspondingly huge range of historicals games these Knights are perfect for playing with. They were designed in partnership with Footsore Miniatures Baron’s War in mind, and will work very well for SAGA: Age of Crusades, but everything in our Getting Started in the Medieval guide will have a place for this kit.

Wargames Atlantic Foot Knights. Credit: Lupe

On top of all those historicals, there’s an appeal to mail-coated knights that means they’d work in just about any fantasy game you care to mention. Dragon Rampant springs to mind, but I even hear there’s a faction of down-on-their-heels knights in The Old World again these days, and a single box of these will get you a full, huge unit for the price of 7 GW knights.

Normally I’d make these pictures smaller, but I did a really good job on this one!

Knight in Shining Armour

Okay, we know why we’re buying these and what games they’re for, but is the kit worth it? Resoundingly “yes.” This is a very nice, very flexible and well sculpted set of foot knights that you’ll enjoy building.

Each kit contains 24 knights on four sprues of six. The knights are multipart, in five main components – legs, torso, heads and arms. Two bodies on each sprue are armless, giving you the option of going sword/axe/mace and shield or two-handed weapon. One torso is clearly the hero pose of the kit, with an arm flung out with shield behind, but the rest are quite neutrally posed. Everything is in period-appropriate surcoat and mail (no plate armour here!) for the 1150-1320 range the kit covers.

Foot Knight Sprue, Credit: Wargames Atlantic. The sprue you get in the box lacks the additional sprue spur things at the bottom of the image.

You’ve got a lot of options here for mail armoured knights throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. That includes a huge range of weapons – 21 per six bodies, with options including the classic straight sword, falchions, hammers, axes, and BIG axes and swords.T There are six shields in kite, flat-topped kite and heater forms – not quite enough on each sprue to do all of a single type though. Head options span the period, from the Nasal Helm (Flat top, mail over the face) to the Great Helm (classic Knight Bucket helmet). While its a generic kit that covers nearly 200 years, all those options mean that if you want to tailor it to a specific time frame or war, you can. Which is pretty neat really, isn’t it?

Construction is nice and simple, with flat joints for arms and waist and a pretty simple shelf for the head/neck. These are simple enough that you can get a wide range of poses out of each joint, though the shoulder joints only provide movement in a single plane. The majority of legs are standing and quite static, so twisting waists and posing arms will be needed to give your models some more dynamism or pose them into combat. All told, the building was slightly old-school and a lot of fun as a result. You realise how much you miss those shoulder joints sometimes.

Dark Knight

Though I really like this kit and think it’s probably the best plastic from WA that I’ve seen, there are a few little oddities that I should flag up. First off, while we’ve discussed (at length!) the posing options and the two part bodies, there’s only one shield arm for the armless torsos. That means that unless you’re kitbashing one out of every six of your knights will have to have a two handed weapon. Not a big deal in the long run, but it does limit your options.

The hero pose is fantastic and intimidating, but with one a sprue it’s the only one you’re definitely going to repeat with little possible variation. After doing the full box I think it would stand out – four guys showing off their lovely surcoats! If you wanted to mix it up even more, I’d take the shield arm off at the shoulder and replace it with the “spare” shield arm mentioned above. The shield should then cover up the loose straps, giving you a lot more variation in poses.

The Hero Pose – you can work with four of these in a kit or a simple chop at the shoulder will sort you out.

One odd thing I can’t explain (but would love a plastic casting master to explain to me!) is an odd texture on one or two of the torsos. It almost looks like tide marks or 3D print lines. This has been pointed out to me by a few people, so I don’t think it was just my box. After primer these disappeared and can’t be seen on the finished model. I just want to know what they are!

Other Knights

The knights are scaled to 28mm with relatively realistic proportions, eschewing the heroic scale look for slimmer arms, legs and weapons. They’ve clearly been scaled to the existing Footsore Miniatures metals range, and will work perfectly alongside them. Other plastic kits of knights from similar periods compare well, though the Wargames Atlantic knights are slightly smaller.

WA Knight and Footloose Sergeant

Scale comparison, WA Knights (Left), Perry Miniatures (right). Credit: Lupe

The closest competitor kit would be the Fireforge Foot Knights XI-XIIIth Centuries which unfortunately I no longer have to hand. Instead, I’ve got a Fireforge Foot Sergeant to compare – as you can see, the pose and overall scale of the WA set is a lot more realistic, though I’m sure they would mix well in an army. Detail is overall finer on the WA set.

WA Knight and Fireforge Sergeant

 

Painting

I found this kit a real delight to paint, and decided on simple, bold, block colour and dark mail. Detail is excellent – raised and prominent enough that quick painting with washes, one-coat speed paints and drybrushing will do an excellent job, but with large areas of cloth and textile if you wanted to try your hand at more complex blends and embroidery. I went with simple, to (for once) create a colourful force. I used our article on Colour in the Medieval as a base and picked strong tones that could be achieved with Woad, Madder, Weld and Iron, as well as undyed wool. The cloth paints well and has lots of texture with folds and deeper ruffles (idk what the right word is for when cloth just goes in and out – waves?), and given that I built everything for early knights, felt that single colour blocks were most appropriate (and fun to paint!).

Two Handed Knights

Chainmail is often where plastic kits fall down, as shallow detail defeats easy wash and drybrush, but that wasn’t the case here. The mail textures are just deep enough for a basecoat, black wash and light drybrush to pick them out and that’s great – no need for individual ring highlighting, or worse, to paint on mail texture where casting has smeared the texture over the component.

Conclusion

This is overall a fantastic kit and the excitement I had at the thought of 12th century knights in plastic was matched by the quality and versatility of the kit. I think if you’re thinking about games in this space, it’s a no-brainer as between the price, design, flexibility and ease of painting they’re by far the best option on the market for this period. Whether these Knights end up fighting the Baron’s War or Third Crusade I’m not sure, but either way – they’re going to see the table!

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