Kings of War: Twilight Kin Range Review

G’day Goonhammer readers! Last year the Twilight Kin left Kings of War, an army that had no official models. They were introduced to Kings of War originally as an army list for Dark Elves, giving people a place to play their old armies. Mantic Games has since taken ownership of the Twilight Kin, reinventing them to be something familiar, yet also entirely new. Now the entirely new range has been revealed, in all its umbral splendour. Let’s enter the Void together.

Note: As of writing, the entire army list has been released on the Mantic Companion. We opted to not mention rules here, but will bring our unadulterated opinion on them soon!

Reimagining an old trope

The Dark Elf, the Drow, the Night Elf, the Deep Elf; the idea of the sinister counterpart to the typical, benevolent Elves (or High Elves) is as old as Norse mythology. In the last few decades, innovations in the representation of Dark Elves have been limited to spiky, fancy armour and spiky, fancy weapons. High Elves cultivate gardens, Dark Elves stab victims. This was the way things were in wargaming and fantasy, until the Nightstalkers.

The original Twilight Kin were the typical evil Elves.

The Nightstalkers are beings of the Void capable of materializing in the realm of Pannithor, taking on the visage of literal nightmares. Their origin, however, is tied to Elves that long ago explored the Divine realm. It was a time of incredible magic, with the gods of Pannithor freely distributing power and secrets. 

The most powerful of artefacts created in those times was the Fenulian Mirror, an artefact born from romantic obsession, and smashed in despair. Oskan, the god responsible for its creation, neglected to mention the celestial power it contained, and so the heavens were sundered in a cataclysmic chain reaction. Many Elves had their souls torn apart, both those in the Divine realms and any unfortunate enough to be near their gateways. This was not the end of their existence, however, as the Void brought them back as what would become known as the Nightstalkers.

The Elven metropolis of Ileureleith, the location of the Divine gates, was destroyed, leaving a massive sunken crater in its wake. The surviving Elves of the region would live in this crater, forever searching for a way to bring back their loved ones, as well as the entire city. This obsession, and proximity to the Void itself, would gradually taint these Elves. Delving deep into the Void in search of power and all they have lost, they have made many great yet terrible discoveries. They are twisted, some beyond recognition, and their attention returns to Pannithor…

The Twilight Kin army, especially when combined with the Nightstalkers they bring, has a wide variety of units to choose from. Credit: Mantic Games.

The new Twilight Kin of Kings of War are now a mix of those original Dark Elves and the biologically insanity of the Nightstalkers. At the most extreme end, their armour is living and twitching, with fingers, mouths and eyes where there shouldn’t be.

Impalers – bigger and badder

Those who spend too much time in the Void, but with a strong enough will to not be completely subsumed by it end up as Impalers; monstrously, mutated elves clad in the heaviest armour, bearing gigantic weapons. 

Hulking Impalers with their massive shields. Credit: Mantic Games.

Ooo, boy are we excited for these. We’ve loved the design style of these, right from when we saw the concept art from Dungeon Saga. These are the best examples of what the Twilight Kin have now become. The original Impaler unit were infantry-sized, and for some it’s come as a surprise that they’ve been upsized so much, but we feel this truly differentiates the Twilight Kin from all other Elves in fantasy.

Voidtouched Mutants – the real Chaos spawn

Thematically, these Mutants are the next coolest set of models. Elves (and other denizens of Pannithor) that have been absolutely taken over by the power of the Void and fully mutated into crazed monstrosities. These models can either be Voidtouched Mutants or Voidtouched Weavers, which are fast berserker melee or shooty versions respectively.

Voidtouched Mutants didn’t do so well in Void, but don’t tell them that. Credit: Mantic Games.

Unfortunately, and a bit of a common theme for this release, is the dark colour choice for the paint scheme really makes it hard to make out the actual details of the models. What we can see is quite interesting, and I’m certainly down with the vibe, but it is hard to get a good picture of what they actually entail. 

Thankfully, images of the sprues have been added, so at least the details are clearer. Just like with all the releases of the last year, these sprues are packed with bits. Archon Studios definitely know how to tool a kit to maximize contents, bringing it on par with other major manufacturers in the industry.

These models can be used as all kinds of wretched beasts in fantasy. Great details. Credit: Mantic Games.

Goredrake – two heads are better than one

This is what happens when you leave your dragon unattended in the Void. Remember folks, always leave the portal to the Void slightly open so your dragon can get some untainted air.

The Gordrake is like a two-headed Fel Beast. Credit: Mantic Games.

The Goredrake is an up-sized rendition of the monster available to the Twilight Kin in Kings of War Armada, and is certainly an impressive figure. It’s also one of the brightest schemes from the release, and provides us the best idea of how the model actually looks. By the Shining Ones that wingspan is huge.

Void-Skiffs – ferry impressive

An interesting new Chariot style unit, where the chariot moves all by itself and is actually a floating boat! We are a bit mixed on this one, and to see it in person before making up our mind. What is cool is that the Void-taint is evident on both the skipper and the boat itself; both mutating visibly and even fusing with each other. The skipper’s hand is literally fused with the boat’s tiller. How does the skipper go to the toilet or get through international customs? These are probably answers we are better off not knowing.

The Void-Skiffs look pretty good with some extra crew models on there. Credit: Mantic Games.

The Actual Evil Elves

The reaction to these is difficult to place. They do look like Elves, particularly in the way that they are more than just humans with pointy ears, but made up of slightly alien proportions. There is a definite otherworldliness there that has grown on us. Unfortunately, once again the dark paint scheme obscures the detail on the models. We’re also not stoked on how many of them have a bow-legged stance, especially considering the kinds of martial arts that use hook swords have a few more stances to choose from! We’ll have to wait and see once we get our hands in the plastics.

Corsairs need a little more colour, but they show promise. Credit: Mantic Games.

Heroes of the Twilight Kin

Mikayel, Lord (and Rider) of Nightmares

Mikayel is a real centerpiece model. Credit: Mantic Games.

Mikayel is an absolute banger of a model. The whole army integrates the Nightstalker aesthetic, but Mikayel takes it to the next level. He’s riding a Soulflayer’s mount, a dread Nightmare, with plenty of void-fire licking up around it just begging for some object source lighting painting. His armor is festooned with ravenous maws, creepy hands, and that unnerving flesh cloak seen on Banshees, reinforcing the fusion of biological and inanimate. The sword is definitely nice and big, but the best part is the smooth surface on the shield, perfect for some freehand work, such as a vortex or a visage of a nightmare realm.

This shield is just perfect for some creepy freehand painting! Credit: Mantic Games.

Soulbane – never stop chopping

Not a whole lot to say here that we didn’t talk about in our earlier Twilight Kin preview when Dungeon Saga Origins was revealed. This guy slapped then and he still does now. Good to see some paint on him and the scheme applied is very vibrant.

Soulbane just looks like he would go nuts, blending until it collapsed like a wind up murder doll. Credit: Mantic Games.

Navigator – eye see you

Leading the Twilight Kin through the Void are the Navigators. They give up their regular sight in order to guide their kin through the ethereal currents. Even as they are resistant to the corruption of the Void, the Navigators have been in there long enough to become twisted, and we can see it on the model. She is well on her way to becoming a Banshee, the transition somewhat disturbing to behold.

The Navigator has an eerie quality to her, perfectly matching her lore. Credit: Mantic Games.

Summoner Crone – Void stuff is good

The standard wizard of the Twilight Kin, currently the only available model is mounted on what appears to be a slightly smaller Nightmare. Hopefully a model on foot becomes available, perhaps through the Mantic Vault.  Like the Navigator and Mikayel, she has the flesh-like cloak, but her mutations don’t stop there. Her right hand (her spellcastin’ hand) has melted into some kind of fleshy hand-cannon from which her channelled magic now erupts. Thankfully she still retains her left hand for holding daggers and using her smartphone.

Horseback spellslinging is not easy, but it is for the Summoner Crone apparently. Credit: Mantic Games

Void Captain – O Captain! My Captain!

The most mutated of all the Corsair-type units, the Void Captain has a real swashbuckling-meets-Cthulhu look. Stepping up with a curved blade in one hand, while the other has formed some nasty fleshy club, she’s ready to launch herself from a Void-Skiff and skewer/clobber any unlucky enough to be in her way. 

Void Captain will not tolerate jokes about the poop deck. Credit: Mantic Games.

Twilight Assassin – never stop stabbing

The Twilight Assassin will be a Mantic Vault exclusive, making anyone with a subscription very popular among their Twilight Kin-collecting fellows. The model looks like a typical Elf assassin type unit, except the cloak seems to be filled with gibbering skulls. We will need to see it painted up before truly passing mediocre judgement.

Hoods are obligatory for assassins. Credit: Mantic Games.

Unleash the Twilight Kin!

Thus far the Twilight Kin range shows promise, but the best looking models are yet to come; when the community at large gets onto them and all the various colour schemes come out. How people light up those Voidtouched Mutants, or try alternative skin hues on the elves, will truly show off the details on these models. They release on the 18th of October, so it won’t be long. Stay tuned for our Twilight Kin Army List review next time.

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