Model Review: Avatar of Khaine

Here at Goonhammer, we were lucky enough to receive the new Avatar of Khaine for review, including having two of them featured on Warhammer Community from our own Jack Hunter and Matthew Herrington. It only seemed right for us to review the kit in detail; it’s the latest centrepiece model in the GW range, and one with a long history.

The astute among you will know this is actually the fourth version of the Avatar GW has done; there was a very small one in Rogue Trader, the classic 2nd edition metal which this one replaces after 25+ years of service, and the Forge World resin version. In our opinion, the new plastic is the best of the bunch; like other recent releases (Mephiston springs to mind) it’s very closely based on the ancient concept art, which modern plastics can now realise in a way that just wasn’t possible at the time. 

It’s cleverly designed, too. GW have been playing with seeing how fancy a centrepiece model can they make from a single sprue, which as it turns out is very fancy – the Void Dragon was a big step forward here, and the Avatar surpasses it.. While physically occupying less space then the Void Dragon, the Avatar has a similarly impressive level of detail and size. Looking back at the era of some centrepieces having two or three full frames it’s pretty cool to see what they can do now. It also helps keep the price down; even after the recent price increases the Avatar comes in at a mere £60, less than the Void Dragon was on release, and far cheaper than our expectation of something more like Be’lakor or the Greater Daemons.

Avatar of Khaine. Credit: Rockfish
Avatar of Khaine. Credit: Rockfish

The build on this kit is really impressive. Everything fits together very well and the mold lines are pretty well hidden for most components. It’s a genuine pleasure to assemble and surprisingly straightforward given the quality and size of the thing – that single-sprue magic helps out here, because designing the parts to take up just one frame also means avoiding some of the pitfalls that can come with the luxury of multiple frames’ worth of space (looking at you, Paragon Warsuits and your 12-part legs). It’s not perfect, of course; you’re forced to choose which head you are using right at the very start of the build before pretty much anything else, because the neck you pick dictates which head will fit. You could probably go for some sort of reversed build and end with the torso after having built the other heads to try them out, but given the neck is at the centre of the model it might be more effort then is worthwhile, especially since the helmeted and “Illidan” heads are among the more parts-intensive areas of the model – assembling them just for the sake of it isn’t really a worthwhile use of your time. It’s not a massive complaint, but you’ll want to have a clear concept of the build you want before you start. The little belts around his torso are also quite fiddly, particularly where they join to the chest piece.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to sub-assemble your models, a knock-on effect here is that your freedom of action is fairly limited. You can leave the head and the shoulder pads off, and probably the chest thing, but otherwise it’s all very integrated together and you’d struggle to sensibly leave parts out that didn’t either a) compromise the structural integrity of the model or b) cause you more problems than it solves.

The Warhammer Community preview showed off the various head/weapon options, so we won’t dwell on them too much except to say that yes they are all incredibly cool. Our team immediately gravitated towards different ones, which is always a good sign, and Liam is threatening to buy multiples just to be able to catch ‘em all, although chances are that won’t come to pass. Beyond heads and weapons there’s no other build options, though; you aren’t going to be posing the model any differently without some real conversion work. That’s fine; it’s a big centrepiece and a majority of players are going to want to build it once, in the way the kit intends, and it’s a reasonable sacrifice for the relative lack of complexity and the price staying nice and low, while people who really want to do something different with it still can – and we’ve already seen Siege Studios produce a different spin on their preview model, re-aligning the spear to be held more like a javelin.

GW does commit you pretty hard to the blood and fire theme, which is mostly being built into pieces without any of the obscured details being sculpted; given that we’ve had recent models like Abbadon with entire areas of sculpted detail that should, if built normally, never be seen, it might have been nice to do the same here and leave it a little more open so that hobbyists had some freedom to use the base model and switch up the theming. It’s a minor point, though; this is the Avatar of Khaine, after all, blood and fire is kind of his whole deal. The joy of plastic is that this kind of thing is at least possible to change if you really want to; at least one Goonhammer patron has already undertaken the project, and we’re excited to see what they produce. As you can see from the contrasting paintjobs between Jack and Matt’s models, too, you can produce very different themings just by the colours and style you choose.

We’ve tried hard here to offer fair critique, since no model is perfect, but it’s hard to escape the overall conclusion that in the grand scheme of things these are quibbles around the edges. This is a fantastic kit, a pleasure to build for 99% of the time you will spend building it, and it’s a great canvas for hobbyists to put their own spin on and really sink some hours into producing an impressive centrepiece to their Asuryani. 

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.