Huge thanks to Games Workshop for providing our team with copies of the Hunter and Hunted launch box for review.
When I first saw these guys, my initial thought was that these didn’t just feel like Age of Sigmar or Warhammer Fantasy models, but that they had distinct Mordheim vibes. My second, even more accurate thought was “oh they made a whole squad of the dog guy from Darkest Dungeon“. There’s something gritty and rugged about these models, even compared to the similarly grounded Steelhelms. I’ve been excited to get my hands on them since they got shown off on Warcom back in July, and it’s my delight to review these models now. If you’re more interested in how they play in Warcry, we’ve got you covered there too.
There’s a bushel of options in this kit, with pretty much every person in the kit getting alternate weapon and head options. These often change the flavor of the models in a demonstrable way, like the guy who can be built like a stalking hunter with a pair of axes, reloading his crossbow, or whistling with his thumb and forefinger. The details are absolutely gorgeous, and the mold lines are generally well hidden, easily removed, or both. Even the dogs are better than expected, making the hounds from Hexbane’s Hunters look dinky in comparison. In general every human member of the crew has 2 or 3 head options, at least 1 alternate weapon option, and your choice of 3 little guys to sprinkle throughout the squad.
The dogs don’t share the bevvy of options their human compatriots do, but they’ll likely be the models you remove first in an AoS game. I wish the dog heads were made to be interchangeable, just for a bit more variety. I have a few other quibbles with this largely excellent kit, and they largely revolve around hand crossbows and the bearers thereof. The hand crossbows attach via two shallow little nubbins that don’t really line up super well, and any flashing or excess glue will disrupt the look of the weapon. The crouching dude who can wield one or two of the things also is a 3D puzzle that doesn’t quite want to go together. It was touch and go while I was building him, but at time of writing he is choosing to remain intact. He also has an obvious seam running down the side of his hood that will need filling.
Lastly, for any would-be kitbashers out there, many of these heads can be swapped with the Steelhelms kit, and assumedly the Fusiliers when they eventually drop. There are a few bodies where their chosen heads have necks jutting out at weird angles to facilitate their hunched poses, but anyone standing upright should be a prime candidate for kitbashing. This added variety should be great not only for making multiple groups of Wildercorps look more diverse, but for spicing up your ranks of Steelhelms. Even still, you can build this entire crew with or without helmets, and the options are pretty uniformly great. I went largely bare headed to suit their more irregular nature, save for the more fortified aspect of the Arbalest, and the sergeant’s very cool close-faced helm. The whole process of building this crew took about 2 hours, with a little more time at the end to glue down some basing materials.
I went with my Greywater Fastness scheme for this group, and it was a challenge converting the Pittsburgh Steelhelms scheme into something a bit more naturalistic and stealthy. If these guys are going to be skulking around the woods in front of my main battleline, they’re probably not going to be wearing bright yellow cloaks. Fortunately by emphasizing some of the secondary colors in my scheme, I was able to settle on a slightly more subtle look for my black and yellow Dawnbringers.
As you may have been able to tell from my WIP shots, I left the heads off and stuck them onto separate bases with poster putty. I painted different colored dots on the bases of each, corresponding to their paired body so I wouldn’t run into any confusion later. The faces are expressive, distinctive, and highly detailed, and I really would recommend leaving them off to paint separately.
Painting these models is, in short, joyful. While there are a multitude of textures to contend with – leather, cloth, cloaks, metals, fur, and so forth – each are cleanly and clearly delineated. If you, like me, enjoy volumetric highlights, the billowing cloaks and large expanses of muscle on their dogs will be satisfying to paint. If you’re more on the edge highlighting train, the Kingdom Hearts-level of belts on these guys will keep you edging away for quite some time. They’re wonderfully consistent, without too many weird surprises or details that you’ll need to think about how to figure out. Relatively uniform in their equipment, once you have a method nailed down for one trooper, you can use it on the rest. The dogs and weird little Boschian critters are where you’ll need to think outside the box a bit. I went with generic, naturalistic tones on my dogs, not leaning too hard into any breed or coloration. It’s worth looking up reference pictures and figuring out your own take on these, with the added benefit of looking at pictures of dogs for a while. We do love our animals here at Goonhammer. The weird little guys were a mix of what colors were leftover on my wet palette and the occasional flash of specific inspiration.
There’s one last thing to look out for here. Painting the inside of the capes on these guys can be a smidge tricky. Reaching behind their legs is your only option, as their cloaks are often integral to building the bodies of each of these models. This issue is most prevalent on the leader of the unit, but some deft brushwork may still be needed.
Final Thoughts, Parting Shots, and What Have You
I was excited when I first saw these models, and my mind raced with opportunity when I read their rules for our Cities of Sigmar Battletome review. I am pleased to say that even with a more involved building process than anticipated, these models were a joy from start to finish. Their leftover bits will be great for adding more diversity to your other regiments, and they’ll be a welcome change of pace for any would-be Sigmarite.
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