Wargames Atlantic – The Damned: The Goonhammer Review

Wargames Atlantic and Miniwargaming have a plan ambitious almost to the point of madness – a multi-kit, multi-part, plastic, 8+ box set full release for their Death Fields range, all at once. Building from their experience in plastic production, particularly of 28mm scifi infantry, their Gamefound Campaign promises not just one or two kits, but a full army release of lost, damned, definitely nefarious, traitorous and untrustworthy soldiers perfect for multiple systems. In this article we’re going to have a look at some of the kits that are coming down the line, and Wargames Atlantic’s approach to the campaign itself.

Examples of three of the key sets – Brutes, Command, Heavy Weapons. Credit: Wargames Atlantic

Before we get started, thanks to Wargames Atlantic for sending over some prototype STLs of models from the new range for us to review.

Who are the Damned?

The Damned are the latest line in the Death Fields range – humans from throughout our history (and future) abducted to fight in large-scale battles for the amusement of an uncaring alien audience. Think “what if the plot of Quake 3 arena was a mass battle minis game” and you’re dead on. The Damned join the Grognards (a personal favourite), The Bulldogs, Oo-Rah and the dwarven Einherjar in the Death Fields range, filling a much needed conceptual space left vacant (by everyone in the industry) for far too long: multipart plastic evil scifi soldiers.

Damned Infantryman, Wargames Atlantic

In-universe, the Damned are the broken survivors of generation ships and arcologies, driven to madness and violent factionalism. In our world, they’re a mix of Mad Max, First World War and Grimdark Guardsmen and the plan – the incredibly ambitious plan – is not just to release an infantry kit, but enough to make a full army out of the range, in plastic. Male and Female Infantry kits, Brute Ogres, Command, Heavy Weapons, Cavalry and Beast Handlers are all unlocked already, with Wargames Atlantic promising Artillery, Heavy Infantry, Vehicles, Gene-edited monster warriors, power armour, terrain, the whole kit and kaboodle – provided, of course, the Gamefound Stretch goals are met.

Wargames Atlantic have long promised a Death Fields rule set – and we’re looking forward to that – but until then you’ll be forced to use the Damned as proxy models for other systems. Any army that needs some rag-tag, cultist, heavily scarred or brutal infantry is going to do exceptionally well out of this range – perfect proxies for any number of units or, best of all, an entire army fit out to your theme.

The Models

We received some STL prototypes from Wargames Atlantic to review of two of the kits unlocked for production so far – the Infantry and the Brutes (Ogres). While the final release kits will be plastic, these give a good idea of the look, detail and options of the Damned range. There’s also the caveat there that the models shown here are the first time I’ve ever used 3d print models! So I managed to break a lot of them, thinking they’d have as much give as plastic – the original STLs (and the final plastic models) will not have the issues that are clear here! As these are STLs, I haven’t taken a scale photo incase we’ve got the print size wrong – but the other Death Fields models I have scale well with Games Workshop models, between the Old and New Cadians.

The Damned are a scarred, battered and damaged army, a horde of brutal cultists armed with low-tech weapons. Both the Brutes and Infantry frames will (when released in plastic) come with a massive variety of weaponry and two sets of themed heads – First World War inspired bag-style gas masks and ritually scarred heads that evoke Dan Abnett’s Blood Pact and Immortan Joe’s War Boys. They’re both going to be multi-part kits, which I (Lenoon) far prefer to even the nicest monopose – getting to be a bit of a tepid take, but one I stand by! The final kit layouts are planned to be flat arm joints and a head/neck join consistent with the rest of the Death Fields range – combine this with an eight box plastic range and the kitbasher in you will be in heaven (or, I suppose, damned to hell).

Damned Infantryman, Wargames Atlantic. Credit: Lenoon

The choice of heads lets you theme both the Brutes and Infantry in different directions. The base bodies are great – back, front and shoulder armoured infantry in coats, with everything chipped and holed from long use or poor maintenance. With the scarred heads they definitely have an evil appearance, but with the gas mask heads they look creepy but potentially just battered, rather than corrupted. As always with WA kits, the detail is clean and crisp where it needs to be, the sculpts are uncluttered and impactful and weapons are nicely scaled to the models. They take paint well, with enough detail to use Contrasts and Washes, but not too much to require dozens of hours per model. A careful and detail oriented painter will get a lot out of them – as will a slapdash sponge-and-wash guy like me.

The Infantry, the grunts you’ll be putting down on the board in dozens whatever system you’re using them for, are armed with rifles and support weapons including an M2 Browning inspired machine gun which stands in nicely for a heavy stubber. Wargames Atlantic always sell me on the heads of their Damned range, bringing in lots of options and aesthetics through their chosen inspiration – and the mix of heavily scarred, pointy helmets, gas masks and balaclavas really gets me here. Whatever I don’t end up using will be a really useful addition to the bits box – torn between balaclavas as ragged leather bags and the sinister gas masks at the moment. As a standard infantry kit it’s great – as a component in a multipart infantry offer with command, female models, heavy weapons and (potentially) heavily armed, mutated and power-armoured kits all building off the infantry kit, it’s amazing.

Wargames Atlantic Damned Infantry painted as Zone Alfa stalker. Credit: Lenoon

The second kit already unlocked at the start of the campaign is the Brutes – Hulking Ogre soldiers armed – in the versions we picked up – with brutal close combat weapons or massive combat shields. The finished kit aims to have a wide variety weapons, letting you take solid ranged options too. They’re more than simply scaled up versions of the infantry, with a real heft to them and an imposing solidity while still very clearly using the same aesthetics that mark out the Damned.

The one caveat with both kits is more of a warning – the prototype files definitely promise a lot, they’re well detailed and really impressively done, but there’s areas on them where detail is a little shallow, particularly around the sides of the torsos. Translating these 3D prints to plastic casts might lose more definition here, an issue is present in the plastic Grognards, but there’s still plenty of time for WA to add a little more depth to those details.

The Campaign

I wouldn’t normally talk about how a crowd funding campaign like this is organised, because I think it should really be about the models, but throughout it’s been interesting and impressive to see Wargames Atlantic shift the campaign around based on community feedback. Goals have been moved up, switched around and the entire rewards structure has completely changed. Backers at one of the various levels now get to pick a certain number of sprues as add-ons to the boxes they get for their pledge, and that sprue choice is the entire Death Fields range, including the Damned.

A look at what the Brutes Sprue may contain

Getting sprues as additional rewards is better than it sounds – WA models are always single sprue, multiple models per sprue and theyre always packed with options. A single sprue will usually contain every option present in the kit. The possibilities here are pretty great. You’re effectively adding on free boxes, tailored to what you want in your list and enabling you to hop around the range for kitbashing opportunities. You might want to put them all in Napoleonic Shakos and Bearskins, or supplement the hounds with giant bugs, or make a unit of stormtroopers in with your rabble with another range entirely. Up to you, and the idea of pitching in to the campaign even at the lowest tier and receiving what is functionally an entire militia or guard army – tailored to the units you want as well! – is extremely appealing.. It’s an interesting approach that I’d like to see more often. The switch to this was community led – WA directly engaging with their community on facebook and twitter to find out what would work best, and wouldn’t that be bloody nice for more people to do?

Another possible sprue preview, Wargames Atlantic

There’s always a “but” with a crowdfunder, particularly one where we’re looking at multiple plastic multipart kits, all to be delivered on-time and to a high quality. It’s broken companies before, when promises have outpaced ability to deliver, so I don’t think it’d be a fair review of the models or campaign without bringing this up. On the flip side of that, if anyone can do this, it’s Wargames Atlantic – an established and well earned reputation for high quality plastic kits in ranges that expand at breakneck pace.

Using the Damned

We’re excited by the possibilities of the Damned range, and adding more multipart plastic options to 28mm Scifi infantry is never a bad thing. Aside from using them for miniature agnostic Scifi games like Xenos Rampant, Stargrave or Rogue Planet, they’ll make excellent beaten up Stalkers in Zone Alfa, Hive Gangers in Necromunda, or Traitor Guard in 40k. I’ve painted up one to add to my Genestealer cult neophytes, and a test model as Blood Pact, ready to hunt ghosts through the Hinzerhaus.

I’m going to use mine to create a dubiously-loyal militia army for the Horus Heresy – the article on building militia and cults could, more or less, be replaced with “use the damned range”, and painted up the examples to match the Grognards. Promoting the Grognards to be Grenadiers, or even Solar Auxilia in an insanely massive list of Auxilia with Militia allies.  Looking forward to tenth edition, the plan is going to be to pick up what is functionally the entire infantry, cavalry and artillery contingent of an Imperial Guard army in one go, mix up all the kits and get cracking. Picking boxes in the pledge and adding sprues – with Index in hand – has let me tailor the list pretty exactly!

Damned painted as Ultramar militia, credit: Lenoon

Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t

It comes down to something quite simple for this review – on the strength of the models, the campaign and the rewards, would I recommend you back the campaign? Yes, I would. If you want an army of high quality plastics with a ragged scifi theme and a massive potential for customisation and conversion, you won’t find better than you have here. The Gamefound campaign is drawing to a close and will end on June 22nd, so check it out here before it does. We’ll see you on the other side, full-on traitorous guard armies in hand.

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