Thursday, August 28, 2014

Malifaux: Special Gencon Unboxing

Good things happen.

Gencon has come and gone this year, and although I was not able to attend this year, Wyrd Miniatures modified its webstore to reflect the inventory they would have at the convention, allowing me to get some of the Gencon exclusive and early-release Malifaux models.  Every year Wyrd releases a special Nightmare model kit, usually alternative sculpts of popular models, as well as a single “Miss” miniature that is given out to to people who spend at least $100.  Each year during the days leading up to Gencon, there is rampant speculation as to what these special models will be.  Although this year proved no different, I suspect no one correctly guessed what the special models would be.  Unlike last year when they released Tara and her crew, this year’s Nightmare kit was a single miniature, albeit a  towering one, the Gremlin’s ramshackle Whiskey Golem.  The “Miss” model was also a slight departure from form, where the convention was to release a female model, this year they released an alternative sculpt of the Neverborn’s Teddy (who admittedly may be female, but such distinctions are less meaningful when talking about ambulatory stuffed animals!).  I have always had a fascination with goblins since Brian Nelson recreated their image years ago for Games Workshop, effectively blending realism and whimsical creativity.  Malifaux’s Gremlins have been the first models that capture much of the same charm as those initial grots (thinking about you Red Gobbo…), so it was not really a question as to whether I was going to purchase the Whiskey Golem.  Thankfully, the Gremlins were out in force this year at Gencon, with the release of the gunslinger Ophelia and her gun-toting kin, so it was not difficult to find models to order!  To my excitement, I just received my order in the mail and figured I would show a few pictures of what I was sent.  Also, I mentioned in the last post that I wanted to get a set of the Guild riflemen, and figured this would be a good time to show some pictures of how they turned out too!

I was most excited to see how well they recreated the strange and questionably-built Whiskey Golem.  In true Malifaux fashion, the box is rather non-descript, with the rulebook illustration of the golem on the front, and simply text on the back, not even a digital render.  Inside, padded on a piece of customary white foam, was the single sprue for the kit.  Don’t let the single sprue count fool you, it is quite a complex kit, with many pieces (which is not surprising when most of the single human-sized Malifaux models have over 10 pieces).  To my delight, all the wild inebriated gremlins swarming the golem in the picture made their way into the kit, from the mischievous one holding a hand drill underneath, to the one raising a pint to anyone listening, to the one on top, head first in a cask of whiskey.  I was also particularly pleased to see how well the golem’s dilapidated face turned out, complete with his dripping faucet nose.  The casting looks excellent, with crisply defined details and very minimal moldlines, cast in Wyrd’s same durable, yet rigid plastic. Although instructions are not included in the box, they are available online.  I am quite excited to start putting the crazy contraption together, but until I get around to it, here is an excellent YouTube video detailing its assembly.

The whiskey golem in all his glory! With all those pieces, it will be quite the building project.

Although I had high hopes for Ophelia’s crew, I was positively stunned at how well they had transitioned into plastic.  For being about half the size of most other Malifaux models, you would not know it for how much detail they packed into each model, from each wrinkle in their clothing to each individual finger.  Pointed cowboy boots, flared leather pants, and intricate single-action revolvers are all impressive, but what truly makes the models special are their faces.  Each is a wonderful glimpse at one of the diverse off-kilter characters that follow Ophelia.  Her stern hard-boiled gaze, Pere’s mischievous smile as he prepares to light a fuse, Rami’s content grin knowing that he has the best rifle in the land, to Raphael’s toothy maniacal smirk as he contemplates some form of meanness.  All are fantastic and quite possibly the most expressive faces I have ever seen on plastic models.  My favorite, however, is Francois, who looks like he walked off the set of For a Few Dollars More, or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  He is true-grit embodied: that High Noon stance, his splayed hands ready to draw his revolvers, a frayed poncho, a low-riding wide brimmed hat, squinting eyes, and a cheap cigar; the Man with No Name would be proud.  They all come in a multitude of tiny pieces, but look like they will be pretty straightforward to assemble.  Most have their legs cut at the ankles, which is not really a problem, but necessitates careful assembly so that they line up properly and fit on their bases flushly.  I will be sure to document my progress with their assembly soon!

The box comes with an impressive 9 models, and one even includes a pig strapped with dynamite!?

Both Ophelia and Francois strongly echo Perdita's crew, importantly they both have big hats!

Rami is a good example of how may pieces one of these little gremlins are made of, 11 in this case (look at all those barrels!).

The last model that I got was the promotional Miss Ery.  Although the idea of a heinous stuffed abomination of a teddy bear does not really appeal to me very much, the model was free and is probably my favorite rendition of Teddy (the other plastic version looks more like a giant gerbil than a bear, particularly when looking at his face).  It is hard to fault Wyrd with their execution of the model; it is truly hideous, a bloated patchwork, stitched together with coarse thread and overflowing with stuffing.  It has an terrifying grin of razor teeth that stretches from ear to ear and frames a bulbous face with round glassy eyes.  It is a very simple kit, primarily just two halves to fit together before you add his arms and feet.  Although I do not plan to assemble Miss Ery right away, I suspect I will in between gremlins sometime soon.

This year's 'Miss' model: Miss Ery.  Truly an abomination. :)

I got one final thing from Wyrd, something that I have eagerly been awaiting since I started playing Malifaux: a deck of cards detailing all of the Strategies and Schemes.  I think that Malifaux’s mission system is one of its biggest strengths; the combination of a known Strategy and multiple hidden Schemes for each side, opens up so many interesting narrative possibilities and prevents every game from turning into a meat grinder.  Having said this, with so many possibilities, it can be really difficult to keep track of which schemes are active each game, particularly for newer players.  And for a game that relies so heavily on cards (Fate Deck), I was a bit surprised that they did not release a deck of cards detailing all the Strategies and Schemes when the second edition rules were released.  Therefore, I was thrilled to see that they were selling such a deck of cards at Gencon (many others must also have been excited, because they all sold out within hours of the Gencon merchandise going online).  When opening the box of cards, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are made out of a nice flexible plastic (like some of their previous Fate Decks) with a textured back.  Each is in full color featuring a variety of their artwork, spattered blood, and their characteristic suits.  In addition to including all of the main schemes, they also included 7 faction specific schemes, as well as cards for each of 14 different story encounters in the Core rulebook.  Additionally, they have cards that detail how you set up a game, 4 multiplayer encounters, and a helpful reference card that details all sorts of things like, Combat Modifiers, Soulstone usage, and general actions.  All told, it is very comprehensive, well made, and should prove to be extremely helpful for playing games of Malifaux.

The Scheme cards look wonderful; full color artwork and all manner of Malifaux icons are attractively placed in the cards.

In addition to the basic Strategies and Schemes, the deck also has helpful reference cards, deployment maps and Guild specific Schemes.

Although not really related to Gencon, I wanted to show some pictures of my three assembled Guild riflemen.  Last time when talking about some of the Guild models that I assembled, I mentioned that I wanted to get some of the riflemen, and am pleased to say that I was able to!  The models were really fun to assemble, and went together without issue, only requiring a little greenstuff work.  I was particularly impressed with how their rifle scopes easily lined up with the riflemen’s goggles.  I have not used them in any games yet, but with their updated rules being included in the new Crossroads book, it should be soon.  Well, if you will excuse me, I need to get back to trimming and assembling Malifaux models!

Although walking, this rifleman impressively is still shouldering his rifle and even lining the scope up properly!

I am particularly fond of this rifleman, using his sword's hilt to brace his rifle.

The riflemen are armed to the teeth, with swords, knives, and their unmistakable long rifles.

- Eric Wier


  1. I'm glad I'm starting to see more blogs about games other than 40k or WHF. Malifaux is a great skirmish game for all levels of play, and it's about damn time it gets some recognition.

    1. It certainly is a great game, with some of the best models in any game. The strong narrative running throughout the game is another strong feature, one that is easily lost in 40k.