Staring into the Abyss – Part 1 : Abyss Warband Set box opening and review

As part of the Your Club, Your Story initiative with Mantic Games, I’ve been carefully taking pictures of everything I’ve been doing! I’ve still managed to miss a few shots, but hopefully this remains a useful reference for everything in the Abyssal Warband Set box. Its a bit oldskool doing this as a blog post rather than a video, I hope you’ll bear with me.

So this is the first of 3 articles about the boxes I was lucky enough to get – we’ll get to the booster and the objectives at a later point. I’ll be painting everything and of course playing lots of games so lots of stuff to come if you like Abyssals in Vanguard.

So cracking open the box, this pile of goodies is revealed. The box is a little loosely packed so if it’s been shaken up a bit there’s potential for some damage, but overall the materials are pretty robust so this should be a rare issue.

Note: I’ve taken all the shots on my cutting mat which has 1cm square on for consistent scale reference throughout these pictures.

Unpacking the box a bit, there’s a fair amount in here. The restic (the not hard plastic material) models are in small one use baggies, containing the same selection of model x2. The lesser abyssal sprue is also bagged, which means no small parts were likely to be lost. A selection of bases, both plastic and MDF are included as well as the super useful faction cards, which are plastic sealed to protect them.

Here’s a couple of shots of the lesser abyssal hard sprues back and front. Each sprue comes with enough components to make 5 models, with a good amount of choice.

There’s parts enough to arm all 5 with hand weapons and optionally shields. There’s also parts to make 2-3 flamebearers (depending on how many fireballs you want per model). There’s 8 heads, giving you a bit of choice, especially if you end up with multiple sprues. Also included is a double handed axe, a drum and drum stick and a standard, giving some nice options to have a command group in a Kings of War unit – although probably a little excessive for Vanguard. Finally there’s a couple of Imps on here – not enough to make a swarm really, but they go in the bits box for future plans…

Here’s how I built the first 5 models. As the box comes with 2 other flamebearer models I decided to make all of these lesser abyssals. I’ve tried out all of the hand weapon options aside from the punch dagger and use the double handed axe as it looked fun. One of these has a shield, but after I built this one up I had a play with ranking these critters up thinking ahead to Kings of War and noticed with their tails, they don’t fit together very neatly if they have shields equipped. If you multi-base this wont be a problem as you can spread the models out to fit, but single basing them like this (especially to play Vanguard) I decided shields are not for me!

As hard plastic models these were easy to clean up with a sharp craft knife but had very few noticeable mold lines. I used tamiya extra thin plastic cement in case any of it ran as I applied it, its far less likely to cause damage to any details on the model.

Also of note is that Mantic has supplied their standard bases with these which come with a sunken circular depression on one side. These are designed to work with some of their models like the zombies and gargolyes that come mounted on disc that fit. For other models like the salamanders and these abyssals, the circle can be a pain to have to fill in. So what I have done here is simply flip the base over. This does have a couple of issues – the bases are slightly tapered, so this way up they are wider at the top than the bottom, which might be unexpected. Secondly the bottom of the bases is really smooth (the top is textured). This can be a problem when adding paint or texture (such as sand) to the base, so I quickly filed them a bit to make them rougher, granting more surface area for glue or paint to adhere to.

Next I popped open the restic bags. Both contain the same pile of pieces. Some of the smaller elements are attached to a sprue as you can see above.

This is the flamebearer model – interesting in that its a grunt (lowest of the low in Vanguard) but it gets a unique and very cool sculpt in this boxset. Almost seems a shame to think how often they will die in game from what I understand of the grunt’s role.

The models do have a bit of flashing and restic can be fiddly to clean, so I used a brand new blade in my knife for best possible results – just be patient and you’ll be rewarded with a really nice model. Restic doesn’t stick with plastic cement, so I used superglue on this fiend.

Another surprising inclusion in the set are the gargoyles – lovely models I think, but they also have an existing set of hard plastic figures that I really like, so its curious (but nice) to have another version.

Ah, tactical rock included with this one! Will be using this as a leader of my gargoyle unit in Kings of War I think!

The abyssal set comes with several models that have optional build elements. The Hellequin (or possibly the Masque command version) is the first of these. I’m not a fan of MDF bases so I dug out a plastic replacement.

Although the model does come with an optional axe, I built both with lances as I’m not a fan of the angle the axe is held at. I did use the different heads though (a shot I forgot to take sorry).

The succubus lurker is the next optional build. These are quite ornate models, but with only heads and one arm as options I assumed they’d look really similar.

Instead I’m surprised by how distinct the end up looking. These fine ladies are likely to end up as champions in my Abyss Succubus units I’m pleased to say.

The last two figures from the set are the Abyssal Guard. A few more optional bits here, both arms and heads.

There’s no models for these as a unit in Kings of War so its nice to see how they could look, both as a defensive and more offensive version. I’ll probably be using these as champions for my lesser Abyssals in Kings of War – a theme it seems with all these unique sculpts from this boxset.

So that’s it for this post, its been quite long so thanks for getting to the end! Here’s a group shot of most of the box along with a sneak peak of the booster coming to this blog soon, plus a bonus proxy I dug out…

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