Friday, October 30, 2015

Kingdom Death: What will elevate the Showdown phase, and a Contest!

The Night is Dark and full of Terrors.

In my last Kingdom Death post, I suggested that the Showdown phase (where you fight the monsters) felt a little pedestrian.  After some additional reflection, I think that some of this dullness might come from the initial monsters the game sets up against. They are all creatures that function upon instinct alone, and don't base their actions on some higher intelligence. Presently, I have fought against the White Lion and the Screaming Antelope.  And as horrifying as the antelope is due to the gaping maw on its belly, it is still just a beast, driven by base instincts rather than a malevolent intelligence.  The hulking armored Butcher, on the other hand, is actually a person, with their own motivations, which got twisted with cowardice and rage.  Now they stalk the nightmare realms of Kingdom Death murdering other humans, and stretching their faces over their fallen lanterns.  I am hopeful that the cold, calculating menace of such a being will add the tension and motivation into the battles of Kingdom Death.  And honestly, it was weird knights like the Butcher that originally attracted me to Kingdom Death in the first place, not the lions, scantily clad survivors, and certainly not the pin-ups.  With that in mind, I began to assemble the humanoid monsters that were included in Kingdom Death: Monster.  I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to show off some of these figures; and to celebrate these excellent models, I would like to hold a contest.  My Survivor Kickstarter pledge gave me a few extra Kings Men models, and I want to give some out.  Leave a comment below, and on November 15, I will randomly pick two winners and send them anywhere in the world!



Speaking of weird and interesting knights, I took some time away from the components of the base game of Kingdom Death and assembled one of their limited resin releases of the Gold Smoke Knight.  It is an excellent model sculpted by Thomas David with the concept art by Yasmine Putri. Like the Storm Knight that we showed earlier on this blog, there is little to no background for the knight itself. The short description about the character on Kingdom Death’s website suggests that he is an ancient guardian of a long since corrupted and destroyed city amidst a field of golden grass. As the city fell to ruins, the knight slowly withered to a husk of his former self, smoke taking place of his hair. The Gold Smoke Knight has a really interesting design with many contrasting visual elements, his bulbous armored chest is held aloft by almost comically thin legs that end with armored boots that are long and tapered almost like that of a jester’s shoes. The knight wears what looks like the pelt of a lion for a cape and dons a stylized lion mask with a tortured and sorrowful expression. Billowing smoke leaks from many of the seams of the knight’s armor, the most prominent at his head, completely replacing his hair. Finally, he drags a massive two handed warhammer, the pose reinforcing the model’s sorrowful and defeated expression. The ages have not been kind on this warrior.

The Gold Smoke Knight collects together an interesting array of visual elements from prideful lions to sorrowful apparitions (I could see using him to convert a Nurgle Chaos lord...).

As with any resin model, the knight had a number of air bubbles and mold shifts that needed to be fixed with modeling putty. Additionally, many of the components, his arms in particular, did not really fit properly (sort of a common theme with Kingdom Death models plastic or resin). While there are pegs on all of the components to help with their positioning, all result in major gaps when the pieces are seated together. When looking at pictures of their assembled models online you can see all of the same gaps, suggesting that this is a problem with how the model was cut and cast rather than improper assembly on my part.

The Gold Smoke Knight next to the ephemeral Storm Knight.

As for models that came in the Kingdom Death boxed game, I assembled both the Butcher and the King’s Man.  Both were quite straightforward, going together with less jarring seams than the initial 4 survivors.  And while I did some green stuff work to fill in some gaps, unlike the aforementioned survivors, it would not be absolutely necessary here, since it sort of fits with their segmented armor.  The Butcher was a bit more complex to assemble due to all the tiny parts on his helmet and the intricate skull on his shoulderpad, but with a little patience (neither had any of the pieces numbered), they went together without issue.  I would go into more depth about both characters story wise, but honestly I just got to the Butcher in my current game, so he is still somewhat of a mystery to me too!  Having said this, just glancing at his A.I. and Hit Location deck, he looks far more menacing than the lion or antelope, with many passive abilities that set him apart from those more mundane beasts.

The Butcher's collection of lanterns, many with the skinned faces of those he has killed stretched across them, is quite an imposing model.

Although very simply posed, the Kings Man, at attention stance serves to add an additional layer of mystery to the model, making you wonder if there is a man at all underneath the armor.

Overall, I have been having a great time putting together all of the creepy and mysterious armored warriors of Kingdom Death.  While still having some of the finicky assembly issues (primarily gaps) present with many newer model companies, they were still significantly better cut than the white lion and screaming antelope.  I look forward to reporting back shortly about how our survivors do against these foes in upcoming games, but I could not wait to show the actual models off because of their awesome and characterful designs.  I also wanted to give readers the opportunity to win one of two copies of the Kings Man model.  As I said above, just leave a comment below, and I will select two random winners by November 15th!

The two Kings Men looking for new homes!

Update: We would like to congratulate our two winners!

Apologist and Lasgunpacker

We hope each of you enjoy the model!


- Eric Wier

45 comments:

  1. Nice write-up. Some of the KD models are really interesting and impressively detailed, others are just odd and downright weird - I sometimes wonder if the company are being controversial for controversial's sake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think some of the weirder kits are deliberately intended as such to play closer to the 'horror' end of the spectrum - surreal and freakish things like the Experiment of Death and the Wet Nurse - especially the Wet Nurse - they all seem to go together in terms of KD's aesthetic; the only real '???' ones for me are the pinup kits, but they are what they are, I guess.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I think at times they are simply trying to be controversial. I feel it sort of fits with their Giger-like art style, which is fine. Stuff like the wet nurse is a bit much though.

      Delete
  2. Cheers for the review - a thoughtful look at some cool miniatures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it; I always love talking about cool miniatures!

      Delete
  3. The Gold Smoke Knight is a gorgeous kit, and I've used mine as a Herald/Lord of Tzeentch, just straight-up painting it blue and gold with purple-grey smoke. I'll be interested to see how some of the pinup kits get put into play, if they do at all, because some seem to serve an active purpose in the fluff/universe of Kingdom Death - like the Flower Witch and her newly released Disciples - whereas others just seem to be fanservicey versions of existing kits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like an excellent use of the Gold Smoke Knight. A few of the KD models seem like good candidates for Tzeentch daemons (looking at you phoenix). It will be interesting to see what happens with the pin-ups, because as you said, most are supposed to be objectified versions of different character classes/individuals in the KD lore. And at the present, Monster does not seem to go into too much depth with the lore, letting people sort of work it out themselves.

      Delete
  4. These look amazing, most of the stuff I've seen from Kingdom Death look like enemies you'd encounter in the Bloodborne video game if you've seen that! So good

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, the models, particularly the various Knights, really do look reminiscent to From Software games (Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne)!

      Delete
  5. I'm enjoying this unraveling journey in the dark with you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming along on the journey with us!

      Delete
  6. I was initially put of KoD by miniatures like the wetnurse but these knights are just works of art.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, some of their models are a bit questionable (the wet nurse in particular), but the vast majority of the models are pretty great, with interesting designs.

      Delete
  7. Really enjoying your KD write ups I just missed out on the kickstarter so gutting!
    Looking forward to seeing how the battle with the butcher turns out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you are enjoying the posts; I will be sure to let you know how the Butcher goes. I am a bit apprehensive about it, I am pretty sure a lot of survivors are going to die...

      Delete
  8. Can't wait to buy my copy of Kingdom Death! You'll be pleased to hear it's all your fault for making it sound awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, I am glad to hear that my posts have encouraged you to take the plunge into the world of Kingdom Death!

      Delete
  9. I couldn't afford Kingdom Death at the time, so I'm totally living vicariously through blog posts of the people who did get them. They're much appreciated, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it certainly was quite expensive. If I hadn't backed it during the KS, I suspect I never would have played it. I am happy to hear you have been enjoying the posts!

      Delete
  10. would really like to win one of them kings men just to paint it, the look fantastic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they certainly look great, and will only look better with some paint!

      Delete
  11. The early monsters are a bit too mundane looking, but the latter ones are beautifuly bizarre. Those knights look like chaos warriors to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, not all the monsters are created equal. They do tend to get more bizarre as they increase in difficulty. The Knights are reminiscent to Chaos Warriors. They are a bit taller, and more regal looking I think, but the likeness is certainly there.

      Delete
  12. Looking forward to seeing more about this unusual model line!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah! I plan to keep writing posts as we get further in the game and take on some of the more interesting foes!

      Delete
  13. Shamelessly commenting to get in on the draw, but I've been following your unboxing/playthrough with interest. The Dark Souls-y look of Kingdom Death really appealed to me when it appeared on Kickstarter, but since I was a starving student at the time there was no way I could get in on it. One day...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you have been enjoying the KD posts, and happy you commented. It isn't shameless, that is what we asked for!

      Delete
  14. Nice write up as always! Did you get the Forsaker Model? It and the concept art for it have been a big inspiration for a model I have been working on lately

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do have one of the resin casts of the Forsaker model (the one swinging a sword). He is one of my favorite KD models. Working on fixing all the casting issues on him with green stuff...

      Delete
  15. Really enjoying your investigations into this game, and the models are fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to hear you are enjoying the posts!

      Delete
  16. Very much enjoying the writeups of the game, sp please do continue!

    The Gold smoke knight is beautiful, and I can imagine some pretty striking paint jobs for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do no worry, I will keep writing up my thoughts on the game as I continue to play it, and assemble more models! With some luck, paint might get on the Gold Smoke Knight someday :)

      Delete
  17. I haven´t had the chance to play the game actually, but the golden smoke knight is such an iconic and strong model. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully you get a chance to play soon! It is a good time, pretty different from most miniature games.

      I hope they introduce rules for the gold smoke knight sometime soon.

      Delete
  18. I had not heard about the game until I saw your posts. I have really enjoyed your write ups and look forward to more. Seriously considering buying the game even with the huge price tag. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you have been enjoying the posts, and they have been a help. If you have a group to play it with, it is particularly fun (to laugh through all the misfortune). I should have a new post about some of these more exotic enemies soon!

      Delete
  19. Beautiful, clear photography of the plastic buildups. (I like the slightly elevated angle you're shooting from, since so many others are straight-on.) I've been wondering how they really compare to their resin counterparts. Much appreciated! A bit soft detail in comparison.

    I do hope the Storm Knight gets a reissue. (Very envious of your example!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the detail on the plastic models is a little soft in comparison to the resin versions, but overall it is quite nice. I have been very impressed with them, to the point that I would always prefer plastic. It would be pretty rad if they made a plastic version of it!

      Delete
  20. I love the look of the Gold Smoke Knight - I can definitely see it's possibility as a Nurgle miniature :) lovely selection of figures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think a lot of the knight models would be quite suitable for Chaos warriors. Most are very subtly creepy, hiding their inner madness and rot.

      Delete
  21. Oh man I ended up looking up what the wet nurse looked like. There goes my appetite.

    Please do keep up with the model reviews. I would love to read about your campaign as it goes as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the wet nurse is something else... Something to see once, and then try to block out of your memory, ha ha. I will keep you updated as I assemble more models and get deeper into the campaign.

      Delete
  22. I'm still working on miniatures that approximate KD, as I didn't do the KS and found out only recently. A few of the models of lions out there are useful. Here is my depiction of a survivor as well as some ideas on how to use magnets to put the gear on figures if you want to swap a lot.
    http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k567/Nyai1/11693864_900805559995088_5817414341593236738_n.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice looking model! Your strategy is a good one, as I feel most fantasy models would be quite suitable as standins for KD. I know a lot of people have experimented with adding magnets to the multipart survivors. I am not sure I am up for setting so many magnets though!

      Delete