December 21, 2012

there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats

Once upon a time me and my friends I played WHFB with all discovered how useful a handful of swarms were. I was excited that both spiders and bats would make sense for my undead army, and I got to collect and paint 2 kinds of silly critters. Sadly, at the time, the bat swarm figures that were available were more than silly. They looked like muppets on lollipop sticks, and were really terrible. But thats what there was, so thats what I used.

Luckily these day there are some better options. Citadel's new versions are still basically crap, but a few others have stepped into the market. When I first saw these bats by Masquerade, I immediately knew that I was going to pitch my old swarm bases on ebay and replace them with this much more aesthetically pleasing variety.

They originally came in sets of single bats on sprues that you have to bend, pose, and attach yourself, building up your swarm as you go. Counting from the left to right, no. 1 and no.3 are this style.

A while after they released them, they took some of the bats and converted them to have interlocking wings, and then got those cast. In those later packs, there are two pieces on the sprue, each made of 4 or 5 connected bats. These are No 2 and 4 above. The little tree branch that holds the one grouping off the ground is part of the original casting.

The first variety are certainly a bit of work to get assembled, but if you take your time, and reinforce some of the joins with greenstuff, its not too bad. The pay off is that you can build them off of any type of structure you want. I'm particularly happy with the way the set turned out that I attached to the plastic ghoul I received as a sample from Mantic a couple years ago. For the other one I just cut a notch into the skeletons on the base, and jammed the bats wingtip in there to get a decent foundation.

They'd still probably fall apart if they get knocked hard on the table, or dropped, but short of soldering them or something, I don't see a way around that. they are super thin sections of metal, and while I guess you might be able to pin them, you'd be working at some insanely small clearances and weird angles. I'm just going to treat them nice and hope for the best I suppose.

Anyway, I think they look pretty fantastic considering I didn't put all that much work into them,  The ruins and things on the base are resin bits from Fenris Games, as always.

Bat used:
 Masquerade Miniatures pre-assembled bats
Masquerade Miniatures bat swarm kits

Reaper also do a similar version that isn't too terrible, and one that is.  I want to say there is another boutique eurpoean outfit that has since released another one in this same style, but I can't find it.  For my money, the Masquerade ones are the best option out there, despite the lack of US distribution, and expensive shipping for such a tiny parcel,  courtesy of Deutsche Post.

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