As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a bunch of toys from both old and new suppliers. All four orders have arrived safely – I did a mail pickup and got them all in hand last night and opened them all up. I’ll post about my RPE/Ral Partha Europe order next, but this time it’s Brigade Models.
As I mentioned before I recently picked up a couple of nice undead models via eBay and quickly got them painted up. I liked them enough to decide that I’d like to get more of them, so I tracked them down via “I-Kore” that was on their tabs, and some google-fu led me to Brigade Models who purchased Celtos (and possibly more) from I-Kore Games serveral years ago.
I’ve also been in contact with Tony from Brigade who seems a very nice bloke, and he clarified that 2 weeks to ship is their usual worst-case scenario. In Tony’s words:
“And as far as delivery times go, the ordering page says that 95% of orders are sent out within two weeks – most of them go out within 3-4 days (yours took three working days, and that’s only because I finished at the workshop long after the post office closed, otherwise it would have been two). The longer times stated on that page are worst-case times, simply to cover ourselves for those rare occasions when orders are held up for some reason – perhaps I should update the page to make that clear.”
The page hasn’t yet been updated, but I’m sure it will be soon. Naturally a part-time business needs to prioritise processing customer orders, and they clearly do so.
So, here’s how the stuff arrived:
I wasn’t expecting miniatures to be sent in a padded bag, and I was a bit concerned initially. Both for the figures, and for the book inside. I’ve received enough badly-packed books in the post before – all too often just shoved in a bag or box right against metal models or plastic sprues, which does a nasty number on the book cover. So I took this as a bit of an ominous start.
With this in mind, I was pleased to find the minis had not shredded the rulebook cover. The corners of the book were slightly bumped, but I was able to straighten them back up with my thumb, which was pleasing. I’ve gotten hardcover rulebooks that have had the corners and spines seriously smashed up in the past. Though the condition one’s book arrives in will have a lot to do with how nice or hateful RM and the international post are feeling at the time.
I picked up the Celtos Rules with my skeletons because the cost of an intro pack was very reasonable, Brigade’s webpage kindly allowed me to add 2 Fir Bolg (skeleton) starter packs, and so why not try out/read a reasonably priced new ruleset? The book is larger than A4, 128 pages and a decent weight. I haven’t had a chance to do more than flip through and look at some of the B&W artwork inside, but it’s a substantial enough object in itself.
Since the rest of this post is pretty much a photo review of (a limited chunk of) the Celtos Fir Bolg range that would be of wider interest to people building Undead Armies for games like Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Kings of War and others, I’ve not cleaned up the models and I’ve also photographed each and every pack of the models I purchased – including duplicates.
Click the photos for a bigger picture.
So now: The models.
I got two of these, because Skeletons. I really like the Skeleton Leader with Axe model. The rest of them are basically a pack each of Skeleton Archers and Skeletons with Sickles with an additional trooper model included.
I also got 2 packs of the Skeleton Archers. Giving me 14 of them. Which will make a nice, neat KoW unit of 12 with 2 leftovers, which I’ll use to bump up Marouda’s existing Skeleton archer unit to 12 as well, also using the leftover Bones model and probably a cool leader model.
And also a pack of additional Skeletons with Sickles. 8 from the starter sets, plus three more here makes 11. Add a cool leader model (the Leader with Axe converted to a Sickle would look pretty sweet) or perhaps a drummer, and we’re golden. These come with damaged, vaguely Roman-esque shields.
And here’s that drummer. And that’s also why I purchased him. I think.
I got 4 packs of Skeleton Warscythes. As with most of the range, there are only three unique sculpts. Still, just look at them! 1-piece metal skeletons with gigantic scythes. How could I resist? These guys will make a really nice, nasty looking unit once they’re painted up.
I purchased one of the Skeleton Spearmen Warband sets. This is one of the sets that has the “sorry no picture” picture on the Brigade Models site, which I find frustrating. They do have links to each individual model, but I prefer to see what I’m buying on the same page. In any case, this pack is a good one, and I’m happy with the contents.
Yes, that’s right. Out of the 59 metal skeletons I purchased, the one mispack that was made just happened to be one of the two models that brought me here in the first place. D’oh! Still, I’m sure that the lads at Brigade will sort it out without a hassle.
On another note, something I realised once I had my models in hand was that they’re listed as “blister packs” on the Brigade Models website. All of the models I received were in zip-lock baggies. While I’ve got no problem with that personally – about half of the metal I’ve purchased from both Foundry and Warlord have come in baggies just like these – and actually prefer it in many ways since there’s far less packaging waste, it’d probably be worth the time for Brigade to go through their listings and remove the word “blister” from them. I could see figures ordered for a gift, or for someone who was really set on blisters causing someone to get upset. And more importantly, it’s inaccurate.
With the exception of the Skeleton Spearmen I purchased above, most other units in the Fir Bolg range don’t have linked pictures, and instead have lists. This one is particularly useless for people like me who like to choose each model, since there are (at least) 10 different Skeleton Spearmen in the Fir Bolg range. Do you get a variety? 5 of the same sculpt? Random spearmen? Specific ones?
Some of the army packs have unclear language as well: Does 5 Flesh Eaters with Leader & Champion mean 5 models total, or 5 Flesh Eaters plus a Leader & Champion model – for a total of 7 figures? It doesn’t say including, but then it doesn’t say plus either. “With” on the other hand, is more ambiguous.
I’m just hoping that they manage to update their webpage with more unit pictures to negate these issues. There are more units and warbands, and even two different army packs I’d consider purchasing if only I could see exactly which figures (and how many – as noted above re the Army packs) are included in them. Brigade is more than welcome to use any of my photographs here free of charge to illustrate their models – all I’d want is attribution and perhaps a link to this blog somewhere. Just contact me if you’re interested.
Overall, I’m very happy with my pile of skeletons. Most figures had very little flash. Some had a fair bit, but it’s the type that easily scrapes off. A few figures (scythes, archers) have larger chunks of metal that will really need to be clipped off, but that’s a pretty simple job. If you have any experience with metal miniatures, these will be a doddle to clean up, and I find 1-piece skeletons of this sort really easy and (dare I say?) fun to paint up. I expect that they’ll look just as good as my first two once they’re all painted up. I really like one-piece metal skeletons with extra details but without too much extra crap hanging off them. There’s a nice old-school vibe to them, and even these models aren’t actually “oldhammer”, they have a similar kind of feel to me.
Now the really important bit – Would I recommend these models and/or purchasing from Brigade? My answer is yes to both. The skeletons here are clean sculpts, overall clean crisp casts and they’re sturdy one-piece models that are perfect for gaming with. I’ve got the Wargames Factory plastic skeletons, and while they have much finer details, I’m always a bit scared that they’ll break if I look at them funny. Otherworld also have some lovely looking skeletons, but they’re also very fine and even worse – multipart. (And they’re not cheap, either!)
So there’s good reason why I’ve just bought 60 of these Celtos models for my army building. They have a 90’s kind of design feel to them, but without getting into the super-chunky look for the most part. They could easily fit into Vampire Counts-style undead forces, and also into the “levy” side of Tomb Kings forces, in that they have no pseudo-Egyptian gear on them, but are generic enough to pass for the less important rank & file (or add TK shields to instantly “TK them up”.) It goes without saying that they work very well for any kind of generic undead force, and so suit games like KoW to a tee. You could even use them for Celtos!
Ordering from Brigade was pretty seamless and as I noted up top, the long processing time I was concerned about turned out not to be the case, and my stuff went out very quickly. One small mispack out of all of the models I ordered is a pretty good ratio (and if it were a different random spearman I probably wouldn’t even care!) VAT is removed at checkout if you’re outside the UK, and shipping is worked out as well, as you go.
Now I’m really looking forward to getting them painted up!
Update! The first batch is painted!