The crew over at BoLS have been chatting up PuppetsWar.com quite a bit lately. First it was the Necron jetbikes and the Vindicator stand in. More recently they talked the Ork plane and the Dreadnought Autocannon arms. Now, I don't know if this is more embedded sponsorship like the dull and droll Man Boy Genius and his inane Spikey Bits plugs that masquerade as content, but they are decent reviews of decent-looking products. That's right, aside from that little tear on MBG for his crappy articles and even crappier conversions, there is no hate in this post. We're gonna keep it positive. I am going to give a brief overview of some of the interesting bits and models available over at PuppetsWar.com.
GW will drop a Law Rok on you if you actually call them Dreadnought arms (even thought dreadnought is a type of battleship and not precisely their IP, but try telling them that). PW calls them walker arms which would make them really hard to find if you were searching for Dreadnought arms unless you were linked to them.
They have a unique shoulder pad that really changes the shape of the Dread. It makes the Dread resemble the Terminator models from Rogue Trader. It does accentuate the squat and hunched posture of the model but with a torso lift and leg extensions, I think it would look great.
I hear the attachment points for the weapons make it super easy to magnetize them for easy swapping. They are also all reversible. The company only has to make one kit which theoretically saves them money and the customer does not have to worry about getting the correct sided arm. It does not look like their sacrificed anything in the way of quality for this either. It is nice to see a company that seems to make the little nods that mini wargamers use magnets to swap out bits rather GW that goes out of their way to make it hard to use magnets.
PW makes several arms for this set including a fancy DCCA that would look right at home on a Chaos Dread. It looks like a wicked hybrid of the old, metal, five-fingered Venerable Dread fist and the Blood Angel Blood Talon fist. The only complaint I have about the fist is that the claws are not poseable like the Forge World DCC claws are but a crafty hobbist could easily get around that.
There are several shooty arms for the kit but I am only going to detail the two that I think are interesting. One is the Autocannon arm that should be popular with Riflemen Dread enthusiasts the world over and the other is a stand in for a Las Cannon arm. I like them both for alternative model/bits. I only have a few concerns. I would like the Autocannon bit more if it had a more balanced look. the length of the guns makes the walker look like it is about to fall over forward. On the other hand (or arm), the Lascannon arm looks a little short. They look deceptively stumpy for the powerful weapons they are, but they look more balanced than the Autocannon bits.
awesome series of alternate heads. From sci-fi insects to fuzzy heads in gas masks to American Civil War style heads, they has a smattering of everything. Their human head line seems aimed at the IG player to make a simple but effective personalization to their army. There are a couple that would make for an awesome DKOK army if you could sculpt greatcoats.
They some interesting helmeted heads that would make good swaps for a themed Space Marine army. There are some that are targeted at and inspired by Grey Knights, Blood Angel death masks , Space Wolves Wolfen and wolf helmets, and there are even Terminator (movie) heads that look friggen awesome. There are some helmeted heads that really stand out like the Egyptian Gods that are begging to be part of a 1k Sons army or the Greek helmets that seem to styled after the Minotaur Chapter.
They have a pretty surprising range of Ork heads. There are German, Russian and Mexican-style Orks that really have a lot of personality for such small bits. It makes me a little uncomfortable to want to use the Mexican heads because of the sensitivity to Hispanic and Latino culture here in the US. I speculate that there would be similar reservations to using the obviously German and Russian style heads in Europe. Regardless of how stereotypical and culturally insensitive they may be, they are masterfully sculpted.
Speaking of greenskins, PW also makes some viridian villains vehicles. There is a buggy, a bus/battlewagon stand-in and a truk. The buggy is stellar. It looks nice and ramshackle like Ork tec should. The bus is a little phoned in and you could probably Ork-up a toy truck for less money and make it look better. The Truk stand in is particularly interesting. It is not much use for an open-topped Truk, but for the fully armored and enclosed version, it is dead on. It is Orky, ramshackle and comes with awesome stand-ions for TL big shoota or TL rokkit launcha. The only real down-side is size. It has a small footprint for a Truk and there is a bit of a clown car effect when 12 boys spill out of this VW Beetle.
As if all these vehicles and awesome heads were not enough, PW also makes some interesting alternative weapons. They make some halberd with bolters strapped to them that would be at home in any Custodes or Grey Knight army. The guns on them are a little weak but are as close as reasonable to real bolters without infringing GW IP. They look like they could be easily snipped off and replaced with actual bolters or storm bolters to make a more convincing conversion.
The thunder hammers that PW produces are breathtaking. They are twice as detailed as GW thunder hammers and just breathtaking. Each is a work of art on its own. Had I known of these, I would have used them on my GK Termies with thunder hammers rather (or more likely in addition to) the metal bits. They would be good with any army but with the pistons and steampunk style they would fit in particularly well with the Iron Hands.
My only real concern with these are the same I have with any resin kits with thin pieces. Are they straight and will they hold. I do not know if I would trust those spindly little handles in a single hand without pinning it. More likely, if I had to put the weapon in a single hand, I would replace the half with brass rod. If the weapon is held in two hands, that would make it more stable and you could probably get away with just a little pinning.
Not to leave the vehicles out of the extra weapon game, PW has several great weapon swaps. Many of them are aimed at Space Marine Razorbacks, but there are also great alternative models for Hydra Flak Cannons and Deff Rollas. Most of the Razorback turrets are decent, though I feel like the Heavy Bolter one is pretty weak. Those things are everywhere and PW should have just skipped making them. Just like with the bolters on the halberds above, you can't make a convincing bolter without stepping on GW toes and risking a Law Rok.
There is an interesting Las/Plas turret option for those not crafty enough to convert up their own. It is a decent bit both convincing and smoothly done. It is obviously a Las Cannon/Plasma Gun turret without being so close that GW would pitch a fit over it.
The Assault Cannon turret is really well done. The barrels are a little long for my tasted but when you imagine it on the roof of a Rhino, I think it changes the silhouette of the model well. Also due to the size and following Vurumai's Law, I think it is a little too impressive looking and will make that Razorback a target.
The TL Heavy Flamer turret is smoking hot (pun intended). It is so damn close to what flamers look like in 40k, that I worry for PW on this one. They might have cut it too close. Regardless, it is a beautiful bit and since there is nothing remotely like it that can be easily converted up from GW bits, I think this will certainly see play in my army.
Canoptek Wraiths. The PW guys have really nailed it. These are sleek and deadly looking. Some have foolishly tried to convert up their own Wraiths from available bits, but I have yet to see anything that rivals the PW minis. What's better is that they are dirt cheep compared to the metal minis (if you can find them) and you get 3 to a pack! I am really excited to get my hands on some of these.
I'm a big fan of Forge World's Nurgle stuff but have not felt lime my skills are up to painting such detailed, intricate, fleshy and purulent models. PW's Plague Daemon and much classier Plague Gentleman are on par with FW quality and are still reasonably priced. They look like would fit on the large oval flying stand, but I can only guess at size. The model is masterfully sculpted and the whimsy of the Gentleman appeals to me.
PriceNow Let's talk tacos. Puppets War is very reasonably priced coming in at 1/2 or 1/4 of what GW would charge for a similar product. For example the Dread arms are $10 for one or $20 for a pair. The head packs and weapon packs are 5 for $10. The Ork Truk is $25 compared to GW's $33. The Razorback weapons come in at $10 which is a steal considering you get the top hatch too. The real steal here are the Wraiths which are 3 for $25. GW would charge that for just one. The Nurgle daemon is only $25 where the Forge World one is a riotous $165. They could charge twice the price and it would still be a steal.
The problem is shipping. PW is in Poland which Google tells me is in Europe and that sounds far away (I know my geography. I'm just kidding.) The website says that they charge $5 for the first item and $3 for each additional. That ain't bad but it does hurt the pocketbook a little and jump their prices up a bit. Pretty much everything is $3 more than it says. The good news is that since there is a linear relationship with shipping and no max value, it makes smaller orders more feasible rather than saving and waiting for a large order like FW.