Availability: Raging Heroes and all good online retailers. Very easy to find
Price: £16.50 for 5 basic Blood Vestals and £18.60 for the Command (excluding shipping)
Details: 28mm in scale in white metal. Designed by Benoit Guerville, sculpted by Benoit Guerville & Jean - Romain Barrau.
Look what came in the mail this morning! The much anticipated Blood Vestals by raging heroes. As a Druchii fan, I get giddy at the thought of little metal women in a frenzy. While I am a fan of Games Workshop's Witch Elf sculpts, Chris Fitzpatrick's sculpts are looking a little dated. With Avatars of War and Mantic rumoured to be producing Witch Elf equivalent kits, it is Raging Heroes who are the first on the scene. Let's see what they have to offer.
I received a confirmation e-mail on the 2nd of May to say that my order had been dispatched and were sent via France's postal service and I received the package on the 10th. They came well packaged each in an individual polytene bag. There were no missing miniatures and none were broken. While I experienced no problems with the service, DarkMark over at Druchii.net did, receiving a troop box instead of a HQ. Considering the size of the company and the large quantity of orders they were shipping out I was expecting to see a crop of messages op up across the forums with these types of complaints. I am happy to see that this seems to be an isolated incident (please post if you have had a different experience) and was quickly resolved by the guys from the Raging Hero team. I tend to judge companies by their reactions to set backs like this, and Raging Heroes pass with flying colours.
The first thing I have to say is that they are beautiful. I was immediately struck by the delicate grace of the miniature and the more natural proportions in comparison to GW's. I've compared the miniature to two different generations of Witch Elves so that you can see the difference. I was also struck by how simple the sculpture is. I'm used to Citadel miniatures which are quite ornate and detailed (lots of skulls). Raging Heroes have kept a sleek, stylish concept that allows the painter to really play with the tone of skin and hair. The lack of detail allows these models to be used across a wide range of game systems and are not stymied to just one.
Above is another size comparison shot next to a Repeater crossbowman and my converted Spear elf.
Turning the model around in your fingers is very nice. I got the feeling of holding something precious; it's the kind of model that takes you back to being a child and feeling that same thrill of having a new toy to play with. However, while I praise the Blood Vestal kit for its delicacy, from a practical point of view the ankles and wrists look very thin and I believe some people would find it hard to remove the flash tab and pin the model in place. The flash tab on model above is slightly too large to fit into the slotted tab, so that means a nervy clipping session to get it right.
I'm not sure how well this kit would fare the rigours of a regular gamer. I'd dread to think what would happen if it were to break - pinning that would not be a fun experience.
Because these are early production miniatures you would expect there to be little flash. I struggled to find the flash line and could only manage the above photo to show how little there is. removing it was very easy; a few passes with my scalpel knife removed any flash present. The models do have quite a lot of release agent on them, so please make sure you wash them before you apply a primer.
In conclusion, these are exquisite models that really fill me with hope for the future of miniature sculpture. I am still a sceptic about artists using CAD sculpts exclusively to produce kits, but the Blood Vestals show what this new technology is capable to producing. The elegant simplicity of these miniatures encourage artists to explore a space, or gamers to quickly paint these for the battlefield. I have no doubt that this company is destined for bigger and better things and these Blood Vestals may be remembered as a seminal product in their history.
And for all those lucky enough to have the models in their possession, but don't know how to paint them, here's a little inspiration for you.