Review: Russian Alternative – The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #1 and #2

About a month or so ago, I ordered a pile of Dwarfs from Russian Alternative via their eBay store. Mostly Chaos Dwarfs, the line being called “Fire Canyon”, and also a few of their “Regular” Dwarf line. Today, I’m giving an overview of the first two of the models, which I’ve just gotten ready for painting. As with all of my reviews, I purchased the products myself and there’s no quid pro quo going on here in exchange for a favourable review. I know I always appreciate being able to see clear photographs of models I’m considering purchasing, and it can be much harder to find that when we’re looking at non-Citadel product.


Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #1

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #2

RA’s models all come inside a thin cardboard box, with a colour photograph on the front of the model inside. Sealed by a RA sticker which I guess also functions as a form of security sticker in the retail environment, the “plastic” sticker on the back refers to resin (which is a kind of plastic) as opposed to HIPS or ABS or Restic or any of the other plastics that we wargamers are accustomed to.

Inside, the figure is protected by being sandwiched between two layers of foam. I really like this. It’s not as “pretty” as a blister pack, but I’ve received SO many resin models from a variety of companies that have had the figures arrive damaged simply from bouncing around in a blister, with components smacking into each other. It’s simple, but the secure fit these figures had by being packaged in such a way is a big positive for me, especially as I buy so much of my stuff online. There’s also a little “thank you” card inside that provides contact details in case you have a miscast item or any issues.

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #1

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #1

The Sculpts:

Russian Alternative’s models used to be made soley in metal. In fact, many of the models I purchased were also available as metals, but I went entirely for resin with this order, one of the reasons being that their resin is extremely competitively priced. The sculpted detail is fine and, well, detailed. Certainly on a par with Forge World, for a fraction of the price. Very clean casts with almost no flash and minimal mold lines.

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #2

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #2

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #2

One of the two Berserker heroes – the one with the greataxe – came with a slotta that fitted into the provided base, the other model – armed with hand blades – did not, and in fact his hooved feet aren’t even flat and don’t rest on the ground evenly. He’d need to be mounted differently, or have the heat treatment in order to flatten his stance.

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #1 and #2

Russian Alternative - The Berserker Dwarf of Fire Canyon #1 and #2

Being resin, both figures got a soak in dishwashing liquid and a scrub in order to remove any mould release. There was a bit of sheen left in parts of the models, and so to be safe I gave both a coat of watered down Citadel Liquid Greenstuff. As I prefer the aesthetics of round bases, they both got those instead of squares, and as heroes, I gave them 32mm bases instead of 25mm ones.

I didn’t want to heat treat his legs, and so Berserker #1 got mounted onto a blob of greenstuff with super glue (and I smushed some skulls into it for good measure) and his friend simply had his tab clipped off and was superglued down. The separate arm and greataxe fit pretty well (I accidently clipped off more than I sould have from his arm – but I was able to fill the gap with putty. I then primed with grey and then zenithally primed with white. I did forget to glue some slate to their bases, so that’ll be next, then it’s time to paint!


I’m very happy with these models. The price was very reasonable, service was good, shipping fast, packaging safe and the models themselves are very nice. I’ve got a ton more of these to work through, and I honestly haven’t even opened any of the others yet. I figure I’ll try and work my way through these guys and paint them as I go. I might even get them all done by the end of the year!

These two will slot in with the many Dwarf Slayers I’ve been painting this year, and so hopefully I’ll have the finished product to share in a week or two. Wish me luck!


Renedra Generic Scenery: Tents

Renedra Saxon Tents, Renedra Generic Tents.

Vikings provide “human scale”, while the side-by-by-side of the tents shows their own size variation.

By now, regular readers will know of my fondness for scatter terrain and especially terrain that is reasonably generic, so that it can be used in a variety of settings. With that in mind, and an eye to “fill in” a bit of a hole in my scenic collection, I picked up a set of Renedra’s Saxon Tents and 2 sets of Mixed Tents awhile back, in June of last year. This combination of purchases giving me two of each tents open, and two closed – enough for a couple of small camps or one large non-uniform encampment.

Renedra Saxon Tents

Renedra Bell Tents

Renedra Ridge Tents

Renedra Dog Tents

I finally decided to get them done and batch painted them during January, with a base of cream spray paint, drybrushes of bone, a spray of Plastic Soldier Company’s weathering spray and an alcohol wipe-off, another drybrush and some brown lining for tent flaps, and then doing the pegs. Pretty simple overall, but unfortunately they came out a fair bit more yellowed than I’d planned. I went for a yellowish linen because again – I wanted them to be generic rather than tied to Vikings or Saxons or WWII GIs or whomever. For the same reason, I declined to base them. This way I can lay them down on whatever tabletop surface I’m playing on and they’ll still look decent. Here they are on the Badlands Mat I recently reviewed.

Renedra Tents

A feral and savage wolfpack attacks a Viking encampment.

Renedra Tents

Insert “Who let the dogs out?” joke here.

Just a couple of shots showing them set up on a table. I actually remembered to add in the little campfires here as well.



Vikings, Fjǫgur!

Another small post in my slow burn Viking project. Just a pair of axemen today.

These guys are essentially a pair of the guys that we use to fill out units. Nothing terrible nor anything special about them. Armed with axes and shields, the most noteworthy thing on them is the halved shield on the one. Sometime ago, I read something about how Vikings and others of the period would paint the designs on their shields in a way that the lines of the paintwork were “off” from the lines of the actual planks of wood that were used to create their shields. This in turn meant that enemies would not know where to aim blows on a shield to be able to split it – as that would be bad for your defence.

Similarly, this pair have no emblems or knotwork on their shields – just plain halving and quartering. Some guys have to have the plain shields so the more fancy ones stand out, and that’s the job of these fellows. Similarly, their clothing is mostly in muted earth tones, and even the red shirt is a deep, earthy. browny red. (yeah, I know reds would have been much more pale, but hey!)



Warhammer 40k Booby Traps

At some point in the past when reading the 3rd edition Codex Battlezone: Cityfight and Codex: Catachans, I became taken with the idea of making some cool looking booby traps for 40k. I know it was around the era of the Battle for Macragge and when we were living in the rental at Carlisle.

Anyway, I got inspired, and got started. Then later I got distracted. Then we had to move, and like so much, this stuff got boxed up again for years. When we moved in here, they came out again, but got lost in the shuffle until a few weeks ago, when I spied them on the desk and had one of those “just finish those fucking things” moments, so I bumped them to the front of the queue and did just that.

The idea behind both of these models is that explosives have been placed behind an object, and a servo-skull has been programmed to watch and wait until the enemy is close enough, and then detonate, probably annihilating itself in the process. Another glorious sacrifice to the God-Emperor.

These make a nice 40k-accompaniment to the Minefield that I sorted out a couple of years ago. I guess I can also get some use out of them if I ever manage to get back into Necromunda/Inq28munda/Shadow War Armageddon. Honestly, I can’t remember the rules for this sort of thing, so I imagine I’d probably need another 4-6 of them to work as “counters” to allow some of them to be actual booby traps and some to be dummies. If I have to make some more, I certainly hope I can get the damned things done a hell of a lot faster!




Oldhammer Orc Champions (1988, Kev Adams)

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1998, Kev Adams

Yes, believe it or not, these rather weedy little fellows were originally sold as Orc Champions. From the old WHFB days when command group blisters included a Standard, Musician, Champion and a Leader. From the 1988 catalogue, who we have here are two of #13 Champion and #14 Champion. They were obviously sculpted by Kev Adams once he had started to hit his stride with the consistent Warhammer Orc style that pretty much continues to this day. The days of experimentation with really weird concepts were now over. Not counting what they did with squigs for everything in 2nd Edition 40k, at least…

RTB02 Space Ork Raiders Advertisement from Chapter Approved. Image from Stuff of Legends.

The interesting thing (possibly the only interesting thing) about these sculpts is that they share a “base” model with the troopers from the RTB02 Space Ork Raiders boxed set, which was the first ever Space Ork boxed set for 40k, also released in 1988.

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1998, Kev Adams

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1998, Kev Adams

I painted the duplicates of #13 with slightly different coloured gear, and different shields. I do intend to use several different styles to paint my orcs’ green skin over time, and a more coherent plan would have had me hold off painting one of them now to do later with a different shade of green, but frankly there are so many of these figures to do, that doing near-identical figures in pair or trios is simply much more efficient in getting me to actually start and finish the models. As in, I’m great at starting models, but not quite as good at finishing them off. The more complex something becomes, the longer it lingers on the desk – and regular readers will have seen how often I write about figures that got started months, years or even more than a decade ago before being finished. I don’t need to add to that particular pile more than I already do…

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1998, Kev Adams

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1998, Kev Adams

Now that they’re done, they’ll be dropped into the small but slowly-growing “unit” of old-school orcs that I have, and be used in KoW, AoS or whatever else I happen to be playing that needs some less-imposing orcs.

Captain Redbeard’s Pirate Dwarves: RPE Kickstarter (#3)

I don’t often pimp Kickstarters on this blog, but I’m happy to make an exception for this one. It’s RPE’s (Ral Partha Europe) s̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶ third Kickstarter, and like the first one, they’re keeping the scope quite small. A 14-day campaign with a £1,000 goal, with £775 pledged so far at the time of my writing, so success is pretty much a given at this stage. 

It’s a crew of pirate dwarves which fits perfectly well into a little project I’ve got lined up for the future. 9 models so far, with freebie stretch goals at £2,000 and £3,000, and (possibly) more if it gets higher. Delivery is set for August this year, so a plan for (roughly) a 4-month turnaround from completion to delivery.

RPE Dwarf Veterans, from the previous KS Campaign

I personally had a good experience with their previous campaign, the Dwarf Veteran Warband, with it delivering on time(!) and producing quality models – the sculpts being a nice throwback to the characterful “Oldhammer” Citadel style of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and that of the satellite companies where ex-GW sculptors like Kev Adams and Tim Prow ended up.

Having said that, delivery was a little rougher for some others who backed as they had it set up for a la carte additions and such which they have said complicated matters on their end. To stop that from happening again, they’re making each pledge reward a set group of models – 1 of each without add-ons and duplicates and so forth.

So if piratical dwarves seems like the sort of thing that floats your boat, go and have a look at the Kickstarter campaign.

Tomorrow: Back to painted miniatures!

Review: Urbanmatz’ 6’x4′ Badlands Game Mat.

Warning, Pic HEAVY! – Also, most pics can be clicked for larger versions.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Here’s the next of my gaming mat reviews. Once again, this one is from Urbanmatz, based in the Czech Republic. The Badlands Game Mat. I chose this one as I’d been wanting something to (approximately) match the style that the majority of my models are based with. That is: dark earth, patchy grass and the occasional bit of rock.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Citadel Miniatures Zoat

Like my base!

As with the other mats I’ve gotten from Urbanmatz, the design is printed onto neoprene (mouse pad material) and is quite nice. The following pictures of a Kings of War game basically show the mat off for similar Rank & File-based games, so your WHFB, 9th Age, WotR, or historicals such as Hail Caesar, Pike & Shotte, etc. I recently reviewed their 6’x3′ Space Mat along with the Fantasy Flight 3’x’3′ X-Wing Starfield Mat and also their Snow Territory 6’x4′ mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

While the mat may look a little glare-y in some photos, and perhaps a bit washed out – it’s my lighting and photography to blame there. In person, it looks really nice.

Having said that, this is probably the time to emphasise again that despite them sending me a (stained) snow mat gratis, this isn’t any kind of paid for review, I paid full price (plus shipping to Australia!) for this mat and just as when I’ve reviewed and links to places like Red Box, Maxmini, Kromlech, Scotia Grendel, Brigade, RPE, Reaper, Games Workshop or anyone else, I don’t get any kickbacks from the links inside this review to pimp their wares, nor to I carry on and on about how wonderful (X company)’s products are every post. Unlike some others out there. 😉

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

I also took a few 40k-themed photos as well. We set up a small imperial supply outpost out in the boonies somewhere, where the Imperial Guard present are assaulted by (who else?) the Iron Warriors.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

Urbanmatz' 6'x4' Badlands Game Mat.

I didn’t set up any fantasy or historical skirmish games for photos, but I think you can pretty well judge for yourself at this stage. It’s going to work well for a lot of genres and games from dinosaurs, through ancients, all flavbours of historicals and moderns through to sci-fi. It’s a nice, generic rural “out int he bush somewhere” pattern that works well with the three elements that I use in most of my models’ basing. I also found that it works both with “forest” and “jungle” foliage when I was playing around with my scenery, so that’s a bonus in my book.

Once again, the mat came in it’s own, labelled bag at no additional cost. I really like these bags, and it would be great if Urbanmatz would consider selling them separately as well. I need to get one for my FFG X-Wing mat so I don’t need to store it in the box anymore, one for my GW “green grass” mat, one for my ancient Armourcast (I think) mat, and then a few (or one) to bundle my smallish Mantic ones into. I know of another vendor who does sell them, so I might have to sort it out that way later on.

Verdict: This mat is pretty much what I wanted it to be. I can’t say that I’m surprised, but if it wasn’t a good one, I’d be pretty disappointed and would not be shy about sharing that. It’s a good mat, the quality is there, and the design is one that I’m happy with. If you like the design, I can’t complain about the quality of the mat or the service I got from Urbanmatz, so I really don’t have any hesitation in recommending them.

I’ve got one more of these things to review now – Dirty Roads. We’ve actually got an AoS game set up out in the shed ready to go, so I’ll try and get some in-progress shots to include in the next review.