Vitruvian HACKS: Berzerker by Boss Fight Studio

Once again, I’m ending the week with a look at another Vitruvian HACKS figure from Boss Fight Studio. I’m still sticking with Series 1 for now, but this time venturing far into Wave 6. I’ve only reviewed a handful of figures past the initial four waves, but don’t worry, they’re all coming eventually. As for today’s choice? Well, I’ve just finished rounding out my look at the three Gorgon Sisters and Eurayle’s Disciple, so it seemed only right to go with the Gorgon Berzerker this week.

What do you get when you cross one of Eurayle’s warrior slaves with Stheno’s snake-morphing bite? A male Gorgon Berzerker who will stop at nothing to fight back the Spartan and Myrmidon armies. The Berzerker comes on your typical landscape-styled card featuring some nice character art on the front, and shots of the various figures from Waves 5-7, as well as the mysterious lost wave of variants. As always, the bubble is totally collector friendly and the package can be displayed standing on a shelf or swinging by a peghook.

While the idea of going with a male Gorgon flies in the face of the Sisters’ matriarchy, it feels like a no-brainer for a line that likes to mix and match parts and I think the result speak for itself. The lower half features all the great articulation and texturing of the female Gorgons. The tail is segmented into multiple ball joints, which can be turned and twisted into a variety of poses, and I’m still amazed at how easily these half-snakes can be made to balance on their own when the tail is coiled up to form a base. We’ve had Gorgons in all different colors, but the tail on this figure is a very dark green with a lighter green underbelly.

The sculpted scales go up past the tail to encompass the abdomen, with things smoothing out above the ball joint that connects the upper portion of the humanoid buck. I love that they did this, rather than just slap half a regular buck onto the tail. The dark and light green deco also carries to the figure’s upper half with the light green coloring the chest, the hands and the chin. The head sculpt is a fairly generic bald head with piercing red eyes. I also dig the pattern printed on the figure’s back. There’s nothing terribly flashy here when it comes to the colors, but I think it works perfectly for an army builder like this guy. And since you can’t have your Berzerker going berserk without his weapons, let’s get this fella all geared up!

For starters, we get the skull and spine style helmet that we’ve seen with many of the lady Gorgons. This one is sculpted in black plastic with white paint on the fangs. The design of these pieces is just fantastic. The spine curves down the back of the neck, while the open jaws frame the figure’s face. If a half-snake warrior wasn’t intimidating enough, this headgear really launches him over the top.

The Berzerker also comes with a pair of matched leaf-bladed short swords, each secured in its own scabbard with shoulder strap. The scabbards are black with silver fixtures and red tassels to match the red hilts of the swords. These look great on his hips with the two shoulder straps crisscrossing his chest. The buckles on the straps are also neatly painted silver to match the fixtures on the scabbards. The straps were originally made to be worn by the warriors over their armor, so they are a tad loose on this figure.

The sword blades are painted silver and have some green blood spilled on them. At least I’m assuming it’s green Gorgon blood. The bio makes a point of saying that once in the rage of battle, the Berzerkers don’t stop once their enemies are vanquished and are likely to turn on their own. I would have preferred human blood on the blades. I might just consider the green stuff to be some kind of poison.

The Berzerker can hold the swords perfectly and he also comes with an extra pair of hands so you can have the wrists hinges bend side to side or forward and backward. Oddly enough, he also comes with the usual pegged figure stand, which he obviously can’t use because he has no feet. Some may scoff at the fact that he doesn’t come with more accessories, but with how much extra plastic goes into the tail, I think it all works out in the end. I will confess that I will probably end up giving him a spear.

The Berzerker is definitely one of the more unique figures in the line, as he even stands out among the myriad of different colored female Gorgons.  He doesn’t come with a lot of stuff, but he is a fantastic figure with some great sculpting and coloring. Doing a male Gorgon was kind of a no-brainer, even if they had to bend their own rules to do it. I like how they worked it into the fiction, though. Of course, the rub here is that he’s an army builder and while I’d love to pick up some more, at $25 a piece, I’ve been trying to avoid troop building any of the figures in this line, so for now I may have to be content with just the one… maybe two at some point, but I doubt any more than that.

Advertisements

Vitruvian HACKS: Stheno (Eldest Gorgon Sister) by Boss Fight Studio

It’s another V-HACKS Friday, Toyhounds. As promised, Today I’m finally wrapping up my look at the three Gorgon Sisters from Series 1 of Vitruvian HACKS. I checked out Medussa waaaaay back when I reviewed the very first wave from the Kickstarter. I had a look at Eurayle, the youngest of the three, just a few weeks back. And now it’s time to check out the oldest of the three Sisters, Stheno!

Here’s the usual HACKS packaging, featuring the landscape-orientated card, collector friendly bubble, and some really beautiful character art. The back of the card has the usual “Collect Them All” headshots of the first four waves and a little bit of a bio of Stheno. The Eldest Gorgon Sister can not only turn her victims to stone, but she can also transform humans into Gorgon soldiers with a simple bite. She was released as part of the second wave of Series 1 and I’m super excited to finally get her open and check her out!

Hot damn, is this a gorgeous figure! I love how each of the Gorgon Sisters have their own thing going on. Medusa is the classic half-snake lady, Eurayle is the most human, with just the snake hair to give her away. Well, Stheno lies in between. She’s mostly human looking like her youngest sister, but she’s got the full on snake hair mantle that puts Eurayle’s to shame. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, Stheno is built on a dark-skinned female buck, and as usual her entire costume is made of separate pieces and actually worn by the buck. That’s especially impressive here because of how intricate the costume is and that it’s all done in 4-inch scale. It’s also interesting to note that to my knowledge, BFS has never reused any of these armor pieces. That makes this figure one of the most distinctive looking releases in the Series.

The costume consists of some very intricate gold armor strapped to her lower legs. The criss-crossing gold is a little evocative of a snake pattern, but with the pincer-like ends at her knees, I also find them to have a scarab-like appearance, giving her a bit more of an Egyptian flavor than Classical Greek. She has a pair of painted panties and above that a belt, again with an intricate golden weave pattern and a snake-skin skirt that hangs off the back. Her top features a golden brassiere and some beautifully sculpted shoulders. She also has a pair of arm bracers with some remarkable snake texturing on them. I really have to give BFS some major kudos for the amount of detail they’re able to pack into such small pieces. All that gold in Stheno’s outfit is broken up a bit with some purple stones and beads. This costume is quite simply striking in every way imaginable.

And yet the real selling point of this figure is still probably the majestic head sculpt. Stheno’s face is beautifully sculpted with some pronounced cheek bones and sharp paint to the eyes and lips. Her headdress features more of ornate gold finery to match the rest of her outfit, with a purple bauble right in the middle of her forehead. And then you have her outrageous mane of cobra hair. It’s something that just has to be seen to be believed. The individual cobras fan out to both sides with each of their hoods fully deployed. Amazing!

Now, as fantastic as Stheno looks, all this detail comes at a bit of a price and the articulation, poseability, and overall stability falls victim to the character design. While the buck features all the great points of articulation that I’ve come to appreciate in this line, the top of her armor keeps her arms from being able to go flush with her sides, so they’re always going to be sticking out. On the other hand, her tight fitting snake skirt means that her hip articulation is a bit hindered as well. Finally, the giant snake mane combined with tiny bare feet means that Stheno is not a figure that is easy to keep standing upright. She’s quite back-heavy and in virtually all of the shots in this review, I’m using some kind of assist to keep her standing. I don’t want to harp on these points too harshly, because I think it’s a fair trade-off to get a figure that looks this striking.

While Boss Fight tends to stuff these figures with tons of accessories, Stheno comes up short in that regard with only her serpent staff, figure stand, and an extra pair of hands in her inventory. Again, it’s not something I’m going to get upset about because clearly a lot of attention went into this one-and-done outfit, plus the extra plastic needed for her slithering coif is probably the same amount that goes into all those accessories included with other figures.

Now, with that having been said, the staff is a very cool piece and feels very appropriate for the character. The gold staff features a purple globe at the top and a gold cobra spiraling up the rod and crowning the purple orb with his open hood.

Vitruvian HACKS is a line built around parts sharing and recoloring and there’s nothing wrong with that because Boss Fight knows how to make it work. But it also makes it all the more special when you get a figure like Stheno in the mix. She’s a stand out addition to the collection, not only because she’s an absolutely gorgeous sculpt, but also because she feels more one-of-a-kind than a lot of the other figures in this Series. That’s not to put down the myriad versions of Hoplites and snake-lady repaints, as they’re all excellent figures. I’m just glad I waited until this late in the game to get around to opening Stheno, because she adds a strong shot of variety and distinctiveness among the legions of Greek Soldiers and Gorgons. And while I appreciate the fact that this costume hasn’t been used since, I wouldn’t mind seeing it recolored and used in Series 2 on a female enchantress of some sort.

Vitruvian HACKS: Disciple of Eurayle by Boss Fight Studio

Who’s up for ending the week with a little Vitruvian HACKS? I sure am, because I really want to get all these remaining HACKS figures reviewed before the new Mythic Legions figures arrive and take over my Wednesday slots for… well for the rest of the year. I’m not even kidding! The last time I visited with Boss Fight’s awesome line of 4-inch plastic peoples from Greek Mythology, I opened up the youngest of the three Gorgon sisters, Eurayle and today I’m going to check out one of her Disciples! Yes, I know I promised to be looking at the last of the three Gorgon sisters this week, but I’ll get to her next week. Promise! No, really… this time I mean it!!!

As always, unless it’s some kind of exclusive, the HACKS figures come on these snappy landscape-orientated cards with colorful artwork and a clear bubble that extends out to hug the edges of the card and can be easily removed without damaging anything. I love it! Actually, the character artwork on this card isn’t the greatest, it’s actually pretty bad. But it’s the figure inside that really counts. Unlike her big sis, Medusa, Eurayle chooses not to turn her victims to stone, instead she bewitches them into joining her army of slaves, and that’s where the Disciple of Eurayle fits into the big picture. Hmm… useless lawn ornaments or slave army? I think she’s got the right idea!

There’s nothing in this package that we haven’t seen before, but the HACKS line is all about mixing and matching parts and adding new color schemes to come up with new figures, and The Disciple is another great example of just how good BFS is at it. This figure features the typical male buck, cast in a cool sickly green colored skin to make him look like he’s been partially snake-ified. The body features the standard sculpted and painted sandals on the feet, and adds a couple of black snake-like tattoos printed on the biceps. As always, articulation is made up of a lot of pegged hinges (in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles) so the figure can be taken apart, and you also get ball joints in the hips and double hinges in the knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso, buried under the armor, and a double ball joint in the neck.

The armor consists of a Spartan-style hauberk of scale mail, and is colored in a dark olive green and features some gold paint apps for the trim and rivets. The sculpted detail on the hauberk is especially nice for a figure in this scale, not to mention it’s an actual separate piece of costume that’s worn by the buck. The same goes for the sculpted grieves, which are painted gold and have green snake motifs sculpted onto them. The only article of clothing you can’t take off this figure are the sculpted sandals.

The head is bald and has some splendid facial details. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say this is one of the best 4-inch had sculpts I’ve seen in a while. The grim visage works well as a mindless warrior zombie and I especially like the bright red eyes.

The Disciple also comes with a standard hoplite helmet with a high brush comb. The helmet is painted in dark olive to match the hauberk and there’s a gold zigzag pattern painted along the crest and under the comb. As always, the helmet fits the head quite well. Let’s move on to have a look at the rest of his gear!

First up, he comes with a gold short sword with a leaf-shaped blade and a simple hilt. The sword comes with a scabbard attached to a shoulder strap that works really well and looks great on the figure. The scabbard is painted brown and features some gold fixtures and a pair of sculpted tassels painted pale green to match The Disciple’s skin. The buckle on the shoulder strap is also painted gold. The sword fits in just snug enough so it doesn’t fall out, but it’s not too hard to draw either.

If you’d prefer, there’s also a loop in the back of the armor, which can be used to store the sword on his back. Honestly, I love the look of the scabbard too much not to use it, but it’s always nice to have options. And who knows, I may wind up giving him another sword someday.

And since swords and shields go together like PB&J, Boss Fight threw a standard shield in here as well. This is the same sculpt we’ve seen over and over again in this line, painted in gold, but I’m not complaining. The front face of the shield is sculpted with a hammered finish and has a red snake motif painted on it. The reverse of the shield features sculpted rivets and reinforced plates. There’s a grab bar as well as a pliable plastic sleeve for the forearm, both of which help the figure to hold it perfectly. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being impressed by how well the equipment like this shield or the sword scabbard work with these figures, despite only being 4-inch scale. There are also tiny loops on the back of the shield. I presume these are so you can tie some string around them as a means of hanging the shield on the figure’s back.

Now, if you are looking for something a little more exotic than the traditional sword and shield, The Disciple also comes with gold versions of Eurayle’s katar-style weapons. I like that they included these as it further ties the look of the Disciple to his mistress. The first pair includes blades with a snake head motif near the hilt and some jagged cuts in the edges.

The other more distinctive pair are comprised of coiled snakes. As I’m sure I said in the Eurayle review, I love these designs, but I would imagine that they aren’t terribly practical as weapons. Although, I wouldn’t want to get run through by one of those.

At this point, some of the Series 1 HACKS are getting harder to find at decent prices, but Boss Fight still has a selection available on their website, which is where I was able to hunt down this Disciple of Eurayle. And while there’s nothing here I haven’t seen already, in terms of both the figure and the accessories, I’m really glad I decided to pick him up. He’s a great looking addition to the collection, and I really like the story behind him. Maybe even enough to pick up a second so that I can give the youngest of the Gorgon Sisters a pair of guards to display with her instead of just the one lone Disciple. After all, a figure that’s worth literally ten times what I paid for her a couple of years ago needs a good guard detail.

Vitruvian HACKS: Eurayle (Youngest Gorgon Sister) by Boss Fight Studio

My last bunch of Vitruvian HACKS reviews have been focusing on the Series 2 sword-and-sorcery fantasy figures, but I still have plenty of unfinished business with the Series 1 and all it’s Greek Mythology goodness. Indeed, I’m pretty sure that the last few times I reviewed HACKS, I promised to go back to Series 1 for a while, and so I’m going to start making good on that now. Today I’m checking out Eurayle, the youngest of the three Gorgon Sisters.

As usual, the figure comes on a landscape-orientated card and the bubble is part of a clear plastic piece that covers the card and folds around it at the edges. As a result you get all the classic presentation of a carded figure, while still being totally collector friendly. The front of the card features some great character art, and the back has the “Collect Them All” layout with head-shots of all four waves of Series 1. There are a total of 16 figures in all, but that doesn’t count the exclusives, and I think there have been some new releases since then. And if you haven’t collected them all yet, be prepared to pay top dollar for some of these. But more on that later.

Eurayle hails from the third wave of Series 1 and she’s a standout figure, not only because she’s really well done, but because she’s one of the few figures from Series 1 that isn’t a variation of a Greek Hoplite or a Gorgon. Well, technically she is a Gorgon, but not in the half-snake, half-lady sense of the term. It’s complicated. The bio tells us that instead of turning her victims to stone, she brainwashes them to join her army of disciples. Either way, on the surface she’s just a scantily clad Greek babe. One of the many cool things about Series 1 is that the outfits are sculpted in separate pieces and actually worn by the figure. In this case that includes a white top and white sash, both held on with some electric blue snake straps. These fit the figure pretty well and I’m still amazed at how well BFS makes this work so well at the 4-inch scale.

I really dig what they did with the head sculpt here. Eurayle isn’t overly beautiful, but she’s not ugly either. The facial features are very well defined and she sports a lot of character. The paint applications on the face are done with precision and she even has some blue lipstick to match the blue snake motif on her outfit. But the real distinctive feature of Eurayle’s portrait is her snake hair. She may not have gone full-on half-snake like her sister Medusa, but she still shares the family resemblance in her slithering green coif. The tangle of snakes blows (or slithers) off to the side behind her and I love how they sort of turn into cornrows as they get to her scalp. Finally, she has a blue hair band that looks like… you guessed it! Snakes! Overall, the portraits in this line have been pretty solid, but I’d rate Eurayle’s up with some of the best of them.

While Eurayle doesn’t sport a whole lot of clothes to hide her modesty, she does know how to accessorize, as she comes with four different coiled snakes that she can wear on her arms and legs. These are painted to match the blue snakes on her outfit. These are all held on simply by tension and some work better than others. I wound up putting one small one on her right wrist, one small one on her left ankle, the biggest one on her right thigh, and the middle sized one on her left bicep. The only one that really gives me trouble staying put is the one on her bicep. It has a habit of sliding down to her elbow, although trying to hook it onto her shoulder seems to help.

Other than her snake accessories, Eurayle comes with an extra pair of accessory-holding hands, so you get one pair that’s hinged to angle forward and one hinged to go side-to-side. She also comes with two matched sets of katar-style push daggers, although I suppose these are long enough to be called swords. Both of these are painted to match her electric blue theme. The first pair have some really cool looking solid blades.

The second pair feature more of a snake motif and these look especially wicked, but I’m not sure they’d be quite as effective as weapons. They don’t seem to have edges, so these would be primarily stabbing weapons, but I guess that was largely the point (no pun intended) of the katar anyway. Besides, I don’t want to criticize these weapons by overthinking them, because I think the designs are awesome and these are the ones I’ll be going with when I display her.

And as always, the figure comes with a standard issue black Boss Fight Studio embossed stand. I’ve had some issues using the pegs on these with some of the previous barefoot figures because the foot pegs are more shallow, but Eurayle’s work just fine. Although she is a surprisingly well balanced figure on her own.

Back when I was crunching numbers for Add On’s for the HACKS Kickstarter and trying to stay within some semblance of budget, I very nearly nixed Eurayle in favor of another warrior variant, but I finally convinced myself that I wanted all three of the Gorgon Sisters and so she ultimately made the cut. And it’s a good thing too, because for reasons unknown to me, she goes for all the monies now on the second-hand market. I mean, sure, some Series 1 HACKS can go for double what they originally cost, but lovely little Eurayle here seems to go in the vicinity of $150-200, and that’s if you can actually find her for sale. To be honest, a little piece of me was hoping that I was going to be unimpressed with her and willing to let her go for that kind of money, but as it turns, out I’ll be keeping her. And next time I revisit the HACKS line, I’ll check out the final Gorgon Sister, Stheno!

Mythic Legions (The Coliseum): Black Knight Legion Builder by The Four Horsemen

The remaining stock from Mythic Legions: The Coliseum went on sale earlier this month and it reminded me of the old Matty Collector days. There were endless loading screens and in the end I got shut out. Now, I wasn’t all that upset, because I pre-ordered the figures I wanted the most, but with funds replenished, there were a few more I wanted to pick up. Luckily, a friend of mine double dipped on a few of them and instead of unloading them on Ebay at crazy prices, he sold me a couple at cost… one of those was the Black Knight Legion Builder!

I won’t dwell on the packaging, because it hasn’t changed at all. Instead, I’ll clarify for people new to Mythic Legions that the “Legion Builders” are basically figures with less paint apps that sell for a little less than the regular figures. These are designed as troop builders for people like me, or for customization fodder for people with talent in such things or, in other words, not me. I reviewed the Silver and Gold Knight Legion Builders way back in 2016, and what we’re dealing with here is more or less another repaint, this time in… you guessed it! Black!

Yup, from the neck down, Black Knight features the exact same body as each of the previous Knight Legion Builders, only this time covered in a rich and beautiful coat of shiny black paint. Despite being awash all in one color, I think the figure looks great, and that’s a testament to the incredible detail in the sculpt. You get sculpted chain-mail visible in the joints, panels of scroll work etched into the armor, and even all the little rivets and buckles and straps meant to be holding the plates on. I’ve considered having a go at his exposed chain mail parts with a silver Gundam Marker, but I’ll probably just leave him be and not risk messing him up.

As is always the case, Black Knight comes out of the package with his shoulder armor off, and honestly, he displays just fine without them if you choose to leave them off. Me? I like my knights with a little bulk to them, so I always display them with these pieces on. These pieces peg into holes in the back of the shoulders and can be angled a bit to allow for shoulder movement. To add a little pop to the all black deco, this fellow comes with a red plume for his helmet and a red sword belt. Yup, red! This is the first one of these that I got that wasn’t brown.

While the previous Knight Legion Builders came with only one head each, Black Knight comes with both styles: A Great Helm and a Renaissance-style Closed Helm. You only get one red plume, but it can be transferred to whichever helmet you choose to display him with. I adore both helmet sculpts, but I think the Great Helm works best with this black deco.

The Black Knight comes with two swords, a two-hander and a single-hand, and obviously we’ve seen these many times before. The two-hander has what strikes me as a very Tolkien-esque design and the other is just a stout and trusty cruciform broadsword. Typically, the Legion Builder weapons don’t have paint apps, and in this case, these swords are both silver. That works fine for me, although once again, I’m tempted to color in the grips.

As always, the belt can be used as a waist belt, to carry his sword on his hip, or as a shoulder strap to carry his sword (or swords) on his back. In fact, if you choose the shoulder strap, you can comfortably fit both swords in the belt slit. The downside here is that you have to remove the shoulder on the side that the hilts will be behind. It doesn’t look bad, and I’ve done this with some of my Orcs and Gladiator-style Legions figures, but I prefer my knights to have some symmetry.

The Black Knight also comes with a spear. Previous Knight Legion Builders came with shields, but this fellow does not. I’m guessing that’s because he came with the extra head instead. I’m cool with that. I’ve got plenty of shields in this line already.

I think this is a great figure, even if it is yet another recolor of the same old knight. I like that T4H mixed things up a bit this time by giving him an extra head instead of the shield, but with so many Mythic Legions figures dropping in each new offering, I wouldn’t be surprised if this fellow gets overlooked in favor of fresher characters. Indeed, Black Knight didn’t strike me as a “Must Have” when I was budgeting my pre-orders for The Coliseum, and as good as he is in hand, I still mostly feel that way. The main reason I wanted to add him to my collection was because I had the previous two Knight Legion Builders and it was bothering me that I wasn’t going to have a complete set. As it turns out, he’s probably my favorite of the three, or at the very least tied with Silver as my favorite. I’m certainly glad I was able to pick him up in the end.

Vitruvian HACKS (Series 2): Lord Vehemous by Boss Fight Studio

Last week I got a new box in from Boss Fight Studio with some figures from the newest wave of Vitruvian HACKS, Series 2. I’m quickly getting backlogged with this line, as I still have plenty of figures from Series 1 to review, but when these showed up they just looked so damn good that I decided to bump a few of them to the head of the line. Today, I’m checking out Lord Vehemous, the self-proclaimed Dragon Cult Warrior Priest.
If you’re new to V-HACKS, Series 2 is all about a fantasy-style theme somewhat inspired by the likes of AD&D and other sword-and-sorcery type franchises, but the characters and designs are all original.

As always, the figures come on a landscape-orientated card with some colorful character art on the front and a “Collect Them All” layout on the back showing the figures from this wave, which I believe is the third, and the previous one. You also get a bio that tells us Lord Vehemous and his followers not only worship dragons, but gain supernatural powers by drinking their blood. F’cking-A hardcore! As you can see from the bubble, this figure comes packed with a ton of extra goodies, so if you’ll give me a minute to get him all geared up, we’ll check him out!

Vehemous sports a half-suit of armor, with full plate from the waist up and a long medieval-style skirt (for lack of a better word) covering his legs and most of his boots. The armor reuses some parts from the Knight of Accord, like the legs, arms and lower torso. He even has the slots on the outside of his thighs to tab in armor pieces, even though he doesn’t come with any. The chest armor, on the other hand, is different, as it features a well-worn, pitted finish and even some nasty looking cracks. Indeed, all the armor is colored to look like it’s old, possibly made out of bone, and has seen better days. I really dig the sculpted detail in the robes and belts, and there are peg holes on his hips to attach some of his gear. The various buckles and studs on the belt are all painted gold.

The optional parts for the armor include a pair of sculpted fur shoulder pads and a matching half-cape, the last of which we’ve seen a few times before, but most recently with the Orc. I say these pieces are optional, but Vehemous does have some pegs sticking out of his shoulders to attach them, so if you don’t equip the shoulders, these look exposed and awkward. Of course, you could always borrow different shoulders from one of your other HACKS figures, as mix-and-match is a big part of the charm here.

The head sculpt is excellent. Vehemous is a distinguished old and gray fellow with a rather nasty scar running down his left eye. They’ve even painted that eye gray to show that the damage isn’t just superficial. I’d say this is easily one of my favorite head sculpts in the entire HACKS line. It really is excellent. It seems a shame to cover it up, but you can do just that thanks to the included helmet…

The helmet is made of soft, pliable plastic and fits over the head quite well. It’s cast in the same color plastic as the rest of the armor, giving it an ancient bone-like finish and the design is just superb. I just love the configuration of the horns and the way the figure’s eyes line up with the eye holes in the helmet. This piece certainly adds a lot of intimidation factor to the figure, while also allowing some display variety. I could easily see picking up a few more Lord Vehemous figures, put the helmets on two of them and just display them behind the unmasked figure as his fellow cultists. Damn, I think I’ve just talked myself out of another forty bucks. But if you really want to go nuts, you have one more noggin option…

And that’s the skull. I’m not sure where or how skeletons fit into the whole Dragon Cult business, but this is a beautiful skull and it sure looks great on the figure. The sculpt is incredibly well detailed for a figure in this scale, but I shouldn’t be surprised as the folks at BFS have been sculpting these skulls plenty of times and have had a lot of practice. The skull is cast in a creepy yellowish-green and features some wash to bring out all the little details. Seeing as how the skull still features the red gash running down over the left eye, I’m guessing this is some kind of magical transformation. Alright, so we’ve looked at the figure and the heads, let’s check out the accessories.

For starters, Vehemous comes with this cool book, no doubt an ancient tome dealing with dragon lore and spells that you can do with the blood of the Great Wyrms. I’m pretty sure this is a repaint of the book included with Felonious from Wave 2, but I haven’t opened or reviewed that figure yet, and he’s out of bounds for comparison until I do. Sorry, but thems the rules! Either way, the book features a blue binding with a leather-like texture as well as sculpted gold fixtures and an ornamental piece on the front cover. As a reformed antiquarian book collector, I really dig this accessory a lot. It even has a sculpted chain that you can use to attach it to his belt. Of course, knowledge is power, but nothing beats cold hard steel, so let’s move on to some of Vehemous’ many weapons.

You can’t go wrong with a sword and dagger and Vehemous comes with both, each in their own scabbard and sheath, and each with pegs to attach them to his belt. The scabbard and sheath are a bit on the chunky side, but I’m willing to forgive that in this scale. Both are painted blue to match the shirt that peeks through the armor, you get some sculpted brown “leather” straps and the throats and tips are painted gold. The blades fit in well and can be drawn without much effort. I like that the peg hole for the dagger is angled a bit to the back so I can have him wear it horizontally. The gold hilts are matched (or “en suite” as they say) with pointed pommels and simple cross guards. Both have sculpted ribbed grips painted blue. The blades have a nice silver paint finish and Vehemous comes with two pairs of hands to hold them, one pair is hinged to angle forward and the other to bend side-to-side.

Next up, Vehemous comes with this bitchin’ spiked flail. The handle has sculpted “leather” wrappings and a pretty sharp spike capping off the end. The spiked ball hangs from a chain with gold painted loops securing it at both ends. I’m a sucker for a good flail, and I’m actually surprised that the Vitruvian HACKS 4-inch line beat the Mythic Legions 6-inch line, by doing a flail first. And they did a damn fine job with it.

Lastly, you get a spiked mace with a really long handle, making it look more like a staff than a practical weapon. Not that you couldn’t do some crazy damage with this thing if you were to swing it at the busy-body knights who show up to crash your Dragon Blood Rituals. The spiked ball looks like the same one used for the flail, and the shaft is white with some gold fixtures.

The best compliment I can pay an action figure line is to say that every time I open one, I want to buy another. That’s high praise, especially when we’re talking about 4-inch figures that run me about $25 each. I’ve been suitably impressed with Vitruvian HACKS ever since the first Kickstarter, but damn, Lord Vehemous really ups the ante. This figure is a 4-inches of masterpiece. This is an example of a fantastic original character design that has been executed it brilliantly, and the generous dose of extras and accessories make him a well-rounded package. Next week, I’m going to commit to going back and reviewing another figure from Series 1, before pressing on with more of the Series 2 figures.

Mythic Legions (The Coliseum): Brontus the Arena Troll by The Four Horsemen

Today, I thought I’d do a public service announcement by way of review. If you missed out on the Mythic Legions Advent of Decay Kickstarter, and you want to get in on some of these amazing figures, today is your last day to drop in pre-orders over at Store Horsemen. In the meantime, I’m opening the last of the figures that I picked up from small interim assortment called The Coliseum. These weren’t part of a Kickstarter, but rather went straight to pre-order and included a handful of regular figures and the third Deluxe Troll of the series. I already checked out Raygorr and Rahmulus, and now it’s time to have a look at Brontus the Arena Troll!

Brontus comes in a satisfyingly large window box that has a nice bit of heft to it.  The box is identical to the ones they used for the Forest and Stone Trolls and features some nice artwork and lets you get a good look at the big beastie inside. The packaging here is collector friendly, so long as you’re willing to practice a bit of patience when removing all the wire ties. I’ve actually been displaying my Stone Troll in the box up at the top of one of my display cases, and I’ll likely do the same with Brontus here. Sadly, I didn’t have the funds for the Forest Troll at the time, and unless T4H decide to do another run on him, I doubt he’ll ever wind up in my collection. There are usually just a couple on Ebay at any one time, and they sell for stupid amounts of money! Anyway, I’m not here to dwell on the past, so let’s get Brontus opened and check him out!

Here’s the big guy out of the box and in all his orange-y Troll glory. And damn, ain’t he pretty! Brontus uses a repaint of the exact same body as the Forest and Stone Trolls and it’s worth pointing out that this is an incredible sculpt. Every bit of him is covered with some kind of detail, including a leathery skin texture and various fissures and cracks here and there that suggest there is no word for moisturizer in the Troll language. The body is also studded with rock-like scales, which work pretty well on this guy and the Stone Troll, but felt a little out of place on the Forest Troll, which is why that one didn’t make the cut when I was budgeting what I was going to buy.

One of my favorite little details on the Troll body is the way his paunch that hangs over his belt, suggesting that this fellow is well fed on the bodies of his fallen foes. The belt itself is part of the body and has a cool hammered metal look to it as part of the sculpt, which matches his wrist cuffs perfectly. He’s also wearing a real fur diaper, which I believe is the same one that came on the Forest Troll. Under the fur there are leather-like strips that come down and these I’m not all that keen on. They’re made from a very stiff material and rather than hang naturally, they just sort of jut out in all different directions. I’m thinking I might be able to steam them to get them to fall more naturally, but that seems like a lot of work for something that is really just annoying. Brontus also comes with a rather long brass chain that goes around his neck and hangs down.

I can’t say enough good things about the coloring on this figure. The gradations of orange used for the body give him a real premium look and it looks like they used a subtle wash to really bring out all the little cracks and crevices in his disgusting Troll skin. Each of the rocky bits on his skin are individually painted too. His back reminds me of the Horta from the original Star Trek series, and that ain’t a bad thing!

The only new piece of sculpting on this guy is his head, and Brontus is indeed a cyclops, which meant I was powerless to resist this purchase. Why there aren’t more cyclops action figures is a mystery I will never understand. Whatever the case, this is a superb portrait and the paintwork T4H invested in Brontus’ one giant eye is absolutely superb. Couple that with the pointed ears, flat nose, and the broad down-turned mouth, and you’ve got a face that is brimming with personality. Brontus looks slightly pensive and more than a little sad. I don’t think he likes life at The Coliseum.

Because he uses the same body, the articulation here is identical to the previous Trolls. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the hips, ankles and wrists. The neck also has a swivel, but because of the way he’s hunched over it allows Brontus to tilt his head from side to side, rather than actually rotate it left and right. All in all, you aren’t getting a super articulated beast here, but the points of articulation are solid and useful, and strong ratchets in the shoulders mean that he can hold aloft his gigantic weapon, which in itself is no small feat. So let’s take a look at that weapon.

Brontus wields a giant troll skull mounted at the end of a tree and that’s one of the most badass things I’ve ever heard of. The handle is the same piece used for the Stone Troll’s giant boulder mace with a fresh coat of paint and sculpted iron bands with rivets to fortify the weapon. I really dig the way they have the nub of a branch coming off the handle, as this fits in between the fingers and helps him hold it securely. The skull itself has a bit of a wash to it, but overall looks like it was bleached in the sun before being converted into a weapon. Based on the configuration of the teeth, I’m thinking this is probably from a downed Stone Troll and love the fact that they put a massive iron spike at the end of it, as well as riveted a band of metal to help hold it together.

And there are a few shots of Brontus with Rocky, which is the name I chose for my Stone Troll. Considering that the bodies are shared 100%, I think they still look pretty distinctive from each other.

These guys also scale really well with the regular figures. Brontus towers over Rahmulus, and the troll hands are sculpted so that they can easily pick up and hold pretty much any Mythic Legions figure.

The Trolls were $100 at the time of pre-order and I’m pretty satisfied with that price, especially considering what they go for now on the secondary market. Yes, these are rotocast figures, and they would probably cost only a fraction of that if they were mass market releases, but it’s not like you’re seeing figures like this at retail these days. Plus, the quality of the sculpt and paint, along with how massive his weapon is, really justify the asking price here. If the Forest Troll went back up for pre-order, I’d grab one in a second and that should tell you just how much I love these big guys. And it might just be that the new Troll euphoria hasn’t worn off yet, but right now I’d say Brontus is my favorite of the bunch.

Vitruvian HACKS (Series 2): Male Orc Conqueror by Boss Fight Studio

While I may be almost caught up on Mythic Legions, I’m still swimming in Vitruvian HACKS figures, both from Series 1 and 2, that are waiting to be opened and reviewed, so I thought I’d end the week dipping back into the fantasy-inspired Series 2 with the last figure I have to review from the first wave. Let’s check out the Male Orc Conqueror!

As always, the regular HACKS releases feature a colorful portrait-orientated card with a plastic bubble and overlay that hugs the sides and allows for the best of both worlds: A traditional carded look, while still being totally collector friendly. BFS hasn’t messed with this presentation since Series 1 and I hope they never do! And just look inside that bubble! This guy comes packed with a ton of stuff, making him feel more like one of the Ultimate Exclusives from Series 1, than a regular release. If you read my review on the Knight of Accord, you’ll have a good idea about what to expect here, as this fellow is basically the Orcs answer to that figure, with the same types of extras. I’ll note that the word “Male” doesn’t actually appear on the card, but BFS has used it in their catalog listing to distinguish it from the Female Orc that followed.

Here’s Mr. Orc out of the package and stripped down to his bare essentials. Unlike the Series 1 figures, which featured separately sculpted outfits, the bulk of the Orc’s outfit is sculpted as part of the buck. This includes the chest and back plate, which has a cool hammered metal finish, sculpted olive green trousers, and the basic boots. Articulation, however, remains unchanged from the Series 1 figures, and while I would really like BFS to add swivels in the thighs, what we get here is still plenty good.

Additional separate pieces provide his wide belt with sculpted fur and the large medallion belt buckle, the wrist wraps, and the furry fringe at the tops of his boots. There are also two spiked plates that tab into the slots on the sides of his legs. The chest harness is also a separate piece. All the detail here is quite exquisite for a figure in this scale, right down to the tiny sculpted buckles meant to hold on his thigh straps. And while the colors on the outfit tend to be drab, the green skin adds some flash to the overall deco and the steel paint for the armor looks quite nice.

There’s also a pair of spiked shoulders that can be pegged into place and a fur half-cape that an go with them. The shoulders stay on securely, and be careful about those spikes, because they are sharp!

You get two head sculpts to choose from, which is very welcome, because rather than representing a single character, this figure is meant to be customized in different ways to build your Orc army. The stock head features a full beard, as well as great little details like the nose ring and the protruding lower teeth. The alternate head is clean shaven and without the nose ring. Both feature some very sharp details, particularly in the pointed ears. The paint is overall pretty sharp and clean, although my bearded had has a slightly wonky eye. It’s nothing too bad, but if you happen to be picking up this figure at a convention, you might want to check out the eyes before buying.

In addition to having two heads to build off of, you also have a number of helmet combinations to work with. First off, you get an open-faced helmet with knobs on the sides to attach one of the two face-plates, and also works quite well as a helmet all on its own. This system works the same as it did for the Knight of Accord, which is to say it doesn’t work all that well. The masks have holes that are supposed to peg through the knobs on the mask, but the ends of the knobs are too big for the holes. Also, the holes on the mask are located near the edges and I’m afraid if I force them, I’ll tear the edge of the mask. As a result, these will hold onto the helmet fairly well in an opened or closed position, but they won’t hinge up and down as intended.

Both of the masks are beautifully sculpted and look very Klingon to me with those stylized forehead ridges. Indeed, they look so damn Klingon, I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the intention. Both of the masks have a skull vibe going on, designed to strike fear in the hearts of all who cross blades with them. One features a fully sculpted beard.

The other piece of headgear is a full helmet with some rather sinister looking wings and cheek-plates. This piece is sculpted with the same hammered finish seen on the chest armor, and a mohawk of nasty and crude looking spikes. I like the design of this helmet a lot, but I also think it would fit more on an evil knight than it does on an Orc. If I do wind up troop building some of these guys, I’ll definitely reserve this helmet for the leader. And speaking of troop building, between all these different helmets and the two heads, you could probably buy a half-dozen of these Orcs and have no two look alike, and we haven’t even come to the weapons yet. So let’s talk weapons!

The Orc comes with a sword and shield, and each of these are wonderfully crude weapons certainly befitting of a savage Orc. The sword looks like someone took a farming implement, gave it a couple of wacks with a blacksmithing hammer to shape it into a something a little more befitting of butchering manflesh and handed it out to the next Orc in line. It’s jagged and primitive edges give it the no no nonsense look of a cleaver for the rank-and-file soldier and that’s pretty much perfect for this guy. The blade’s finish has a nice metal sheen to it and the grip features a sculpted wrap that looks like it’s meant to be animal hide.

The shield is without a doubt the showpiece of this figure’s accessories, as it is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a circular type with sculpted wooden planks, which have seen better days. They’re riddled with slash marks and have whole pieces taken out of them from the rigors of battle. The edge and center are sculpted to look like hammered metal, and they too have some pretty major wear from use. The attention to detail is every bit as strong on the inside as on the outside, where you get reinforcing metal strips bolted across. The shield is held using a simple grab bar, which has a beautiful woodgrain finish painted onto it, and there are also some loops, which could be used with a string so the Orc could wear the shield on his back.

If swords aren’t your thing, the Orc Conqueror also comes with this nifty battle hammer, which looks like a cross-section of a tree with metal spiked caps on the ends and a pole stuck into it. It’s crude, it’s vicious looking, and the detail is off the charts. The bark on the tree-section is beautifully sculpted and painted and the hammered-spiked caps feature sculpted rivets. The handle has a sculpted wrapped grip, and there’s another spike at the end of the shaft. This thing is the perfect Orc weapon, it looks devastating, and I only wish the shaft were a little longer so he could better wield it using both hands.

Finally, the figure comes with the usual black Boss Fight Studio stand. These are always a nice bonus, but the figure stands fine on his own, so it’s not necessary, unless you’re setting up all your figures for display and don’t want to risk them toppling into an avalanche.

The Conquering Orc makes for another great addition to the Vitruvian HACKS Fantasy Series. There’s no denying that the folks at BFS put a lot of love into this guy, from his head sculpt to his outfit and weapons. The attention to detail is superb and the options for display are many. I could easily pick up four or five of this figure and outfit them as a squad of unique looking Orc soldiers. But of all the things to love here, I think my favorite is the fact that this figure looks like someone took one of my beloved old AD&D miniatures and gave him articulation and removable accessories. I have to imagine that’s exactly the feeling they were going for, and it’s exactly the sort of thing which will keep me coming back to collect all this line has to offer.

Mythic Legions (The Coliseum): Rahmulus by The Four Horsemen

Ah, there’s nothing like opening up a new Mythic Legions figure to give me a little boost of happiness in the middle of the week. As I mentioned last time, I only picked up two regular figures from The Coliseum assortment, and I checked out the first of those, Raygorr, last week. Today I’m opening up Rahmulus. I picked this guy up, mainly because he uses some of my favorite parts from other figures, and I also really dig the gritty deco. Let’s take a look…

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging and to be honest the bio here is a little on the dull side. Apparently, Rahmulus fought in the Coliseum beside his twin brother, until his sibling disappeared. Now Rahmulus plots to escape the Coliseum and find his lost brother. The bios in this line have always been hit or miss for me, and this one is definitely a miss. Based on the backstory, I’m guessing the name Rahmulus is a play on Romulus as in Romulus and Reemus from ancient Roman mythology, so that’s kind of cool. Hey, they can’t all be gems. Besides, I don’t need backstory to enjoy the figure.

And Rahmulus is indeed a beauty, there are a lot of easily recognized parts on this guy. The legs feature standard knight armor from the knees down and bare legs above the knees. The chest and back plate go all the way back to Gorgo Aetherblade, and was also used on the gladiators, Vitus and Pixxus. Instead of the ornamental gladiator belt worn by those champions, Rahmulus features the segmented leather scale armor skirt worn by some of the knights. His hands feature knight gauntlets, but the right arm is fully armored, whereas the left arm is left bare. Rahmulus features only one piece of shoulder armor, on the right, and he has a brown sword belt worn over his shoulder that allows his sword to be worn across his back.

The coloring here is comprised mostly of brown and black, with some cool flurries of other colors to keep things interesting. The leg armor has high gloss black and gold up near the knees and the boots gradually get brown and muddy as they go down to the toes. The skirt also features a gradient shift from black at the top to brown at the groin armor. All of the rivets are neatly painted in gold. The left gauntlet is glossy black with red and gold accents, while the right sleeve of armor is gold with red accents and gray chain-mail exposed in the joints. The torso armor is glossy black with red and gold striping, and the shoulder is brown with red and silver accents. I really like the way the glossy black paint on the armor is laid on like a thick lacquer and the tanned skin tone is nice and even throughout.

The Greek-style helmet is the same one we saw on Pixxus and Vitus, and it was probably this head more than anything else that instantly sold me on the figure. Besides just adoring this sculpt, I think it looks fantastic in the glossy black paint with the gold borders and scroll-work. The bright crimson comb on the top looks quite brilliant as well. For some reason, I thought I remembered an un-helmeted head coming with this guy, but that’s not the case. I was probably mixing him up with one of the others in the assortment.

You may remember that I felt Raygorr came up a little short in the accessories, but Rahmulus feels like he made out a little bit better. Both figures came with a sword and a sheild, but beyond that Raygorr only came with a dagger, but Rahmulus comes with a spear. I suppose you could argue that Raygorr came with an extra sword belt and two shoulders as opposed to Rahmulus’ one of each, but now we’re really starting to split hairs. The sword is actually the same one that came with Raygorr, only this time with the hilt painted entirely in black.

The shield is a real treat, because it’s not the usual heater-type shield with the groves in the side. Nope, this is the same circular shield that came with Pixxus, and when I say the same, I mean exactly the same, right down to the brilliant gold paint job. I’m not complaining, because even with all the Mythic Legions figures I have, I only owned one of these shields, so I’m quite content to have two now.

And that brings us to the spear, which is the same one that came with Vitus and Pixxus, this time painted with a black shaft and a silver tip. I’ve got no complaints about any of these weapons, they’re great, but I sort of wish T4H had dipped a little bit into the Weapon Kits from the first Kickstarter for this assortment of figures. Those are mostly only available now at crazy prices and it feels like some of those weapons haven’t gotten much circulation, whereas so many of the ones from the first Kickstarter figures have now been bundled over and over again.

While Rahmulus lacks a bit of the “wow factor” I got when I opened Raygorr, I still think this is an incredibly solid figure with a very cool deco. I love the selection of parts they went with here and I can practically see Rahmulus swinging his weapons against his foes in the dusty pits of The Coliseum. I won’t like, I’m already feeling those sharp pangs of regret about not getting more figures from this assortment, but I don’t feel any regrets over the two that I did choose. Rahmulus is yet another great addition to this line, and playing around with him is just making me want the Advent of Decay figures to get here all the sooner. In the meantime, I have one more figure to open from this assortment, and I hope to get to the big guy next week!

Mythic Legions (The Coliseum): Raygorr by The Four Horsemen

Advent of Decay is the next big set of releases for T4H’s wildly popular Mythic Legions series. I have about 35 figures coming to me from that Kickstarter and that’s not even everything. Unfortunately, it’s been delayed a bit and is now expected to arrive sometime in the mid to late Summer. In the meantime, T4H did a much smaller interim assortment called The Coliseum, which consisted of seven figures and one new Deluxe Troll. I was a little strapped for cash when these pre-orders dropped, so I didn’t go too deep here, but I did pick up two figures and the Troll. I may try to pick up a few more when the remaining stock goes up for sale, but those items usually go fast. Anyway, today I’m opening up what I suspect might be my favorite of the bunch, Raygorr!

T4H has yet to shake up the package design since the first figures shipped, and that’s fine by me. Raygorr comes on a generic Mythic Legions card with a large bubble, which can be opened without damaging anything. There’s an insert at the bottom of the bubble with the series logo and a little bio blurb on the side. The blurb on the insert tells us a little about Raygorr. Nicknamed “The Dragon,” Raygorr came to The Coliseum from a distant land and with a unique fighting style. Other contenders in the Coliseum are slaves made to fight for their lives, while Raygorr apparently goes for sport or some secret nefarious purpose. He’s just your everyday mysterious badass.

And oh boy, does he look the part! As you probably know by now, Mythic Legions uses a clever system of interchangeable parts, which allows T4H to mix and match to make new figures. In this case, Raygorr uses the torso and tabard from Sir Gideon, the belt, and bare arms and legs from Vitus, the boots and gloves of the Orcs, and the helmet and shoulders from Gorgo Aetherblade. It’s an eclectic mix that works beautifully and continues to prove that T4H still have some great looking combinations up their sleeves.

Naturally, everything has also received a fresh coat of paint, and I really dig the color combinations here. The tabard is crimson and matches the trim on his shoulders. The boots, gloves, neck guard, and helmet are all a striking deep metallic blue with some lighter blue to give it a little more variety. The belt is a mix of tan and brown with some lovely gold paint on the giant belt buckle and on the fixtures. Finally, the skin is cast in a tanned flesh color. The paint T4H uses on this line has always had a premium look to it, and that trend continues here.

Also evident here are all the extra little touches in the sculpt that I really appreciate. The armored boots and gloves have pitting and nicks from battle. The belt is textured to look like real leather with some frayed and worn edges, and the sculpting evident in that belt buckle is a work of art all on its own.

You have two display options for Raygorr’s helmet. He comes out of the package with these giant black horns, and I think they look great. And since they’re socketed into the helmet, you can even change the angles.

The other option are these bitchin’ wings, and these are what I’m going to go with most of the time. There’s something about this look that just sings to me. I think it makes him look like both royalty and a mighty warrior. Almost like some kind of Duke of War. Hmm… Anyway, the two tone blue coloring on the helmet really looks fantastic. Personally, I would have given him a couple of red eyes peering out from the black void of an eye slit, but either way, this head sculpt just looks grand.

Raygorr does show up a little light on the accessories, but what he does have is plenty good. For starters, he comes with not one, but two of the ubiquitous Mythic Legions brown sword belts. One comes on the figure, worn as a shoulder strap and I’ve opted not to use the other, because I don’t want to cover up that beautiful belt he has. His sword is the same sculpt that I first saw bundled with Gorgo Aetherblade. It’s a classical fantasy design with gold hilt and grip and a stout silver blade. If you opt to give him the brown waist-belt, he can carry it there. You can also remove one of his shoulders and have him wear it across his back. It looks pretty good slung back there, but I prefer he keep both his shoulders.

Next he comes with one of the cool little no-nonsense daggers. This one has a gold guard and pommel and the grip is painted blue to match his boots and gauntlets. There’s a loop on his main belt that he can tuck his dagger into. The loop is a little too snug to work that well with the sword, but you could probably make it fit if you really wanted to.

Finally, Raygorr comes with the typical Mythic Legions shield. The shield includes a pegged wrist clip, so you can angle the shield however you want and independent of the position of the arm. The border is painted silver with a red front surface and a black dragon emblem to advertise Raygorr’s nickname. The accessories here are all great, but it’s worth pointing out that these figures typically come with one more big weapon, like a spear, battle axe, or extra sword. But I’ve got a lot of extra weapons from this line if I really wanted to give him something else, so I’m not complaining.

The way The Coliseum was presented made it feel like a thrown-together ad hoc line of filler to bridge the gap between the two Kickstarters, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at this guy. I’ve now opened and reviewed over 25 Mythic Legions figures and this line continues to impress me. And despite being entirely constructed of parts pillaged from previous figures, Raygorr still feels like he was designed from the ground up. That’s the genius of T4H and their eye for design. I’m not going to say that Raygorr is among my favorite Mythic Legions figures, because I say that almost every time I open a new one, but… Oh, OK. He’s one of my favorites.