Maidenhead Feral Elf Nobles Review - page 1
Maidenhead Miniatures steadily keeps adding to the Feral Elf range. As you will remember they are an Australian manufacturer of all-female fantasy ranges in the 28mm scale. Feral Elves are a cross between normal elves and beastmen, whose background can be found on the Maidenhead site.
We've covered all this before so lets not dwell on that. In earlier reviews I took a look at figures from the lower caste (the light centyrs) and the middle caste (heavy infantry). Maidenhead's latest release covers the upper caste, those who look the most like normal elves, without horns or hooves. What sets this release apart from the others is that it consists of characters and command figures. The members of the upper caste are your heroes and magic users, chieftains and battle standard bearers. As with the rest of the range, the figures are sculpted by Mike Broadbent after the artwork of Alejandro Gutiérrez Franco.
Casting, sculpting and basing is of the same standard as previous releases (see the older reviews). They are: 2 noble warmaidens, 2 champions, 2 sorceresses with their staff holders, two standard bearers and 3 musicians. Unlike earlier releases, some of these are multi part models which will require (minimal) assembly.
The figures above are the two standard bearers and a noble warmaiden (seated). While these figures may at a first glance appear to be horned like their kin of lower birth, these are merely headdresses and helmets worn to define their status in battle. The standards are made from a large animal hide, with a stylistic beastman head to the center that seems to be attached (sown?) to the banner. Sculpting on the fur is a bit rough, but I like it that way. (what was that? - ed). Being one piece models, the standard bearers can't avoid looking a bit flat.This being said, any human assuming this pose would look that way. As is they look great as a sort of honour guard for your warmaiden for official occasions (though I wouldn't want to imagine what passes for 'official' in a feral elven tribe), this due to the symmetry in the poses (although the breasts on the one to the right are noticeably smaller than the one on the left which does spoil the effect just a bit in my opinion). But that's just me.
main eye catcher of this set-up is of course the warmaiden (or queen)
with hunting bird herself. Her seated position somewhat reminds me of
a samurai lord, the exotic bird somehow adding to the majesty of it all.
The pose seems interesting enough, although you probably wouldn't expect
to see her in direct combat. This is more a figure to represent your Feral
Elf chieftain, overlooking the battle from a distance or holding court.
She is not flooded with (needless) detail as is often the case in fantasy
personalities. The impressive horned helmet reveals her status within
the tribe. I'm not sure what the skulls are supposed to be as to me they
look somewhat like a monkey, but with horns. Possibly they once rested
on the shoulders of a beastman. The bird is very nice and adds character
to the whole. Only minor detail is a bit of flash on the bird's beak that
was slightly hard (but certainly not impossible) to reach.
The following figures are the second Warmaiden and two Noble Champions. I immediately fell in love with the artwork for the warmaiden and was glad to see the sculpt remains true to the original concept. The figure comes in two parts. The separate arm with sword is easy to fit in place. There is a small pin on the inward side of the sword, which fits (perfectly) in a small hole in her thigh. From there you just rotate the arm until it rests in the socket, the joint invisible under the shoulderpad. Once assembled, the figure seems to become truly tri-dimensional. There is also a separate jar, to place at the figure's feet on the base (or use somewhere else if you wish). Sculpting is very good on this figure and the regal pose makes this my favourite model from the whole range.
The Noble Champions are more standard, one piece castings. One with axe and shield, one with two swords. Sculpting and casting is of the same standard we've gotten used too and there are no visible flaws. The first one's axe hand seems a bit smaller than her shield hand, but we're well into the realm of nitpicking here. Oh yes,and her waist is wasp thin, but thanks to the draping of the fur skin it's not very noticeable and it doesn't look odd.
The next figures are the feral elf sorceresses. As you can see there's a bit of flash on the first one, but then it doesn't look like an easy figure to cast. She's wearing an animal skull for a headdress and standing in an unusual pose, slightly bent forward with her #kof# posterior sticking out. She is in mid spell and seems to be summoning demons who are materializing from the smoke from a small cup she probably filled with some magic potion from the jar she's still holding in her other hand. It's a bit hard to make out but there appear to be two vaguely demonic shapes emerging from the smoke swirl. Sculpting is a bit rough (and undetailed) on that bit, but can be forgiven since they're still in an ethereal state.
Her companion seems engaged in the same activity (note the small sliver of metal from the casting still left on the jar, this can easily be removed, even without needing a knife). The demonette she is summoning is considerably larger than the previous ones and is cast as a separate piece (which also means you can point it in whatever direction you want). The back of the hand holding the demon bit is a bit flat, not really well defined, but only visible if you turn the figure upside down. The horns on her headdress are untextured and a bit dull compared to the warmaidens, but now I'm nitpicking again. Once assembled she makes for a very impressive sorceress in mid spell.
Go to page 2 of this review for staff holders, musicians and scale measurements.