Sunday, 25 August 2013

Darklands Kickstarter Ysian Starter Set (plus extras) review.

So in another of my Kickstarter escapades I backed the Darklands World at War Kickstarter after seeing the incredible quality of the miniatures on offer and Mr Lol Cravens article on the intriguing new system . I plumped for the Ysians (which are like Chaos Warriors but 10 x better) and have been impatiently waiting for them ever since.

Well they finally tuned up a few week ago so I guess I can submit my thoughts on them now I have finally had a chance to have a look and get them (mostly) assembled. A crushing disappointment or everything I’d hoped for? Read on to find out.

Incidentally here I will talk just about the models, to find out more about Darklands and Mierce Miniatures see my article on the subject on the Conclave of Har website.

So first off, miniature quality: on the whole very good, a few bubbles here and there but nothing too bad. The most serious is on Beorns axe hand which has a collapsed finger but that is easily fixable with a spot of greenstuff, there aren’t great big bits of detail missing like Citadels finecast. And what detail there is!! These models are for the most part phenomenal. A real tour de force in miniature design. With that obvious hand sculpted touch these are a far cry from GW's CAD models that seem to make up so much of their output these days. And unlike some Kickstarters the figures have matched or in some cases surpassed the concept art.

The miniatures are actually made from different types of resin as you can see by the different colours on show. Whether this is a batch issue or there is some other reason for it I am unsure but there is definitley a difference in the properties of the material. The resin is really very well cast, there is flash aplenty which can be easily removed without any problems and any mould lines are minimal. Where there are mould lines or a slight slip in the mould however you can have a real problem cleaning it up as there is so much detail on the models. I found a sharp craft knife worked best. This said however, I think I found no more than half a dozen mould lines out of 25 or so figures which is a rather good ratio.

So ill break down what I got and give a mini (lol) review for each one.


Ax Drune Commander

Ax Drune Musician

Ax Drune Warrior 
Ax Drune Standard Bearer

Ax Drune Warrior

These are GREAT, possibly the best miniatures in the whole set, no issues with moulding other than a tiny bit missing on one axe. They make GW Chaos Marauders look like a juvenile mess. JUST LOOK AT THEM. They look amazing, the horns were a little fiddly to get on the helmets but that’s about it as far as quibbles go. 2 of the figures did require a very minor bit of bending to the arms to get them to fit. They also fit on the bases nicely, really couldn't be happier with these...


Dude with a huge banner. A somewhat fiddly assembly, (the banner alone is in 5 pieces) and there are a few gaps that will need greenstuffing, there are also some RIDICULOUSLY small horns that need to be attached to the model that will test your dexterity and patience. Overall very nice although I feel the banner may be unneseccarily complicated. It does look mightily impressive though. An ambitous miniature superbly executed.

Urbad the Giant

One of the standard freebie stretch goals for Kickstarter backers, it’s an ok model and a big chunk of resin, you can see why they gave it away as a freebie, has some nice details but is most certainly the weaker of the miniatures in design.


There is a head inside that skull with some exquisite detail. 

Shaman dude, (I think - will need to wait for the musters to be released) the same great detail as the other models. The wrist snapped but was easily repaired with a spot of superglue. Cracking model, great detail.

Ulric The Defiler

Really going to enjoy painting this 

Perfect, no mould lines crisp detail, went together like a dream. Looks fantastic. Canot wait to get some paint on this lad. If everything had been to this quality I would have been astounded. Might have something to do with the white/cream resin used

Rose of Ker - Ys

The Grey resin also seems to be one of the better formula

Another nice and easy assembly aside from a confusing piece of detail that I just removed as it was pissing me off. It was fine, a couple of fine mould lines easily removed. A dark grey resin, more like hard plastic. a beautiful figure.

Sword Melusines

Stunning model, i think this is the balance just right.

That sword snapped, hopefully the repair job holds. 

This seems a bit gratuitous if im being honest, both feet snapped.

Again sword snapped, will have to be careful when used in games.

again, a bit in your face but a nice sculpt. 

ARRGH THE HORROR!!! Absolute nightmares all round here im afraid. Lovely models but oh so fragile, many of them had their feet break off as I clipped bits off the sprue, lots of the sword handles snapped and had to be reglued. There are a few air bubbles in the hair that can easily be fixed, and overall no issues with anything else. That said they are very nice models and I look forward to painting them immensely, no mould lines. The banner was a little bent so I tried to straighten it whereby it snapped off and needed fixing, it also had a lot of flash but that was very easy to remove. These models are only suitable for mature and advanced modellers for reasons other than just their anatomical correctness.

Bow drunes

For basic models these are very very nicely designed. 

Bow Drune Commander

That arrow is GUARANTEED to break at some point in this models life 

Arrows are very fragile and break. No hope of repairing them at all im afraid. A bad mould slip on one model may be beyond my skill to repair so that might be the one figure I get replaced. Over all though no bad mouldlines and although lots of easily repairable flash not too bad to assemble. The arrows are never going to last and may have to be replaced with wire. Considering these are the rank and file models they are excellent although not quite as nice as their ax wielding brethren

Small Head, big Ax

Another stunning centerpiece.

I love this model, with his tiny head and big axe to compensate, there was a nasty mould line that needed fixing on one of his legs but other than that, all good, a minor bit of repositioning on the arms needed and a few very minor bubbles but otherwise no problems.

Carrowek on horse

Poor horse, Carrowek is a big lad...

Very tasty, my one was missing his cloak but Mierce have sent a replacement.  Goes together quite well with a little filling needed at waist and round horses legs. Mould lines on horses flanks needed removing. I havent quite finished assembling mine so this is a stock photo.


Nice models but some issues with bubbles on the bear form. Beorn human axe snapped off after a relatively short drop. Beorn bear (not pictured) has horrible bubble damage to one hand that I might be able to fix. Great sculpt on both figures however. This picture shows just how good these models are.

So overall lovely figures but I would definitely label these as an advanced kit (and not just because the Melusine are naked) as they are quite a pain assemble,. Of course this is the only way to not compromise the design of the figures and here Mierce excel. Just as good or better than the proposed concepts and superbly executed considering the ambitous nature of the design. So much better than anything GW have produced of late and detail so fine that it almost tricks the eye, (I almost removed some as excess mould) They are not exempt from air bubbles however and I will need to fill a few gaps with Greenstuff  before I am happy with them. They are also very fragile, the Melusines particularly so and some pieces would break just from the touque of being removed from the sprue with clippers. I would probablty recommend using a dremel saw or something to remove those pieces (although they do reglue just fine). In addition if you drop these models they WILL break, just transporting them is going to be a nightmare. I actually hesitate to say they are suitable as gaming models such is the fraility of the pieces. Have superglue handy at all times.

Overall I am very pleased with the Ysians and the Kickstarter in general. Some of the models are better than others but all of them are at least ‘nice’ with most of them being ‘excellent’ I not sure I would have got the Sworld Melusines in retrospect as this material is ironically enough just not suited to the female form and their slenderness (although the dark resin used for the Rose seems a lot better). The bow drunes are another weak link but overall they are fantastic figures that I am going to have a great deal of fun painting. Something else that needs to be factored in was the price that I paid. I paid well under RRP for these models as the Kickstarter price was heavily discounted. At RRP I would be a great deal less forgiving of the few flaws present. All in all however these ARE premium figures for a premium price and the quality is very very high. I look forward the the next Kickstarter with great anticipation!

No comments:

Post a Comment