Runewars: Painting the Daqan Lords Part 1- Creative Assembly.

As I mentioned in our review and AAR of our first game, I have chosen the Daqan Lords -humans- as my faction for the "Runewars Miniatures Game." As Tim and I traded the armies in our starter boxes I suddenly found myself with 44 miniatures that were unpainted and only assembled via push-fit. Striking while the iron is hot (that is to say, while my attention span lasts), I promptly got to work cleaning and assembling them. Below I'll share some simple ways to quickly add variety to your Daqan miniatures without sculpting  or adding additional bits.

As a point of reference, here's the assembly sheet that comes with the miniatures.

Companies selling units of massed troops (and the customers who buy them), seem to follow one or two of the following conventions.

  1. Units comprised of multiples of one sculpt (this was quite common until the 90's)
  2. Historical accuracy in specific rank poses (i.e. one rank kneeling, one firing, one reloading)
  3. Some variation of sculpts among troops all doing the same thing (i.e. all advancing, or all charging or, all firing, etc.)
  4. Wide variation of troops all doing different things.

The Runewars figs seem to be a mix of 3 and 4, especially the spearmen, who are generally advancing aggressively or in the process of spearing something.  I decided to go with that aesthetic and embrace the chaos of minis who seem to be frozen in the midst of melee.


I: Spearmen

The starer box comes with 16 Spearmen so I had 32 to assemble. Assembly as per the box is quite simple, however doing that will only leave you with 4 poses spread across your entire unit. With a little modifying, you can have much more variation.

All of the spearmen models have a separate right arm with a spear and 3 of the 4 sculpts have a separate shield arm as well. The arms fit in with puzzle-like pegs that are unique to each of the 4 sculpts. However, by trimming each peg to a roundish peg (and sometimes trimming the shoulder just a bit) the arms are interchangeable with each other and can also be rotated.

Each picture above below shows 8 identically-bodied spearmen. I built 2 of each stock; The rest are modified  by swapping arms and/or by changing the angle at which they are positioned.  The result is a mass of figures appearing to have more variety in sculpt than there actually is.

II: Oathsworn Cavalry

The box set comes with two each of two different poses. These are 3-piece sculpts with horse, rider torso and rider head. Unfortunately the heads are not swappable without some filler and/or sculpting, so I put them on all their intended torsos. However, the angle of the riders can be changed by trimming the peg that affixes the torso of the rider to the horse which also allows for the rider torsos to be swapped between the two horse versions.  This multiplies the number of variants and I made one further change, modifying the angle of one of the riders swords, a task made easy by having a glove neatly ending at the forearm which forms the perfect place to cut for rotation.

Each pic below has four of the same rider torsos/heads. I forgot to take pre-basecoat pictures so here's a sneak peek of the color I'm using for the spearmen and Cavalry.

III Rune Golem.

Without a doubt, the most visually notable model in the Daqan forces, it was thus completely unacceptable for me to have 2 identical Rune Golems. The first model is assembled stock except that I rotated it's lower right arm down just a bit.

The second model was modified by:

  1. Rotating the legs at the waist to make the stance appear a bit wider (though they're actually the same as the fig above).
  2. The right lower arm was rotated up a bit and the fingers trimmed and bent a bit into a pointing pose
  3. The two left hands are cut off and swapped, putting the sword in the lower hand and the open hand on top.

The result looks pretty cool and he appears more aggressive than his slightly more lumbering brother. I also plan to add a rock in the upper left hand which appears to be in mid-swing.

IV Notes on mold line cleanup.

The Rune Golem has an impressive near-lack of mold lines. The Spearmen have a few, but en-masse the only lines that will draw the eye are on the tops of the shoes, a few the shoulder pads and the tops of the helmets so those were the only lines I removed. For the Cavalry, there were a few more, and though I ignored the bottom of the horses and areas covered by arms, weapons and shields, I still paid close attention to the helmets and the horses legs which have obvious lines that need to be removed.

This selective attention to detail is going to be carried throughout the project as I attempt to get these prepped and painted to a tabletop standard as quickly as possible. If it won't be noticed by those standing at the edge of the table I won't be attending to it.

V. Final Thoughts on figure quality.

I'm rather impressed with these figs. The material feels very much like the PVC used by Reaper Bones, but it seems to be cast cleaner without much of the softness of detail that some Bones suffer from. It appears that the minis were deliberately sculpted for easy painting and with the limitations of PVC in mind. Details are bolder and more raised and also somewhat sparse. There is no attempt at the hyper-detailing that is prevalent so many current miniature lines and this has the advantage of  avoiding the pitfalls of many Bones miniatures whose sculpts were originally intended to be cast in metal, a material better suited for fine detail than PVC.

This design choice will -I assume- disappoint many hard-core miniature painters who appreciate the minute greebling and filligree common in Privateer Press and Games Workshop miniatures. However, those who wish to get their figures painted quickly and easily will find much to like like in these figures.

As a minor disappointment, it must be mentioned that while puzzle-piece-style pegs simplify the assembly process for those not accustomed to such things (FFG's main audience is board gamers after all...), it feels like a real opportunity was missed here. FFG could quite easily -and with very few sculpt modifications- given all these minis' arms the same peg attachment and allowed customers not only the same ease of assembly but also the ability to swap the arms and adjust angles at will.

That said, the PVC cuts and glues (with superglue) very easily and it doesn't take much to achieve simple conversions that will add alot of variation to players' units. Such variation is especially good since many folks seem to be swapping with friends to double the size of their force and it looks like some of the first releases for the game will be packs of the exact same miniatures contained in the core game box.

So far, I'm pleased with these minis. They've assembled well, modified easily and should paint up quickly. Even though there are 44 of them, I'm not feeling nearly as much dread as I normally do when I prepare to paint so many similar figures at once and that's a very good thing.

-Karl Paulsen

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