Cheap Sprue Review: WGA Einherjar Space Dwarves and a Squat Roundup
It's time for the second Cheap Sprue review. This time we're on a topic that is particularly close to my heart...
Or Space Dwarves if you're feeling generic. Building a Squat army is one of my longest term wargaming dreams. I've started a few times and the truth is that I've got enough original GW Squats to build the whole darn thing. So why buy a sprue of Wargames Atlantic Death Fields Einherjar? I did want to see if they or their parts might be compatible with original plastic GW Squats, but also I just couldn't help myself...
Read on for a brief review and then scale comparisons and measurements for every space dwarf I could dig out of the closet and a few I couldn't!
I. A Brief Review
Here's the Sprue picture from the WGA website:
A given sprue only provides enough parts for 3 Dwarves, and this means there's plenty of space for lots of good bits and options. Unlike the Halfling sprue I reviewed first, the Einherjar sprue makes allowances to arm and equip the figures identically. There are two different helmet designs that come in 3's, more than enough las-carbines to go around, 3 optional fur collars and, 3 axes. Given that, it seems like a small gripe, but I was disappointed to see that there are only two fatigue caps. Still, there is a bald head, so you can make all your figures un-helmeted if you don't mind a 1:3 ratio of baldies. Rounding out the options are a flamer, plasma gun, shotgun and grenade launcher and a few pistols, blades and other bits. Basically, it has everything you want for Imperial Guard or classic Squat proxies.
I'd like to give special mention to the two main weapon types; The carbines are a nice small take on what is clearly intended to be a lasgun in the GW sense. I've seen A LOT of takes on the lasgun over the years and this is one of my favorites. The axes are a particularly nice touch. As an almost essential dwarf element the designers managed to make it into a futuristic looking weapon by taking some visual cues from modern ice-climbing axes. Very cool.
Here's two of the figures I assembled. Yep, those are Space Dwarves and I think it's a nice take on the idea. It's a bit more fantasy-dwarfy than the classic squat, but still obviously futuristic:
II. Scale Comparisons
or "How short should a Space Dwarf be if a Space Dwarf should be short?"
As always in my reviews, measurements are taken from sole of footwear to the eyeline.
Of course, the first comparison has to be the genuine article. The figures pretty well represent the range of Squats in my sizable collection. But one is not a squat...
L. to R. GW Plastic Squat (18mm), WGA Einhejar (22.5mm), Harlequin Space Dwarf (19mm), Einherjar, GW Metal squat (20mm).
Historical note: the Harlequin Space Dwarves had 9 poses, date to the early 90's and were being sold by Black Tree Design at a very affordable price until recently disappearing from the site. Might be worth enquiring about...
Here's a layout of a few plastic squat bits and Einerjar bits side by side to gauge compatibility:
Unfortunately the WGA arms are a bit too skinny to look right on the chunky GW bodies.
The WGA las carbines likewise are probably too small to match the GW originals.
The heads aren't bad though. The WGA look smaller here, but placed on a Squat body they look ok.
Returning to miniature comparisons, you can't talk about squats without mentioning Bob Olley. Along with the Perry Brothers, Mr. Olley was of the three main Squat sculptors at GW and the only one of the three to keep the squat aesthetic alive post-GW. Over the past 3 decades he's made Squat'ish space dwarves for companies such as Simtac, Macrocosom, Fantastic Miniatures and others and most prolifically for his own company "Olley's Armies".
Below is an Olley's Army Scrunt. Typical of his more modern offerings, it's a bit bigger than classic Squats with a nice chunky aesthetic:
L. to R. Olley's Armies 22mm (some 21mm), WGA Einherjar 22.5mm.
The widest current range of space dwarves is Mantic's Forge Fathers (FF). Another line that leans into the fantasy dwarf aesthetic.
L to R. Mantic FF Militia (19.5mm), WGA Einjerjar (22.5mm), Mantic FF character (20mm), WGA Einerjar, Mantic FF Brokkr (22mm). They're all pretty good, but the Brokr is definitely the closest in height and bulk.
Here's a guy I'm including just because he's cool and with the hope that someone will be able to tell me where he's from. If I ever get my Squat army off the ground he'll be in there somewhere, though probably with a weapon swap.
L to R. Einherjar (22.5mm), mystery Steampunk Dwarf 19mm.
Almost the whole gang...
L. to R. Olleys Army, Einherjar, GW metal, Mantic FF, GW plastic, mystery steampunk, Mantic.
A brief comparison seems necessary for WGF's Einherjar and a couple of other examples from the "Death Fields" range. Death Fields currently consists of a variety very nice sci-fi troopers more united in their obvious designs as Imperial Guard proxies than by the short, loose fluff provided by the manufacturer regarding far-future competitive interstellar death sport.
L. to R. WGA: Les Grognards 28mm, Einjerjar 22.5mm , Raumjager 29mm.
Anatomically speaking. by way of comparison (assume another 2mm per figure from eyeline to top of head), if a Les Grognard is 6 feet tall, the Einherjar is a bit under 5 feet tall. That puts Einherjar just about at the highest point of what could be considered dwarfism which is medically defined as 4'10" or less but averages around 4 feet. All this to say, these are definitely tall dwarves.
Though a brief comparison to some GW dwarf seems essential, there's no real standardization between the various GW dwarf lines. Still, here's a relatively recent example:
L. To R. WGA Einjerjar 22.5mm, GW The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game Dwarf 22.5MM
Ironically this member of Thorin's company from a boxed set from a few years ago is the closest thing in the review in size and bulk to an Einjerhar. I don't know if that benefits anyone, but Thorin's Company is still being sold. Now you know and knowing is...
And so we arrive face to trunk with the elephant in the room. Yep, we've got to address GW's recently forays into squat-y-ness. A few years ago the forgotten race was resurrected with the Necromunda Squat Merc who was a nice update on the classic designs and really a great looking fig that I would have liked to buy if it wasn't -like all Necromunda figures- freaking huge. Regardless by the time I learned about it he was out of stock:
More recently came these Squat-Iron-something-who-cares-Prospectors in which I don't see any Squat style at all:
And now we're just gotten these Leagues-of-Vanilla/Votann:
This next chopped pic is the best size pic I could find online for the Squat Prospectors and Votaan.
You can find the full version and more like it here: Votann Size Comparisons : Warhammer40k (reddit.com)
With the help of math, a ruler and assuming the unpainted bases are the newer 28mm GW bases, I estimate (and others online have affirmed) we're looking at about a 25mm for the Prospectors and 26mm for the Votaan.
Compared to 22.5mm Einerjar that's 2.5-3.5mm different which is huge for dwarf figures at this size. Those determined to mix them may find that since the larger GW figures are quite a bit more armored, you might be able to mix with the new GW Votaan and the eye would assume they're the same scale. I don't think there will be a lighter armed Votaan unit from GW, but perhaps the Votaan could be a heavier infantry within an Einerjar force? Definitely a "your-mileage-may-vary" sort of situation...
What we have in the Einherjar is a nice set of rather tall space dwarves that is neither the Squats of old, nor the Votaan of new. Good attention was paid to the contents of the sprue with an eye toward building uniform units. This is especially true if one has eyes on these as Imperial Guard (Astra Militarum) proxies but they are by no means limited to that usage.
They have their own proportion and aesthetic which is largely incompatible with original plastic Squats, but the more recent Mantic Forgefather sets probably have the most possibilities for mixing in terms of size and use of classic dwarf design elements. Though the GW Votaan will likely steal the spotlight among many of those currently looking for Space Dwarves, hobbyists seeking space dwarves with a different style may find the flexibility and much lower price (1/4 or less per figure) of the Einherjar very appealing.