So here I am reviewing the last of the original four Freebooter's Fate starter sets. It's actually the Goblin Pirates my own pirates have crossed swords with the most. Round these parts it's almost certainly the Goblin Pirates who are the most popular first faction choice. I guess that's because they're the clearly obvious 'fantasy' faction if you will. They're also highly colourful and full of humorous character which helps. Besides, who doesn't like mental looking Goblins with dead sharks on their backs? You have to be a particularly joyless individual not to smile at least a little bit the first time you see the gloriously unhinged Moby Dugg!
As before this is a starter set for Freebooter's Fate, I guess the clue is in the title right? But unlike the other starters this set contains six individual miniatures instead of the usual four. Well I suppose it wouldn't be a Goblin faction if it didn't outnumber the other factions, right? Well lets take a closer look at what components you get in the box.
The Captain of this merry band of Goblin brigands isn't himself a Goblin. Nope Captain Malo Gordab is an Orc, and a bloody big Orc at that. He does though sport the smallest and fiddliest little piece I've ever had the misfortune to come across. In the picture above in the top left you'll see a metal spru containing Malo's head and two horns to go on it. Now that's not all that's on that spru. Oh no there is also a teeny tiny little tooth that needs to go into Malo's gob!!! Bring the tweezers and a large packet of Valium. You have been warned! Malo is arguably the most difficult of the Freebooter's Fate miniatures I've had to assemble so far,both legs are separate as are both arms. All in he is made up of ten separate pieces. My advice? Stick the base insert in first and then attach both legs to it. Pin the body into both legs and leave that to dry. Meanwhile pin the two horns to the head and glue that bloody tooth in place. Then pin the head to the body. After that the arms are a doddle. Malo also comes with a spare hat carrier called Bajo. He's not nearly as complex a miniature, being made up of a single body, a base insert and a flag. I would however advise attaching the flag first with Bajo's body in situation so as to be sure it all fits together.
Revlugg is the first specialist in this starter set and is far easier to assemble than Malo is. Revlugg is made up of four components. The base insert, two arms and the main body. None of it should prove too taxing for anyone with any experience with miniatures.
Moby Dugg is arguably my favourite miniature in the entire Freebooter's Fate miniatures range, why? Because he's utterly bonkers looking! Moby Dugg comes in five parts, the now obligatory base insert, his main body which is brandishing a bomb, a pistol arm, his head and a dead shark. Yep you read that last bit right, a dead shark. Now I mentioned in some of my other reviews just how wonderfully cut various components were, Rosso's overcoat and Curly Ann's rifle spring to mind. Well Moby Duggs shark is in the same vein.
The final two miniatures in the starter set are the rather cool looking Deckhands, the harpoon wielding Goblin Mariner and the oar carrying Goblin Valero. Neither are overly complex to assemble. The Goblin Mariner is only three pieces, his base insert, his main body and pistol arm. The Goblin Valero isn't that much more complex, being made of four parts, the base insert, his main body, a sword arm and for some reason that escapes me, and oar arm. No I don't know why either! Each of the six miniatures also comes with a plastic base to attach them too. You do also get twelve playing cards for your four miniatures as opposed to the usual eight. As before half of them are in the games native German tongue, and the remaining half are in English. There are also the quickstart rules, which come on a single sheet. Again one side is in German the other English. Speaking of the quickstart rules you can now download a set of the rules for yourself to peruse.
Character 9 out of 10
As I'm sure you all know by now I'm a bit of a fan of Werner Klocke's sculpts. He does have his own inimitable style. So I was really keen to see what he'd do with Orcs and Goblins. True to form he hasn't really disappointed and has taken a slightly different tack with them. I guess if I was looking for clear influences I say that maybe the Goblins from the 80's film Labyrinth were used as muses, and as long as Werner steers clear of David Bowie's cod piece it will all be fine... oh God don't look at the Cod piece!!!
As Orcs go this chap is pretty darn fearsome looking, and yeah OK that fiddly tooth jutting out from his jaw adds an air of barely repressed savagery to the sculpt. His two arms are bare and show off some bulging veins on some very powerful looking muscular arms, so while he might be wearing the captains hat their should be no question as to his savagery! His cutlass is a wickedly crude looking implement without the curved finesse that many others in the range have. It's all about brutally hacking people to pieces for Malo, none of this dueling nonsense. His clothes although attempting to look refined are actually nothing more than rags held together with string. I get the feeling that Malo doesn't so much as shop for his clothes as he sees something he likes and mugs the owner for it! His tricorne hat is wonderfully characterful as well, with the added embellishment of two cow horns, one of which is broken. His hunched over stance adds an animalistic swagger to the pose. He's brilliant.
As you can see from above Captain Malo Gordab is not the sort of chap who can do without the gravitas of a tricorne hat! So to save himself the embarrassment of ever being without his hat he has invested in the services of this scrawny fellow, Bajo, to lug around a spare hat for him. Scrawny is the exact word you'd use to describe the little wretch as well. Standing on a slightly raised part of an overly messy deck, Bajo's incredibly slight frame is literally dwarfed by the massive tricorne hat he carries around lofted above his head. His tiny little face has pain and worry etched on it as he struggles with his mammoth task. As if that wasn't enough for poor Bajo to cope with he has the added responsibility of of carrying a small flag about with him. He's only a sidekick, and a very small one at that, but he's so crammed full of character and standing next to Malo both sculpts seem to look more complete in my eye's.
While I really like Malo and Bajo, I absolutely love Moby Dugg. Go on enlarge the picture and take a good hard look at the cheeky chappy. Simply wonderful isn't he? I love the big cheesy maniacal grin on his face, the bandage holding a patch across one of his eyes. His down-turned ears seem to hint at him sulking forward, his considered stride reinforcing the sense of him try to sneak up on somebody. Why? To throw the bomb in his left hand of course! I also like the way he's brandishing his pistol in his right hand too. He's not hold the grip with his finger on the trigger, he's holding it almost like a club, perhaps he plans on pistol whipping somebody with it. But of course, I can't talk about Moby Dugg without mentioning that dead shark on his back. I won't go into any detail but there are a few very funny stories in the Freebooter's Fate books involving little old Moby dugg and his dead shark, they're well worth the read. However, in terms of the miniature the shark is just the cherry on top for me. Hanging off of his head at a jaunty angle, clearly rotting and with various sword slashes along it's carcass. I simply love it as a center piece to the miniature, it adds a nice level of lunacy to the unhinged looking face.
Revlugg is a really interesting sculpt, insofar as that it seems really unassuming at first glance. He's not as in your face crazy as Moby Dugg, or as comic as the Mariner and Valero. Neither is he as commanding as Malo. I sort of skipped past him while making my notes for this review. On second glance though I began to fully appreciate this subtly devious looking Goblin, whose face is so full of malevolent and hateful spite! Under his large hooked nose he hides baleful grin, and his narrow eyes carry some evil intent. It's all in the face, or mostly in the face for Revlugg. The fact though is that on closer inspection you can see that unlike many of his compatriots, Revlugg can dress himself properly and look halfway smart. It hints at cleverly at a higher level of intelligence and thus Goblin cunning. His peg leg also shows that he's not afraid to throw down when needs be. I also love the twin flintlock pistols he's wielding... oh and did I forget to mention the baby squid on the top of his head? I didn't? Well look at it, how cute!!!
The first of the two deckhands, the Valero, continues the wonderfully wacky and weird vibe the other miniatures have. Whether he actually has a stupidly large bulging eye, or whether the cretin has used a cannon ball as a replacement for a gouged eye is up to you as a painter. Either way he has a brilliantly expressive face, and his gaping maw with his tongue sticking out makes him look delightfully bonkers. As does the fact that he's not only wielding a cutlass but an oar! His clothes are all ill-fitting rags probably pulled off of dead bodies left on the battlefield. His trousers were clearly too long for him and have been roughly cut just above his shoe, I say shoe because he's clearly missing one as he has a bare foot and I'm not entirely sure you could call the thing on his other foot a shoe! Really expressive and detailed miniature for just a deckhand.
The Goblin Mariner is, to put it politely, a rotund and portly little fellow. If I was being rude I'd say he was a fat little bugger! He even has a fat face with chubby little cheeks, behind his cracked diseased looking lips are arranged even more cracked teeth. His rather large pot belly is too big to be contained within his shirt, It also has a number of boils and weeping pustules on it. To add to his bloated appearance his stomach is literally bursting at the seems. He has what looks like a nasty gash across his stomach. You need to decide if it was caused by a cutlass or him eating one too many pies and popping like a balloon! His scrunched up chubby little face also has a crudely stitched wound across his left eye, and his tiny little skull cap looks way too small perched on top of his fat head. His comically over-sized pistol barrel adds a great deal comedy to the piece, as does the crude looking harpoon. A genius little sculpt if you ash me.
These grim little blighters more than fulfill the design brief for me. They are exceptionally comic looking bunch of green skins and are thus exactly what you'd want from a Goblin Pirate faction. I can see why a lot of my friends were instantly drawn to this faction given how full to the brim they are with characterful touches. Another plus point for me is the fact that they are actually the other clearly pirate based faction in a pirate game. So it gives you another chance to fly the Jolly Roger! In terms of the character of the remaining components, as before the game cards are nicely detailed. As with the other three factions I've reviewed there is a nice big picture of the studio painted miniature on the front. There's the 'aged' parchment look and everything looks suitably stylish. The cards fit into the same card protection sleeves as the HoMachine cards do, so if you have some of them to hand I'd slip them in those.
Detail 9 out of 10
These Pirate Goblins (and Orc) are so crammed full of nice little touches of detail that I'm not sure where to begin. From bursting stomachs to Malo's infuriatingly small tooth, they're jammed with carefully considered and realised detail. They don't ever seem cluttered or overpowered by their surface detail, they all seem to own it. I'm sure I've forgotten to talk about some bits and bobs, I know I forgot to mention the fish skeleton hanging off of the belly of the Goblin Mariner... there's just so much in their to talk about. The best single piece of detail though? It's got to be Moby dugg's dead shark carcass. I love it! None of the detail is poorly reproduced either and remains crisp and as intended. No parts seem to have lost detail that I could tell on any of my miniatures and given how small and fine some of the details are that's a truly splendid achievement.
This is a repeat of what I have said in my previous three reviews, so if you read the Pirate, Brotherhood or Imperial Armada reviews you can skip this next bit. The background detailing is obviously meant to look like some aged parchment you'd expect to get some dodgy treasure map on. There's a nice large image of the painted miniatures on the cards that makes easy identification of relevant cards simple to do in the heat of battle. Or in the case of some of the miniatures the line sketched concept artwork. The stats are simple to identify and read. The health bar tracker is also easy to 'fill' in with a dry wipe pen once you've put them in card protector sleeves. And marking health off shouldn't cause the sort of problems that can sometimes occur when marking damage boxes on Warjacks in Warmachine. All the important rules are on the front of the card, and are easy to read, and for someone who is dyslexic (that's me by the way) I appreciate that. In the top right hand corner is the faction badge. While on the reverse of the cards are any special rules, or a short story or blurb about the characters. No space is wasted and they've helped when promoting the game as they're a nice card to hand out to onlookers as they do look very professional.
Quality 8.5 out of 10
I'm very glad to report that mould lines on these miniatures were barely visible and that there were no problems with removing them at all. The pieces fitted together perfectly as well, and yet again I can talk about how exceptionally well cut each of the pieces were. The joints all had more than enough contact points and the seals were tight. This was again because of the high quality of the casting involved as none of my pieces appeared to have been bent or warped during the manufacturing process. Nowhere was this more evident than on Moby Dugg and yes you've guessed it... that shark. I've spoken before when reviewing these Freebooters Fate miniatures about how brave and clever some of the cuts are. Moby dugg's shark might just take the prize so far. It rest perfectly on top of Moby's back and head. When dry assembling it I couldn't quite believe it fitted together so bloody well. I still can't I guess. All contact points were in full contact and it was just a dream to assemble. I'll say the same I've said for the cards in the other reviews, the print quality is very high, and the cards are perfectly functional enough. The only point I would make is that they're not quite as thick as say the HoMachine cards are and as such do actually need those card protection sleeves, but you'd need them anyway to use dry wipe pens.
Service N/A out of 10
As with my review of the Pirate and Imperial Armada starter sets I can't fairly judge Freebooter Miniatures service for you. Besides, many of you will choose to use your own favoured supplier of toy soldiers anyway.
Price 7.5 out of 10
Price, perception and value for money can be a funny thing. Take this starter box for instance, it costs £31.50 at both Maelstrom Games and Firestorm Games for six miniatures. That works out at £5.25 per miniature, and that represents pretty good value for money, for high quality metal casts. It's also slightly better than the £5.63 average for miniatures in the other starter sets that have four miniatures. But the headline most people will take away is that the Goblin Pirate starter set is £31.50 whereas the others are only £22.50. I think for what you get inside the box it's still a reasonable price, but if you just want to get started in a game the higher cost for this faction might put you off I guess.
Overall 8.5 out of 10
I love the Pirate Goblins I really do, so much o that they very nearly got an approved by cats award. But rolling them round in my hand, and showing them to the cats I decided against it... just! They're just so full of fun and wacky design features, they just make me smile whenever I see them. That's surely what well designed miniatures should do though, make you smile. Moby Dugg on his own has more character than many other miniatures I own, that Malo, Revlugg and the two deckhands are also so colourful is just a massive bonus to me. The only negative as I say is that as an entry point they're slightly more expensive than the other factions, even though I believe they represent good value for money. So how does it perform as an actual starter set? Actually reasonably good in fact. Malo and thus Bajo are arguably the best captain available to the Goblin Pirate faction. Revlugg is moved into the right location on the gaming board can be devastating, and would almost certainly be one of the first specialist I'd look too. Sadly Moby Dugg is a bit of a one trick pony with his bomb, which while devastating when first seen can be mitigated easily in subsequent games. However, he's a cheap specialist and worth a gamble from time to time because when the bomb blast goes off in the right spot it's awesome! The two deckhands are two solid cheap deckhands, so what more could you want? Peace out!