|Yep the cats do indeed approve of these lovely ladies.|
I've deliberately taken my time over reviewing these Amazon miniatures because as the 'add-on' faction they run the risk of messing up the games balance. I wanted to be sure when delivering my verdict that I was doing so with a good level of information. So then, apparently four factions wasn't enough for us ever demanding gamers. Nope as is always the case we demand more and more swanky miniatures. Placing yet more strain on our games developers... for the love of God won't somebody think of the children! Or some equally emotive exclamation. I say thank God we're all greedy demanding gutter crawling curs! Why? Because our ever demanding insatiable appetite for shiny new toy soldiers forced Freebooters Miniatures to give us the very sexy, kitten like killing vixens that are the Amazons. Scantily clad ferocious female fighting figures ahoy! Set anchor me hearties I'm going ashore...
Feminism, I'm told by far smarter people than I is a collective movement or movements aimed at establishing parity for women in all social matters, such as politically, economically, educationally and so forth and so on. Since the suffragettes the cause has come a long way, no doubt, and indeed many sisters are doing it for themselves. I was, however, struck by a recent article about the right to choose, and it's something many people often forget that while it's great women have more and more opportunities (equality is still some way off though), that doesn't mean women should be made to feel any less worthy because they choose not to take those opportunities. I think it's quite clear that these Amazons have chosen to rightly kick ass in loin clothes and crop tops, and I for one heartily applaud them for it. What? OK so it might not be the best feminist statement out there, but boy of they strong female role models...
|Pehua is the most complex miniature in thisstarter set.|
The leader of this band of female warriors is Pehua. She comes 7 metal parts plus 1 plastic base. The two main parts are her main body and her right arm, which also has a large piece of a cloak attached to it. Luckily there is no need to join that fabric up with any other fabric as there is meant to be a split. However, given the weight in the piece and the small contact area for the join I felt it was wise to pin the arm. Although superglue might have been more than adequate I don't like to take needless risks. The other pieces are a cinch. The head with it's large headdress fits in fine and slots in nicely to the groove provided. The sword and scabbard too attach nicely at her waist. The one other piece that might cause some issues is her left arm, as it comes in two very delicate pieces. Firstly the bow and hand, and secondly a very fine arm and ribbon. The contact point could be quite fiddly I guess but I ad no such issues, it just slotted together really well, I then left it to dry before attaching it to the main body.
|Simple to assemble but very striking when you have|
Tocatl is this starter sets one and only specialist, and a damn fine miniature she is too! She comes in 5 metal pieces and the usual Freebooter's plastic base. The largest part is her main body that is standing on a branch that attaches to the base. Her head slots into position easily, and there is a good sized contact point so the bond is strong. Her two delicate knife arms again initially gave me some concerns, BUT they attach really well and although I didn't pin them myself I can certainly see from the angles of the arms that they are more than likely straightforward to pin.
|The two deckhands are exceedingly nice miniatures themselves.|
There are two deckhands in this starter set. First we have the twin knife wielding Chicomeh. As you'd expect from Deckhands, she's an easier figure to assemble, comprising of only 4 metal parts and a plastic base. Her main body is the largest part of the miniature and this sits in the metal base insert. There are then two daggers and hands to attach, again the contact points were surprisingly strong and I didn't feel the urge to pin them in place. Although again given the angles it is more than possible to do I'm sure. The second deckhand is the blowpipe carrying Matqueh. She is even easier to assemble than her compatriot, comprising of only 3 metal pieces and the plastic base. The only fiddly bit is actually getting her to stand up straight in her base, as she is only standing on one foot. Her blowpipe arm is far too delicate to pin but the bond and connection so far seems strong enough. Finally the contents of the starter boxed are completed with 8 character cards, 4 in English and 4 in German. There is also the now obligatory quickstart rules, once again bi-lingual.
Character 9.5 out of 10
Werner Klocke has a bit of a reputation for sculpting the female form. Some love it and some don't! There's no getting away from the fact that much of his sculpting is done in his own inimitable style. You can spot one of Werner's miniatures a mile off, and that's why I personally love them. That and I find his subtly exaggerated style really aesthetically pleasing. But, something odd has happened with these Amazon miniatures that I personally wasn't expecting. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, us Brits would refer to Werner's work as 'Marmite', you either love or hate it... but not these Amazon's. Nope they seem to be universally loved so far. Even those who don't normally care for Werner's more graphic art style seem to have taken a shine to these warrior ladies. Lets take a closer look and see why!
If Pehua's glorious headdress doesn't scream 'I'm in charge' I'm not sure what does! It's an incredibly ornate piece of gear that's just jammed packed with fine detail. It rests on the top of her head, delicately perched, smothered in gold trinkets, gems and ribbons. It's topped off literally with a glorious plume of feathers, I don't think there's any doubt it's some sort of crown and denote Pehua as the boss. If that didn't then her extremely stern face with its pursed lips, high set cheek bones and penetrating gaze should. There's no doubting Pehua is a beautiful women, but her expression clearly says mess with me at your peril! She seems almost haughty and aloof, like all good leaders I guess, but her pose just adds to the atmosphere of the piece, her right arm thrust menacingly forward and her slender fingers pointing off into the distance. The fact that she's calmly striding forward also adds a very commanding air to the miniature. Look she's just ready to kick ass and I love her. She's arguably my favourite faction leader so far, and given how much I love Rosso and Gordab that's saying something!
But it doesn't end there, she's positively swimming in fine detail, from the many bangles and jewels that festoon her many limbs and body parts to her weaponry. No good leader goes to war without at the very least a pointy stick! Pehua is carrying a sword slung at her right hip dangling from a fine leather strap, it's not as dramatic looking as many of the other factions weapons, but it does look more than capable of hacking limbs off, a bunch as sharp arrows keep it company. Flicking out from the hip like it does it also has the added bonus of cleverly accentuates the curve of Pehua's svelte body and draws the eye to her thin waist. It's a very neat ploy to draw the viewers attention to her feminine form without overtly accentuating certain... erm... assets! Sure she has a skimpy belt type thing that I'm sure many a father would disapprove of, and a bra that would look out of place on a Vegas stage show BUT you hardly notice it because she's such a commanding figure. Her cape adds to this, covering much of her form as it swirls around her form giving a nice sense of motion to the piece. As does the left arm that is slung back brandishing a delicate bow... look take my word for it she's ace!
Right I'm going to let you into a little bit of a secret... I absolutely hate miniatures that carry bits of the 'battlefield' around with them. I don't like the idea that one of my gaming pieces needs to carry a barrel or a wall, or my pet hate... someones chuffing head! Look it looks great for display miniatures, but I like to keep my factions looking uniformed and having a bloody TV or some such piece of trash on the miniature itself gets in the way of that. So what do I think of Tocatl? Well I like her and I like her tree stump. Yeah I know that makes me a hypocrite right? Well yes and no, you see in effect every Freebooter's Fate miniature comes with a scenic base that ties them into their faction, touché Mr Klocke. So that eliminates my number one pet peeve about miniatures carrying around lumps of scenery, as I said, well played Mr Klocke. Secondly I have no bloody idea how else you could communicate just as much animalistic poise, grace and threat without the tree stump for Tocatl to perch on. It is a glorious piece of detail that allows the miniature to take up such a threatening pose, that's so full of violent intent... it makes her look as sneaky as a cat too, like she's about to ambush some unsuspecting sailor. Awesome.
The fact that her hair is trailing off behind gives the piece a great sense of rapid motion. As do her two arms jutting out to her sides in an attempt to remain balanced. It's clear she's been bounding through the trees and undergrowth and has just leaped onto the branch, the illusion is utterly convincing. What little flowing clothing there is on display is also swooshing in a suitably believable way... yeah... so yet again there's a lot of flesh on show. But, like with Pehua there's not any outlandish page 3 boobs on display and her backsides not hanging out for all to see either. She looks more athletic than attractive, you couldn't mistake her for anything other than a warrior. Those two wicked looking daggers she's brandishing might have something to do with that to be honest with you. They might be small but they're wickedly curved and look like a spiders fangs, which is appropriate because they're poisoned! I love the necklace she's wearing too with the three sharp teeth, it adds a nice savage element to her, as does the massive bone mask she is wearing that covers much of her face. She just looks ready for violence. She's just a bloody brilliant sculpt.
The deckhands in Freebooter's Fate are obviously not quite as ornate or grand as the leaders or the specialists, because they're not meant to be. Often this makes you feel a little bit sad that you can't field more than one leader and only a few specialists, well it makes me sad any way because they're all such lovely miniatures. However, that's not quite the case with the Amazons. The Chicomeh is supposed to look like a savage primitive tribeswomen and the lack of ornamentation just adds massively to that illusion. She's wearing even less clothing than her two previous compatriots, if that is possible. She has a particularly small loin cloth that leaves little to the imagination, and I'm not so sure her top will provide her with much support. But, yet again what could have been a cringe worthy miniature in turns of naked fantasy lady syndrome is saved by a really cool looking stance. Seriously, look at her standing there, arms spread wide daggers in hand daring somebody to take her on. She's an absolute bad ass and boy does she know it. I wouldn't pick a fight with her, because she looks like she can handle those blades. So she's sexy looking, despite her odd looking emo fringe, but it's really not the first thing you notice, which given the fact she a good 95% naked speaks volumes for Werner Klocke as a sculptor.
Finally we have the prancing Matqueh. A sly looking vixen if ever there was one! I'm not really too sure where to start with this miniature. I mean I've sat looking at her for nearly 10 minutes now, and I've had plenty of time to look at her before now. I know for sure that I like her. I like her a lot, but unlike the others where I can put my finger on why, with the Matqueh I can't.Perhaps its her sharp angular uncaring face, as pretty as it is deadly. Or her finely braided hair tied closely to her skull and kept out of the way like a true warrior would have their hair. Or it could be those strong powerful thighs of her's, clearly propelling her through the jungle at some pace. Her every sinew strained and stretched as she hunts her pray. It could be her trailing arm that looks like it's just cut some branch out of the way as she moves with vicious intent and purpose. Then there's the fact that she's also wielding a blowpipe, yes, a blowpipe! More miniatures should have blowpipes. I don't know, perhaps it's all of the above, but I'm not sure it is. I think it's the fact that yet again Werner has perfectly created the illusion of motion in a static miniature, but this time without the aid of swirling clothes. It's that every twist of her body every bend of a joint, hints at her sprinting. As does the visible appearance of her tendons bulging beneath her skin. Impressive if you ask me.
I think it's fair to say I'm a bit of a fan of these warrior women. I just feel that they Werner could have so easily over sexualised them as pieces and I'm just so glad he didn't. Thee are no boobs needlessly on display or anyone sticking their arse out like a pole dancer, he's gone down the right road, when the wrong road in my opinion is sadly the more obviously profitable commercial choice. They fulfil their design brief with consummate ease and then some. They're delightfully feisty and look ready for a fight, but they remain femanine and attractive... well done Werner, tightrope well and truly traversed. In terms of the character of the remaining components, as with the reviews before the game cards are nicely detailed. As with the other four 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 into those for further protection.
Detail 9.5 out of 10
I'm sure I've said it in the previous reviews, but there's no harm in saying it again, the level of fine detail and flowing lines originally sculpted onto these miniatures is nothing short of brilliant. Feathers look like feathers, muscles look lithe and toned, clothe flows realistically and its all held together by a strong artistic vision. More impressive is that these metal reproductions of the originals pick all that detail and character up almost flawlessly, these really are incredible nice miniatures. As I said in the character section Werner could have gone all cheesecake pose on us, as is so often the case in this industry of ours. Sure they still look sexy and there outfits are skimpy but they do look first and foremost like mean jungle warriors. That's down to the little touches he's crammed into these miniatures from the highly ornate Pehua to the strong and striking pose of Tocatl, they look magnificent on the board. Whereas some of the Freebooter's Fate factions don't always look as uniformed or cohesive as they could do, the Amazons really do. Their daggers, bows and blowpipes look the part as does their garb. It's the little touches like the jewelry that set them off and it's all done extreme subtlety. Nothing really looks out of place and it's complimentary.
Quality 9.5 out of 10
Obviously all that artistry and effort would clearly have gone to waste if the miniatures weren't reproduced as well as they are, and let me assure you they are produced well. The only other metal miniatures range that challenges these for consistently high quality of fine pieces is the Infinity range from Corvus Belli. Trust me, that's exceedingly high praise indeed. The joins all just fit together perfectly, no need to file away or fetch out the green stuff. There weren't many mould lines, in fact I had to get out my magnifying glass to find the ones that were there. When I did they were always in easy to reach places and weren't across any fine details, so they were and risk of being ruined. So there aren't any major defects or faults, just exceptionally well cast miniatures that have been very well cut. I've been really impressed with the consistently high quality of the Freebooter's Fate range, I genuinely have. So when I tell you that these Amazons are the best quality I've seen in the range yet you can assume that they were really, really good. Absolutely brilliant product. As for the cards, well I'll say the same I've said 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 you 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, Goblin Pirate and Imperial Armada starter sets, I can't fairly judge Freebooter Miniatures service for you. These were sent free to me to review for you, so I'm obviously going to be chuffed with the service. Besides, many of you will choose to use your own favoured supplier of toy soldiers anyway and you'll know what to expect from them in the way of customer service.
Price 9 out of 10
As a box of free they're obviously awesomely priced, but unless you are quick with your fingers and don't mind running the risk of being arrested and being branded a thief for the rest of your life, you're going to have to pay for them. Fear not though because you can get this fabulous starter set for around £22.50 from the likes of Maelstrom Games. I know bargain right? Given the quality of the sculpts and their final casting I think that is a very reasonable price personally.
|I'll leave you with a picture of the studio paint jobs.|
So how do they fair as a starter set? Well not as badly as I thought they would at first. I'd probably put the Amazons in the similar sort of bracket as the Brotherhood in terms of the difficulty level, they're not the easiest of factions to get to work. But this starter set does give you a nice all round force with, which to learn the ropes. It's also a damn good set to build upon, yep it's actually quite a good starter set. I was very close to giving the Brotherhood starter box an Approved by Cats award. They were close, but the odd issue I had with a few of the bits and pieces in that starter box meant that the cats weren't quite ready to give them their stamp of approval. However, there were no such qualms with this set of miniatures, simply put they are fantastic! I've held off reviewing them for a while because I wanted to make sure the joins were good and not too dainty, they are. I also wanted to ensure they were not unbalanced with the rest of the factions, and they're not. Me and the cats don't like giving out the Approved by Cats awards to just any old product, but Freebooter's Fate has been such an enjoyable game to play, and has already become a serious part of my gaming repertoire that to not give the best starter set the award would just seem mean. I love my Amazons and I can't wait to see more of the range as it is released, as they all look utterly magnificent. If you've been sitting on the fence waiting for me to review the Deep Jungle expansion book and the Amazon starter set then you should wait no more. The final faction I've reviewed has just added more depth and character to the already wonderful mix already present in the game, they're utterly brilliant to play with and the games immense fun... seriously what are you waiting for? Peace out!