Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Review: Kingdom Death Butcher


I know, I know, you wait ages for me to review a Kingdom Death miniature and then I go and review two of them in the same day. Just like bloody buses I bet you're thinking! This though isn't one of the Kingdom Death miniatures you'll normally hear people raving about. It's not one of the weird and wacky boob and tentacle beasties that Kingdom Death are best known for, or indeed the sexy pinups that many people seem to love. Nope, the Butcher is just a really nice looking warrior type, with two huge cleavers, and is actually one of the Kingdom Death miniatures that I took a bit of a shine too straight away.

Product Description

The butcher, like all Kingdom Death miniatures comes with a postcard sized art print of the original concept art, that I've not shown here. It's a nice touch though. The miniature itself comprises of the standard Kingdom Death square resin base, with its raised disc at the center, two rather large and fragile looking cleavers, a small and spiky head (I injured myself on it), a large and heavy cloak and the main body. There are also some of the smallest and fiddliest pieces I've ever come across with a miniature, they include two hooked toe ends to both feet (more on these later) and four stupidly small teeth that need to be glued onto that head. I have to give you fair warning that these pieces are stupidly small and when clipping them and cleaning them you need to be very careful not to A) drop them and never see them again and B) break them and then howl in rage at the injustice of it all. Luckily where those teeth are concerned you only actually need two of them... I think... so two are spare. Consider yourselves warned though.

Update: The base I got with this miniature was the square resin one you see in this picture. However, if any of you have purchased any Kingdom Death miniatures recently you'll have noticed that they now come with flat plastic discs with an indentation in them where a second plastic disc can go, or a scenic base insert as is the case of the Illuminated Lady. I'm unsure whether these bases are now shipped with all miniatures in the range or just the latest stuff, but I thought it best to inform you all of it any way!

The new Kingdom Death Bases.

Character 8 out of 10

Whereas the miniature I reviewed this morning was or subtly, grace, elegance and poise, the Butcher is brutality, strength, rough and animalistic. He is the antithesis in many ways of what the Grandmother stands for in a design sense. Yet he too is also unmistakably a Kingdom Death miniature. Maybe its the weapons and bits of armour that look like they've been fashioned from bone, perhaps it's the calm almost too calm stance of the character that give the piece its psychopath vibe. It could though be the large amount of lanterns that are dotted around the miniature, they are something of a trademark Kingdom Death touch. Many of there miniatures seem to either be carrying lanterns and peering into the dark, or have them hanging off them to illuminate their way. As the Kingdom Death range has grown I've noticed this more and more, it's normally quite subtle, small trinkets or just the one, but here with the Butcher he seems to have many of them. He'd be lit up like a Christmas tree! Now you could take that one of two ways, 1) he's really afraid of the dark, or 2) he's so badass that he really doesn't care who or what can see him. Me personally? I think I'm going for option 2 because he looks like a pretty capable guy, more than able to handle whatever the world throws his way.

I suppose the fact that his armour and many of the trinkets that cover him are themselves encased in the skin of his victims. Indeed you get the impression that his weapons and bits of his armour are made from the remains of some beast that this guy probably killed with his bare hands. Those cleavers he is carrying are quite brutal looking, they're more than likely able to lop off limbs with ease, and here's the thing... he's carrying two of them! There is absolutely no concession given to self defence here apart from his armour. These short stubby cleavers are designed to cause injury and not parry and riposte attacks, so no shield and two weapons that can only serve to maim and injure. Yep just from looking at the Butcher you get a sense of what he is all about, and that is relentless, savage and brutal attacks, caring little for his own welfare and safety. He locked onto a target, a victim and then butchers them. Hence the name I guess. So in that sense the character of the piece totally fulfills the brief, and it does so with ease and panache. It's just we've seen similar things in the past from other companies and other miniature lines. Sure there is the Kingdom Death magic and visual cue's sprinkled over his surface, but he doesn't quite have the same unique wow factor the Grandmother does.

Detail 9.5 out of 10

Well if I'm going to talk about detail I guess I'd better start off with that fur cape or cloak hadn't I? From the front of the miniature it just bunches up over his shoulders, hinting at the mass of fur behind him. Turn him around and it is revealed in all its textured glory! In our hobby you get to see many a fur cloak, and I'm sure if you've ever attempted sculpting yourself one of the first things you'll have tried is a patch of fur, or the addition of a fur pelt / cloak somewhere. Arguably it's one of the easiest things to get vaguely right in sculpting, but it is actually really difficult to master and get down perfectly. Fur isn't all of one variety, there are basic and rough pelts, treated capes, lined properly to allow the fur to fall neatly and many subtle variations on the theme. The fur cloak presented here though is an exceedingly rough and scraggly pelt of fur, clearly not treated or refined in any way. It just looks like some dead animal has been unceremoniously dumped on the Butchers back, and I love it. It has a coarse texture to it, but that isn't all. It is also littered with trinkets and trophies. It has boxes with stretched and flayed flesh of victims covering them. There are scrolls and fine ornamentation's too, but of course there is also the trademark Kingdom Death lanterns too... there's something about the fairytale lanterns that seem unmistakeably Kingdom Death!

Now with that splendid fur cloak discussed I can get on with talking about the rest of the miniature. From the front though the Butcher's level of detail isn't any less impressive. In fact it's arguably more so. The Butcher is wearing a fairly plain looking suit of plate armour, it's geometry is simple and rounded, and it's really only the creatures skull that is the left shoulder guard that is any form of embellishment... that and the skull for a helmet! I hear they're all the rage now. As with the fur cloak, it's arguably the trinkets, items and little details that are crammed all over the place give the Butcher it's insane amount of detail. For instance there is another smaller cleaver lashed to his waist, you know for dismembering bodies further after he's butchered them. The surface of the plate armour is slightly pitted and scratched showing a few slight scars of previous battle. He has many utility belts around his waist too off of which, hand finely detailed saws and pouches that contain God only knows what. Around his forearms are more fur, but this time a slightly finer fur, chained to his arms, appropriately enough with chains!!! Go figure. Talking of chains, there are a few on this miniature and they're very delicate and fine, an look to scale. So often chain on scale miniatures looks far too large with their links and cumbersome, but not here, it looks just right. There's not an element of detail out of place.

A close up of those fecking teeth!!!
Quality 8 out of 10

Oh boy, this is a hard one to score. All in all there were no blemishes or problems that would warrant me to score this down. Yes there were some faint mould lines on various surfaces, but nothing out of the ordinary for our hobby, in fact arguably they weren't as pronounced as I'm used to dealing with. I've triple and quadruple checked the miniature for air bubbles or slight miscasts and found none. There is no doubting it is a very fine piece of resin, cast to the highest standards. So why does it get only an 8 out of 10? Which, lets be brutally clear here is still a sodding good score! Well it comes down to aesthetic of ease of construction, and how the miniature has been 'cut' to allow it to be cast in it's various components. That... and... cleaning mould lines off of those teeny tiny teeth very nearly sent me blind and mad at the same time. There is no questioning that once they are on the miniature that they look splendid. They really do. But getting them their, the cleaning and the gluing was enough to drive me mad. You will need superglue accelerator and make no mistake! Give the head a good squirt of the stuff, plonk a glob of glue on the tooth and stick it in place. Trust me you won't want to be holding it in place too long as you run the risk of gluing yourself to the miniature.

Look at that join and how small they are. 2.5mm at most. WHY?!?!?!

The fiddlyness doesn't really end there though sadly. The Butcher comes with some pretty swanky and awesome looking boots, which have two wicked looking curved blades on each foot. There's no doubting that they make a nice artistic flourish, and add a fair degree of character to the piece. However, the question remains in my mind were they really necessary? When they're finally attached tot he miniature that question subsides somewhat, as with the task done you just feel a sense of relief they're finally attached... but... cleaning them of the flash and mould lines again was like being in the seventh circle of hell. Yes, my rather sharp craft knife found its way into the fleshy padding of my thumbs on more than one occasion, proving the Butcher to be an apt name for the miniature! So many display pieces now take this route of not compromising the the artistic vision of the concept art and sculpt for practicality of casting, on the one hand it is commendable, but on the other hand it can often lead to frustration. Once the pieces are cleaned I'd suggest using the same method I advised you to employ with those teeth. The final slight grumpy bugger grumble I have is those cleavers. Why oh why weren't they attached to longer sections of the arms? Why just the hands? It makes them difficult to attach and exposes the fact that the hafts are brittle and easy to snap... guess what happened to me, and I was using tweezers. All in all it's a fine quality miniature, with a few awkward components, once you get past that though he'll make you smile with cruel glee.

So much hassle for these pointy toes... I guess it was worth it. JUST!

Price 7.5 out of 10

Earlier on today I mentioned how I felt that $26's or £16 for the Grandmother miniature was more than a fair price. However, I have to say that the $25's for the Butcher, or £15.50, is a bit on the expensive side for a single 32mm miniature. True it's a high quality cast with some stunning detail, but it is slightly more expensive than those of their competitors like Darklands, Studio McVey and Ax Faction... but still £15.50 for such a finely detailed one off collectors piece seems a reasonable price, if not quite as reasonable as some.

Overall 8.5 out of 10

In many respects the Butcher is far more obvious a miniature than the Grandmother, who hid her weirdness actually quite well. The Butcher isn't really weird, he's more stereotypically grim and savage looking. We're used to seeing these sorts of savage brutal warrior types as gamers, but he is nevertheless a very impressive looking version of the savage warrior trope. His armour is just the right side of ornate that he still looks like the 'Butcher' he is supposed to be, his fur cloak is a brilliant bit of sculpting full of texture and motion. But, above all else he's just a really fine looking warrior with two wicked looking hand weapons and a badasss air about him, he is an incredibly high quality sculpt and well cast miniature, and if Adam Poots ever decided to do another run of him you should leap at the chance of owning him. Peace out!


  1. And the Butcher was actually the second one, lol. It's a great model, but it's the cloak that sealed the deal for me. I'm saving him for when I ever learn to paint light sources :p

    1. Yeah, he's one of the KD miniatures that many people just seem to over look for some reason. I happen to think he's one of their best single human sized mini's.