|Yes it is Approved by Cats!!!|
And so we come to the Kingdom Death miniature review that was most requested by you lot. This was going to be the last review for this week, but I've decided to cram another in tomorrow now. This is definitely my favourite Kingdom Death miniatures that I currently own, and I own an awful lot of them. Actually, of the ones I don't own I'm not too sure any of them would match up to the high levels set by this miniature. Because it's arguably one of my favourite miniatures of all times, it's certainly in my top 10. Yes I think it is that splendid I really do, and as you can see the Ministry of Cats approve of it too, but you'll need to read on to find out why...
|Look how small some of the bits are!!!|
Yep you'll get some lovely looking postcard sized artwork with this miniature yet again. The Flower Knight is actually a fair bit bigger than the other Kingdom Death miniatures I have reviewed so far this week, as can be witnessed by the slightly larger 40mm round-lipped plastic base the model comes with, as opposed to the normal small square resin Kingdom Death base you normally find. The Flower Knight comes in 13 (unlucky for some... that will be me putting it together), some of which of incredibly delicate and others still so small they've made me think I need to go to see my opticians. There is nothing of concern about the larger pieces, such as the main body, his trailing bustle, lower right leg, arms, sword hand and right hand. They are of a significant size and structure that they are robust enough. No it is mainly the creeping plant stems, fronds and vines that attach to his bustle that will cause the most angst. I've actually left them off for my pictures in this review because I'm still not sure how I'm going to paint him, so parts of him are held together by blu-tac! Then there are the small tassels on his armour that measure 2.5mm in length and just over 1mm in width... why? If you could see me now I'm making my unhappy face. But even they pale into insignificance when you see the smallest component you'll ever see on a miniature TM. it's the tip of one of the Flower Knights fingers with a butterfly. Yes I screamed a little. You need to me careful removing such delicate and small items from the spru that you don't A) lose them or b) break them.
Update: The base I got with this miniature wasn't the normal square resin one you get with Kingdom Death miniatures but a 40mm round-lipped base like you would get with Warmachine miniatures. 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! Even though these plastic disc bases I've had aren't big enough to accommodate the Flower Knight they may also produce 40mm versions of it now, I'm simply unsure.
|The new plastic Kingdom Death bases.|
Character 9.5 out of 10
I'm going to get this comment out of the way right now because if I don't I might actually lose the courage to say it... when I first looked at the Flower Knight miniature I'm not quite sure why, but some of the intricate detailing on the armour and the billowing sleeves and pantaloons just reminded me instantly of SquarEnix's Disney inspired action RPG's Kingdom Hearts. I couldn't point you towards any one character design, or artistic motif as to why I was suddenly struck, or reminded of that specific computer game franchise when I first saw it, but I was. Now the bright and colourful comic and cartoon stylings of Disney couldn't be further away from the Boutique horror vibe of Kingdom Death's miniatures, but there is something strangely similar between the two. Both share an ornately Gothic-Baroque vibe, with intricate patterns and embellishments. Even if most of the characters in Kingdom Hearts don't contain such themes, the branding and artwork for the game do. Now I'm not too sure whether Kingdom Hearts was ever even a subtle influence on the design of the Flower Knight, but it sort of has the same non-threatening dark heroic feeling to it. The Flower Knight is one of the most interesting miniatures I've seen in years, and the concept behind it is brilliant, and actually at odds with much of the rest of the Kingdom Death range.
|That intricate and detailed trailing bustle.|
You see much of the Kingdom Death range, unsurprisingly given its name, is a bit grim, twisted and morbid. You're either looking at a subtly wrong human, a victim or some monstrosity or other. Even the heroic models in the range look a little violent and dark, like the new Twilight Knight (there's still some left). The Flower Knight though is actually bursting with life, there are vines and flowers literally growing from him as he walks. He has a butterfly on his finger, arguably the sweetest / nicest happiest touch on all Kingdom Death pieces. His pose, walking calmly forward sword arm at his side, left hand raised carrying that butterfly couldn't be less aggressive if it tried. Yet there is still something vaguely dark and Gothic about him, I had somebody suggest almost Tim Burton like, and there is a vaguely dark-cartoonish vibe to him. Maybe it's his highly ornate and detailed garb, the billowing ribbon like pantaloons and sleeves. Or it could be the highly detailed and orate plate armour that is exceedingly intricate in its designs, smothered as it is in refined baroque style filigree. Or is it his helm, which looks oddly elongated with a strange faceless quality with those big disc like eyes. It certainly gives him a spooky feeling.
|A profile shot.|
Truth is although the Flower Knight doesn't in this pose look threatening, he is actually a very large miniature in comparison to the rest of the range. And while he gives of a refined and laid-back air there is no denying that his intricate locking plate armour looks exceedingly well made and perfect for combat. Then there is his rather large and quite brutish looking longsword. Sure it might currently have roses tangled around it and seemingly growing from it, but it still looks more than capable of cutting a man in twain (we should all use that word more). The Flower Knight looks like a magical creature, something otherworldly and powerful. I'd assume he'd walk on by you if you didn't raise his ire... but if you did, you'd be in for it. Anything that appears to have plants and flowers growing from it's very touch is obviously a force of nature, and that's not to be underestimated. In summing up I think I not only loved the art direction for this miniature, but also yet again how splendidly Thomas David realised the concept artwork in miniature form. It has to be one of his best pieces, and given his back catalogue that's high praise indeed. The Flower Knight is simply fabulously quirky.
Detail 9.5 out of 10
I try really, really hard not to give out perfect 10 scores in my reviews. Mainly because I don't think anything can ever be truly perfect, plus in this hobby people seem to be pushing back the envelope every year. So where do I go if somebody betters a perfect 10? Do I do a Spinal Tap and turn my reviews up to 11? No, I don't have the back combed hair to pull that off, plus if I did I'd look silly. So I stick to the 9.5 as the pinnacle, and if something totally floors me with it's standards I've always got the elusive perfect 10 to go to. The Flower Knight very nearly got a perfect 10 in the Character score from me, and it was bloody close to getting the same perfect 10 for detail too. It is an astoundingly detailed piece of resin. This morning I reviewed the Kings Men and gave the same detail score. So I really had an internal wrangle about what score to give this miniature, there's no doubt in my mind the Kings Men deserved it's 9.5 out of 10, but I do feel slightly stingy giving the Flower Knight only 9.5. So why didn't I give it a higher score? Well mainly it's because that A) the detail isn't that much more refined and delicate, even if it is more appealing to me it slightly Gothic-Baroque way and B) it is a much larger miniature and cramming this detail and maintaining such well defined fine lines was arguably easier over the larger spaces this sized miniature provides... but only just.
|That teeny tiny butterfly.|
It does however push the envelope for miniatures detail in many ways. Not least with that incredibly small and fiddly butterfly. It's an unbelievable feat of sculpting and miniature manufacturing that it is able to exist. It might seem like an incidental piece of frippery when you first see it. But, it is an important part of the Flower knights artistic integrity. Most companies I'm sure would say 'screw that' but Kingdom Death have said 'lets do it and be damned'. I admire that attitude, and the surface detail on this miniature that unwillingness to compromise the artistic integrity of the piece has produced. From the twisting vines, to the elegant and ornate armour there are some amazingly delicate details all over this miniature. In fact so much that at times it verges on the bewildering, but it just stays the right side of that line for me. The fold in his elegant ribbon like clothes fall realistically, and themselves have minor tears and holes in their well worn surface. I'm rapidly running out of superlatives for this miniature, but if you'd seen one in the flesh you'd understand I'm sure.
Quality 9.5 out of 10
All week so far I've banged on about the quality of the casting and resin used in the production of Kingdom Death miniatures. The level of detail on the surface of the Flower Knight yet again highlights the quality of the product, insofar as it is clearly able to handle such delicate and fine detail, and reproduce it so perfectly. It is a firm resin that also enables miniatures to have the stupidly fine components the Flower Knight has, like those very thin and delicate creeping vines, or the tassles that need to be stuck on to his armour around his hips / thighs. But, the component that really shows how exceptionally good this is as a product still has to be that ridiculously small tip of his finger with that butterfly sitting on it. Words still fail me, and given I'm difficult to shut up that's saying something! I have scoured every component for blemishes and bubbles, as I do with all my miniature reviews. I came up with zero, zilch, nothing. The mould lines too were virtually non-existent. Far better than
Price 9 out of 10
The Flower Knight is the most expensive Kingdom Death Miniature I'll be reviewing this week, but like the Grand Mother, which I reviewed at the start of the week it is a slightly larger miniature than the others... and well look at it, it is simply put a truly splendid miniature!!! So yeah, if Adam Poots ever decides to do a re-run of it, it'll set you back $29's or £18, but honestly, don't tell Adam Poots this... but I'd even be more than happy to pay a little bit more for this miniature. It's an absolutely wonderful sculpt, with amazing reproduction of detail and worth every damn penny.
Overall 9.5 out of 10
There are a few miniatures that I own that make me look at them and just think wow. The first miniature that pops into my head for impact it had on me when I first saw it would be Y'sala and Darkness by Studio McVey. Both have that star quality, but for different reasons. Miniature sculpting has come on so far over the last ten years that what once seemed remarkable not so long ago has been reduced to the mundane and average now. We are currently blessed with a whole host of exceptional sculpting talent now, the likes of Jose Roig, Yannick Hannebo, Juan Navarro, Jacques-Alexandre Gillois, Simon Picca, Thomas David and many more besides. That these very talented people really have to push themselves to their very limits to make us gasp in awe should tell us how lucky we are to be in the hobby nowadays. It really takes exceptional pieces to take my breath away now, things of such staggering artistic direction and intricate detail that they look like they belong in an art gallery, not an IKEA glass cabinet in my games room! The Flower Knight is one of those miniatures that totally blew me away when I first saw the pictures. We've all see pictures of it painted be some exceedingly talented artists haven't we? Many top painters seem to have fallen in love with the miniature, as have I. It is a thing of majestic beauty with lavish and intricate detail on it perfectly reproduced. I'm not too sure our hobby has any 'where were you moments'... if it did though this would be one of them. Peace out!