Our friends over at Willy Miniatures kindly sent us over a copy of their recent Kickstarter success, the Ratmen Team. It arrived all the way from Spain last Saturday and it has taken me all week to assemble, photograph and write up this review because there is a LOT inside this box. Let’s get on with it.
The best part about the new Willy Miniatures Ratmen team is the … no I’m just kidding (I mean you have seen this classic unboxing video, right? Seriously though, the box is rather nice. The artwork is well done, the print job professional and the cardboard has that satisfying thickness that just feels good in your hands. I think third-party companies have come a long way in how they present their miniatures than where they were a few years ago. True, in that time Games Workshop has officially republished the game, so the third party people have had to step up there uh … game.
The back of the box is also nice, shows the contents that are inside (or are supposed to be inside, we’ll get to that later). The figures on the pitch aren’t the best Photoshop job, but I imagine Willy Miniatures didn’t have time to wait for all the components to be produced and stage a photo shoot before producing the box and getting it out to their Kickstarter backers. We’ll give them a pass there. Let’s open it up!
The first thing you’ll find inside the special custom pitch. But wait … that doesn’t look very ratman-y now does it? That’s because it’s double-sided! One side is for Willy Miniatures even more recent Kickstarter chaos renegades team. I’m not sure why the main side of the board you see is the chaos renegades version, I’m guessing the idea was put forth for the chaos renegades campaign and it got added at the last minute to the ratmen campaign? Can’t say for sure, but there are reasons to my theories.
But back to the board, the chaos renegades verson is nice, the spaces are marked very clearly, much more clearly than the GW version. It also includes a little space marked where many players like to place the ball at kick off.
Here you can see the ratmen side. Also very cool looking in dark colors and glowing warpstone green effects. The board isn’t cut the same way the GW board is, so it doesn’t lay as flat. That could mean it just needs to be broken in though. The spaces on the ratmen board aren’t as clearly marked, the designer opting to go for black on the divider marks. A poor choice, but it’s still a nice board. You can see in the third photo that this copy of the ratmen board the graphic doesn’t seem to be aligned perfectly. It’s almost like a sticker is applied to the back of the board. It’s not a big deal, but that slight red border is noticeable.
In case you were wondering, the board in the Willy Miniatures deluxe team is the same size as the GW board.
The deluxe team also comes with dugout cards to help you keep track of the game. For some reason the reroll track is above the turn tracks. No big deal, but it is a noticeable difference from the GW dugouts. In addition to the spots for reserves, KOs and injuries there’s a scatter chart printed on the dugouts. Nice touch. One fault however is the lack of a score track. It’s not on the board either. It’s not like keeping track of score is all that hard, but the score track is a traditional element to the game.
Underneath all those cardboard appetizers is the main course. The minis! The box also includes a nice foam tray for keeping your minis safe. It acts as a nice, cozy team bus to keep your players safe as they travel to league games. The foam tray has more spaces you can open up. They are a little big for most of the minis, they might roll around a little, but nestled in all that foam they should be safe.
On to the minis! The first little baggie I opened up contained the team’s bitzers and throwers. The blitzers are single-piece minis while the throwers are in two pieces. Like all the minis in this team, they are unique sculpts, no doubles here. I like the throwers, it’s nice to see them actually passing the ball with their hands rather than their tails. The throwers have a sizable gap at the torso. That’s pretty much my only complaint about the actual production of the miniatures. I found very minimal flash (I think only on one of the linerats) and very minimal mold lines. However, the mult-part miniatures didn’t have the tightest fits and will require some gap-filling with green stuff.
I’m a little lukewarm on the blitzers. I think the poses are good and the sculpts are great, but I don’t really get the design choice on the massive braces they are wearing. Do ratmen just have really weak wrists that need protecting while playing Blood Bowl?
Next up, another bag of minis. Uh, these guys look familiar, did I just assemble them? After digging through the rest of the box I realized indeed these were doubles, and that they had been sent in place of the team’s four gutter runners. Well, that’s disappointing. I can hardly review the gutter runners if I don’t have on hand. The pictures of them on the Kickstarter page look nice, but I can’t say more than that. I’m sure if I had purchased the team Willy Miniatures who make it up to me and send the gutter runners, but since it’s a review copy I can’t get that fussed about it.
In the next bag are the line rats. Most of them were in at least two parts, some of them three. These guys gave me the most trouble in assembling. The team didn’t come with any assembly instructions so I had to go by trial and error to figure out which pieces went together. I’m not an expert on assembling metal miniatures so I found this part a little frustrating. On one line rat I glued my fingers together three times trying to attach his little arm to his body.
The line rats come in a nice variety of poses and body sizes. Some looking a little fatter, some a little skinnier. The poses don’t necessarily photograph very well, you really appreciate them better when you can rotate them around in your hand.
Here they are all lined up together, and lined up with a GW skaven, a new human (albeit converted for my chaos renegades team) and an old 3rd edition plastic human. The Willy Miniatures ratmen team scales pretty well to the GW skaven team. Most of the line rats look smaller, but that’s because their poses are more hunched. The miniatures that are standing more upright look about in line with the GW skaven.
Now it’s time for my favorite mini in the team. The rat ogre! This guy is a hulking beast of a rat sporting bulging muscles, some vicious clawed hands and prehensile tail. That’s something else I should mention, overall the tails on these minis are very reasonably proportioned and do not fill you with that dread that one of the tails is about to break every time you handle one of the GW skaven minis.
Dang! This boy is BIG. He towers over the other rats in the team and he’s even bigger than the GW ogre and my converted troll (also made from GW parts). He easily looks ST6, possibly ST7. That’s my complaint about this mini, his size. It’s a really cool mini, but looks really big compared to even other big guys. Oh, one other complaint, his base is almost too small. Actually, I might as well complain about the bases here. The bases included with the team are the kind where you have to cut out the slot yourself. I found that really annoying. I’m sure they are cheaper for Willy Miniatures to buy, but when I already have to assemble 16 or so rats and cut out all the slots. I found that a bit tiresome.
Willy also sent me some of the star players/mutants and the sideline figures that were produced with this campaign. This guy I suppose serves as Glart Smashrip Jr, or a generic rat with claw mutation. This is also a strong contender for my favorite miniature on this team. It helps that he was one piece, but that is one wicked, warpstone mutated claw he’s sporting there. He doesn’t have enough kit on to really sell me on the idea that he’s a star player, but again this is a sculpt I really like a lot.
Stab! Stab! Stab! Ratmen do like to stab stuff, so why not stab on the Blood Bowl pitch as well? The assassin is pretty cool in that three-point/superhero stance.
Next are the sideline figures, the head coach, the team mascot, a corrupt ref and a really wicked apothecary. Again, they are all well-executed sculpts, but I question some of the design decisions, chiefly on the coach. He looks like Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now that’s not a bad thing, I loved the Turtles when I was a kid, I wouldn’t even mind a ninja-themed skaven team (there are some out there). But the coach doesn’t fit in with the look of the rest of the team. The mascot/cheerleader is a mouse within a mouse costume …
The apothecary is cool, kind of like a rat version of Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus. Or 40k chaos villain Fabius Bile. Some of the sideline figures are a little beefy. Like, why aren’t these guys on the pitch? They’re total bruisers!
You can see here they stand a bit taller and have more mass than their athletic friends. It’s not a big deal as these guys will be on the sidelines.
There’s still more stuff in here? Yes, yes there is. Willy also included some resin reroll counters and a leader reroll counter. And a button. The resin counters are really nice. Very smooth and give a satisfying clink when they pump into each other. They almost feel like plastic. I wouldn’t mind seeing their miniatures in resin instead of metal.
That’s everything that was in the box. If you backed the Kickstarter you could be getting more. The back of the box mentions special dice, but I believe Willy Miniatures had some delays in getting those produced and will be sending those along to backers as soon as they can. I didn’t follow the crowd-funded campaign, so I’m not sure if everything was unlocked. I imagine Willy will be producing the other miniatures (included a two-heads mutant, a big hand mutant and some other stuff) for sale on their website.
Overall, I’d say the Willy Miniatures Ratmen Team is a petty good Blood Bowl team. I’m not crazy about some of the designs, nor am I wild about assembling mutli-piece miniatures for little ratmen, but the sculpts are all very nice and the production of the minis is pretty crisp with very minimal flash and mold lines and the like. When you throw in the double-sided board, the dugouts, the box and the foam tray, you’re getting a good deal. I wouldn’t say Willy Miniatures are inexpensive (there are cheaper options out there) but this is probably a better value then if you bought all the skaven stuff GW puts out.