Off the Beaten Pitch: Goblin Guild’s Grim Butchers Chaos Dwarf Team Unboxing and Review

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If you recall, I mentioned how rough the summer was on my wallet when it came to the amount of new Blood Bowl teams that 3rd-party manufacturers were producing.  In total I added another seven teams through Kickstarter last year and the rewards of that folly adventure have begun to trickle in.  The first to arrive only slightly behind schedule is a new take on the men with hats, the Grim Butchers from Goblin Guild.

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Although I don’t mention them much on here, for me my first love of Blood Bowl was the Chaos Dwarves.  This was back in the days before the bull centaurs when it was just six Chaos Dwarves and a horde of hobgoblins.  Originally they weren’t a very popular team just for that reason.  They did have access to arguably one of the best star players in the game, but overall the team just wasn’t exciting for people.  I loved the hobgoblins, and once you had about three dwarves with guard the team could pick up steam.  After some 3rd edition revisions and the dwarves got mutations, bull centaurs and a minotaur, the style of the team really changed.  Hobgoblins went from the mainstay of the team to just a scattered few on the field.  I’ve yet to figure out this new roster but I’ve never let go of my original Chaos Dwarf team.  I stripped and repainted the team in 2001 and took that team to the first ever Blood Bowl tournament in Nottingham so they have some sentimental value.  Alas, the team is starting to show it’s years in design and being a very old paint job they aren’t the sharpest looking teams in my collection.

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Part of my great design thinking 18 or so years ago was that all my dwarves would have different colored beards, with the coach having a sweet yellow and blue combination…

The 3rd edition team doesn’t stand up well with the newer and larger Blood Bowl of today.  There have been a variety of companies that have made attempts at advancing the team into the present but despite a few valiant attempts they have never closed the deal.  Either the dwarves are good but the hobgoblins lack or the other way around.  The Gaspez Arts Bull Warriors came close, but at the end of the day the feel of the team just wasn’t there for me.

Before this teams release if you had asked me the age old question of “Do they have to have hats?” I would have answered most certainly “Hell Yes!!!”  Something about the look of the Goblin Guild team nestled its’ self into my brain and kept me coming back to the kickstarter to browse.  Some will say it was because I was in Afghanistan and didn’t have anything else to do, while others will say I’m a Pedro Ramos (the sculptor of the team) fan-boy, but it was something else.  It was like that old spark I felt when I first came across the Chaos Dwarf team in a Blood Bowl flyer mailed to me from Games Workshop.   I was hooked!  I once again dove into the joys of crowd funding and wired away a fistful of cash.

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So very low thrills when it comes to the box it shipped in.  While I wasn’t expecting anything fancy, during transit the generous two sheets off bubble wrap had moved to be on top of the models resulting in one broken resin leg and many bent metal ankles.

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With everything out of the box this is what we are working with.  As you can see the bull centaurs and Lammasu (Minotaur) are all single one piece resin.  The Lammasu was the one to lose a leg but it was a clean break and easily glued back on.  Unfortunately the funding on the project did not advance to all the hopeful unlocks so the team didn’t get more than a coach for sideline figures and a couple of star players.

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Star with Bazooka, Hobgoblin with knives, coach, and an exclusive backer model of a Hobgoblin dressed up as a dwarf.

For the backbone of the team we get a full lineup of dwarves that not only have a variety of poses but also show off a much more muscled physique compared to the team of old.  They are all shirtless but the strength and overall aggressiveness of the poses really makes for an intimidating front line.

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The top middle model clearly shows off how lacked of padding got his slot so bent out of shape.

The design of the hobgoblins kept the hooded and stitched appearance of the original team but went with a variety of more sporting poses over their more stiff primogenitors.

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And finally onto the resin boys we have the bull centaurs and our Lammasu/Minotaur.  I am not too sure on the Lammasu if I will keep him or not.  There is not doubting that it is a well sculpted model, but I am not sure if I like the idea or not.  There certainly was Lammasu use in the lore of Chaos Dwarves but I don’t know if a Minotaur would look better or not.

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So how do they stack up with newer models?

Hobgoblins

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I feel the size and height of these guys are great.  They come close to the size of your typical human in height but their thin lankly limbs and modest armor certainly puts them in the 7 armor look.  There are a couple of issues though.  If you notice the first hobgoblin on the left he has one foot that looks like it was lost in an accident and then his other is so comically large and flat it looks like a deathroller just went by.  Could explain why he is yelling.

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Again the first model on the left is in trouble.  He is in a good running pose but his feet are so small and dainty at the ankles that I think it is only a matter of time before he breaks.  I can try and run a road up through his leg for stability but his feet are so thin that a rod will certainly bust through.   Here is a closer look below.

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Its a bit disappointing as this is nice pose for a ball carrying hobgoblin, something the original team didn’t attempt to replicate.  I have the additional backer model to use but while I do think the design is humorous, it would have been nice to see an extra hobgoblin that was more in tune with the rest of the team.

Chaos Dwarves

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These dwarves are clearer a head taller than their predecessor but come in slightly shorter if you account for the sweet old hats.  They are certainly in more detailed poses though the vibe of distain that the models exude is certainly evident.

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Not evident from the color of the metal but the bodies of the dwarves are riddled with scars that suggest a long career of fighting it out on the line of scrimmage with a variety of foes.  They have maintained the curled beard design of old but the models work great without relying on a single hat.

Bull Centaurs

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The Bull centaurs are both single piece models which I do enjoy.  The design of both I feel are more in scale with the team.  The old Hthark model is a classic but is clearly a giant of a model.  He can easily fit in with a modern sized team.  Since GW never offered any additional bull centaur models for Blood Bowl I think the size of Hthark has become the accepted size of bull centaurs.  A rookie BC is only ST 4 so I feel goblin guild has done a great job in capturing the perfect size of the torsos and bull portions of the models.  The rearing model is a bit unusual in his waist because his waist is turned to deliver a punch.  It can make the model look a little unusual at some angles but I think Pedro Ramos did a good job in sculpting the poses.

The Big Guy

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Unfortunately I don’t have a new minotaur to compare the Lammasu to for comparison and the 3rd edition Blackhoof I own is in pieces somewhere.  As you can see this guy is certainly a big guy as he can barely make it on his BB16 sized base.  He looks the match in size to the old Hthark and dominates the lineman with ease.  After his leg repair he is essentially a one piece model so no options for mutations.  This is a bit disappointing as I feel most players will have claws after the first 3 casualties, but I’m able to look past WYSIWYG.

I’ve read more than a couple of grumbles about the size of the BCs in relation to the rest of the team.  Personally I think they are perfectly sized to fit with the team but here are a few shots to decide for yourself.

The dwarves are, well, dwarves so I don’t see an issue with the size of them.  The sheer muscularity of the models makes them still to be impressive figures.  I think there is a good progression in size from the dwarves up.  I stick to my theory that people are so used to the Hthark model that his size has become the accepted BC size.

Staff , Stars and Extras

The coach and star players are all well designed and executed.  The “mad-eye’ themed star is the only dwarf wearing any headgear on the team.  While I have never used the blunderbuss/bazooka in any game of Blood Bowl its a nice looking model that will be fun to paint.

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The final piece to show off is a nice resin team marker that would be perfect for a turn or score marker.  The burning bull skull is classic Chaos Dwarf iconography and looks like a fun little marker to paint up.

Final Assessment

Overall I think the final product was spot on to the design drawings.  I don’t miss the hats at all on the team and I think the spirit of the Chaos Dwarves is still there without them.  This is my second team from Goblin Guild.  Both Kickstarters went well with only modest delays (for Kickstarter).  There is something about the type of metal that they use that doesn’t quite agree with me.  While I certainly think the detail on the models is there, the overall appearance of the bare metal with its dirty look kind of detracts from the appearance.  Perhaps I’m just used to the crisp white metal of over companies.  As I said before the detail is certainly there on the models, its just a bit difficult to see past the grubby appearance.

I wish they would do a bit more with the packing on their models.  While I will admit to being a chronic over-packer when I send stuff, two sheets of small bubble wrap to make it across the Atlantic is a bit of stretch.  This with metal and resin models sliding around is recipe for disaster.  Just from comments on the Kickstarter page I’m not the only one with some dinged up models.

I am a little disappointed with the ankle design on some of the hobgoblins with the ball carrier model for certain going to need some delicate reinforcement if he is going to see any table use at all.   Looking at some of the models shown on their website I may have just gotten a bad cast as my flat footed friend certainly looks to have matched feet on their website.

Despite my complaints I am still very happy to have the team and they are my planned go-to Chaos Dwarves in the future.  If you are looking for a Hthark replacement to match this team there is one offered by Goblin Guild and if you don’t like the Lammasu design there are options for a regular minotaur.  Below are some painted examples from the Goblin Guild Website to help show off the finer details of the models.

This knocks out one of the six new teams coming in so expect some more reviews shortly!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Pitch: Goblin Guild’s Grim Butchers Chaos Dwarf Team Unboxing and Review

  1. Nice review, bull centaur size was not everyone’s taste, but I do appreciate the effort of making figs more playable (note for the creator)… keep the good work !

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