As very long term readers will know, I have been interested in the Pantheon of Chaos project since it was called Antiqus Malleum and was spearheaded by Mick Leach of Eastern Front Games. For some reason I can never quite fathom, the project stalled at the final hurdle, but like phoenix to flame, Diego Serrate and his pals rode to the rescue and have since launched a successful Kickstarter.
But was the final result actually any good? Sure, many a crowdfund has promised the Earth but delivered a tiny piece of Shropshire (and a not very nice piece at that) sending forums and comments pages alight with rage and disappointment.
Thankfully, The Pantheon of Chaos did not descend into farce and I recently received a number of models from the project. Hence, this review and the reason you are now reading this. Perhaps you were tempted by the models on offer, or took the plunge and coughed up the cash? It matters not, as we are here today to review some of the miniatures on offer.
What started as a small project to put together a couple of chaos warriors soon grew into a mammoth undertaking of astonishing proportions. Looking back, it was as if each week Diego and his gibbering, mutated sculptors served up another '80s Warhammer inspired wonder on wonder. There were by the project's end so many different models it was hard to keep track of them all and I capitulated and let the greens wash over my like a tidal wave of tin.
When he was not whipping his sculptors or force feeding them raw meat, Diego engineered one beautiful looking range after the other. Warriors, champions, troops and of course - behemoths! With old school GW stalwarts such as Tony Ackland, Kev Adams and Tim Prow on board too, the results were enough to make a seasoned (and quite blinkered) Citadel collector into chasing something else small and silver.
Speaking with Diego, he has assured me that there is much more to come, including a hardback rulebook to support the range, and a webstore to peddle the models on an individual basis. But that is all in the future, for now we have the initial outlay of models, of which I have a mere handful to examine.
To start with I am going to look at the multi-part models I received in more detail. I have photographed them here with a trusty old 1990 Citadel Bretonnia gunner for scale. All of these models are creatures of chaos and display the crazed proportions of their ilk.
Top left, we have C'Chak the Silent - and be honest I am not quite sure 'what' exactly he is supposed to be. He is certainly fimir like and has a reptilian body. I am not quite sure where to place him in my collection and my opt for him to represent a troglodyte.
Top middle, we have Screech. A beastman type, he has a positive whiff of bat wings about his ears and a baroque style of armour. A scorpion tail completes his chaotic visage.
Bottom left, Kev Adams Scragg hobgoblin champion - beautifully sculpted and similar to some of the larger models he did for the Warmonger range. He is far too large for me to use as a standard goblinoid - so instead he may well become a troll or ogre.
The long headed chap is perhaps the weakest of the models, in my opinion at least. Something about the pose I think just doesn't gel with me and the design doesn't tickle my fancy at all.
Zz'andor is the real ace in the deck here and I love him. An obvious pastiche of Zygor Snake-Arms from the pre-slotta days, only this new version is superior in every way to the original model and the quality of detail is extremely crisp. A stunning model!
Conclusion: A really solid bunch of models. Though the multi-part nature of the miniatures may well put some people off, these just beg to be painted (or if you are daring, converted). The quality of the casting really surprised me, being used to Bryan's Foundry quality of production. These are weighty, crisp models packed with detail. I observed little or no flash on the examples I received and absolutely no miscasting at all.
The single cast models may well appeal to the old school Citadel collector more than the multi-part, so I have separated them in this review. Personally, I prefer my models in this way and I believe that the poise and position of a model is best dictated by a sculptor of some skill and not me and my superglue. Again, the Bretonnian gunner has popped in to offer some scale guidance.
Top left, we have the model I once named Oskar the Writhing and he is a real beauty to hold in the hand. Full of crusty, corroded details he is just shouting out to become a Nurgle champion in my nascent force. You may well remember the two models below him from the Antiqus Malleum days, and again I was pleased to finally have these in my hands. To the right are two beastman models who riff in a different direction than the standard goat man. The lizard headed chap on the top row really caught my eye and his heavy amrour will no doubt paint up beautifully.
Standout model here? Kev Adam's goblin standard bearer. A work of art.
As I said earlier, the Pantheon project became so massive it became difficult to keep track of it all. These little critters (which I understand where handed out as free extras to backers) are very similar to the Famous Familiars of old. They are more chunky than their '80s cousins though, being perhaps more closely related to Kev Adam's late '80s Nurglings. They are varied and interesting. My favourite has to be the fly headed 'thing' on the top of the row.
Conclusion: An excellent set of models that will blend in perfectly with any collection of old school fantasy from the 1980s or later. Special mention must be made of the beastmen as an attempt has made to produce something different from the goathead archetype. The goblin standard bearer is a must for any collector.
Here is a close up of the other two familar things so you can check out the detail and imagination on offer.
Finally, the big boy himself, the Greater Daemon of Malign/Malice/Malal - whatever you want to call him. He is a really large model and weighs a fair whack. Handling him brought a nice smile to my face as it brought back the first time I opened up blisters of the original Greater Daemons of Chaos way back in the 1980s - which I guess is the ultimate accolade I can give any model.
He is multi-part and will require some skill to assemble. Cleaning and greenstuffing will no doubt be essential to get the best out of this model, as well as a fair bit of pinning. To the old school modeller, this isn't going to pose a problem but to though who are perhaps more suited to the CAD plastic (and resin) kits of today, it may feel daunting. I can tell just by looking at the level of detail that when this beast is assembled and ready for painting, he will make a fine centre piece to any army or indeed collection.
Like the single cast models before this gigantic creature, it feels rather smashing to have at last got my hands on this model. From first noticing it in the Realm of Chaos books, to discovering that the now famous Malal daemon was still part of Tony Ackland's art collection and using his warp maddened memory to recreate the pantheon of daemons from this lost god, it has been quite a journey.
Conclusion: Even my wife liked this model and suggested that I got on and painted it so she could see it finished. No miniature could receive higher praise than that!!! (;
Right, all I have to do now is work out which model I am going to work on first. Quite a hard question to answer really, considering that I have a bunch of skaven on the go as I type. Oh, and a few more wizards!
Time to go ponder.