Mantic Undead Review

Long ago when Mantic first released their ghoul models, they sent a sprue to me as a sample.  The ghouls were of high quality, except 3 of the 4 base hands on the models had broken fingers.  It didn't bother me as there was a variety of other hands that could be glued on in their place if one cut off the base hands and they were shipped to me in a bubble envelope from the UK.

Fast forward to end of June.  A couple of friends and I placed an order for a number of Mantic models.  We ordered one of the Morgoth's Revenge sets and a box of Orc Axes.  I received this order about a week ago now.  My part of the set was the undead, while the dwarves went to one friend and the orcs to another.  After assembling a couple of the models from the sprues I hadn't seen before (Skeletons, Revenants, Zombies), I would recommend them for anyone looking for cheaper alternatives to GW undead.  They're at least as detailed as the GW skeleton plastics, though much less customizable.

The Mantic skeletons vary from 2 piece to 6 pieces per model (excluding details like pouches), with a large number being in the 2 or 3 piece range, the parts on the command sprue half have the largest variety.  The Skeleton and Revenant sprues are also interesting in that they're designed as sprue halves.  There is a base skeleton half, a base Revenant half, a line trooper half and a command half.  Any individual sprue will have either the Revenant or Skeleton half with the other side being the line trooper or command half.  The 4 sprues that came with Morgoth's revenge had one of each combo, giving me 2 of each type of sprue half.  (I wish I'd taken pictures before cutting everything off the sprues.)  There is a total of only 4 unique legs, 2 with chainmail, 2 with rags, meaning that from the waist down there will be little variability.  The upper torsos however appear to each be unique (so 5 unique torsos per sprue half).  They are extremely close in scale to the newer GW skeletons, and I've already assembled a mantic body with a GW sword arm, only a little GS is required to fill the cavity the GW arm has for the connector nob that doesn't exist on the Mantic model.

The ghouls seem to just have a problem with shipping, of the 5 sprues that came in the set (totaling 20 open hands),  11 of the open hands had 1 or more broken fingers.  As there are only 2 ghouls per sprue (though they do have separate torsos and legs), with 3 head options and 3 replacement hands, there isn't much in the vary of variation if many of them are fielded, expecially when over half their basic/open hands are broken.  I'll probably try mixing them with the zombies for variation.

Which brings me to the Zombies themselves, which while look nice on the sprue have some of the strongest criticisms from me.  They come 3 models to a sprue, (2x torsos + arm, 1x torso + 2 arms), with 6 head options and 3 arm options for the 2 torsos with only 1 arm molded on.  it also comes with a spine and pile of organs with looks like it should slot into a set of legs, and a base that looks like it can slot a torso missing legs and trailing guts.  This could potentially bring the models up to 4 zombies per sprue.  There are 2 major problems with the zombies.  First, the torsos and legs do not fit together well at all.  They're going to require quite a bit of gap filling to fix the poor looking connections.  The second is how the heads connect to the torsos.  with the flat connection there is little in the way of posing the head, and this is most noticeable on the torso with 2 arms as any head attached looks like it's staring up at the 2nd or 3rd story of a building.  The neck would work alright if the torso was placed almost horizontal on the ground, but not even the legless base positions the torso that far down.  An interesting aside, is a arm holding a head.  I only counted it as a arm as I was unable to fit it on any of the torsos at any angle to have it look right as a zombie holding it's own head (either still attached to the body or truly floating free).  With some conversion it can be made to work, but I'm not sure how many people can sculpt good looking severed necks (never tried it myself).

All in all the models are pretty good, and i do recommend them for anyone looking for yet more undead to add to their force.  It's kind of a cruel irony that the Zombies are the worst of the bunch as they had the most cross-game utility in my book.  All the models (except the Zombies) go together quickly so assembling a large force in limited time should not be a problem. So far the best part of the entire undead range, in my opinion, is the Undead Giant Rats (Dogs?) models (that is the official title for them too).

About the image:  The back 2 models are Skeleton/Revenants.  The one on the left has the GW sword arm.  The middle 3 models are the Zombies, which look nice, but don't go together too well.  The blurry front most models are the Ghouls.  the dog sized undead critters are the Undead Giant Rats (Dogs?).

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