Monday, September 21, 2015

Shieldwolf Miniatures: Northern Alliance Great War Mammooth with Howdah Reviewed!

Today we will take a closer look at the Shieldwolf Miniatures Northern Alliance War Mammooth originally released through their first succesful Kickstarter campaign. During this review we will take a look at the polyurethane resin Northern Alliance Great War Mammooth equipped with a howdah although a version without the additionnal howdah will also be made available after the end of the upcoming Kickstarter and after the backers received their pledges.

The Northern Alliance Great War Mammooth

You may have already wondered has Wargame News and Terrain managed to misspell the name of the reviewed product, no we haven't as the name has been chosen for intellectual property reasons. But that said up to the review as the War Mammooth must be the resin largest model I have ever assembled! Really excited by the look of the previously released painted previews of this massive beast I ripped open the box and started to wash and clean the model parts.

The model parts can be divided in two groups with one being the actual War Mammoth model while the second one are the pieces needed to assemble the detailled howdah. I have taken pictures of all the parts to show you the amount of different components and to allow me to better explain the assembly later in the review. 

In the picture above you can see the twelve resin parts that make the War Mammooth. The largest part forms the body of the beast and is a full resin cast so not hollow! This really adds some weight to the model which isn't bad in my opinion. Other parts are the head, four legs, the tail and trunk. As this is a War Mammooth the trunk has been upgraded with a deadly array of spikes while one of the tusks has been splitted adding one more deadly weapon to this already deadly beast of war!

As you can see the casting and resin quality is really superb. During the assembly of the creature I haven't stumbled upon any airbubbles and discovered only very small pieces of thin flash and some resin lines I removed on the trunks. To be honest I'm still gobsmacked on how they managed to cast the small  and thin spikes on the trunk! Wouldn't mind seeing how this is done as I can't think how the mould of this piece would look. Never the less, congratulations to the designers, sculptor and casters who managed to bring this gargantuan creature to life and on my tabletop!

In the picture above you can see all the parts that make up the large howdah upgrade. As you can see quite a number of parts but do not fear! Every part fits really well and all of the parts can only be assembled in the right place due to the clever use of cast-on pins. The actual howdah consists out of two pieces: one large fighting platform supporting a smaller platform at the back connected with a small stair. 

Although one minor remark would be that the addition of the smaller platform on top of the large fighting platform (see top left) really limits the amount of based miniatures you can place there. That said nice amount of wood grain details also featuring some fabric rags and small ropes to attach some nice hanging shields. The casting quality is good and you only need to clean some parts where the casting vents were originally situated, this is also the case on several other parts but some gentle scraping with a sharp hobby knife or vile and they are gone in no time.

Following the creature and the howdah, the set also comes with some nice details such as armoured shoulder and leg plates equipped with some rather nasty spikes. The howdah can aslo be further decorated with two large banners, shields and some other decorative items such as supplies and weapons. Again really crisp casting and the armoured plates are even detailled at the back, not sure if this was really necessary as they are glued onto the War Mammooth but still a nice touch of the design team.

Through the assembly process

As I was too excited with the assemby I didn't took pictures during the actual assembly process. But I will talk you through the steps I have taken when assembling this highly-detailled model kit. The first step is too clean all the parts with hot water and soap. Gently cleaning each part using an old toothbrush to remove unwanted casting residue. 

War Mammooth

After that I cleaned all the parts starting with the War Mammooth and then dryfitted all parts of the model. During that step I found it necessary to pin the legs of the creature with paperclip wire to ensure a sturdy base for the rest of the model. Dead simple using a hobby pin vice and done in no time yet supplying you with a strong bond. When attaching the legs I noticed that the front legs really fit well but the back legs will need some minor greenstuff fill work. 

After that I glued on the head followed by the tail and trunk and last but not least the mighty tusks! All of these pieces flew on the model as most of them even stayed in place without glue! Now we are on the topic of glue, I used the Army Painter Model Glue widely available though most gaming stores or online.


Now that the War Mammooth has been fully assembled you have created the perfect base for the large howdah. I started with the assembly of the largest fighting platform which will be placed on the shoulders of the War Mammooth, to better explain the assembly I have numbered all the parts with the A-parts being the parts needed for the large fighting platform and the B-parts needed for the smaller fighting platform.

The largest part of the large fighting platform consists out of part A1 topped with part A2. These parts now form the sturdy base of the large structure to which the side walls A4 and A5 need to be added where the small holes are visible in the picture. After that these side walls were glued in place I added the front part which is part A3 and is designed to fit on the shoulders-back of the War Mammooth. The strangely shaped A8 part need to be glued beneath the back of the large platform and will form the connection piece to the small fighting platform. When this piece was attached you still need to add the large A6 and A7 side panels.

Now we can add the small fighting platform at the back of the large fighting platform. Again we start with the base part which is B1 to this base we add the side panels B3 and B4. The back of the small fighting platform consists out of part B2. Underneath of the small fighting platform we glued part B7 which allows a tight fit on the creature's back. The last steps are the addition of the B5 and B6 side panels followed by the addition of the stair obviously part B8.

Armour and other details

The last steps in the assembly are adding the shields to the designated spots on the howdah while also assembling the two banner poles which add some extra height the already massive model. Not much to say about this just glue the armoured plates, supplies and extra shields and glue the banner poles in the corresponding holes. Now step back and witness the full might of your newly assembled War Mammooth!

The assembled model

In the following pictures you can see the fully assembled model. I must note that I haven't attached the banner poles yet and the howdah isn't glued on the model yet as painting may prove difficult after that. But check this model out, the detail and quality is just great and will form a great center piece for my upcoming Northern Barbarian Army flanked by some smaller Deezee Mammoths and hopefully filled with some high quality hard-plastic Shieldwolf Miniatures shieldmaidens! The miniature is the pictures is a heroic scaled 28mm Reaper miniature.

Scale comparison

As you might have noticed this model is huge so I have also taken some scale comparison pictures of this model next to the hard-plastic Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Mumakil model. I would have wished to take some pictures next to the Forge World Chaos Mammoth but this model looks to be out of production and also very costly but I found a picture online to help you.

As you can see the War Mammooth is roughly the same size as the Games Workshop Mumakil model. But note that the War Mammooth is certainly bulkier than it non-heroic scaled Lord of the Rings counterpart. I must also admit that the Shieldwolf Miniatures model has lots more character than the Mumakil model as the Mumakil model has been designed with more realism in mind. That said I wouldn't want to meet any of these on the opposite side of the battlefield!

In these pictures you can clearly compare the Shieldwolf Miniatures War Mammooth, Games Workshop Mumakil and Forge World Chaos Mammoth. You can clearly see that the Forge World model is bulkier and higher than the War Mammooth but not sure if the detail is better or not. I will let the owners of both models decide on that matter.

Picture kindly borrowed from the DakkaDakka forum
 Painted War Mammooth

As always the experienced team over at Shieldwolf Miniatures has provided great pictures of the painted model and will be also releasing a full 360° picture of the model in the future. For now behold the great paintjob of Italian model painter Matteo Donzelli featuring excellent fur patterns, aged wood and shoulder plates.

The conclusion

Looking for a great center piece for your upcoming chaos of barbarian army? You have just found it, field this mighty beast and see your opponents scatter at its feet. The Great War Mammooth bring terror by trust, trunk and tusk and will certainly leave a lasting impression on your defeated enemy.

The quality of the resin and casting is superb and that's what I also expected from the experienced team over at Shieldwolf Miniatures. Although not cheap you will certainly need at least one of these to carry your shieldmaidens into the heat of battle! This model and the model without howdah can now be pre-ordered through the Shieldwolf Miniatures webshop but they will also be featured during the upcoming hard-plastic shieldmaiden Kickstarter at a discount. So save your pennies and pledge! Check the review of the excellent hard-plastic Shieldwolf Miniatures Mountain Orcs here and the review of the interesting resin Mountain Orc Great Wolf Chariot here.

Disclaimer - We received this miniature for free from Shieldwolf Miniatures for reviewing purposes. Please note that this doesn't influence our review as we always strive to supply you with our own independent and honest opinion about the wargame products reviewed.

Dozens of other reviews can easily be found here and make sure to follow Wargame News and Terrain as more reviews, tutorials and wargame news appears every day!

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