15 Sep 2012

Raging Heroes Blood Vestals Review

Raging Heroes are a new company making 28mm scale miniatures using 3D computer technology. Most of their figures are designed to be used in place of official Games Workshop miniatures. The Blood Vestals discussed in this post, for example, are clearly meant to represent Witch Elves from the Warhammer universe. Similarly, their flagship Asharah figure is supplied with three different heads that allow her to be used as a heroine for either a Dark Elf, Vampire Counts or Chaos army. Other Raging Heroes figures that are obviously designed as alternatives for Warhammer include their Mantis Warriors (Chaos Daemonettes) and a Dark Elf Sorceress.

Coming from a generation that still believes that no computer can possibly rival the trained human mind (I still refuse to use SatNav, and prefer an atlas and my own navigational skills instead), I was surprised to see just how well-sculpted these miniatures were.  

There was very little flash to remove and no mould lines. Up to now, I have always found that Hasslefree figures have required the least amount of work when prepping a miniature. My Hasslefree miniatures have usually only needed to have a little smoothing out of the mould lines with the dull side of a hobby knife. But Raging Heroes seems to have Hasslefree beat on this point.

The figures were very correctly proportioned, so correctly, in fact, that their ankles and wrists are incredibly slim, and look as though they would be quite readily snapped. I had read on some forums that some people received their Blood Vestals from the manufacturer with snapped ankles, but when I did drop one on the ground (unintentionally), no damage was sustained. This was, however, a figure that had not yet been fixed onto its base, and I can imagine that one that has already been stuck on to its base might be more susceptible to having a snapped ankle if dropped.

A Blood Vestal (right) stood next to a Hasslefree Kalee miniature 
Each ankle is less than 2 mm in diameter from back to front and only about 1 mm from side to side. Most adults' ankles are less than 56 mm in diameter, and only the grossly obese are likely to have ankles that measure more than 112 mm in diameter.

Therefore, at 1:56 scale, an ankle should have a diameter of between 1 to 2 mm, which is exactly the size of the Blood Vestals' ankles. Compare this to the ankle of the Kalee figure from Hasslefree Miniatures, which is about 3 mm across. It is the Blood Vestal that is more correctly proportioned.

Nevertheless, although these Blood Vestals are beautifully sculpted (and far superior to the official Warhammer Witch Elves made by Games Workshop), they cannot quite match the easy naturalism of Kev White's Hasslefree figures.

Raging Heroes Blood Vestal (left) and Hasslefree Kalee (right)

Compare the breasts of the two figures in the photograph above. The Raging Heroes Blood Vestal on the left has firm pointed breasts that stick straight out towards the viewer. There is no sag or droop, and the nipples almost seem to be pointing upwards. The Hasslefree miniature to its right, on the other hand, has firm, full breasts. While they cannot really be described as sagging or drooping, there is just the slightest hint of the effect of gravity on them, and they hang down just enough to give viewers the impression of a full-bodied mature woman.

Similarly, the waist of the Hasslefree figure is rounded and full, like that of a real woman, who, although slim, does still have a thin layer of subcutaneous fat on her anterior abdominal wall. Contrast this with the almost wasp-waisted Blood Vestal, who has a figure more like that of a photoshopped image from a fashion magazine than of a real woman.

Granted, these Blood Vestals are elven women, and therefore entitled to a more idealised figure than their human counterparts. Still, despite their near-perfect proportions, these computer-generated miniatures just do not match the sheer artistry of the Hasslefree figure.

In terms of scale, the Vestals are about 32mm to the top of their heads (they measure 34-35mm to the top of their hair, but as this stands out quite a lot from their heads, I estimate their height to be about 32mm). This would make them about 2 mm taller than most Hasslefree figures (which are "true" 28mm scale and measure 28mm to the eyes, and approximately 30mm to the top of the head).

Left to Right: Raging Heroes Blood Vestal, Hasslefree Kalee, Mantic High Elf and Avatars-of-War Barbarian Hero

However, it should be noted that, unlike the Hasslefree Kalee figure, who is wearing a pair of boots, the Blood Vestal is wearing high-heels. It is therefore only to be expected that she stands a little taller.

A height difference of 2 mm at 1:56 scale translates into a difference of 112 mm (a little over 4 inches) in reality. As ladies' high heels  range from 3 to six inches in real life, it would be quite natural for a woman wearing them to stand about 4 or 5 inches taller than an average person.

The Blood Vestals can therefore be considered to be the same size as other "true-scale" 28 mm figures, including historical miniatures. They may stand a little taller, but this is because they are dressed (perhaps a little impracticably for close combat) in high-heels.

In conclusion, I must say that these Blood Vestals are beautiful miniatures, and worth shelling out your hard-earned shekels for. Although I have compared them unfavourably to the Kalee figure from Hasslefree, they certainly outclass the Witch Elves currently produced by Games Workshop. The Blood Vestals would also be especially suitable for Dark Elf players who are building an army of Twilight Kin, as they would fit in especially well with the slender elves produced by Mantic Games.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this comprehensive review. I'm considering a witch elf army and the current GW models look very dated, not to mention they are now in finecast. The Blood Vestals look amazing.