Miniature Games, Tabletop Games

Blood Bowl Alt Minis Part 2: Dwarfs and Skaven

Blood Bowl is great, innit? In my previous post on alternative fantasy football miniatures I outlined a little of the history of Blood Bowl before diving into my recommendations. I trust that the above link back to my previous post will suffice and I can dispense with the history lesson on this occasion.

Today, I’m looking at Dwarfs. Dwarfs are one of my favourite Blood Bowl teams. They’re not fast, but they’re bloody tough and I appreciate this quality.

I will also be looking at the Skaven in this article. I have a Skaven team. I love the Skaven in Warhammer, so I was keen to pick up some Blood Bowl Skaven, too. Unlike the Dwarfs, these rats are bloody fast!

Dwarfs

gw dwarf team.PNG

I feel that the Dwarf team for the 2016 edition of Blood Bowl were something of a departure from the Dwarf miniatures of old. Their armour looks great, and their beards are definitely luxurious, but the miniatures are a lot more dynamic than previous ones. This is fine, but it’s a difference.

As I said, the armour on these Dwarfs does look great, and the studio colour scheme really does it justice. I like the use of the slayer’s beard scraping along the ground to support the miniature in the jumping pose. I mean, the pose might not reflect the miniature’s low agility, but it’s still damn cool!

All in all, a good, solid, characterful team. Games Workshop have been pretty consistent in putting out good plastic teams for this edition which are both expressive of the themes of the team, and very cost-effective.

Willy Miniatures

willy dwarf team.png

Will Miniatures have produced a team that is somewhat closer to the older, less mobile miniatures of the past. There are a few dynamically posed miniatures, like the runners and one of the blitzers, but these miniatures are generally that little bit more static. In a lot of cases, describing a miniature as ‘static’ might be taken as an insult, but these are Dwarfs. It’s kind of their thing.

In addition to these observations on posing, it’s worth noting that the beards are more controlled and less flamboyant than those of the GW team. These definitely look good, as one should expect from Willy Miniatures, but they’re also bit boring, a bit bland, y’know?

Black Scorpion

black scorpion dwarf team.jpg

Ooft, just look at those beards! Whereas Willy Miniatures has quite controlled beards, Black Scorpion takes a different approach. Their beards take up a lot of real estate on the miniatures and actually remind me of some of the older Warhammer Dwarf miniatures.

These feel like Warhammer Dwarfs, which will be a big plus for long-time fans. Do they looks like a Blood Bowl team? I dunno. These guys could pass for warriors, if you chuck an axe or two onto the miniature. If you want a team that really reflect the look of Warhammer’s Dwarfs then, buddy, this your team. They particularly remind me of the old Bugman’s Ranger minis.

Impact Miniatures

impact dwarf team

Again, Impact really need to take some nice photos of their miniatures to actually showcase them rather than presenting them in this useful but incredibly ugly way. Come on, guys! Take some pride in what you make!

My biggest issue with this gang would be the inconsistency between some of the models, but I’m not sure if the minis actually are inconsistent or whether it’s just the different paint schemes. I think it’s just the paint schemes. What I like about this team is that they look like a sports team. Dwarf teams can fall into the trap of just looking like armoured dwarfs, but these guys have quite light armour, big boots, and practical pauldrons.

Warlord Games

warlord dwarf team

A bit cheesecakey, these miniatures remind me of the sort of miniatures that come from Shadowforge. That’s not a bad thing, by the way. I love Shadowforge! I actually bought this team and it’s one of three painted teams I currently have. They were a lot of fun to paint and the sculpts were really good. Being metal, they also have a satisfying weight to them.

Generally, the miniatures meet that important criterion of actually looking like players on a sports team. They have a shared uniform and it’s easy to tell the different positionals apart. The only miniatures that don’t really fit this are the Blitzers, who look a bit less like players, carrying their frying pans and rolling pins, and the slayers. On the one hand, the female slayers wear about as much as the traditional male slayer, but on the other hand they are a bit… overly-revealing? I dunno, it’s a cool team.

Scibor Miniatures

scibor dwarf team

Scibor is a company I’ve been aware of for some time, but not one I’ve ever ordered from. I like some of their Chaos Space Marine miniatures and their Chaos (Moscal) Dwarfs. I didn’t realise until recently that they had put out this Dwarf fantasy football team.

So, this team is pretty cool! I like the bigger, heavily armoured dudes in the back. I like that they seem to have engines with smokestacks strapped to their backs. Their armour also features a lot of filigree-style detail which is typical of Scibr’s output. This is contrasted by the smaller, more lightly armoured guys in the front. This makes it quite easy to tell the positionals apart. The pig is also wonderfully grotesque.

Skaven

gw skaven team.PNG

The Skaven have long been one of my favourite Warhammer armies, and it’s actually one that I’m revisiting in the coming year. The latest incarnation of the Skaven Blood Bowl team is rather pretty. The visual style ties in pretty close to the newer style of Skaven. They are lithe, even when armoured, with scrappy armour and expressive tails. Is expressive the right word? I’m not sure, but it’s what came to mind.

As with all of the new Blood Bowl miniatures, these guys are delightfully dynamic. The Gutter Runners are particularly cool with their big, billowing cloaks. I have a box of these built up and ready to paint. When I get around to them, I might try to paint them to match my Skaven army.

Black Scorpion

black scorpion skaven team.jpg

Another set that I own, Black Scorpion’s Skaven team is a lot chunkier than the standard Games Workshop models. There’s less armour on display, beyond shoulder and belly plates, with robes being the dominant feature.

I like this team and they were a joy to paint up. I went for Green for my main colour. I’ll have to put up some pictures of my Blood Bowl teams at some point. They are a lot less dynamic than the GW team and the positionals can be a little harder to differentiate (except for the Gutter Runners – that are quite obvious), but they still have a nice, consistent presence. They are also, as with all of the Black Scorpion teams, pretty great value for money.

RN Estudio

rn estudio skaven team

These guys are brutal! Whereas the Skaven are often portrayed as cowardly, sneaky, craven creatures who operate either in large numbers or through individual backstabbery, this team takes on a very different look. Gone is most of the armour and the robes, and instead we see a more aggressive and, let’s say it, ripped team.

The poses are quite dynamic and what armour they do wear is used well. Many of the minis have various harnesses and single-shoulder pauldrons. I really like the miniatures that have cloaks and cowls. The most divisive aspect of this team is definitely the tone. It shows a different type of ratman and one that is a lot more aggressive and feral than we’re used to seeing from the Skaven.

Punga Miniatures

punga skaven team

These are quite different. They are very much a tightly-themed team of Skaven pirates. Their uniforms are fantastic. I love the long coats and the pirate hats. There are some great poses. They are recognisably Skaven, but have a clearly unique identity.

Simply put, these are amazing. The only thing that sits a bit iffily with me is the inclusion of lots of different weapons. Some, like little blades, chains, maces, and brass knuckles are all typical in Blood Bowl, but cannons and guns? Maybe a little harder to get away with on the pitch… Still, such a cool team!

Random Platypus

random platypus skaven team

This is the third party team that is closest to the GW one in style. They are lithe, dynamically posed and with those expressive tails I was going on about earlier. The biggest difference is in the style of the armour and the posture of the miniatures. These guys are a bit more heavily armoured. They look more like Stormvermin, whereas the GW models are closer to Clanrats.

My Verdict

As I look into more of these alternate teams, I find myself so tempted to pick them up! Skaven and Dwarfs are two of my favourite teams and I have a painted third party team for each and a box of the Games Workshop miniatures for each as well. Of the third party teams listed in this post I do have two favourites:

The Warlord Games dwarf team is a bit silly, a bit lewd, and potentially troublesome for some people, but I like it. It was fun to paint and I like getting them to the table.

The Punga Pi-Rats are jawdroppingly beautiful miniatures. The theme is a lot of fun and is carried across the whole team very well. They’d actually look really good as a little skirmish force, too.

Next time, I’m going to take a look at another couoke of teams. I’m keen to look at some Chaos, so we’ll see what I find.

2 thoughts on “Blood Bowl Alt Minis Part 2: Dwarfs and Skaven”

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