On the savagery and excessive height of the elf: The Widows Gaze, a review/comparison of Rune Wars DeepWood Elves and Shieldwolf Shieldmaidens

Rumour abounds among the deep delvings that a new fantasy mass battle game slouches towards the Lead Mountain. The rough beast in question hails from the Osprey stable, and has sprung forth from the busy quill of that stalwart scrivener Joseph A. Mcullough, (who blogs here), able progenitor of the canticles of Frostgrave. The name of that beast is Oathmark.

Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age Banner Image

A perusal of the byways of the net will establish for the reader that Oathmark is a Tolkienesque, Quasi-Dark Age kind of affair in the rank & flank style, with some rather attractive miniature support from Northstar miniatures, which consists so far of plastic infantry boxes of Goblins, Dwarves, Elves and most recently Men. No doubt herein will appear more detailed appraisals of these sets at a later date, and perhaps greater ramblings on what is known or not known about the game itself, but sufficient to note for now that the miniatures are finely detailed, and good value for money.

Oathmark Dwarf Infantry Box Cover Art, Dwarves Advancing, Weapons Raised.
Dwarves love value for money. It is known

So the mind of your gentle guide through the Miniature Under-deep has developed a ‘Rank & Flank’ bent. Careful exploratory work uncovered a previously untouched seam of plastic military might, in the form of a box of Shieldwolf Miniatures ‘Shieldmaidens’, who are, it has to be said, positively Amazonian in stature.

Shieldmaiden infantry block, shields and handweapons, painted
Remember when Lee Evans runs into Plava Laguna? If these girls were blue…

Unpainted sprue image of Shieldmaiden parts

unpainted sprue of shieldmaiden parts 2

shieldmaiden miniatures as rangers, painted

and originally intended to expand a completely different ‘barbarian’ themed project (because everyone should have at least two, probably more barbarian projects at all times, or Crom will be gloomy indeed), for which they were deemed unsuitable after their excessive height was disclosed.

It should be understood that these are in no way bad miniatures. They are very good miniatures: detailed, relatively easy to construct, and with more than a single unit option. There are sufficient hand-weapons and shields to build at least 20 warriors, complete with command variants, or a similar number of caped ‘Rangers’ with crossbows. It’s even feasible to build more than the advertised ’20’, as there are sufficient parts to fudge 24. They are however very very tall, positively towering over a Hasslefree, and liable to give a Space Marine a good run for his money. They even challenge the mother of Big Ladies, the fabulous Darkoath Warqueen.

size comparison between GW Plague Marine, Hasslefree miniature, Shieldmaiden and DarkOath Warqueen

This probably wouldn’t be an issue, if not for the fact that Shieldwolf somewhat misleadingly advertise this kit as ’28mm’. Maybe the rest of the range is just as strapping? Maybe they are intended to be a race of extremely tall barbarians? The mists of Unknowing are heavy…

So, we have a box of overly tall female barbarians, and a new Mass Battle Game on the Horizon. What is an indigent Lead Farmer to do?

Dig out a single statuesque Elf from the Red Book of the Elf King range, recently released by Lucid Eye, that’s what. These fine fellows are intended to be towering and mighty individuals of legend and are by happy coincidence exactly the same height as our mucklin’ greet wimmens. Elven in kind, attired in furs and other similarly Dark Age-looking accoutrements, it was no hard leap to decide that the Shieldmaidens could easily serve as Elves. Not high-helmed, gleaming Noldor clad in shining mail atop Ivory Towers. Savage, Wild Elves of the most rude and uncivil type. More on this range to follow….

So, given that the ReBoTEK (That Rick Priestly does love his interesting Acronyms) range consists mostly of spear men (Companions) and Heroes, the scribe snuck away to consult the ancient tomes of lore (and the Dragon Rampant and Oathmark Facebook groups) for news of other interesting Elven troop types of similar height, and was presented with:

Runewars Deepwood Archers complete contents
The full box contents

Runewars, from Fantasy Flight appears to be akin in principle to X-Wing or Star Wars Legion in the sense that it is a self-contained battle game, albeit without the pre-painting. Other than that, the scribe knows little. What is clear is that (amongst other seemingly attractive sculpts) they do 32mm , and secondly they do Elves. Lovely, wild looking elves, 8 in a box, available to purchase in various places for an average of around 15 pounds sterling, including here

The box contents relevant to requirements

They are precisely the same height as the Shieldmaidens, perhaps just a tad more willowy, although that could easily be explained away as an effect of the style of armour. Misfortunately, they number 8 to a box. This means that some sort of leader and standard miniatures will have to be sourced, but otherwise they should serve well.

The arrows straighten naturally under tension when affixed
Reminds me of that scene in the Omen with David Warner and the sheet of glass…
Potential for a different weapon arm…

The (slightly large but probably generically sized) box also contains some of the Jigsaw-like Runewars movement trays, and assorted card gubbins that serve no use to this gamer. Perhaps they are still useful to a Runewars player, even without the figures? If they are, let us know and you are welcome to them on a first-come basis…

General size comparison with a WIP Shieldwolf. Close enough for Elven business.

Incisive minds will wonder why the scribe went for savage elves, not official Oathmark ones. This is a mixture of already having figures in need of use, and the suspicion that the lovely red boiled leather armour effect will not work particularly well with the predominantly mail-clad OM offering. It is probably inevitable that some OM elves will be ‘discovered’ at some juncture though.

Of course it goes without saying (which always precedes it being said) that any army built for Oathmark will contain enough miniatures to serve in Dragon Rampant.

For the future, sourcing command miniatures and trying out the paint scheme…

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3 thoughts on “On the savagery and excessive height of the elf: The Widows Gaze, a review/comparison of Rune Wars DeepWood Elves and Shieldwolf Shieldmaidens

  1. Pingback: Fiasco at Leeds 2018: A Convention appraisal. – Lead Mountain Widow

  2. Pingback: Vapnartak at York 2019: A Convention Appraisal (Feb 3rd) – Lead Mountain Widow

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