So GW finally released a thunder wolf kit. Day late and a dollar short, but as a lover of all things space wolves, I had to get some. Since everyone already has their wolves from 3rd party companies I imagine the popularity of the kit is low. I'll put it out there though, that even though I already have some wolves, I'll be using the GW ones. Its a super cool kit and to cut right to the meat of this, I'd recommend picking a box or two up.
First thing I look at when a larger model comes out is how is it built. The wolves come as a body, 2 legs, 4 feet, a tail and a 3 part head. The feet fit flawlessly onto the legs and for the most part the front legs fit snug in their recessed areas. The body halves on the other hand leave a little to be desired when it comes to gap filling.
Its not to say that they're a poor quality model/kit. Its an good kit for a space wolf player to pick up. The biggest area is the tail. The gap there has no chance of being naturally hidden once you paint it unlike the gap on the upper back and chest. At the very least though, this gap around the tail is very easy to fill; just roll a very tiny rope of GS and smooth it in there. I filled the gap along the entire model but this wasn't really necessary.
Below are just some different angles of the gaps you'll be faced with on the wolves.
The three part head is probably the worse to fill. Mostly because its not a large flat area and might take some work and skill to do correctly. It sucks too because you will for sure see the gap if you don't fill it because it's on a focus area of the model and people will naturally look at the face of the wolf.
The riders are really great too. They have new sculpts all the different parts. All of the arms are separate from the weapons, like with the grey knight kits, but for the most part are still magnetizable. I really like what they did with the chainswords in giving them the longer handle implying that the bearer could utilize a two handed grip; very barbaric indeed! Also, the changed buckler style shield is awesome. Finally the grip hand is great because it has no special are of the wolf it needs to be in which allows a large variety of possible poses for the rider. The grip hand is basically a fist with some hair griped in it and simply sets against any part of the wolfs back and looks like it was mend to be there.
The only true complaint I would lodge is the buckler. The shield is totally awesome and really lends itself to the space viking theme, but the mounting is simply retarded. All the buckler has to mount is a raised 'block' that glues to the back of the grip hand. it doesn't have the fist as part of the sculpt like most the previous storm shield sculpts do. This is very unfortunate that such a widely used bit has such a poor design as far as aesthetics go. (the pictures above and below give you an idea of the bad design, I had glued all mine down after the first set of pictures I took for this were corrupted when I was up loading them so I didn't have any loose shields to photograph for a better idea of what I'm talking about)
The final touch that really got me was with the dead thousand son stuff. Here are the two; one piece from the box set and one from the wolf lord. I really wanted to show this because its a new sculpt for a chaos bit; it wasn't recycled. I really want to go out on a limb that the chaos players might be able to expect something similar to these in the future.
I really don't know if its foreshadowing or just some sculptor that really likes 13th company, but there is some serious thousand son hate in this box. Below is a wolf tooth necklace with a little scarab on it. Its not the only thing to have that in the kit. One of the torso's even have it as part of the necklace on the torso sculpt. I hope to see more on this in the future.
Here is a size comparison. I find it hard to get an idea of what I'm looking at on the GW site as far as size goes.
Like all wolf kits it has some good bits options. the set comes with 4 torsos, a bunch of pistols and chain swords, plasma pistols and some new bolter poses, one of which has the loose ammo belt and flying shell casings like the chaos players have enjoyed. Aslo, the kit comes with 3 sheilds and three special weapons; thunder hammer, power weapon and fist. The hammer is the best power armor hammer to date, hands down. The forst axe is awesome but I can't say its better than the terminator one. The fist is lack luster because its in the same position as the grey hunter fist, with the exception that it has a different icon on the back.
I love this hammer. I used my brand new Saw 020 from green stuff industries to make the flying power cable.
The various mechanical augmentations/repairs are a very nice touch too.
I hate to leave on a sour note, but as much as I though the lord was going to be awesome (and the scuplt really is) I have to say, there really isn't a reason to get him. At his price point you might as well buy the thunder wolf kit and get 2 more wolves for $12 more. He doesn't come with much extra and is fine cast for no reason. DFG as a whole isn't on the fine cast hate wagon. We fall more into the moderate circle were fine cast is a good thing for some models and on other's its a model that could just be a flawless plastic cast like how they do the fantasy hero blisters This wolf lord is one of those.
the thunder wolf kit has really put compition on themselves for selling the lord and even canis models. I know I plan on making a silly 1500 point canis list and will not be picking up a canis model for it. Why would I want to pay 42$ for one wolf when I could pay 54 for 3? Same with the lord? Especially when GW has given the wolf players so many extra bits to make the special characters or heroes they need?
So over all the basic Thunder Wolf box set is a really great buy, even if you might already have some thunder wolves. its price is competitive with 3rd party companies considering all the extra options you get with GW that you don't otherwise. The new lord isn't that juicy when you see the box set on the shelf next to them and I'm honestly having some buyer regret about picking one up. I really can't recommend the lord or even Canis when the thunder wolf box gives you everything you need to make all your thunder wolf dreams come true.