Having finally got a camera that actually works again, and the time to do it, let's take a look at the latest iteration of Raging Heroes' 'Mantis Warriors', or as Slaanesh players call them 'Daemonettes that aren't quite as good as the old Juan Diaz ones but knock the current GW ones into a cocked hat'.
You could possibly consider that the review in a nutshell, but the main point of this is to highlight how this new version of the model compares to the older ones which make up most of my own Slaanesh Daemon army. Let's start with the sprue and material.
Here's one of the models still on the sprue. You might be thinking 'wow, he actually thought to take a picture before getting started for once' - well, there's a reason for that. I've talked before about how Trollcast is aptly named from a painter's point of view, since whilst it's light and strong and reacts well to glue, it's an utter git to prepare for painting. Raging Heroes have updated their preparation guidelines, and step #1 is basically 'do nothing for a week'. Apparently there are gases actually inside the model from the mould release process, so they recommend that the models be unpacked and then left to stand for 5-7 days.
I had a lot of time to take that picture, is what I'm saying.
Anyway, once that time is elapsed, the model should be cleaned with de-greasing soap and warm water, rinsed, dried with a paper towel, and then 'for best results' you should do it again. They also recommend that spray primer be applied in several very thin coats to make sure it sticks. This was all very annoying for someone like me who generally has less patience than Dr Satan De'ath, but credit where it's due, it worked.
The sprue itself requires some care. As you can see, several of the parts have a lot of points of connection both to the sprue, and to each other, so care must be taken when cutting not to over stress any of the parts- they will bend, but they can and will snap. I managed to break one claw in the ten models I built, but fortunately as I've said before Trollcast glues very well, and the repair has held despite a small point of contact.
Comparison to the old model
Here's a handy little comparison pic:
In case you need to be told, the newer model is on the left as you look at the picture. It's not immediately obvious. Just to clarify, the metal model on the right has had a weapon swap (with a Witch Elf, I think) to reflect the Etherblade upgrade, since these are both leader models- the leader head has bigger horns and no hair.
As you can see, the resin model is a little bulkier, though not much taller. The detail in general is sharper, and the big claws also have interesting little sub-claws at the back that make it look like the Daemon still has some ability to grasp things. The claws in general are larger, longer and more detailed, and both arms are poseable, as opposed to the original where only one is. The other very noticeable change is that the newer model is wearing panties of some sort- whilst I'm sure someone on the internet will be able to have a frothing fit about censorship here, I think the real reason is to give more flexibility to the ball-and-socket join at the waist, which isn't present on the original since it's one piece.
The Six Million Dollar Question
So, are the new models better? In part you can draw your own conclusions- if you really, really hate resin then... actually I can't remember if there was an option to get the new models in metal, so forget that. There's no question in my mind that the sculpt is better, and whilst the resin models are more work to build and prepare they're far, far less prone to falling over and so far, unlike my metal ones not one of them has fallen apart. But overall, in terms of detail, flexibility and quality the new ones are much better.
There are two little caveats to that- one, the larger sized claws and more open poses mean that packing and transporting the newer model is a little more difficult, and two, it doesn't look like Raging Heroes have got around to releasing the new version yet, so unless you were in the Kickstarter this is a tiny bit academic. Be aware that as of time of writing, the Mantis Warriors on their webstore are the old version, even the resin ones.
Finally, here's an old(ish) video bat-rep I did with Craig from Bitzbox in which my older Mantis Warriors see some action, because I like linking it every now and then...