Some days it’s like Christmas has come early… or a second Birthday… or some other event where gifts arrive and it’s just darn nifty. In the modern gaming world things like Kickstarter can being you that special feeling that can only come when you forget that you paid for something months ago, and it finally arrives and you squee. Well, maybe not necessarily a vocal squeal, but surely an inward Woot! at least.
Now, while I’m unabashedly a fan of heroic scale figures, I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say that the previewed sculpts and designs for Arena Rex didn’t make me melt a little inside when they were shown as part of the Kickstarter. Stunningly gorgeous models in a realistic scale, a simple ruleset, and heck, more dice for my collection. How could I resist?
After a long wait, guess what arrived last week…
Arena Rex is being produced by Red Republic Games, and honestly, it’s the art style that won me over, even moreso than the sculpts. You can see more here – Link! – but the art cards that came with the KS are certainly a nice bonus.
The top four cards here have on their reverse the rules for the four Ludii – think factions – that you get if a certain percentage of your arena team are made up of members from the same one. The other cards contain the sum total of the rules for each of the gladiators, including their damage trees. We’ll get more into that in a future article, but for now we want to show the models themselves. None are painted yet, that’ll come all in good time. For now, ALL THE BARE RESIN!
First up is Otho Mentullus. An incredibly resilient fighter, Otho is in the end harder to put down than the great lion Leo, and also deals a very heavy blow. However, perhaps because of his resiliency, he is hated by the crowd. His sculpt has some exquisite detail, including the fish motif on his belt to match the design on his shield.
The first of the siblings, Sven is calm and measured in his approach to gladiatorial combat. Using his spear he strikes swiftly with attacks that are difficult to counter, precision strikes that bely his berserker inheritance. Also, I love the stalking pose.
Sven’s sister Frigge cares not for such a controlled approach to combat. Vengeful, spiteful, she doesn’t hesitate to throw herself into the melee as she shoves attackers away with her broad shield and hacks at them with her axe. She also has one of the highest component counts of the models I received, because apparently she likes strapping feathers all over the place.
Viatrix is something a crowd favourite. Swift on the attack, well defended and protected with a solid shield, she taunts her opponents into making potentially fatal mistakes before she and her teammates capitalize. Also, more feathers on this one. Viatrix’s musculature is yet another reason why I’m calling in a professional to paint these…
Much like Sven, Iason favors the long reach of the spear. Precision strikes are his hallmark, but even moreso the way he dances through the sands, harassing those attacking his teammates and intervening to take a jab at cracks in their armour, before lithely swinging away from retribution. Another high component count model, though that crest for his helmet is pretty bloody magnificent.
Lupa – the Kickstarter Exclusive model – acts on behalf of the arena owners, stepping in as executioner when needed and riling the crowd into a raucous frenzy as she swings her hammer. If I can get political for a moment, I love Lupa’s proportions as a female combatant, and that cameo on the side of the hammer is an awesome touch.
A trapper from the North, Bjarrhvit has been drawn to the arena by the promise of combat with an array of exotic animals, many of whom she feels are destined to find their pelts in her collection. Probably the model that looks least like a historical gladiator in my collection, I’m not ashamed to admit I chose this one in large part for the fabulous fur cape.
Marcus Furius fights with trident and weighted net, entangling his opponents at first and then releasing the next to pull his shield off of his back as needed. Also, that lion design on the shield – while not earning him any bonus points with Leo – is pretty boss. Boss. Get it? Shield Boss! Ah, I’m hilarious in my own head…
The first of two models that warrant multiple pics, Euryale lures her victims with a lilting call and statuesque form until she strikes and makes evident her true nature. Wrapping her serpentine coils around her prey she crushes their forms before claiming their skulls as a grisly trophy.
Given the impressive size of Euryale’s model, the fact that it’s only in four components is remarkable. Column w/ tail, torso, and both arms as separate pieces means assembly is a breeze, allowing you to spend more time working on a paintjob that’s worthy of this centrepiece model.
The King of the Beasts, Leo has a reputation for killing his handlers as much as he does his prey in the arena. He also comes in a bucketload of pieces, but given the amount of small detail that’s gone into the mode, I’m okay with that. Nine components in total make up Leo’s model, though two of those are the chain.
If you look closely art the forelimbs here you can see the Leo bears the scars of many conflicts. The chain is just a sweet piece of accessorizing, and the detail on the upper and lower jaw components is just plain sweet. As a Beast Leo will feature more as an arena obstacle than anything else, but heck, that’s one bloodthirsty arena obstacle.
And of course, there’s custom dice, because gamers. These ones hit the mark for me because they remembered to put the logo on the six side, and the colour contrast between the dice body and the pips is high. Greatly approved!
If you’d like to see more of the Arena Rex models – or even the ones shown here, but, ya know, fully assembled – you can check them out on the Arena Rex homepage by clicking this link – Link! – and we’ll be sure to showcase these models again once they’re painted.