Review: Word Bearers Mhara Gal Tainted Dreadnought

Welcome to this week’s review. Today I’m taking a look at my very first Forgeworld model from the Horus Heresy character series, the Mhara Gal Tainted Dreadnought from the Word Bearers Space Marine Legion. I had my doubts about the logistics implications for shopping with Forgeworld due to the customs problems in Turkey but I took a leap of faith. Now I invite you to make a leap to the rest of the review to see what I think of the piece!

The kit, like all other Horus Heresy Character Series models comes with a nice little collector box with the Horus Heresy trade mark on it.

I can see these stacked over time as I collect the Primarchs.

I can see these stacked over time as I collect the Primarchs.

Inside we’re greeted with a two-part housing for the miniature parts familiar from GW’s resin kits and a small sheet of paper showing the studio paint job of the model, front and back.

The kit has a fixed pose that is shown on the store art but with a little sanding and Green Stuff work (if you mess up) a new pose can be achieved. The legs are stiff unlike a regular Contemptor Dread and the head looks to the model’s right in the default pose. Besides that the arms have this “come at me bro” look to them which I also intended to change as I browsed the pieces. Also of note is that this is one of the four kits in the Character Series to not have its scenic base by default along with Samus, Zardu Layak set and Cor’bax. While I don’t have an earth-shattering idea about this model I’m planning to sit the finished model on top of a display socket, a cylinder if possible. Let me know in the comments what you think would be interesting to see for the base! Also curious to note is the fact that the model is aimed at 15+ year-old modelers. This is probably due to the fact that working with resin requires some caution.

Here are the shots of the pieces straight out of the box.

Coming up a few close-ups of my favorite parts. By the gods of Chaos, Forgeworld resin really kicks ass when it comes to insane detail.

First order of business is to clean up the models in water with dish soap to get rid of the casting agents and oils. I prepared a small deep plate to do this then brushed over the pieces gently. This allowed me to remove small and weak flash from the model as well.

Mhara Gal

 

All cleaned up, I set the pieces to dry. Having a lamp that generates a moderate amount of heat would also help, like what I did here:

Without another moment’s delay I set out to dry fitting the pieces. The easiest part is the head as the lower and upper jaws have a single pose.

The Mhara Gal regards you with disdain.

The Mhara Gal regards you with disdain.

I worked from the bottom up to have a solid foundation while building the kit. The mutated left leg helps here quite a bit as the other leg has very little contact with the base and cannot support other pieces like the left leg can. Also I found the default stance warps the pose of the model quite a bit, making it look like it’s about to topple. So instead I went for a striding look with the left leg firmly in place, attached the groin piece with Patafix and attached the right leg afterwards, rotating it as much as rationally possible to look like the model is lunging. Worked pretty well I think.

Mhara Gal

Patafix helps a lot while posing, so much I’d consider it a necessity.

Next up I posed the arms. I went with the same weapon setup as the store page with the cannon on the right arm and the mêlée bit on the left. I raised the right arm as if aiming and lowered the left, which also looks like the unit is dodging an attack while counterattacking. Like a regular Contemptor the arms are attached to the shoulder pads with elevator pieces and you can pose the hands and weapons (to a limit) before committing to the final form. The right shoulder pad has almost a solid fit on the armpit and chest (there are indents) and I’m not sure if this was intended to support the default pose but it can be changed a little as well. Even with the resin pieces the arms are heavy so I recommend pinning the pieces like I did on my example, especially the mêlée mutated arm on the left side. I pinned the shoulder pad to the chest and the arms separately to the pads, in addition to superglue. Green Stuff could also work as a nice epoxy support, it’s up to you.

The finished assembly (obviously absent the head) looks like this:

Mhara Gal

The legs and chest are permanently attached. The arms can be removed for easier painting. Thus there are a total of four sub-assemblies including the head.

When I completely assembled the highest standing points I see that the model stands very tall compared to other models I have accumulated over time, almost as high as a Dreadknight. According to the FW photos it stands twice as tall as a Word Bearers assault marine. This will not only make the model very imposing but also give me ample opportunity to work some blending magic with the larger surfaces.

Featured image and this size comparison courtesy of Forgeworld.

Featured image and this size comparison courtesy of Forgeworld.

Overall Impression

Compared to GW resin (which I’m not sure if it differs from FW’s) this stuff is far superior and has practically zero join line problems. The intricate details of the Colchis cuneiform which is a trademark of the Word Bearers are beautifully sculpted. The mutations that rip apart the metal plates, cables fusing with organs, bone fragments covering the head, fluttering folds of the pages from the Book of Lorgar, the distorted backside with the spine growing out of the casing and the lifeless, hatred-filled look on the mutated face are some of the most prominent details this kit is riddled with, it’s almost exhausting to try and find what goes where. It is obvious that much love went into sculpting this model and it’s a testament to Forgeworld’s ability to create quality casts. There are a total of 7 bubbles I found all around the model, most of which are concealed by other parts, which I plan to fill with Liquid Green Stuff prior to priming the model. The only miscast I have seen compared to the store page is the grill-mesh on the back of the model between the warped chimneys but I can always model it too look damaged, so there are no problems.

As said before, dry fitting is a breeze and if you want the default pose, no additional work is required other than cleaning up flash and vents. I also failed to see a mould line on any of the pieces, which is very surprising given my experience with GW’s plastic models. Good job not making me work too hard! One negative point I can think of is the lack of an assembly manual. I admit the assembly is very straightforward but you have to be careful with the smaller pieces like the fingers on the mêlée hand and that arm’s elbow piece. The vents where the parts are attached are numbered for some reason but there is no indication as to why this was done so it’s a little confusing.

All in all this is a fantastic kit and has great potential for a showcase or competition level mini. It was interesting to see that there wasn’t much love compared to other FW and GW products. I looked around the web for a few example paint jobs and it’s surprising that there are only two painted uploads on Cool Mini Or Not for example. And if I’m not mistaken this is the first unboxing and review post around, so I guess this post would work nicely for people looking to get the model.

 

Verdict: ♦♦♦♦♦ Excellent

 

I hope you found the review helpful and look forward to seeing you on my next posts where I’ll work with the kit.

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6 comments

  1. I am so excited that you got this model Roemer. If there was ever a chaos mini to buy, it’s this one. I fell in love with the sculpt the second it came out. So absolutely gorgeous! I am looking insanely forward to you painting it! Couldn’t be more excited!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re giddy with excitement, imagine how much I’m looking forward to this!

      I don’t think you can get more of Word Bearers than this and the Gal Vorbak, they’re simply beautifully sculpted. Hands down my favorites. Now I’m looking for some source material to see how I can paint this bad boy realistically.

      Like

      1. He’s so covered in detail, I’d probably just start with a dark grey primer and build up some zenithal to get a grasp of where to even start! I see lots of washes and glazing in this guy!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t investigated the Horus Heresy *at all*, but I’ve bought all of the FW Necron models, and they are indeed beautiful models. I’ve only actually done one, the Tomb Stalker, but they all look really fantastic, with little to no prep work before gluing (aside from the washing, of course).

    Mhara Gal looks amazing, though, I’m looking forward to seeing you paint him up!!

    Like

    1. Hello Nicholas, thanks for dropping by! That piece puzzled me to no end when I first got the kit, now I know where it goes.

      It’s the elbow piece on the melee arm (model’s left arm that is), you can adjust the pose on the piece and bend the actual arm.

      Good luck with your kit, I’m having trouble finishing mine due to lack of time…

      Like

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