This is a quick review of the Mounted Great Knarloc kit from Forgeworld
Video of kit contents - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caxWcJwiyRw
I bought two of these recently, and they arrived in the usual plastic bag. A quick check of the contents revealed that both Knarlocs were missing their thumbs. A phone call to Forgeworld followed and I received the thumbs the next week.
The Great Knarloc is one large, hefty lump of resin. It screams out, "be careful with me", so don't go placing him on the edge of your gaming table unless you like to live dangerously. Although, to be honest, if that's our idea of living dangerously we both ought to get out more.
Cleaning up the resin is required with the usual soak in diluted floor cleaner and gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush (my preferred method).
The Great Knarloc's right foot has a huge gate on it - saw this off. The foot itself is attached to a flat plate of resin. You could try and saw this off with a jeweller's saw, but it would take some of the toes with it. Best to leave it on and cover it up when you base the model. It will be easy enough to hide under sand/ talus/ rocks/ mud/ grass/ whatever.
The mouth is full of flash, but be careful not to remove the skin flap under the tongue. It looks like flash, but it's meant to be there.
The tail has a large gate attached, and this needs to be sawn off and then the tip sanded down to form the tip of the tail. This process uncovered air bubbles in the resin, filled in with greenstuff.
There is a clear mould line running down the Great Knarloc's belly from stem to stern, and you will need to file or scrape this off. In one of my Great Knarlocs the rectum (why do Forgeworld model this?) was damaged by the mould line, and I had to rebuild it with greenstuff. Re-read that - I had to make a Knarloc's a**e out of greenstuff. And you thought you were having all the fun!
There is also some flash to clean up between the toes on the Kroot riders. The lower bodies and legs of the Kroot riders are part of the casting, so you don't need to glue these on. It does mean, however, that you cannot leave the Kroot riders off and call this eg. a baggage Knarloc. Removing the Kroot riders so you could change between mounted and unmounted Great Knarlocs would almost certainly ruin the model unless you were prepared to do a lot of conversion work.
The Great Knarloc requires a little assembly, certainly more than the much smaller Knarloc Riders. The left foot needs attached at the ankle, the right leg needs attached at the hip, and both arms need to be attached at the shoulder. Finally, both front claws need to be attached at the wrist and then the thumbs go on last of all. In my case, over a week later!
For the larger joints (hip and shoulder) the amount of surface area available for gluing makes pinning the Great Knarloc largely pointless. The mating surfaces are very well matched - a simple test fit will show you how snug it is, and superglue does the rest. I had greenstuff at the ready to fill in the gaps, but didn't feel the need to use it - that is how neat the join is.
The left foot might warrant pinning - simply drill through the heel and into the leg, insert your pin along with some glue and plug the hole in the heel with greenstuff. Sand flush. There are small hooks that go on the back of the heel - don't forget to attach these (Instructions? Don't be daft, lad, Forgeworld only include instructions on a 4+. It's a cunning policy, but this time Forgeworld rolled a 1 and did not include any)
The claws give you some scope for making your models look slightly different, inasmuch as you can glue them on any way you like. The best way, however, to distinguish one Mounted Great Knarloc from another is with the Kroot riders and their bolt thrower.
The bolt thrower itself is a two-piece resin model, comprising the body of the thrower in one piece and the crossbow & skull front piece in the other. It mounts on a ball and socket joint and, combined with how you position the Kroot operator, lets you point it in a variety of directions. Provided that direction is roughly forward, but at least it's something! You get resin arms for the Kroot operator (left and right), while the Kroot behind him takes his arms from the Kroot sprues you get with the kit. You get enough sprues to make four complete Kroot, so there is plenty of choice. Just watch the space - the two riders are very close, meaning that some of the rifle options (held in both arms out front, for example) are not feasible. Test before assembly.
In summary I am very pleased with the Mounted Great Knarloc. The detail and casting are excellent. Each model is, however, very expensive, making assembling a pack a wallet-lightening experience, but at least the rules for these models are fairly decent. The explosive bolt thrower, in particular, is an excellent choice, and the Mounted Great Knarlocs do not suffer from majority toughness issues that come with having Kroot Goads. Still, be very careful who you charge and be sure they are not packing powerfists to spoil your very high toughness advantage, since combat resolution can easily result in your Great Knarlocs running away. It can bring a tear to your eye when two models with 4 wounds left apiece are removed due to sweeping advance
Painting these models is something I am looking forward to, and I hope to make the job a little easier with an airbrush.