So I just wanted to write with some of my initial thoughts on the new Duardin Fireslayer models that will be coming out next week. I'll be doing my in-depth White Dwarf weiew tomorrow, so keep it here for that exclusive Patreon-only video.
For now, though, I wanted to just put my thoughts down about GW's retiring of some of my favorite models: the old metal Dwarf Troll Slayers. This is in service of their newest faction, the Duardin Fireslayers, which I've attached a photo of for those of you who still haven't seen them.
When you compare the two ranges side-by-side, I feel like the new models, while beautiful testaments to the advances we've made in sculpting and model production, just lack that old school charm of the metal slayers. When you look at those old metal slayers, what do you see?
All of them look chunky, stout, etc. Their hair crests are massive, but don't sit too high over their heads. And their axes are very chunky, like huge hunks of metal sculpted into the vague shapes of axes. DISCLAIMER: I've only painted a few of these older slayer models, and I just KNOW that I'll be painting up a lot of the new Fireslayers, but I just can't help feeling nostalgic.
Especially now, since GW has deleted the slayers from their website.
Now, in the past, when newer plastic models were released to replace the old metal ones, there was always a feeling for me that they were in service of improving the line. Take the daemons as a prime example. Before the amazing plastic sculpts of the Plague Bearers were released, people still enjoyed the older metal models. Like the slayers, they were beefy, chunky pieces of metal, but there was a charm to them. When they were bumped for the plastic Plague Bearers, nobody was really displeased, because of the amount of character and variety in the new sculpts. There was a respectful handing of the torch to the new kid, as the old metal sculpts retired to live out their golden years in peace. You can still find them every now and then on eBay, but nobody was really UPSET that they were gone. Also, if you had the old metal models, you could still use them in your games.
With the Fireslayers, there is no way you can use the old slayers with the new rules. They're not like the daemons. When you break it down, there are three primary aesthetic changes that really set the new models apart from the metal slayers:
So the most obvious changes are the new weapons. Vulkite Berserkers have warpicks and shields, in addition to the axes that slayers are characteristically known for. Unless you do some extensive converting, there is no way your old slayers are going to be able to come to the game and be distinguishable from each other, if you want to run them with any build other than two axes.
And don't even get me started on the Hearthguard, with their giant axes/braziers and halberd/flamethrowers!
The second new aesthetic in these models is all of the runes that are "bonded" into the skin of the new Duardin. Instead of the awesome mystical blue tattooes that the old metal slayers had to protect them in place of the armor the rest of their clans would use, they now have metal runes hammered into their skin with FIRE! I miss the mysticism of the old tattoo art, because you could really go to town in giving your slayers some intricate tats! The cold blue of the ink was also a nice contrast to the warm skin tones. Now, it seems like it'll be much easier for newer or more inexperienced painters to decorate their half naked dwarfs-I mean Duardin- because the runes on their skin are modeled on the miniature and can be easily painted in gold. The tattoos of the old slayers all needed to be free-hand painted on, which was a turn off if you weren't into getting your slayers as decorative as possible.
Finally, slayers never had any armor. They were famous for wading into battle to meet an honorable death armored in nothing but a well-tailored pair of trousers and some sweet tattoos. The fact that they now all have gold helmets through which their giant orange hair crests can be threaded is the clearest way GW could say "These are not the old Troll Slayers! These guys are new, and they're AWESOME!"
Now, to wrap all of this up, I want to reiterate that I have nothing against the new Duardin models. I think they look awesome. What I am sad about is that now GW has taken the old metal slayers off of their website. You can only get them, if you're lucky, on eBay. So I'd like to bid goodbye to them. Because they're great, fun, characterful models. Because they're so iconic of GW's Warhammer Fantasy Universe. And because it looks like we'll never see their like again.