Recently I purchased a box of the plastic Vampire Counts Grave Guard. I built the ten with full command and great weapons. I like the models quite well, but I wanted to write a small post here about difficulties I had putting them together. So in a way this is a “review” of the plastic Grave Guard, but really I intend it as a “heads up” to others.
I had two noteworthy issues with the models, and one minor one.
First, I had problems with the wrist-hand connections for every model armed with a great weapon. If equipping the grave guard with two-handed great weapons, there is one arm with the weapon, and a detached hand gripping the upper haft of the weapon; the other arm ends at the wrist. I had a lot of trouble getting reasonable poses with the great weapons while also creating a realistic or believable wrist bond. (Example of a believable wrist bond: the end of the arm connects to the wrist of the hand. Example of an unbelievable wrist bond: the end of the arm connects to the palm of the hand and the great weapon’s haft.) This problem was related to the second.
The second problem I had was with ranking. As with the skeleton warriors before them, my grave guard do not rank up very well at all, their two-handed axes and short glaives touching the models in front of them. This occurred in part because of the wrist-connection issue (see above), and it happened despite of my efforts to model them with ranking in mind.
Now, I am no master-modeler, and I believe someone with more experience and dedication could work through these issues. But if or when I get another box of grave guard I will be taking special care with both of these issues.
Finally, the minor issue with the plastic Grave Guard is the weakness of their spine-joint, which connects the multi-part, fairly heavy torso/arms/head/weapon with the single-piece, glued-to-the-base legs. This join is fairly small, but a lot of the model’s weight and pose depends on it.
So, those complaints now vented, I think the pauldrons and two-handed axes make this set worth it by themselves. Just take your time putting them together, and be precise with the ranking!