Welcome to the Raging Goblin Reviews, the segment where I look at some of my favorite hobby tools and products and review them for all you budding hobbyists and wargamers out there. If you’re familiar with the lore of Cygnar, the technologically-advanced nation of the Iron Kingdoms, you’ll know that the rough-and-ready Trenchers are the rock-hard spine of the nation’s military. As such, there’s more to them than just infantry, as when it comes to any division of the military, you require support. This can come in the form of specialized divisions, specially-trained officers, artillery pieces, or armored units. In this case, this particular addition to the Trenchers incorporates both a specialist and a mobile artillery piece in one gigantic package. Duck and cover, because here comes the Trench Buster!
These giants were released only recently in the last update to MK2 before the switch to MK3 was announced, and were designed as a way to support the lackluster Trencher units of MK2 Cygnar with an impressive selection of weapons and special abilities. It’s unknown what the latest iteration of Warmachine will have in store for the Trench Busters, but hopefully they will continue to remain the one-man engines of destruction and fire support they were in MK2. On a side note, the Trench Buster also serves as a great miniature for the Iron Kingdoms RPG and look into the background of Cygnar, as Ogrun Trenchers were something that was frequently mentioned in the supplementary game materials but never made a formal appearance in the game proper, outside of fan conversions of existing models. With that in mind, Privateer Press did a great job creating a model that spans both their role-playing and strategy games, allowing players of one to bridge to the other, a strategy they seem to be continuing with their newest releases, i.e. the Arcane Tempest Rifleman for Cygnar and Colbie Sterling for the Mercenaries.
Anyway, onto the armored giant in question. This model is mounted on a 40mm “medium” base, which at first glance suggests its the size of your average Trollkin soldier. When I got this guy and got him assembled, he towered over ALL of my human infantry, and only matched heights with my Trollkin Scattergunners and warbeasts. He’s not particularly striking against an army of other medium-based models, but alongside his Trencher allies, he sticks out like an armored, gun-wielding sore thumb. To me, the size works in this guy’s favor, as it helps to convey the idea that this guy is a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense butt-kicker who takes names and slits throats. Even though the size and odd pose makes it hard to find a spot for him in my already-crowded figure case.
Detail-wise, the Trench Buster is a bit of an odd case. He’s wearing a orc-sized version of the traditional Trencher coat and armor, so he looks almost the same as a rank-and-file Trencher despite being twice the size. However, due to his larger size, he is more detailed than a standard troops, and is covered in lots of dings, scratches, and rips that make him look tough and battle-scarred. Like the Trollkin, the Trench Buster has a lot of unique details that make him a more characterful piece on the tabletop, like the scratches inside his shield keeping track of his kills, all the dents and dings in his armor and weapons, the oversized shovel and ale barrel on his backpack, and the snarling look on his face. My favorite detail has to be all the bandoliers of artillery-sized shells for his grenade launcher. Don’t ask why, I’m just a fan of ornamental ordinance and stowage on my troops’ armor.
When it comes to parts and assembly, the Trench Buster has some cool tricks for hiding mold lines and making the whole model look like 1 cohesive piece. In the package, you get:
- 1 Body (Resin)
- 1 Shield Arm (Resin)
- 1 Grenade Launcher Arm (Metal)
- 1 Backpack (Metal)
- 1 Bullet Belt (Metal)
- 1 Right Leg (Metal)
The body and shield arm are two big chunks of resin and are very highly detailed, but have quite a bit of flash you’ll need to shave off before you start assembly. The flash along the edges of the shield comes off cleanly and smoothly with a flush cutter, but the body is a bit more problematic. There is a large chunk of resin in the middle of his back that needs to be shaved off prior to assembly, but if you can get it down enough, the barrel hanging from his backpack fits right over it to cover it up. To avoid more cleanup, the bullet belt on his chest is a separate piece from the body, and slots cleanly into a track molded into his chest armor to sit flush against the figure. The backpack is easy to attach, and fits into a socket on the back of the body, much like the regular Trencher Infantry, and the shield arm fits in cleanly with a cross-shaped plug and hole concealed in the Trench Buster’s sleeve, hiding the seam from view. The grenade launcher arm and right boot fit into grooves and slots molded into his left sleeve and right pant leg, and the parts are shaped so that the seams are very hard to see with the naked eye. Unfortunately, the leg is a bit fiddly, and requires some holding in place to make sure it doesn’t fall off while drying.
On the tabletop, the Trench Buster is as much of a beast as his model suggests. His stat line is comparable to that of a Trollkin, with a lower SPD and very high STR and MAT, and an ARM on par with that of Cygnar’s heavy warjacks, which makes him both very strong and durable, but slow. To further this durability, his shield now has the Shield special rule, which grants him +2 ARM to attacks originating in his front arc, bumping his ARM above that of a Khadoran heavy warjack and making him nearly impossible to kill. His grenade launcher has a small AOE and high POW which make it a decent gun, but it also has the Smoke ability, which turns the weapon’s AOE into a smoke cloud that provides concealment. This has a few tactical uses, such as clearing out enemy troops and laying down smoke for your troops to charge into and hide in, but it can also be used against you, as the enemy can benefit from the smoke as well. The Trench Buster’s strength lies in his melee game, and he has two good weapons that let him shred in melee. His bayonet is a decent POW that can put the hurt on most troops, but it has the Brutal Charge rule which grants him a bonus to damage, and he has Flank, which grants him a bonus to hit and an extra die of damage against targets in the melee range of other Trenchers. He can also whack enemies with his shield, which has the same POW value as his knife and a smaller RNG, so it’s best saved as his backup weapon. The biggest improvement to the Trench Buster is his Shield Guard ability, which lets him take the brunt of an enemy ranged attack once per turn, allowing him to protect crucial solos and warcasters from incoming bullets. True, he’s not as durable as a warjack with the Shield Guard rule, but it’s still useful when you need to keep your Master Gunner safe from a squad of Winter Guard.
So what’s the verdict on the Cygnaran Trench Buster Solo? This beast of a soldier gets a 9/10. On his own, he’s a great piece in a Trencher army and packs lots of character and detail into a single gigantic piece, while also having a simpler sculpt that makes him easy for novice hobbyists to paint and assemble. In the game, he’s a jack-of-all-trades on the tabletop, from a bodyguard, to a walking artillery piece, to a brutal melee monster, and he fits well into whatever role your Trenchers require on the battlefield. If you like Cygnar and Trenchers, and want to add some more firepower and melee power to your existing forces, pick this guy up. Trenchers have been made much better as of MK3, and the Trench Buster continues to be a solid support piece that takes them from good to excellent on the tabletop. Outside of the game, if you like the Weird World War/steampunk aesthetic of this brute, or just want a unique-looking soldier in your WW1/trencher themed army, or if you’re like me and just plain love trencher orcs, this guy is a great piece for your collection. He looks great, assembles relatively easily, and has the right amount of detail to set him apart as well as make him blend into an existing Trencher force.
Anyway, this has been the Raging Goblin’s review of the Cygnar Trench Buster. God’s blessings on your week, keep up with your hobbies, and stay green my friends!