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.The Trenchers may be the backbone of the Cygnaran military, but on their own, they’re still just human soldiers. To truly succeed in their campaigns, they’re going to need some support, and what better support is there in the world of Caen than a warjack? Presenting the first warjack designed exclusively for trench warfare, and the trademark warjack of the Cygnaran Trencher Corps: the Grenadier!
The Grenadier is one of three light warjacks built on the chassis of the Hunter, a light warjack specialized in hunting other warjacks and sniping support solos. Unlike its brothers, which specialize in long-range combat (Hunter) and up-close melee (Minuteman), the Grenadier is somewhere in the middle, and isn’t especially skilled at melee or ranged combat on its own. However, this warjack isn’t designed to work on its own, and when it’s paired up with a unit of Trenchers it truly shines as an autonomous support piece.
Being a warjack, the Grenadier is more complicated to assemble than your standard solo or warcaster, and comes in a series of parts that can be swapped between other warjacks based on the Hunter chassis. In the blister pack, you get:
- 1 Torso (Metal)
- 1 Head (Metal)
- 1 Left Arm (Metal)
- 1 Left Shoulder Pad (Metal)
- 1 Right Arm (Metal)
- 1 Left Leg (Metal)
- 1 Right Leg (Metal)
Given that this is an all-metal kit, and not one of Privateer Press’ new resin-metal-hybrid kits, it’s a bit difficult to assemble, as you’ll need time to hold the parts in place while the glue sets, and it’s one heavy little beggar once it’s fully assembled. If you’ve never worked in metal before, I don’t recommend this as a first kit.
Seeing as the Grenadier is one of the steampunk automata of the Iron Kingdoms, it’s packed with mechanical detail, notably lots of pistons and gears on its joints, and lots of pipes, cables, and boilers on its armored torso, as long as lots of rivets that set it apart from other 28mm scale robots as something that was hammered together in a big industrial-revolution-esque factory. The weapons are also well-detailed, with a firing mechanism and grenade magazine on its gun that look like they could actually work, and lots of screws and rivets decorating its massive pickaxe. The l0w stance and heavy torso armor of the Grenadier give it a more menacing profile, and makes it seem more like a rough-and-ready machine built for fighting alongside the Trencher Corps. A small detail, not visible from this angle in the photo, is a set of three small pouches tied to its spine and located right under the firebox on its back. To me, this further conveys the idea that this warjack was designed especially for the Trenchers, and when not fighting, it could be used to ferry supplies to troops entrenched on the frontlines. This idea hasn’t really been explained in the fluff of the Iron Kingdoms, but it helps to create a bit of character for the little ‘bot. Future Iron Kingdoms diorama possibilities? We can only wait and see.
When it comes to the Grenadier’s rules, it stands out as a bit of an oddball in the ranks of the Cygnaran warjacks. Unlike most others, like the Ironclad or Defender which can hold their own in a fight, the Grenadier is explicitly intended to be used alongside other troops and flounders on its own. By itself, the Grenadier has two weapons: its pickaxe, and its grenade launcher. The pickaxe isn’t particularly spectacular, and while it has a decent melee range, it’s low POW means it’s best used as a last resort, and not as the Grenadier’s primary weapon. The grenade launcher, as the warjack’s name should imply, is its primary weapon, and on its own has a good range and solid POW, as well as a small AOE, which is useful at flushing out lightly-armored troops like Winter Guard or Mechanithralls. The weapon also has the Arcing Fire special rule, so you can shoot over intervening targets to hit pesky support solos or unit leaders protected by ranks of their comrades. Besides this, the Grenadier’s last trick is its Dig In ability, which lets it use its pickaxe to dig a foxhole and hunker down to take cover from incoming enemy fire. Coupled with the jack’s good DEF values, a Grenadier that digs in on the field goes from merely annoying to the enemy, to as difficult to dig out as a deer tick. On its own, that’s all the Grenadier does, and its average MAT (melee attack) and RAT (ranged attack) values mean it’s not going to hit very often without spending focus. However, there’s one last trick, and it involves the grenade launcher’s Manual Reload special rule. For every Trencher in B2B with it (that’s base-to-base for you rookies), up to a maximum of two, the Grenadier can crank an extra shot out of its gun. This effectively means that if you have a Grenadier with two Trenchers in B2B with it, the warjack can lay down three strong-POW, small-AOE shots. That’s a lot of shots and explosions, and even if you don’t hit all the targets, you’re going to take a big chunk out of the enemy’s defensive line. With the Grenadier’s low cost and unlimited Field Allotment, as well as the new and extensive availability of Trencher units and solos, a whole team of these little beasts on the battlefield could spell doom for any infantry-heavy force trying to go up against them. If you want to take advice from the Trenchers themselves, you can get four of them lined up and dug in with your troops, and then you can lay down what the Cygnaran Trenchers refer to as “a little Trencher rain.”
So, what’s the verdict on the Grenadier? As much as I like the tough little ‘jack, I have to give him a 5/10. On his own, the Grenadier is pretty lackluster, and unless he’s run alongside Trencher infantry or solos, he’s going to fall flat and become a severe waste of points. If you play Trencher-heavy, the Grenadier is a definite must, as he becomes a highly-destructive autonomous artillery piece when paired up with them, and if you have more than one in your force, you have a lot of destructive potential. When you run him with an army focused on Storm Knights or Arcane Tempest, he’s inevitably going to fail, as he becomes a one-shot ‘jack with no melee game and no way of laying down more covering fire to protect himself. So, if you play Trenchers, get the Grenadier at all costs. If you’re a fan of the Storm Knights or the Arcane Tempest, I recommend looking elsewhere for your warjacks. Off the tabletop, the Grenadier is a nice-looking little steampunk robot, who looks like he belongs on the frontlines with his dug-in comrades, lobbing grenades into huddled Winter Guard. If you have a collection of WW1/steampunk/trench warfare miniatures and want to give them some added firepower and character, the Grenadier’s for you. If you’re new to the hobby and you’re looking for a first model, I don’t recommend the Grenadier. The metal parts are very heavy and hard to hold together without pinning or lots of time spent holding them in place while the glue dries, and the model itself is very fragile. I’d recommend a more robust plastic model for starting, but if you’re a veteran and like the challenge, this tough little ‘bot is a must for you. If you’re a Trencher player, a fan of the style, or a veteran builder and painter, give the Grenadier a go. If not, there are other models out there that I’m sure you’ll like.
Anyway, this has been the Raging Goblin’s review of the Cygnar Grenadier Light Warjack. God’s blessings on your week, keep up with your hobbies, and stay green my friends!