It’s time for another two-parter review, and this time we’ll be looking at two brand-new characters introduced in the past couple of years. The first is the Llaelese Trencher officer Harrison Gibbs.
Before we get onto the review proper, I wanted to share Gibbs’ story, as it’s really cool and helps to set him apart as a distinct character. Gibbs isn’t actually his real name, having been lost years ago. He used to be a cook attached to a Trencher company serving in Khadoran-occupied Llael, until the Reds massacred his comrades and commanding officer. Gibbs fled and hid in the city from the Khadorans until he was found by the Llaelese Resistance, who recognized him for his superior survival skills. Taking the uniform of his dead superior officer, as well as his name, the once-cook reemerged as Major Harrison Gibbs, a talented survivalist, strategist, cook, and leader of the Resistance against Khador. At some point while on campaign with the Resistance, Gibbs came across a hungry cat in an alley that had approached their camp seeking warmth and food. He took pity on her and gave her some tinned sardines from his supplies, and the cat took a liking to him. Since then, Miss Maggie has become Gibbs’ constant companion, following him wherever his exploits lead him.
Okay, onto the review. Assembly-wise…there really isn’t a whole lot to it. Gibbs himself is a single piece with all of the accoutrements molded on, so you just need to slot him onto the base and you’re done. Miss Maggie is a separate piece, and you can choose to put her pretty much anywhere on the base, or leave her off entirely and put her on the base of another model, or on her own base as an objective or piece of scenery. Personally, I prefer to leave her on the base with Gibbs, as it adds more character and fun. The funny thing is that with Gibbs’ love for cats, cooking, explosives, strategy, and being outdoors, he’s basically the Iron Kingdoms equivalent of me, though I don’t have a beard.
In terms of detail, Gibbs has a lot, as an independent character should. His uniform is cobbled together from bits of a couple different uniforms, with the pauldron, helmet, cuirass, belt flap, greaves, and knee guards from a Trencher uniform, and the fur coat, gloves, and boots from a Khadoran Winter Guard uniform, and plenty of pouches for holding all of his bullets, grenades, and cooking supplies. You can’t see it from this angle, but on his back with his pouch of rifle grenades are a couple of wine bottles and a frying pan. His weaponry isn’t too different from a typical Rifle Grenadier, with a grenade already loaded into the bore of his rifle, though he boasts a spiked trench club instead of the standard-issue combat knife. The beard, despite having been ruined nowadays thanks to hipsters, still looks cool for Gibbs, as it gives him the look of a hard-bitten survivalist behind enemy lines. His right pauldron, despite having the Llaelese Resistance symbol on it in the promotional art, is completely blank, so you can customize it to represent either Cygnaran-Gibbs or Llaelese-Gibbs, depending on how you intend to use him. For some, Maggie might detract from the model, but I still like her on the base as she gives the model some dynamicism. It’s not too hard to imagine her hissing at an Assault Kommando or the Trencher company’s resident Patrol Dog.
Now onto stats and gameplay. Despite having 5 damage boxes, Gibbs is no different from a typical Trencher, as his offensive and defensive stats are exactly the same. His rifle and trench club are no different from the weapons of a normal Rifle Grenadier, even having the same Ammo Type rule, and he of course has the standard-issue Tough. In essence, he’s basically a character Rifle Grenadier, but this is one of those solos you take for his special rules instead of his offensive abilities. He of course has Assault and Tough, but he has Feign Death to keep him from being shot off the board while knocked down, Dodge for ducking out of melee when it gets too dicey, and Reposition (3), letting him keep moving around even after fighting or using a special ability, making it hard for the enemy to draw a bead on him. If you’re running Llaelese models, such as Nick Verendrye, Ashlynn D’elyse, or the Thorn Gun Mages, Gibbs has Leadership (Llaelese), granting Feign Death and Reposition (3) to them and giving them more mobility and survivability on the battlefield. Gibbs is of course a mercenary, so he can be taken in a pure mercenary force, or he can be hired out by Cygnar, and thanks to his Partisan (Cygnar) rule, he counts as Cygnaran when fighting for them. His greatest ability is his unique ability Hot Meal, a sort of mini-feat. Once per game, Gibbs can cook up some bully beef for his comrades and heals all models within 7″ of him BACK TO FULL HEALTH. This essentially means that if you’re running lots of multi-wound models, after a particularly nasty round, Gibbs can heal them back to full health and keep them kicking. This is really nice for keeping your warcasters, especially Stryker2, alive. Unfortunately, he does little in combat that Rifle Grenadiers can’t do, so you’re better off keeping him in the rear lines to make use of his special abilities, and only moving him to the front when you’ve got no other choice.
Gibbs can be taken in the newly-released Gravediggers theme list, so if you want to make the most of his abilities, I recommend either taking a unit of Thorn Gun Mages to benefit from his Leadership (Llaelese) ability, or the Ogrun Assault Corps for him to heal up in the thick of battle and keep them fighting. If you’re just interested in the model, Gibbs is great for representing an independent Trencher character in an IKRPG campaign or steampunk/Weird World War army, and has a lot of nice detail for setting him apart as his own character. Maggie also adds a bit of fun character, and if you don’t want to use her, you can always include her as part of a diorama or on the base of another model. I could see her really working well with some of the Grymkin models we’ve got now, i.e. hissing at a Skin & Moans or a Deathknell. I highly recommend this model, for players of mercenaries and Cygnar, for collectors, and for hobbyists looking for a unique model with a really nice set of rules and a fun challenge to paint.
Now onto Shon Hutchuck, who doesn’t have much of a backstory in the Iron Kingdoms, but has a fascinating story in the REAL world. Let’s take a look at this hulk, and see what his story is.
Hutchuck sort of came out of left field for a lot of Warmahordes players, as many were already anticipating the release of the Trench Buster, when out of nowhere, here comes this awesome Ogrun-trencher with a gigantic hammer, gas mask, bandolier of alchemical grenades, and armor that looks like it was looted from the Steelheads. Where did this come from?!? To answer this question, we go to the Privateer Press forums, with a guy named Larry Correia. His son had gotten into the IKRPG recently and had created a character named Shon Hutchuck, an Ogrun alchemist with a big mace who turned to bounty hunting to pay for compounds to make his alchemical grenades. With no real miniature available and only his son’s artwork to go off of, Larry sculpted Hutchuck using bits from blighted ogrun, a Titan’s mace, and a third-party head with a gas mask to turn his son’s dream into a reality. Cut to a couple years later, and Privateer Press discovered his idea, and liking it so much, they made Hutchuck an official Warmahordes character with his own completely-original model to boot. Larry, if you’re reading this, you are awesome! As for Hutchuck’s ACTUAL story, there isn’t a whole lot to it. He’s an affiliate of the Steelheads and a brilliant alchemist who uses money from the bounties he brings in to fund his experiments.
For assembly, Hutchuck is a bit more complicated than Gibbs was. His body is a large chunk of resin that both his metal mace and grenade arms plug onto, and his head fits into an indentation in his collar. The nice thing about this kit is that it’s one of the few PP kits with multiple head options, in this case you can choose between one with his mask up so you can see his unpleasant mug, or with his mask down. I personally use the mask down head, as it looks cooler, is less of a hassle to paint, and just plain looks cool, giving Hutchuck the look of some WWI British super-soldier.
Detail-wise, if you thought Gibbs had a ton of detail, Hutchuck is absolutely LOADED. He looks a lot like a character Steelhead with their trademark plate armor, chain mail, and padded coat, but has the addition of a brace of alchemical grenades (with three types sculpted to reflect his three attack types), and plenty of belts and pouches for holding on his armor and storing all of his alchemy supplies. Even his mallet has a ton of detail for something that only exists to whack your enemies over the head with, featuring spikes, blades, screws, bolts, metal plates, and wrappings on the handle. His head isn’t too big on the detail, as you either have a basic gas mask or an orcish face, but it’s still nice for giving him a bit more character. He’s definitely not a model for beginners, as you’ve got a ton of details and textures to work with, including glass on his eyepieces and grenades, metal plates, chain mail, orc skin (for the unmasked head), padded cloth, liquid…the list goes on. while it all looks nice, Hutchuck can almost be seen as an exercise in painting techniques instead of a model, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this.
So what can Hutchuck do? In a nutshell, he’s a more resilient version of Gorman Di Wulfe that can hold his own in combat. He’s slow, but has a very high STR and average MAT and RAT that let him hit like a truck when he gets into melee, and his DEF and ARM are higher than you’d expect for something as big and bulky as an ogrun, allowing him to dodge an above-average number of attacks and shrug off most damage, though he’s not indestructible. He of course comes with Tough, so even if something does get through that armor, he’ll just be knocked down. For armaments, he has his big mace, which has a long RNG of 2″, and a high P+S of 14 and Take Down, letting him pulverize just about anything that gets in his way without worrying about it getting back up for revenge. As nice as this is, one of the main reasons you take him is for his Alchemical Grenades. They have a range of 8″, a small AOE, and an above-average POW of 12, so on their own they won’t be doing a whole lot of damage without some lucky rolls. Like Di Wulfe, he has three types of grenade to choose from- Brain Damage, which keeps models hit from casting spells, Quake, which knocks down models in the AOE on a direct hit, and Rust, which causes a -2 ARM debuff to all warjacks in the AOE. In this way, Hutchuck can make it easier for his comrades to take down enemy warjacks, knock down massed infantry to open them up for attack, or shut down enemy spellslingers like the Old Witch. To really give the enemy a headache, he has Ambush, so he can pop up at any time, anywhere, to throw a grenade into the enemy lines and shut down their support lines. He also has Alchemical Mask, keeping him safe from his own alchemical bombs (or Imperial gas weapons), Wild Shot, letting him throw a grenade before moving, and Take Down, meaning models hit by his big hammer won’t be coming back for another go ’round. If you’re going to take Hutchuck, he works well in a Hordes army fighting against warjacks, or in a Warmachine army with Di Wulfe for turning your opponent’s warjacks into piles of rusted scrap for your army to shoot apart. He is a mercenary, so you can hire him out to Cygnar, Khador, or a pure mercenary force, and he is also a minion, so he can work for a pure minions force, or for the Trollbloods, Skorne, or Circle Orboros. As of now, he’s only a member of the Thornfall Alliance and The Irregulars theme forces, so we’ve yet to see him appear in a proper theme force like Gravediggers or Kriel Company. Ah well, good things come to those who wait.
Hutchuck is a bit of a challenge to newbie painters, not so much builders, but I still highly recommend him as a fun and characterful model that provides a good challenge to painters and looks great as an independent character on the tabletop. He can be used with your orcs in a fantasy or steampunk army, or even as a British super-soldier in a WWI-WWII army. Like a lot of these models, I’m leaving it up to your imagination to decide what to do with them.
That’s all for today’s review. In the next one, we’re leaving the battlefields of Immoren for a second and taking a trip to the 41st millenium to look at the new terror troops of the grim, dark future. See you all next time!
-The Raging Goblin