Happy New Year everyone, and to kick things off with a bang, let’s continue with the new releases from the Gravediggers CID cycle…because yes, I still don’t have all of them. There’s this thing called a “budget” that keeps me from going crazy and buying every model I want, but it’s important to show restraint so you don’t end up with a pile of unpainted resin and metal and no motivation to paint any of it. Anyway, we’re starting off the new year with a review of Cygnar’s newest fan favorite, the Trencher Patrol Dog!
In terms of assembly, the Patrol Dog is as basic as you can possibly get. The dog is just one solid piece of resin that you set down on the base (after clipping off any resin tags), and you’re all good to go! In truth, I was expecting much more of a challenge with all the little pouches and things on him, but I’m thankful for something a bit more simple after crazy multipiece models like the Railless.
For your details…what do I really need to say? He’s a dog of indeterminate breed wearing a pooch-sized armored vest with plenty of pouches for carrying supplies (or dog biscuits), and even little puttees on his paws. I’m not really a dog person, but I do love the patrol dog for the fun and character he brings to the table. He’s posed pointing, as if he’s sniffed out a unit of Assault Kommandos slithering towards the trenches, but I could also see him in a diorama with some of the lads seated around the campfire, or tagging along with a unit of Rangers tracking a mark through the forest. Something that is nice about the dog is that outside of his rules identifying him as a trencher, his details are basic enough that you can put him into any other Cygnaran faction or outside army, fantasy, sci-fi, or modern, and he blends in perfectly. Every army, no matter what the world or time period, has a need for a faithful dog keeping an eye for lurking foes or providing warmth on a cold night on the battlefield.
For your rules, the dog’s more about support than direct combat, sniffing out your foes hiding in the brush and alerting his masters, but he can deliver a nasty bite if the need arises. Base stats are SPD-7, STR-4, MAT-5, RAT-0, DEF-14, ARM-13, CMD-3, and HP-1. Much like the Rocketman Ace, he’s very fast and hard to hit, and his higher ARM gives him a bit more protection against enemy fire, meaning he’s great for contesting control zones in scenario play. Unfortunately between 1 HP, a pitiful STR of 4, and a not-too-great MAT of 5, he’s not going to be holding any lines on his own should he get stuck in. His only weapon is his Bite, which is RNG-0.5 and P+S-7 with Critical Knockdown. This attack is only good for engaging other single-wound troops, and if you boost his attacks, you can knock down bigger models on critical hits in order to open them up for your heavy-hitters. Offensively he’s not that good, but his special rules are much more interesting. Like all Trenchers he has Advance Deployment, Pathfinder, and Tough, and since he can’t dig his own foxholes (somehow), he has Foxhole Buddy for climbing into holes dug by other grunts. Dodge lets him keep moving when enemy attacks miss him, and he has Annoyance, granting enemy models a to-hit penalty while around him. His new rules are Leadership: Trenchers, which grants Dodge to friendly Trencher models within 3″ of him, and Noisy. This is an action that basically amounts to giving up your attack to bark (Bark’s worse than his Bite, eh?), but when he does, enemy models within 8″ lose Stealth and lose the back strike bonus while within 5″. If you’re facing Assault Kommandos, Cutthroats, Kayazy Assassins, or other stealthy hit-and-run models, this effectively shuts them down and makes them easy targets for your rear lines to clean up. No more cloakers dropping into the middle of your forces for a ‘caster kill!
On its own, the patrol dog doesn’t do a whole lot other than harassing enemy stealth units, but it does synergize well with other members of the Trencher Corps. Being technically a Trencher, he can throw shells into a Grenadier’s gun to reload it, but he can also trigger flank off a Trench Buster while benefitting from Shield Guard, he gains Rise in the Gravedigger’s theme list to make his Tough ability more effective, and Siege2’s feat allows him to move and dig in on his own after the enemy closes. Outside of the Gravediggers, he’s only really useful for uncovering cloakers, and the Storm Knights and Arcane Tempest can’t benefit from his granted Dodge ability.
If you’re in the game just for the model, as I said before, the Patrol Dog can be fitted into pretty much any setting or genre and he’ll mesh perfectly. You can have him running alongside Imperial Guard in WH40K, USAriadna in Infinity, Free Peoples in Age of Sigmar, Union or Confederate soldiers in Black Powder, British infantry in Bolt Action…the list goes on and on. If you can find a situation in which a dog in military kit can be placed, the Patrol Dog is there to fill the seat. He’s also ridiculously easy to assemble, and with his basic level of detail, it’s not hard to make him look really nice with a basic paint job or modify him to fit into your wargaming system of choice. He could possibly be the ultimate universal model, though I’m sure there are some systems out there where you wouldn’t be able to have a dog running alongside your troops. If you’re into wargaming at all, the Patrol Dog is an absolute must for you.
Next time, we’re going back to everyone’s favorite hammer-wielding trencher warcaster, and his new-and-improved arsenal of weapons. And yes, we will be getting to the special Warmachine Extras soon. Here’s another clue for you: Snail. If you’ve figured it out, don’t blow it for everyone, and if you haven’t, keep up the guessing! See you soon!
-The Raging Goblin