MiniArt Knights and then some - Nordalia Style | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Monday, 13 July 2009

A year or so ago I picked up some MiniArt 1:16th scale Knights from a hobby store. They were old, so I assumed that the ones in the store were all I was going to get ever, so I bought them all - five of them. When they were done and placed upon a shelf, I had done some of the Orders from our gaming world, and I decided I wanted to do at least the top 10 Orders, because I liked the way they came out. So I went out to search for some used kits and see how badly I would get burned and guess what? They're still available! So I not only bought six more, I decided to review them for you, because if you have a gaming world these are great to paint up as the different Knightly Orders. Note that these are 1:16th, which makes them about six inches tall, not very suitable for gaming. These are full-blown models, with interchangable parts that you can swap out - want the sword in hand? Glue the hilt to it. Want the sword in the scabbard? Glue the hilt to it instead. The models have some rough spots - the newer ones I received have fewer issues than the old ones I picked up, but they still had issues common to less exacting model brands. One of the models in this review - the one labeled Doornian General - is a really old Tamiya model and not a MiniArt. I picked it up at a different hobby store for a steal and it went together much better than the MiniArt ones do. With all of that said, if you spend the time and use a bit of green stuff you can get these into shape. The legs have a tendency to gap on you, on some of them I patched the gap, in some I didn't. While this was just oversite on my part, it does give you the opportunity to see how well they do/don't fit.

The Dirgian

Dirge is the god of drinking, shock fighting, and post-combat parties. His Knights tend to use drinking accouterments in their symbology, and this one is named "Sir Bertram the Mug". Dirge's colors are blue and white, and Sir Bertram uses only those colors.

Sir Bertram is 100% original MiniArt kit. Note the gap on the right leg where it wasn't sealed. Note also the rough bits on the front of the helmet, this is an issue with all of these models, some I completely fixed, some I left a bit of roughness to show use.

Here's the view with the visor up. The faces on all of these miniatures are absolutely beautiful, but note that none of the MiniArt figures has a full head, just a face and crown. So even though I left the helmets of many of these figures removable, there's not a complete head underneath them.

You can see where I struggled with the edging on the belt of this figure. He was one of the first I painted, and it took quite a bit to get things straight. Other figures in this article have this done better - but it does take work. The belts run over each other, the detail is occasionally blurry, and you really have to go over them several times to get it looking like a real belt with trim.

From the side you can see that lifting and lowering the visor on this figure tends to displace it from the mounting hole - this is a problem caused by the fact that you put the visor together from two parts, and have to toy with it quite a bit to get it to fit correctly.

The Nordalian

Nordal is the god that our primary gaming world is named after, and it says as much about the author as it does the world that the god of justice is the core of the world. Nordal's colors are blue and gold, and this knight - the first one of the set I built - uses only Nordal's colors.

The knight is named Sir Ceremonde' the Son, and he is the topic of an entire series of short stories I wrote while painting these up. I wrote them for The WebMistress, and it is totally up to her if/when/how she shares them with the world. Once again, note the gaps in the legs. This model they caught me by surprise, after this one I started using Green Stuff to fill them in.

Note the detail on the upper arms, it is beautiful, but rather difficult to paint adequately. Notice also that all of the armored MiniArt figures are the same in the neck area and the shirt. Not a big deal, but if you're painting a bunch of them you start to look for ways to differentiate it.

Again, note the level of detail. Specifically, the belts on the back of the legs, the arms, and the gauntlets.

The Imperial Guardsman

The Emprire of Cetacea is huge, and recruits guards for their Emperor by having an annual competition. The winners of the tournament are invited to join the Imperial Guard, which is generally a life of liesure, particularly since many don't actually serve the Emperor directly.

This figure is massively different than most of the others - it is a French Imperial Guardsman that caught my fancy. The figure is very nice with the exception of the hair, which is separate and larger than the head. This figure is the only one with a full head though, so that is cool.

Note the buttons down the side of the pants, the feathers and hat band, the pointed goatee, and the fact that the shirt is separate from the cloak - the cloak is unnecessary, but adds a lot to the figure.

Notice also the oddity of the leather wrist strap on the sword - it is part of the hilt, and can't be moved without work, but it could be removed.

The Tasnian

The Kindom of Tasnami is the mandatory competitor to the Empire of Cetacea. Some would argue that the kingdom is evil, and if slavery, might makes right, and worship of the god of death makes you evil, perhaps they're right. Tasni, god of death, uses black and red as his colors, and his chosen kingdom - Tasnami - uses those same colors. The best of her Knights are members of the Ironwall Guard, and use grey trim on black and red uniforms. This knight is a member of the Ironwall Guard, and sworn enemy of Sir Ceremonde'.

Note the slight gap on this figure's left leg. He was one of the first knights I did, and you can tell because of the slight gap. Again, you'll have to work quite a bit at this leg to get this right.

These wooden bases are actually just a bit of pressed board stained cherry that I scratched marks into. I modified his sword by taking bits I did not use on the armor and applying them to the top of the hilt. Notice at this angle how the shield sits on the hand. It's not perfect, but I do think it's pretty darned good.

Notice here the roughness around the bottom of the sleeve. Many of these figures had actual gaps here, on some I patched it, on others I treated it like the gap was by design of the tunic, and painted trim onto it. This one I left as battle wear.

Shalitorean Knight

Shalitor is the Nordalian goddess of prophecy, and her Knightly order - the Knights of Antiqum - are bound to protect her seeeresses, who are struck blind when they are given the ability to see prophecy... That their site does not interfere with her sendings. Her colors are purple and white, and this Knight does not deviate from those colors other than a touch of grey to signify his family. I left this tunic a bit more dirty than most, simply because white would dirty relatively quickly on the trail.

This figure's helm (and the Doornians, they're the same model) is not removable. Most of the other figures depicted here do have removable helms, though as I said, none of them have complete heads but the Impreial Guardsman, so the helms could just as easily be glued on once the face is painted.

The axe that this figure is holding is a modification of the hammer that other figures are seen holding. I cut the hammer head off and glued on an extra bit that looked to me like an axe head. I'm pleased with the result, and I certainly wouldn't want to challenge him about whether it's "real" or not.

There is not much of this figure's face exposed outside the helm, but it is enough to make modeling the visor as movable worthwhile. this figure is one of the ones where I chose to make the slit up the sleeve into a feature of the tunic, you can decide if that was a good idea or not.

HammerGuard

The Triotonian HammerGuard are some of the most fearsome warriors on the planet. Centuries ago they were founded as King Dinibula Trioton's personal guard, when he died and left the Kingdom without a King - his heir was lost - a succession of regents sat the throne. Over the years, the HammerGuard have become a highly skilled and highly priced mercenary outfit. It is said that everything can be bought in Tarset, capital of Trioton, and that is likely true. What is absolutely true is that the services of the HammerGuard can be bought. If you have enough gold. Trioton's national colors are red and green, and this knight bears the white greaves and bracers of a Captain of the Guard. His symbol is a gold and black pennant, signifying the money he is earning and the life he is forfeiting.

Both of the weapons this knight bears were included in the original box set, and the helmet, while traded off for another knights to introduce variation, is from one of the Knight sets.

This helm is the worst in all of the sets we put together. The visor doesn't easily fit onto the helmet, raising and lowering it almost always pop it out of the sockets designed to hold it. Because this helmet sweeps out further than the others, there is more room for error in making the visor.

Notice how all of these knights have a slightly similar stance, but can be modeled differently. If you are building many of them, it is important to keep your options open. Placement of shield, weapons, angle of head, turn of arm... All of these things are ways to differentiate one figure from another. In a few, I made weapons, but that honestly isn't necessary to differentiate them.

Notice the crispness of detail on the back of this figure. It is interesting that some of the newer figures were made of a different plastic, and that plastic had lines that were more crisp and clean. The back of this figure is the best indication of the quality of these newer figures. The quality is the thing that kept me from building a cloak for this figure - the hammerguard wears cloaks with the hammer symbol of their Order on the back.

Maidelean Knight

The Knights of Maidel, goddess of mothers and children, are fanatical defenders of women and children even in wartime. They're steadfast companions unless a mother or baby is threatened, then all bets are off. Maidel's colors are Red and Orange - the fire of the sword she uses to punish the wicked. This knight bears those colors and the green that tints Maidel's symbol.

Notice again the gap up the center of the visor, this gap is difficult to eliminate without building up a ton of green stuff. While it's not earth-shattering, I have been considering using this visor as a model for building my own.

Here with the visor open, you can see that this face is again a decent one, though not the best ever done at 1:16th. Of course, since you can model the helm open, closed, or mobile, it doesn't matter too much that the face is a bit under-done.

Note the spear, it comes with each kit - indeed, there is quite a nice selection of weapons with each figure, though the shield with a lance slot just lends itself to building the spear.

Again, notice the detail in the pants and the belts. Nice stuff if you take the time to paint it up, and you really have to paint it up to make the figure look nice. They're not too rough except on the inside of the legs where the edge of the pants and the edge of the armor is a little blurred on all of these figures - but it's inside the legs and a little caution makes it look clean.

Talimaaran Knight

Talimaara, goddess of fertility, nature, and forests, has a small Order of dedicated Knights who defend her woodland shrines. These Knights fight in such audacious and unconventional ways that the other Orders do not recognize them. While few would be brave enough to threaten a shrine protected by Arborian Knights, other Orders talk derisively about their use of longbows and woodland traps instead of facing their enemies on the field of battle. Talmiaara's colors are blue and tan, and this knight has made use of her colors exclusively.

The bow in this picture does not come with any of the Knight kits (no surprise), it is made from the sprue of a 1:48th Tamiya T-34 and some floral wire. Otherwise, this figure is all original MiniArt kit.

Note that this figure has the sword in the scabbard. The above mentioned adaptability of the arms is in evidence here. The hilt comes separately, so you can just glue it into the scabbard instead of gluing the blade on.

Note the roughness on the seam of the tunic sleeve again. This is actually partially on purpose - I filled the hole and then roughed it up with files and rough sandpaper to appear like the uniform is not as sleek as the other knightly orders - which would be the case for my purposes.

Doornian Knight

The Greater Empire of Doorne spans a continent, includes twelve kingdoms, and is populated by a people who are darker skinned than the northern kingdoms and share race, heritage, and deity. They keep themselves separate from the northerners, though they tolerate the other humans, but believe truly that they are superior to the other races. Doorne's colors are yellow and black, and Knights dedicated not just to their got but also to their Kingdom use tan and maroon to indicate their emperors' colors. This is one of those Knights.

This knight has the elbow guards that come in all of these MiniArt sets attached. I also chose to attach his sheild at the shoulder rather than on the hand as some other figures have. Otherwise, this is a pretty standard build of this knight.

Notice that the Doornian has a darker complexion than the other knights pictured in this article. Again, you can see the seams in the lower legs, but in this case I chose to leave them as a joint in the figures' actual armor. The other thing of note in this picture is the visor, which is easier to patch on this figure than most of the MiniArt miniatures.

The knight uses a stylized flame as his symbol, and note that all of the MiniArt figures have the same shield except the ones fitted for a lance. That gets old after a while, hence the reason this one is shoulder mounted. It does look pretty nice there though.

Doornian General

I'm throwing in this Doornian General to complete the selection of 1:16th Nordalian figures I have painted up, but note that this figure is actually a very old Tamiya figure, not one of the MiniArt figures. Originally intended to be a Samurai, I painted him up to be a general of the Doornian Empire. Note the gold line on the breastplate, the gold pyramid on his helm (Doorne's symbol is a pyramid), and the red trim on his vest.

This figure is difficult to assemble and paint, something you don't find at all in new Tamiya figures. I recently completed a Tamiya 1:16th US Infantryman, and it was a breeze to assemble and paint. This one didn't fit well, had odd areas for painting, and looks just a bit contrived when finished.

Notice that the figure is holding his Katana, and has another weapon at his belt. Since it doesn't make the back of his vest stick out, presumably this weapon has more hilt than blade. Notice that the feet are designed like they are wearing sandals, but there is a sock-like layer over the feet that obscures the toes, so I painted them up.

As you can see here, the helm could have been done with a lot more detail than I have included, but the Doornians are a simple people, so I left the color scheme simple. The legs and forearms were originally intended to be bamboo, and I haven't done anything to remove that intent, but I painted them such that Doornians might use any other material for these parts.

Summary

The MiniArt figures are the subject of this overview, and they are an expansive collection that has a lot of very nice options. Overall they are great models to put together, and paint up pretty well. With that said, the arms attach below the shoulders, so the poses you can make are somewhat limited, and you have to use arms and shield to differentiate your figure. Head direction and to a limited extent the angle of the waste are adjustable, giving you some more options. It would be nice if they were anatomically complete under the helm. while it was funny to say that the problem with Tasnians was that they had no brains, it would be cool if you removed the helm and found a complete head. I may well flesh one of these - or a future one - out and see how it looks. I'll end up buying more, I'm pretty certain. Meanwhile, if you like to do scale modeling, or want to depict the Knightly Orders of your gaming world, these figures are a great option for you. These figures all run $10 to $15 USD each, and there are far more in the range than the onese reviewed here. Link to MiniArt pages with all 1:16th figures on it.
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