Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you’ll have heard of a thing called Critical Role, a fantasy franchise that started out as a band of voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons in front of a camera and has now spawned it’s own books, comics, animated TV show and so on.
Not one to pass up a cool franchise, those purveyors of cool fantasy toys, Wizkids, now produce a range of models inspired by the world of Critical Role. Wave One of Critical Role Unpainted series is a rogues gallery of beasties and villains from the show. The idea here is that you can grab these models and use them in your own games inspired by the hit online show. As such, it’s a bit of a wild mix of models, but these all come in individual blisters so you know what you’re getting.
The models are at the usual high standard that we’ve come to expect from Wizkids. Hard white plastic models that have been prepared for painting. If you want to make changes to the models this will be easy as it’s not too much effort to hack into them with a sharp knife and the usual modelling materials such as glue and putty work well on them. You should only do this if you really want to however – each piece comes pre-posed and ready to go, just add paint.
The range is broad but also useful. The half-elf Echo Knight model comes with his Echo, in translucent plastic. The sculpt is such that the two pieces complement each other perfectly and is a must have for anyone using that unique character class. We get a goblin rogue and goblin sorcerer in another blister, and the sculpts are evocative of the goblins we see on the show. A magic effect is done via translucent plastic and this means you can do all sorts of clever things when you paint the piece.
The Hobgoblin Wizard and Druid set also uses this to great effect and given that both goblins and hobgoblins are playable in a Critical Role inspired game, this useful to have. The human Graviturgy and Chronurgy wizards use a similar translucent plastic effect for their spells. All these models are well sculpted and evocative of the D&D setting they’re from. The husk zombies (tougher, nastier zombies) pretty much look exactly the way Matt Mercer describes them in the show.
Bigger monsters are also available in the range. The Core Spawn Emissary and Seer set are insectile horrors. The Emissary is posed in full flight, with its eerily hypnotic visage and rending claws in full effect. The Seer is a large, creepy looking robed thing with too many legs; it would easily double as a god-like horror for other games. Similarly, the Aeorian Nullifier is a weird sort of abomination. It’s a huge handed humanoid snake thing with too many mouths. Similarly the Aerorian Reverser monster is a big troll like thing that looks like it can beat even the hardiest PC to death. Given that the rules for thing make it bad news for spell casters, expect your DM to pick one of these up soon.
We really liked the look of the Swavain Basilisk; it’s a huge sea snake that just looks angry. Translucent plastic is used again to make it look like it’s smashing it’s way out of the sea and this sea monster would suit most fantasy games. The mer-man like Shallowpriest is a lovely sculpt that looks like it’s going to sink enemy ships with it’s water magic.
Finally, there’s a Gloomstalker, a sort of emo dragon-like thing that can merge with the night and hunt you down. It’s a lovely piece and they’ve found the right mix of making it look like it’s stepped out of the pages of a D&D sourcebook whilst still being fun to paint.
Over all this is a very promising range and we can’t wait to see what they do next with the monsters from Critical Role.