It’s November, which means many are gearing up for religious or generally festive moods. Before that though, in Scotland we have the feastday of St Andrew (along with a number of other countries, to be fair). In the main, that simply means the shops try and punt some extra haggis and/or whisky (note the absence of the ‘e’.)
Now I’m not complaining about the chance to go hunt one of the furry blighters and quench the drouth wie a dram, but I thought it could also be a good opportunity here on our Geeking Out column to investigate some themed offerings. We’ll grab a look at some very fitting RPG supplements, a cracking new Kickstarter, and some oddities and peculiars which may tickle the fancy.
First up though are some wonderfully characterful figures from Bears Head Miniatures. If you enjoy some maps and models when roleplaying then you will most likely have already encountered the putty pushing of Philip Hynes. If not, then I urge, nay command, that you head over there and take a look (okay, you can finish reading this article first though). There’s a wide range from adventurers to animals and all manner of gribbbly monsters inbetween.
For the run up to St Andrew’s day though I want to take a particular focus on two imposing warriors.
Visit any Scottish gift shop in the land and apart from being accosted by tartan in all manner of technicolour, you’ll no doubt see multiple images of the heilan coo (or Highland Cattle if one prefers). You don’t get an animal more Scottish than perhaps the unicorn. If you weren’t aware, the national animal of Scotland is in fact the unicorn. We just try to keep them a secret, so tourists don’t go traipsing in their natural grazeland. Anyway, I digress.
So, what happens if you combine the distinctive appeal of the coo with one of the most recognisable of mythical creatures in the minotaur? Well some tip top Highland Cow Minotaurs is what!
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These figures, cast in resin (although listed in metal on the webstore I dropped a line so I could have both in the same material) ooze flavour and are straightforward to clean up. The casting itself is very neat with only a little amount of flashing to tidy. The pictures here are before any work was done and are ‘as delivered’. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my scale board to hand but that’s a 40mm round base so these are big figures. I love that they aren’t simply just big but feel scaled for traditional 28-32mm and carry some weighty heft.
Whilst some may no doubt feel the urge to go to town on the tartan with these, I think personally I might go for a more muted dress to try and let the colour of the coo stand out. I’m far more of a gamer than a painter however so happy with anything approaching table top standard. The great thing I’ve found with Bears Head figures is that they are pretty forgiving. Whether it’s by virtue of the expressive nature, or some quirk of the sculpt, they never fail to make an impact on the table.
Highland minotaurs are a niche within an already small niche, I hear some of you whisper. Well yes, but actually no. Minotaurs are a fairly reliable staple in fantasy gaming and from the classic mythology through to pop culture or gaming references such as a certain first mate of the skyship Weatherlight, they’ve migrated from monstrous race to player character.
Whether in DnD where they’ve gathered more than a little attention of late, to games like Zweihander or Against the Darkmaster where it would be easy to slot in, I can see many a player excited by the prospect of such a noble warrior. So not only are these a great fit for our theme this month, but should also have a fairly broad appeal.
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster