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Sonntag, 25. Juli 2021

Review: Wargames Atlantic Giant Spiders


Heyhey, it's another miniatures review! I'll take a look at the second Wargames Atlantic plastics set I got. This time it's one of their very first ones - Giant Spiders

For a general introduction to Wargames Atlantic and my thoughts on the company, please refer to my review of their French Resistance set. So we can jump right to the figure review.

The Box

I like chatting about figure boxes, as you may have picked up on by now. It's a major part of the presentation, and a good figure box will get ideas going.

The box design (by Henry Hyde) does it all right - the front has artwork by Peter Dennis to set the mood, good photo of the painted figures included in the set as well as a clear description of what's inside.

The sides of the box hold no major surprises either. One side shows the artwork and title again, so a vendor can put it on a shelf:

The other side's got that sort of info I enjoy reading so I can feel smart for recognizing names. Wait, there's a huge sticker on there! I'm fairly certain that's a EU/UK exclusive add-on, and thus highly collectible.

The back of the box reveals clever things WA did with this box:

First we got a little fluff on giant spiders, but the interesting thing is that these are compatible with WA's Goblins set, which will come (at this point in time it's not released yet as far as I know) with saddles specifically to fit these giant spiders. A very cool idea for plastics sets.

ALSO, the back of the box reveals that the set includes bits to turn the giant spiders into sci-fi alien spiders with death ray guns and bionics. Fancy.

Box Contents

The box is kept shut by sticky tape and once we rip that open a bunch of sprues fall on our table:

See that single leg on the box lid? Yeah, just as with the other set, one bit fell off the sprue.
 No biggie, just don't lose it!

Six thereof, all identical. No bases, instructions or anything else included. WA sets are pretty stripped down and efficient about what they do.

The Sprue

Each sprue comes with two large giant spiders and two smaller giant spiders. For a total of 12 large giant spiders and 12 small giant spiders per box. You also get a whole lotta legs. Apart from that, there's an adult-sized humanoid  and a smaller humanoid all spun in in spider webs. The smaller one of course being perfect to represent hapless Halflings.

Then there's the sci-fi parts of course. Two different face masks/visors to put on the spider's face, two arms holding a gun (clever design. May work as a bio-weapon or as a tech-y one with one fleshy bit on top). You'll also get a pair of bionic or mechanically enhanced spider legs. So you'll be able to turn both big spiders on each sprue into a sci-fi spider. [fixed a little error I made earlier, thanks for the heads up, Chief Lackey Rich!]


Now things get a bit iffy. In my review of the French Resistance fighters I was a tiny bit down about the lack of variety (mostly because I asked things of the set which it didn't set out to do, but that's beside the point). This kit is a way different sort of thing. Out of this box what we want is a horde/herd/flock/crawl of giant spiders. They all look the same, but we'll want different poses. And really, this is the best way of designing such a kit - having all the legs separate. 

Of course this makes assembly quite daunting, especially since there are no assembly instructions what so ever. Not even on Wargames Atlantic's website. So once more it's time to thank the four winds for Mr.Guy Bowers of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy magazine. He put together an excellent assembly guide for these spiders. WA linked to it as well.

Even with the instructions assembly is a bit tricky. The joints aren't very thick and during priming and painting a leg fell off here and there. However, once you got that done they look like proper gribbly spiders, and you got some fun options putting the spiders together. Keeping in mind that the thicker legs would be to the rear, and getting smaller going more to the front helps, but of course you can feel free to assemble them differently. For instance, if you keep the abdomen off the model and just put on four legs the thing instantly looks like a head crab from Half-Life! Playing around with the parts in this set will get you a whole menagerie of creepy alien insects. Or one really long giant centipede! With a ray gun!

From Mr.Bowers' assembly guide. Instant head crabs!

If you'd like to assemble the spiders in a walking motion, I found this video to be rather helpful with that.

The small giant spiders are just one-part casts, remove mold lines, done. You can bend some legs if you like, but I just kept them as they are.


Painting those will open even more options up to us than the assembly stage does. Most spiders are grey/brown, but the insect world always has more up its sleeve than we think we know, right?

Apart from that of course giant spiders (so far!) are relegated to sci-fi/fantasy worlds, so we can do pretty much anything in terms of colours and patterns. We won't get as creative as the look of some actual spiders in real life get, but we definitely can have some fun there. 

In the end I went with a pretty outlandish purple. Not sure it's the best choice, but it was a choice made quickly, and a quick choice isn't necessarily worse than a good choice. (feel free to debate that point in the comments ;-) ). I also used individually different patterns on the abdomen of each spider, just to add some variety.

In hindsight I think that a different approach may have reaped quicker results, but oh well. Either way, if you paint those just because you need some generic enemies (and really, these baddies here mostly impress with size and the fact that they're gribbly spiders rather than with a dazzling paintjob), you can get a very good effect out of spraying them black or brown and giving them a few layers of drybrushing. The texture on these figures is proper strong.


Once they're put together the big ones will be between 40mm and 50mm long (depending on the leg positioning) and 35mm to 40mm wide, the small ones' diameter are about 27mm at the widest part. For bases I chose 50mm round bases for the big ones and 25mm round bases for the smaller ones. That's a bit snug for the small spiders, but they fit.

A quick little detour, if you allow: Two years ago I won some spider web effect stuff in a prize draw at a show. (Board games club made a prize draw, and I felt like I should give people who spend days running things at shows money.) These spiders gave me the one opportunity to try it. Got out the special spider web agent and the special spider web agent airbrush cleaner, only to find out both had completely evaporated. How odd. The cleaner's never been opened, the spider web stuff I got open once to check the consistency, but I closed it again (Dropper bottles, the kind that never dries up). Oh well. In defence of that company who make that stuff, maybe the things were stored badly before they got rid of it in that prize draw. Anyway, I binned the bottles. After researching the stuff a little I found out that a.) you can get the same effect airbrushing crackle medium (look it up, it's pretty cool) and b.) it's not suitable for what I had in mind anyway, since the final result is very delicate and will tear/dissolve very easily if exposed to water/wind/fire/earth/heart. It's cool stuff, but more for dioramas and so on. 

It's been 5 years, and doing that isn't in any way
in fashion now, so not objectionable as per the
rules of the Elders of the Uncool People.

So I got out the UHU. Well, I bought a whole bottle of it, and - boy, is UHU expensive. Oh well. It's a quick, lovely, calm way of making spider web effects. And easy as pie. The results are surprisingly sturdy and once you figure out that you can start working with the webs by applying a tiny dab of fresh glue and the solvent will burn small holes in the existing web effect and you can start manipulating it it gets really good.

I like how it turned out. What do you think?

Closing Thoughts

This kit is great. Every fantasy/sci-fi wargamer needs giant spiders at some point in their life, and these are a great choice once you're at that point. I'm rather sure that those one or two scenarios in Rangers of Shadow Deep helped this kit come to life. Either way, it's useful for many things, which is pretty much a must for plastic kits. And I'm just a fan of having a lot of generic baddies to put my fantasy heroes in danger. These figures do the trick for me.

Just imagine the versatility of these figures. From the ruins of Felstad (ice spiders!) to the Necromunda unterhive, from the jungles of South America to the Underdark, from 1950s nuclear monster films to the third moon of Neptune - these can be placed anywhere. And that's not even tackling the conversion options. Chaos creatures, spider people, mechanical spider leg suit things, monstrous cavalry for all sorts of baddies (or eccentric goodies), etc.

They're available at Wargames Atlantic for USD 35.00, I paid EUR 26,00 for the box. Several vendors may have single giant spiders sprues on offer as well, which may be worth a look.

Now to find a suitable broodmother model...

I hope that you enjoyed the review and found it useful or even entertaining. If you have any questions, maybe review requests, suggestions or ideas feel free to use the comments section below or just contact me via e-mail or Battle Brush Studios' Facebook page. The same goes of course for commission requests. See you soon! :-)

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