A Big Boy Did It And Stomped Away

Feel the ground shaking? Hear the screaming of the villagers? See the sun suddenly blotted out by the passing of an enormous shadow? Don’t worry – it’s only a tribe of giants stomping into town! That’s right, this weekend saw the arrival for pre-order of Games Workshop’s newest faction for Age of Sigmar; the Sons of Behemat. Oh and the screaming might just be people looking at the latest GW prices…

Giant with Stormcasts

For those who’ve not been keeping up the Sons of Behemat are not a Mumford and Sons tribute act but instead a new army for AoS made up entirely of giants (or gargants as GW confusingly likes to call them now – in my mind gargants are plus-sized Ork Stompas for 40k, but in these changing and uncertain times it’s nice to know that GW will still ensure that their naming conventions are as complicated as possible). The old giants kit of yore has been renamed “Mancrusher Gargants” and make up the rank and file of the new army, whilst an impressive new kit brings us three flavours of Mega-Garagant, which is even bigger and more imposing than its predecessor.

Giant Size Comparison

Almost exactly a year ago today (it was the 12th of October 2019 but who’s splitting hairs?) I wrote an article asking where exactly GW planned to go next with the Destruction grand alliance. Order had really come into its own, Chaos and Death both had plenty of scope to expand, but what about the happy-go-lucky barbarians of Destruction? I’m increasingly hopeful, incidentally, that we’ll see the thuggish hordes of Destruction given a boost in the next edition of AoS, the first edition boxset featured Order vs Chaos, the second Order vs Death so it makes a degree of sense that we’ll see Order vs Destruction next time around. Or we might not get a starter set and instead just see a repeat of Indomitus – although hopefully they’ve learned something from that screw-up…

Anyway, when I wrote the aforementioned article I’d already been pouring scorn on the idea of an all-giants army, which various speculators and “rumour-mungers” had been touting as the next big thing, and I didn’t miss the opportunity to pour a little more, saying;

“The giants may have enjoyed a brief stint as a one model faction in the early days of AoS but the big oafs have been reined in by their destruction colleagues and I’d be surprised to see them go it alone again.”

Do pass another slice of this delicious humble pie…

The new Mega-Gargant kit makes three very different models, and it’s well worth giving them a quick look. First of all we have the Warstomper which is basically a normal, traditional giant.

Warstomper

Then things start to get weird with the Kraken-eater, a marine themed giant.

Kraken-eater

Lastly we have the hooded Gatebreaker.

Gatebreaker 2

Credit where its due GW has managed to make three very distinct looking giants out of one base kit. The core of each is pretty close to identical being built over the same chassis, yet slight changes to the positioning of head and arms make for very different poses (within a realistic scope of course – no-one was looking for a giant doing handstands or pirouettes – and if you are you’d better break out the greenstuff). Of the three the Kraken-eater is the most unusual – the other two are basically just straightforward giants, but the Kraken-eater has, for some reason, been decorated with all sorts of maritime gubbins. Without reading the army book I can’t say exactly why this is but my guess would be that, as the giants which are most inclined towards nicking everything they can get their hands on, they’ve been drawn to walking along the shores of the Mortal Realms looting shipwrecks. Being GW though it’ll probably be some overly-complicated pseudo-mythological bollocks instead.

I don’t have any particular problem with the Kraken-eater but I must admit I find them quite specialised aesthetically. Being able to make a marine giant is cool, but for my money a kleptomaniac giant with more generic taste in loot would have been better than one which exclusively hugged the tideline. A model tells a story, about what it represents and it’s place in the wider setting, and the story told by this one is not “some giants like to pinch things” but “some giants like going to the beach”.

Kraken eater loot

In recent years GW have been leaning heavily into making everything as unique to their brand and intellectual property as possible (the Lumineth Realmlords – as essentially a High Elves analogue – being the main exception of recent times, although even they went for a unique spin with walking bull-mountains). Now this is no bad thing in my book, I like new and creative ideas more than rehashed clichés, and fantasy should be about exploring and inventing rather than sticking religiously to old ideas. However you can take this too far, and there’s a time and a place for playing it safe. Giants that steal stuff and load themselves down with loot is a well-established idea and one that lots of giant fans will be drawn to. Giants that go fishing is a bit more “out there” – it may prove to be the next big thing but equally it may not. Personally I’d have played it a little safer, not every single thieving giant in every Sons of Behemat army in the world needs to be a keen rockpooler on the weekends.

The other thing that’s causing ructions online right now is the price. This is the sort of topic that get’s the frothier end of the fanbase hot under the collar at the best of times, the First and Second World Wars seeming like mere blips in comparison to the rage and factionalism that breaks out on social media whenever the cost of a GW kit is mentioned. Mind you anything is usually enough to set social media groups at each others’ throats so we shouldn’t be too surprised. However there’s no denying this is a pricy kit, buy it full price from GW right now and it’ll set you back £120 in UK money. That’s a fair chunk of cash for one model in anyone’s book – although in fairness it’s also roughly 25% of a standard sized army, and represents a major painting project in its own right. I find myself wondering how the Sons of Behemat compare to other armies pricewise, after all they’re individually expensive but you need very few models. Are they really costlier than hordes of little dudes? I could probably grab a calculator and figure it out but alas I haven’t. Probably someone somewhere has a spreadsheet already…

I don’t know, because I’m not a fly on the wall of GW’s decision making process, but I do wonder if they might not have been better rearranging the contents of the sprues and releasing three different giants, each at a lower price. One set of sprues would contain all the parts common to each giant (the legs, torso etc) and whilst three other sets would cover all the parts needed to make each sort of giant. As it stands if you want to build a Warstomper you’re also paying for all the bits to make a Gatebreaker and a Kraken-eater which are then tossed unused into the bits box. Per my suggestion your Warstomper kit would contain only the common gargant frame, plus a sprue or two of those bits needed to turn it into a Warstomper. This would also leave the way open for more varieties of Mega-Gargant in the future, should the kit prove to be popular. They could even throw in a sprue of mutations and do a new army of Chaos Gargants somewhere down the road.

I suspect though that this would probably be more expensive to produce and package, and take up more shelf space as room would then be required for three Mega-Gargant rather than just one. Still I do like the Warstomper, and I could be tempted to get one, but the price is a bit too rich for my taste – especially when I’m paying for a load of bits – even if some of those bits will find their way into conversions at some point.  

As an aside it’s worth noting that these are not the only “big giants” on the market. Mantic for one also produce a plus-sized giant. I’ve not bought anything from Mantic in years so I can’t comment on the model from direct personal experience but just eyeballing it online it does look like a nice kit.

Mantic Giant

Hopefully soon we’ll see a direct size comparison between it and the mega-gargant but I suspect there may not be a lot of difference, although the Mantic giant is probably slimmer. Here’s a size comparison between the Mantic giant and the old GW giant (the one now known variously as an Aleguzzler or a Mancrusher) borrowed from The Hobby Heroes.

Giant Lineup Mantic 2

Compare that to the picture of the Mancrusher and Mega-Gargant above and I think the Mantic giant would make a fine stand-in if you were thus inclined. Of course it’s the price that makes things really interesting, £25 buys you the Mantic kit which leaves you with £95 in change when compared to the GW offering. Go down that road and the Sons of Behemat could easily be the cheapest AoS army to collect.

Sons of Behemat

Seen collectively the big giants towering over the smaller giants looks a little odd to my eye. The impression that one gets when looking at them is of two distinct size classes of giant, big ones and bigger ones, rather than a mixed tribe of mighty monsters. A friend took one look at it at and said “Ah, the big one is taking his children for a walk, he’s Behemat and these are his sons?” which isn’t an unreasonable conclusion to jump to I guess. Again I know it comes down to time and money, both things that GW have plenty of but which are not in unlimited supply even for them. However, if you’ll indulge me in a bit of wishlisting, I’d have loved to see a third size of giant somewhere in between the old Aleguzzlers and the new Mega-Gargants. Between them they could have created a range of sizes and a more natural look to the army as a result. Perhaps they could have used the Warstomper as the big guy (with a few alternative bits so you can personalise your own) and made the Gatebreaker and Kraken-eater a little smaller, perhaps alongside a third type. The resultant army would look a bit more natural with a mix of sizes.

Will I be signing up for an army of mighty, world-stomping brutes? I doubt it – I’ve got too many other projects on the go and my wallet is nowhere near deep enough to fund this kind of scheme (except, perhaps, at Mantic’s prices). Maybe, should the chance arise to snag a bargain in the future, I might get myself a Warstomper to loom ominously over my various Chaos and Destruction projects – he’s certainly an extremely cool looking model. Oh and somewhere I have a couple of old Aleguzzlers I was given by a mate who was having a clear out, maybe I should start by digging them out of whichever box they’re lurking in and giving them a coat of paint. After that, who knows – perhaps by then we’ll have seen the next addition to the Destruction line up, and at last the warlike lads will step out of the shadow of WHFB and follow in the footsteps of the other Grand Alliances with an AoS-unique faction or two. I loved WHFB and still do but we’re overdue for Destruction to leave the past behind and charge bellowing into the future.


21 responses to “A Big Boy Did It And Stomped Away

  • Alex

    Great write-up mate – yeah, that price tag is eye-watering, but I reckon you get a cracking painting project to get your teeth into… Talking of painting, strange that the studio painters were so conservative!! All that flesh… I’d love to see one with full Maori tattoos or covered in blue woad!

    • Wudugast

      You’re right, it’s another reason why I could see myself getting one but not a full army (much as I might like the idea of seeing a whole tribe on the tabletop). Apart from the price it’s the thought of painting the thing, which is both very appealing in terms of the opportunity to really get stuck in and at the same time just a bit terrifying (it took me six years to paint a Chaos Knight and this looks a lot trickier). For me it’s; one off center piece – maybe, full army – only in my dreams.

      Good point on the painting too, I can picture some amazing things being done with these, from Golden Daemons (think of what those guys could do with that size of canvas!) to crazy conversions (there are already plenty of these with the little giants so imagine what could be done with the big ones). Imagine one that hangs out with orcs or goblins and has been covered in graffiti!

  • Bjorn Stormborn

    Mork: £120! You gotta be Squigging mad!
    Gork: It’s mad, but it’s a bloody big un for us, ours to use….
    Sigmar: I have one.
    Nagash: We have one too.
    Archaon: I’ve got all the Gargants!

    GorkaMorka:…Waaagh!!!

    In all seriousness the kit looks amazing with how GW has created a customizable giant kit. The price is expensive for sure, but I’d assume some independent stores will put discount prices on the Mega Gargant.

    You could technically substitute it as a Bonegrinder giant for Storms of magic expansion, it would fit the scale of a rare mega giant that roams the hills.

    • Wudugast

      You know, I hadn’t thought of it as a Bonegrinder, that’s a good shout. I used to try to find WHFB uses for as many AoS models as possible when I wrote these reviews but I’ve been doing that less as AoS has grown on me.

      I do like the fact that these giants can be used by any faction (or certain builds can at any rate). The Warstomper at least looks very much in keeping with a Chaos horde and I’m looking forward to seeing how people convert allied mega-gargants into something more in keeping with their army, especially for Order and Death where a bit more creativity is needed. Gargant in a stormcast eternals mask anyone?

      • Bjorn Stormborn

        Funny thing is I’ve been looking for some AoS units to use for my Warhammer Fantasy armies lately. Nighthaunt can fit just right into a VC faction with a bit of imagination.

        The endless spells for the Beastmen for example is a great set as the Taurus can be kitbashed as a bound Taurus for Storm of Magic (or a Chaos Dearf mount with some kitbashing). The carrion birds can be used for VC or TK as either a substitute bat swarm or Carrion block of three.

        Warhammer Community did an article on the Mega Gargants recently, with one being heavily kitbashed as a thing of Death and Shyish influence. It looks bloody awesome!

        As for SCE, in the lore there are Gargants in the Realm of Celestial, so it can be possible to have a Sigmar-ified Giant. Or there’s a Gargant automaton mentioned in the book Soul Wars. Stick some gears, plates and hammers and you’ve got yourself a Automaton giant. 🙂

      • Wudugast

        Yup! I always thought that every model in the Khorne half of the initial AoS boxset could be used for a Khorne themed Warriors of Chaos army. The Ironjaws are basically Orc Big ‘uns and almost all of the Gloomspite Gits have Night Goblin equivalents.

        I saw that article on the kitbashed giants, some great stuff in there. The Khorne giant was particularly cool, it shows it doesn’t take much to transform a model. (In case anyone else is reading this, especially in a year or so’s time when everything is buried in the archives, the article we’re talking about is here; https://www.warhammer-community.com/2020/10/16/weve-been-painting-mega-gargants/). I’d love to see an automaton giant – I wonder how well Imperial Knight parts would fit?

  • Kuribo

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the new models and I share your feelings on much of it. I think the models look great but they’re so big, I wonder how much fun they are to paint. Painting skin well over large surfaces is tedious in my opinion so I couldn’t see myself painting three (or more!) models of this size even if I like the details they have. Though to be fair, I’m not an AoS player so I wasn’t likely to take on a project like this anyway.

    I would be a little worried that this army will be strong for a while and then quickly outclassed too because the models are so large and I would assume elite. But then again, maybe GW tinkers with stats and profiles enough that that won’t happen too. If you can “splash” a giant into an Orc or Ogre army then I think a lot of people will end up taking their favorite of the three versions and that will be fun for a lot of people.

    All in all, I like this new release better than quite a few of the recent ones and I imagine that other than the price, people will have fun with the new giants 🙂

    • Wudugast

      I think painting models of this size is a whole different experience to painting normally sized miniatures. I’ve been known to struggle with anything bigger than an ordinary infantryman so I think it’s something I have to be really sure I was up for before I committed the cash. That said, I reckon it would be a lot of fun to work on, I’d just have to clear my feet of other projects and give myself the time and space to really focus on it. Then again I’ve often dreamed of putting together a mighty horde of Destruction; a huge army of orcs, goblins, ogres, trolls and squigs – and if that ever happened I’d really have to include a giant to top it all off wouldn’t I? It’s one of those pipedream armies though that may never happen, but I do like picturing it in my mind’s eye. 😀

      • Kuribo

        I agree and I like smaller minis too as they take about the right amount of commitment level and time. The thing that I can’t say enough is that focusing months painting an entire model can be come repetitive and motivation sapping and that would be my concern, especially for anyone used to painting for gaming. I think there are two “highs” in that form of painting, painting up an army that looks cool (or to whatever standard you’re going for) and more importantly, the good feeling you get when you get something done (this can be anything from a character model to a squad or an entire army). You’re going to experience much of that second high on a giant because getting one finger done on a hand isn’t that thrilling or satisfying! I think that army idea sounds awesome and the Destruction forces in AoS give you something with a different visual aesthetic than the armies in 40k too 🙂

  • theimperfectmodeller

    That is a hell of a price. Might be cheaper to buy an Action Man and convert it. 😉

    • Wudugast

      In terms of size and scale, from a gaming perspective the cheapest option is probably to employ a suitable child. I’m told that painting and converting them is frowned upon though.

  • Pete S/ SP

    Great post- FWIW I prefer the the Mantic one.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers. They both have their own quantities, and I think if you forced me to pick I’d choose the GW one, but the Mantic one is much more like a traditional giant and I really like that about it. Plus I very much prefer its price!

  • Mikko

    Thanks for the write-up! For me (maybe unsurprisingly) the Kraken-eater is the pick of the bunch, but obviously I’m approaching everything from a pirate POV.

    The price on that kit is certainly steep! Black Scorpion makes a massive, all resin giant for £90: https://www.blackscorpionminiatures.com/kickstarters/

    Heresy’s is £110 normally, but it’s also almost a kilogram of resin: https://heresyminiatures.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=103_95&products_id=389

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! I just like the fact that the Heresy one is called Mucklegeet! 😀 Right expressive face on him too. I like the black scorpion one too – it’d make a fine alternative Kraken-eater. I can see a resin giant tricky to work with though. There’s definitely some really cool giants out there, as I discovered when I started researching this article, they’re not something I’d paid that much attention to before. Now I’ve discovered them I’m definitely getting tempted (isn’t that always the way though!).

  • Argentbadger

    I think you’re a bit harsh on the Kraken Eater version; it might be silly but in that respect it fits perfectly with the over-the-top super-fantasy of Age of Sigmar. I actually quite like that they’ve gone with a theme. Perhaps the fish-elf faction will be specifically able to ally with them or something?

    • Wudugast

      Now that would be cool to see, an Idoneth themed giant would be pretty sweet. Since you said that I keep thinking of how it would look if it had the gloomtide shipwreck mounted on its shoulders (and stuffed full of as much loot as possible of course).

      I don’t really have any beef with the Kraken-eater, if I’ve come across as harsh it wasn’t intended that way. He’s my least favourite of the three, but to be honest I like all of them. I guess my feeling is that it’s a cool maritime giant but it’s very specialised, if we’re only going to have three new sorts of giant then why pick a sea theme over, say, ice or volcanoes or jungles? What made them say “You know what we need? Sea giants!”. That said I do like that they’re coming up with crazier ideas, even if I don’t always get why, I’d much prefer that to them playing it safe and clichéd.

      You know what I really, really like about the Kraken-eater? He’s wearing sandals like the old, old model! It’s such a nice touch (and you know, everyone wears sandals at the beach 😉 ).

  • patmcf

    Bugger me! I wont be saying my figures are a bit pricey ever again!!

    • Wudugast

      Oh I know, its eye-watering isn’t it? I think back to the prices of 10 years ago and how cheap things were compared to the new stuff now (and how expensive I thought everything was compared to ten years before that!). On the one hand its massive, and when I think about how many hours I’d spend painting the big lad and I reckon it probably works out quite well price-wise in terms of money spent for hours of entertainment gained. On the other hand the Mantic version is about 1/5 of the price. Now I can’t deny the GW Mega Gargant is nicer than the Mantic one but is it 5 times nicer? I’m not convinced. Of course, now I’m wondering if the Manic one could be converted with spare bits from the GW one in order to multiply the number of giants you get for your money. Another project to daydream about and staunchly resist spending any cash on I reckon!

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