I was in Oxford Street last week and nipped into Games Workshop to pick up the new Grim Hammers dwarves from The Hobbit. They cost £20 for 12 figures which is a not very impressive inversion of the prices for the plastic sets from The Lord of the Rings from a few years ago when you got 20 figures for £12. The small number of figures is apparent as soon as you open the box as you get just one sprue. Apparently, they have reduced the number of figures in their other sets too. The last box of plastics I completed was the Uruk Hai Scouts which used to have twenty four figures in a box but now you get just one sprue of twelve figures. Interestingly, the plastic set of twelve Uruk Hai now costs £15 as against the £20 for the twelve The Hobbit dwarves. The difference being the cost of the new licence, perhaps, or maybe they are just trying it on.
The figures are very nice, however, and, unlike most plastic sets, you get twelve different bodies with the arms being (mostly) separate. The weapons are very fine and quite delicate. The figures are attached to the sprue by very chunky lumps of plastic. You certainly can't just twist them off. You'll need a pair of clippers and then a very sharp knife to clean them up.
Cutting the bodies off the sprue and sticking them to the bases took twenty minutes. I can see why some people don't like plastics because of the assembly time but, in contrast to metals there was no cleaning up to do as there was no flash and no discernible mould lines.
The dwarves completed as on the box
The next stage of assembly wasn't so quick, however. There were no instructions in the box (I'm not sure if there are supposed to be or not) and so it was a puzzle trying to work out which bodies went with which arms. It also wasn't clear whether any set of arms goes with any body. Rather than risk it I followed the arm/body combinations on the box although this meant studying the components very closely and comparing them with the photographs on the back of the box. Some arm combinations were numbered A and B so I assumed that these went together which seemed to be the case but it would have been nice if this had been made clear. I'm not sure a ten year old would have managed it. It took me over an hour to work out which arms went with which body and then stick them on which was also a fiddly process as you had often had to align two arms at the same time before the glue dried.
So next I have to fill the gaps on the bases, texture them with sand and undercoat them. All my other Lord of the Rings dwarves have grey rocky bases to represent Moria. I'm not sure yet whether I will do the same for these or do my usual grassy bases (which is how Games Workshop have painted them).