Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Alliance orcs, set 3

Who makes the best plastic 1/72 orcs? A few years ago that would have been a strange question, but the state of 1/72 fantasy minis has slowly blossomed so that there are now choices to be had. The basic choices for 1/72 fantasy, as readers of this blog probably know, are Caesar Miniatures and Red Box/Alliance. A lot of people are put off by the cartoony look of the Caesar orcs and prefer the LotR-inspired models by Alliance. But I didn't mind the "greenskin" look and prefer Caesar's modeling to the flat sculpts we seem to get from Alliance. Their 3rd set of orcs, though, seemed to have a lot of interesting sculpts worth checking out. I haven't seen a review of these yet with height comparisons, so I thought I'd feature them here.

The set comes with 9 (presumably) male and one (obviously) female sculpt. The males are shown above. Unlike the other more uniform Alliance orcs (see 1/72 Multiverse for a review), these guys have a lot of variety, from almost unarmored to the heavily armored fellow near the middle. While still fairly flat, the poses are also fairly lively.

The one downside is the height. These aren't quite as short as Sven as they appear (due to shorter bases), but they still are not quite human-sized. This shouldn't be surprising, really: Alliance is clearly inspired by Lord of the Rings, which describes orcs as a little more runty than we often see in modern fantasy. But I like my orcs to be a little more imposing. I'm guessing the new half-orc sets Alliance is releasing would fit my tastes a little better, as they're clearly based on the more menacing Uruk-Hai.

The female orc from this set is on the right; I featured this sculpt in my post on female character minis. It's a little taller than the other figures in this set. It's also not obviously orcish, meaning it could be used for an orc or human character, depending on how you paint it.

All in all, it's a fine set with a lot of variety, and if you don't mind the their size, they're worth picking up.

Update (11/12/2014): Benno's forum member "zirrian" asked for a comparison between Alliance orcs and LotR figures from Games Workshop, and I realized I could oblige. Here it is:

Caesar orc, Alliance orc, GW "Mines of Moria" goblin, Sven
Another update (11/14/2014): Sam has done an excellent job of painting these figures, and you can see his work at his blog. He was also kind enough to link to this post, so thanks!


  1. Hi ! it's a funny set, in my opinion... I'm painting them, almost finished and soon on my blog with the Half-Orcs (set 2) and the Dwarves (set 2). Some other of the new sets will follow...
    I agree with you with the flat sculpt, but less on the orcs than for the dwarves and the half-orcs which have too many similar poses.
    and right : the Half-Orcs are very closed to the Uruk Hai !
    I agree too for the "female-orc", not so "orcish" (I like this word !) !
    Another pose is unusual too : the kneeling archer , which looks more at a Saracen than an orc.

    But it's so good to have so many choice and variety of figures for Fantasy and especially LoTR !
    I'm waiting for some Alliance "Halflings" !

    Did you have notice that the sprues have the mention "DDS" ?
    Dark Dream Studio ? Is there a relation between DDS and Alliance (Light and Dark !)

    And again, many thanks for your review !

    1. You're welcome, Sam! I can't wait to see how you've painted these.

      I hadn't noticed that about the sprues. I think DDS is an Orion imprint, in much the same way that Alliance is under Red Box. Orion and Red Box also seem to have some sort of relationship; maybe they share sculptors, or machinery, or something? At any rate they're both Ukrainian, and their styles are somewhat similar.

      I saw a preview of one of the upcoming Half-Orc sets; a few of those sculpts are of Uruk-Hai carrying hobbit prisoners! So many a "halfling" set is something Alliance is considering.

  2. Ah, I should say thanks here too, so...thanks! :)

    If it's not too rude, do you have a LotR dwarf by any chance to compare it to a Caesar and/or Alliance dwarf? Thanks in advance :)

    1. You're welcome! I don't have any LotR dwarves right now, but I do have a photo of the Gimli sculpt from Mines of Moria. I'll try to upload it soon.

    2. Okay, here's the Mines of Moria Gimli. And here are some of my other dwarves: The Caesar Miniatures figure is on the left. You can see that the Games Workshop figure is quite a bit bigger and not really compatible.

      Try looking into 1/72 figure sets by Mars. They may be about the right height for GW dwarves, and their proportions tend to be rather squat.

    3. Which MARS sets do you think that could be good for doing Dwarves ?
      you're right about the size: Mars figures are quite small but not sure that they are small enough.

    4. Thanks! The Caesar dwarves while look really good, are sadly too small...and the Mars minis, with a few exceptions fell into the "bleh" category.

    5. Not for 1/72 dwarves but 28mm. Maybe these guys?

  3. Sorry for disturbing, but by any chance, do you have some spare female minis? I'm trying to get 1:72 oriental (or something similar) spellcasters for my Legend of the Five Rings game, but there aren't too many options for this - the Caesar minis seems to fit the bill tho.

    1. Contact me so we can discuss some options: cfminissales "at" gmail "dot" com