Ah the Goblins, the Evil side of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey boxed game.
Before I get into full swing, it's worth noting that the instruction book was created from digital renders, and so on a few pieces (notably the scribe) does not show the pieces quite as they were made, and makes no mention of the numbers/letters used on the sprue.
Lets start with the big monster of the set, the Goblin King.
He's a very simple kit to put together, being a simple case of push fitting his six parts together. You might want to wait to attach him to the base (quite annoyed to have a base with holes in, as there isn't a location tab for the King, so I need to cover the holes, mutter, mutter) until you dry fitted him on the throne.
I'll come to his throne further down. First lets deal with his horde. There are three other goblins of note, the first two of which Grinnah (with the whip) and the Captain (who is tiny) are both single piece models.
The Goblin Scribe, is an arse of a model, and the most fiddling in the set to get together. Coming in seven parts the instruction guide doesn't do a great job of explaining how the wheel fits over the posts.
Here's what it look likes all together.
So how does it go together. Well see the little nick in the top side of the wheel in the first picture? That fits, not to the horizontal arm, but into a recess in the single vertical post. This isn't really mentioned in the instructions. Secondly they want you to put the wheel and the arm together, then the two poles into the base, then fit the two sub sections together. Bugger that. Put the wheel over the posts, and slot them into the base, doing a dry fitting. Then apply glue to the posts and wheel and repeat. If you glue the posts in first, and then try to put the wheel over the top you'll break something. Then when everything has set put the arm on, otherwise it will just get in the way. Best of luck not snapping any of the ropes holding up the scribe by the way. I avoided it, but that was unusual for this set (as I'll explain later talking about the Dwarves).
And here's a group shot of the four heroic (?) Goblins.
With the characters done it's onto the rank and file. Two sets of 18 identical Goblins. Here's the first eighteen. I'm impressed to have 18 different Goblins, and for one part models they are very nicely posed, with a good bit of variety.
As a horde of 36 models they are quite imposing.
I'll be quite surprised if we don't see these models cropping up used as something else, be it ghouls, mutants, scavvies, cultists, etc.
With the miniatures covered, onto the terrain pieces. First off the Throne. This is a very imposing and detailed kit, and is impressive for its simple six piece construction. I have an issue with it, but we'll get to that. Note, in the picture below the back piece is the wrong way around.
The kit all goes together very neatly and securely to create this. Just take a look at the detail on the seat back, and if you've got a strong stomach, the bucket of goblin muck beneath (urgh).
It's all very lovely from the front, but the back of the piece seems to be missing something. It feels as though there should either be another piece to turn it into a rock spire, or the Throne should be set against something to disguise it. The concave back just doesn't work.
The base could also do will some more plank detailing, as otherwise as a terrain piece you've just got a big hunk of rock sat atop rickety looking boards. I think there's some conversion work to be done here.
The Goblin King and Throne are designed so one can sit atop the other (yes, you probably can balance the Throne on the King, but that's not really the idea). You might want to play around with the King's placing on his base or he's not going to sit straight in the throne because of the way the club arm is positioned.
The other bit of terrain in the kit is the platform and walkways. I'm not sure about these. It's hard to judge the kit without the second sprue, which isn't included in the boxed game, but is to be found in the stand alone Goblin Town Terrain kit. Oh, the instructions seem to want you to use a walkway with only one leg on. This will not work. Gravity will laugh at you. Anyway. The kit provides you with a main platform, in two sections, and four angled walkways, making quite a substantial terrain piece all together (You can just about see the crooked join running down the centre of the large platform).
However the design is very restrictive. Allow me to explain. Firstly the posts. These slot onto the sides of the boards at certain pre set points. You can see the spaces for them below. These pieces fit fairly well, but you've still going to want to secure them in some way or you'll have models tumbling everywhere when you catch a pole and knock it away. Gluing them in place is going to make transport difficult. Talking of tumbling models, you'd better hope you're gaming surface is dead flat or the platforms are going to teeter and wobble. So that means Realm of Battle boards are probably not the best surface. And one last thing. See the little bag hanging from two of the poles. Well done if you manage not to snap this off. I've broken both of them so far. The extra detail GW is putting into their models these days is great, but plastic seems to have no more strength than it ever had.
Now the platforms themselves. See the planks poking out along the two facing edges. These allow the platforms to fit together and be fairly stable. I'd want something more substantial, but it should probably suffice if you've got all the posts in place. Here's the view from the top and bottom when the two are together.
See how things butt up together? Well that stops things going together in any configuration other than this. The bars and pole attachments on the other walkways also stop them fitting to the jutting planks, so the best you can do is leave a bit of a gap. As for the platforms, you've going to end up with bits sticking out or issues with the supporting poles depending how you want things to go.
The walkways use the same poles system. Here's the bottom and top of one of them.
You get four in a set, that go together like so.
And here we come to the two issues I have. Firstly the enforced slope. With a moulded in bend (sort of visible on the upside down piece in the shot above this one) and pole attachment point at only one end, there is no option out of the box but for these to slope, without the other end being rested on the another platform. The limited number of poles (no spares if you want everything fully supported) and the bracing on the underside mean that even if you were to flatten them and support each corner there'd still be some work to do. The second whinge is the door. On its own it's a nice characterful addition. When it's a piece cast into half the pieces it's going to look like the Goblins have raided a factory making them, or make it a mission to steal every door they see during a raid.
You'll notice I've avoided commenting on what I think of the sculpts. There's a reason for this, rather than me just being scatter brained. As GW are trying to capture characters from the Hobbit film as miniatures, rather than designing from scratch, it's only fair to compare the models to the film, rather than in simple isolation. Expect a big comparison piece some time after the films release.