Do you know Dwez from 40k Addict? You really should. The guy does some pretty incredible things with models and painting over the years and churns out an astonishing number of posts.
He also has a facebook group for his gaming community, appropriately called 40k Addicts, that he unsolictedly conscripted me into. Typically I reserve my 40k stuff for my blog, preferring to wall off my facebook profile due to nerdshame, but Dwez brings out the best in me.
Anywho, while on the facebook group one day, he posts a link to an ebay auction for a toy volcano that would seemingly make a good piece of Tyranid terrain (or possibly a fortification). He hemmed and hawed over the price, but didn’t want to take the plunge. I suspect it’s because the toy looked like it was the appropriate size/shape for a bastion, and he’d already taken the time (and 18 posts) to scratchbuild one. I, having no such Tyranid fortifications, wound up intrigued.
The toy is called the “Fire Mountain Playset” from the Italian TV show: Gormiti: the Lords of Nature! Everything I know about the show comes from the Wikipedia link, but from what I can tell the toys were released in Italy in 2005 and never really caught on outside of that country. As a result, most of the toys you see for sale are coming out of Europe, and many of them are damaged due to their age. They don’t sell for very much money, but shipping to the US makes even the cheapest auction cost around $30.
Of course, GW charges $41.25 for their equivalent, so $30 didn’t seem so bad to me. Before buying though, I wanted to do a little research to make sure it was the right scale/etc. For that, I turned to Amazon’s listing and checked it out. First, I should say that the cheapest listing on Amazon was north of $80, so I clearly wasn’t going to buy it from there–but I did want to know more about it, and I couldn’t find a better source of information.
First, I checked out the dimensions. Amazon lists the size at 16.5″ x 11.5″ x 5″. I couldn’t be bothered to dig my bastions out of their foam to measure them, so I relied on the internet for dimensions. I found this thread on Dakkadakka that showed various GW fortifications and their dimensions. Based upon those photos the dimensions of an official bastion are somewhere in the 8″ x 8″ x 9″ (the base is basically 6 inches square but juts out at the top and sides). With those figures, the Gormiti volcano would likely be too big, but I thought that maybe I could pull off some of the little smokestacks to make it more size appropriate.
The next thing I checked were the reviews of the product. Let me tell you: the folks at Amazon are not keen on it. It rates an average of 2.7 stars based upon 10 customer reviews. Frankly, that doesn’t seem too horrible, but consider that 7 of the ten gave it a one or two star review (in fact, half of them gave it a single star). Complaints include that the toys don’t figt inside it, that it isn’t as good as it looked in the commercial, that the buttons aren’t age appropriate, etc. Luckily, none of those matter to me as I’m not using it for it’s originally intended purpose.
The only real issue I could see was size, and I thought that I might be able to make that work, so I eventually bit the bullet when I saw one going cheap on Ebay last December. The auction had a minimum bid of $14.99 and a shipping price of $8.99. Not surprisingly, based upon the reviews and the fact that there’s no demand for Italian based TV show toys in the USA, I got it for the minimum. The seller shipped it rather slowly, but it arrived by the end of the year–and I wasn’t really in any rush to work on it anyway.
Now that it arrived, I’m pleased with the overall purchase. The size is a better comparison that I’d hoped. Sure, it’s a tad larger than the bastion (a good bit wider, given the base and the add-ons, and just a smidge deeper, though the height is fairly spot on (excluding the spires). It has some corny effects and some completely unnecessary moving bits that I’ll probably remove outright. These include the clawed arms and some red demon/imps that protrude from various points at the push of a button. I also intend to do some putty work to remove the obvious joints where pieces of plastic come together, and will most likely glue it closed (what need do I have to open it later?).
Forgive the size comparison shots as the lighting was bad and I took the photos with my phone. Still, I thin you can see that they’re fairly even in size. In the other photos, you’ll notice I included a grey knight figure I had laying around for scale purposes. As far as the top goes, I really should build up the edge to give the models up top cover (like they’d get in a normal bastion). I’ll also have to work to get some Tyranid bits (likely guns–to serve as heavy bolters) and some ripper swarms to make it look more appropriate.
In the end, the exact measurements of the Gormiti piece are hard to say because it’s not as square as the GW equivalent. I did try to measure it and came up with the dimensions of the volcano itself as 4.25″ x 5″ x 7″. When you allow for the small additional pillars, that really does put it pretty spot on with the GW bastion at 8″ x 8″ x 9″ (or thereabouts). See the thumbnail photos at the end of this blog post to see how I measured it.
In total, I think it’ll turn out great and thank Dwez for pointing it out to me. I’ve also had some friends remark that they thought it would make a nice Chaos bastion as well. Frankly, it screams Tyranids to me, but I’m probably a little biased.
I think I have my work cut out for me. It’s a good baseline, but it’s not as simple as painting it blue. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to finish (probably quite a while, considering my procrastination skills). Anyone taking bets as to whether I’ll finish it this year or next?