Cult Of The Ax – Ax Faction.

AxFactionThere are some genuinely wonderful things happening on these shores at the moment. Maybe that has always been the case, I dunno. But I do feel like its an exciting time to be a grown man with a disposable income and a passion for good quality miniatures. The rise of 3D printing and digital sculpting is paving the way for a new generation of tech-aware, imaginative creators who grew up in the Realm Of Chaos, and used that blueprint to come up with a whole host of worlds with multiple influences.

Ax-Faction is one such organisation. There are others too, that I will be covering in the coming weeks. Ax-Faction came to my attention toward the end of last year. I’d not heard of them, which upset me a little, because I thought my finger was on the pulse but apparently not. I liked the vibe of the company. It was brutal without being overly po-faced and serious, there was a light heartedness there, like a slasher film I guess. As if that wasn’t enough, the soundtrack to this website was none other than Liverpool sludge kings Conan. This was a company I wanted to keep an eye on.

EvaineI managed to grab a few of the miniatures last week, and I’m impressed by what I received. These sculpts are nothing short of top-end. They need a little cleaning up but nothing at all drastic. There are mould lines but you have to go searching for them, and I’m confident that they would be lost under the first coat of primer.

The miniatures Paul sent me over were the Victorian Darling – Kraken Hunter, Jötnars Bane – Troll Hunter and the Siegebreakers set of three miniatures. I often wonder how well miniature lines do when they don’t have the backing of a gaming system. Not just because there is a set of rules attached to it but because a gaming system tends to be the best way to put forward an ongoing story. Ax-Faction does have a section on the site that strings together a loose, wonderful, piece of narrative pulp that ties it’s range across time. It is something that needs to be beheld, it’s awesome.


The Kraken Hunter

The first piece to discuss is the Kraken Hunter. This miniature is a little out of place in the range. However since the concept of the Hunters spans time as mentioned above, there really is no reason for me to think that. The Victorian Darling has a kind of Steampunk aesthetic, and in keeping with the Victorian theme has a full on corset to go with her cape. She also has one of those Witch Hunter hats, and I guess it wouldn’t be Steampunk without some goggles to go with them. The sculpt is just wonderful, the pieces go together with ease and even though it comes with one of those Privateer Press style lipped bases (which most people tend to hate but I think are awesome), each miniature comes with its own scenic base that fits in to the slot. This one is particularly effective, making me think of Jules Verne with those weird metal crab claws that reach around the bottom of the base. Very, very cool. The pose is great, and while things like big massive breasts and miniskirts aren’t to my tastes, you can’t knock how well these are sculpted. That pose holding the harpoon behind the back must have been tough to sculpt man, kudos. The wood grain on the harpoon is really nicely detailed, I can already see in my head how I intend to paint this miniature. You know what is really cool about this piece? That little lantern that hangs from the harpoon. That is awesome, and the sign of a sculptor / artist who isn’t just going through the motions.


Second, we have the Jötnars Bane – the Troll Hunter. Wonderful. This one has a real Boudica vibe to it. Flying through the air with a sword in one hand and an axe in the other. There are a few stand out points to make about how well this is sculpted. Firstly, the hair is wonderful, with those flowers in it. It has a real Celtic feel to it. I also really like the bird on her shoulder flying along with her. But what is really special about this miniature the base. It’s an incredibly sculpted troll head that makes me think of those old Adrian Smith troll drawings, or those little guys from Confrontation whose names I have forgotten. The skin detail is fantastic, covered in deep slashes and with loads of moss built up after its turning to stone. I think of all the pieces I have this is the best one. The movement, and the narrative picture it paints. It feels like a complete piece.

SiegeBreakersFinally we have Ivy, Brig and Skuld. The Siegebreakers. Conceptually these are absolutely awesome. For a range of really dynamically posed models like Ax-Faction, it seems like the decision has been made to make the Siegebreakers look more static, and stoic. As though they’re getting ready to bust in to your castle and loot your dungeon.

Ivy I’ll start with Ivy. It’s good to see these girls dressed appropriately for battle for starters. I really like the realistic looking fur on the cloak and the corset looks awesome. The lobstered leg armour is also really nicely sculpted and much the same as The Troll Hunter, the hair is awesome. Of these three though she is my least favourite, (there has to be one right), not because there are any aspects I consider poor, but because the other two are just cooler man.

SkuldSkuld is awesome. She is stood still, arms out, with her gigantic sword across her back. The detail on the hands is fantastic, and I’m NOT looking forward to glueing those in without wrecking them! Finally we have Brig, who may be my favourite Ax-Faction miniature. Let this sink in for a moment. He is a badger. Holding a big massive axe. While smoking a pipe. And flipping the V’s. I could well end this review right there. I like the large flat plates on the axe. It would have been really tempting to make this nice and ornate, but painters do tend to like nice big flat surfaces to show off their skills. That’s why I’m especially keen to paint this little fella.

BrigOver all, Ax-Faction treads a fine line, and they are difficult to pigeon hole. That however is a really good thing. Since Paul’s narrative travels through time, I would like to suggest some 70’s werewolf punks next please! The company wears its heart on its sleeve, proudly displaying its love of heavy metal and girls in tight leather. It’s pulp, B-movie. It’s Robert Howard, Frank Frazetta and Weird Tales. It’s John Blanche’s Amazonia Gothique. It’s camels getting punched out. It’s fun as fuck, but seems to take quality extremely seriously. Join the Witchcult.



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About Kev Walsh

Kev Walsh lives in Liverpool England. He has played in numerous hardcore and punk bands over the last 10 years including Seconds Out, The Last Chance and Down And Outs. Kev focusses most of his efforts on painting rather than playing, and is currently trying to push himself to learn some new tricks.