Unfortunately I had not watched a dullspork’s videos on Witchfate Tor (2, 3, 4) before purchasing mine. (If you do decide you want a Witchfate Tor, be sure to watch dullspork’s assembly.). Nor did I watch dreamspiritwar’s unboxing or his painted version. And I ignored the horrible paint scheme on the box and all the weird bits attached to the Tor, the tower. I reasoned that these were accessories and I could go for a cleaner build and have some interesting bits to add to my bits box.
Curse you, Witchfate Tor, and your large enticing box! Opening it, you get the four floors in bags. Immediately it becomes clear: Games Workshop has thrown out the last decade of improvements in its plastic models and their incredible modularity and versatility. Instead my Witchfate Tor, except for its paintjob, will look pretty much like your Witchfate Tor, like dullspork’s Tor, and so on. The basic Games Workshop Watchtower has many more options and therefore many more uses.
Witchfate Tor’s model itself has so many piddling little details. There are hourglasses in the window, which begs the question: how does one paint an hourglass? I actually do need to know this, because I have potion bottles to paint. I ended up simply cutting the hourglasses out of the window arches though: problem solved! The larger door panels both have their own assemblage of skulls to the left of them, but these have candles dripping wax and they are lit. So there are little candle flames to paint. Do you treat every little shield as an actual shield and paint it? There are wall mountings for chains to pick out. I painted the rune stone in the wall the same colors as the surround stones, but it could be distinctive too.
Those are just the small details. Below are Witchfate Tor’s major design flaws after the video:
Doors in the Air
Want to build your Witchfate Tor with only doors on the ground floor with only one box? Good luck! Witchfate Tor has two iron grated archways that you will need to use. Who doesn’t love a balcony on a miniature building? It allows you to put a model on the outside and have it interact with other models. However my love of balconies comes to a crashing halt with Witchfate Tor. To my untrained eye I would never want to set foot on Witchfate’s unsupported open-air balconies. The comet design on its surface is not enough to entice me out. Call me craven. There is no snap-on cool feature with these balconies. Unless there’s an extremely ingenious way of attaching them, you must glue them if you want to use them.
The four “pillars” shown mounted on the outside are hollow. To conceal their hollow nature, you have to push them far back against the tower’s stony walls. You are still left with gaps on the sides of the columns then, as well as on the columns’ tops. If you add magnets to keep the columns from falling off during play, then the column juts out at an angle, creating an even bigger gap. To get rid of any gap at all, you would have to glue them in place. Where will you glue the columns?
A. To the stone base? Now you can’t replace them with anything cooler, the tower will be hard to remove, and they still have hollow backs.
B. To the side of the ground floor? Now you have committed to the look of the ground floor and adding floors on top of it may be a challenge. (This is the build that GW shows on the back of the box, but not explicitly in the directions.)
C. To both the ground and second floors? Now you have rendered the fully-textured ground floor moot, but hopefully have reduced the top and side gaps.
While I won’t be gluing them anytime soon, I think B would be your best bet. This is what dullspork has done. Take advantage of the gap with the second floor to slide your second floor on and off. It should not catch if you glue it correctly. But say goodbye to a little stunted Ground Floor-Top Floor tower, because the columns can’t fit with the top floor’s overhang.
Top Floor’s Hollow Spires
This is similar to the columns above. I am not sure what to call them, but the the top of the tower is ringed by 12 fingers or spires that reach up and create a menacing and strong look. In between each pair of fingers are two pointy spikes. On the backside though of each finger is its hollow form. Of course, being a three dimensional bit of terrain, there is no backside to Witchfate Tor; when you see the front of 4 fingers, you see the “backs” of 5 others. Why would stone be hollowed out? Of course, it would not. This is a moulding or sculpting design flaw. The really anal will want to fill these in. I have spent too much time on Witchfate Tor as it is right now to bother with that detail.
The four pieces that compose each level require strength to combine, as well as a lot of carving away with a hobby knife. Now, I will say that the end result, once painted, appears seemless. I can’t tell where the four pieces come together except by knowing the pieces involved. I think others have struggled with the basic assembly as well. The instructions from GW say “This tower can be assembled in a variety of ways. Below is just one example.” If I remember correctly the four parts to each level are not interchangeable with each other. I think you get 2 A’s and 2 B’s on each floor with them connecting in ABAB fashion. You can’t flip an A unless you want an upside down door or window frame.
The Good in Witchfate Tor
For all of its flaws, Witchfate Tor is undeniably a dominant and impressive centerpiece to add to your gaming table. It will likely be the tallest structure. Even though I don’t see the use of the interiors in WHFB (the game it was designed for!), I think some DMs and perhaps Mordheim players will actually battle through the various floors of it. The panels with the skulls under the archways are easy to paint and really evoke a certain mood. Likewise the top tower with its skulls under the lookout windows, as well as just the overall look of the top, is great. Sandwiched between these more simplistic powerful elements are the goofy two floors with all their odd accessories.
Taking a few steps back from working on Witchfate Tor, it would actually be a somewhat decent piece from an up and coming gaming company. It is sizable and relatively easy to paint. I expect much more of Games Workshop though and I suspect that many other gamers do as well. Though I see a number of Witchfate Tors assembled to create monstrous towers in the pages of White Dwarf, I don’t think it’s gone over well with GW fans.