Doctor Who is well known for having its scary monsters, from the evil incarnate Daleks to the shop dummies that come to life in the form of the Autons. Over the past fifty-five years the creatures on this hit television show have scared generations of children and adults alike.
But it isn’t always the big monster of the week that is the scariest by any means. The human brain is very good at filling in blanks and sometimes it is what we don’t see that scares us far more than what we observe!
In the Ninth Doctor episode The Empty Child, modern viewers were terrified by the seemingly normal and mundane appearance of a child wearing a gas mask in World War II. Nothing out of the ordinary just a kid in a mask but it was the excellent way it was done that scared the pants off folks. Likewise in the Tenth Doctor episode Blink we met something as simple and mundane as a statue, this is now one of the most iconic creatures in the modern take on Doctor Who, as the Weeping Angels, statues when you view them, but alive when you don’t are extremely popular (just check out any comic con).
It’s this often mundane approach that gives us Who at its most terrifying and there is a very old adage that goes on about someone being afraid of their own shadow. Well with the Vashta Nerada it is literally that!
First introduced in the Tenth Doctor Episodes ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘Forest of the Dead’ the Vashta Nerada are a race of microscopic creatures that are almost invisible to the naked eye, and exist on almost every plant in the universe.
Their name Vashta Nerada means ‘The Shadows that melt the Flesh’ and they are literally that, a swarm of almost invisible carnivorous creatures that can strip a fully grown man to the bone in milliseconds.
On their own they pose no real threat or danger, and even in small groups, they are unlikely to be dangerous to most creatures bigger than a domestic cat, but when they are en mass they are like an unstoppable force of nature and nothing is safe!
The Doctor likened the Vashta Nerada to piranhas, small and insignificant on their own, but in vast numbers a force of nature that is indefatigable in its never ending hunger.
The Vashta Nerada live on most planets and you may capture a glimpse of small numbers as the light is beginning to fade into twilight and appear as small specs of dust floating in the air. It is when darkness falls that these creatures come into their own as light banished them, and they embrace the darkness and shadows, and it is from these that they attack their unsuspecting prey.
This review will take a look at the Vashta Nerada Expansion for the excellent Doctor Who Exterminate The Miniatures Game from Warlord Games, and how best to use them in your games.
The expansion comes with three white metal miniatures of reanimated astronaut suits that the explorers wore in the episode, each with a visorless helmet and a skull that has had the flesh picked clean from it by the microscopic creatures. The poses are quite static but do convey a sense of foreboding as if each is shuffling its way along to its next helpless victim. In the episodes the Vashta Nerada used the suits of the dead to act like a puppet to allow them to move and in a fashion due to the suits technology communicate.
Each miniature has its own integral base with the race name etched into it, and as always the expansion comes complete with plastic bases for mounting each of the three models on if desired.
The castings were crisp and very fluid and had no signs of flash on them at all, which is partly down to the great lengths that Warlord Games go to when casting white metal miniatures and it shows. Likewise there are no visible mould lines from the casting process which means that you can more or less paint them directly from the box.
Painting the Vashta Nerada is perhaps the easiest of all the models in the range as its a case of priming them in white then washing them with a light blue ink or paint, and then picking out the details such as the controls on the suits and of course the skulls.
The expansion also comes with a set of cards for use with the Exterminate game, which contain the core stat card for the Vahsta Nerada, a card on how to use them in your games and three adventure cards, Hey , Who turned out the lights, Energy Dampener and The Vashta Nerada! Its the last card that makes the game interesting for both player.
When a player turns over a Black Vortex Node and a player has his card in their hand, they may discard the card and place three Vashta Nerada models on the table within two inches of the character that revealed the node. Once in play the models will seek to attack the closest model and destroy them.
And they are pretty formidable too. They have a Move of 3 which makes them very slow but that is more than made up for by their other really high values. With a Resilience of 8 and a Melee of 8 they are more than a match for most characters in the game, the only real offset is they have a Firepower of 0 which is understandable as they are little more than a cloud of billions of microscopic creatures inhabiting an environmental suit!
Over all these more not only well animated and sculpted but also pretty nasty in the game itself.
available now directly from Warlord Games and from all good game stockists everywhere.
Images copyright BBC and Warlord Games all rights reserved