Review: Forgeworld Dreadnought Dreadfire Close Combat Arm

I'm constantly scouring eBay for out of production models, cheap lots I can break up to turn a profit, etc. I haven't been wheeling and dealing much of late, but I still keep a weathered eye on the Space marine category. I like to keep current on what parts are popular, what sells well, and the going rate for stuff. Plus, I'm hoping that one day I'll actually win an auction for the UK White Dwarf Subscription Marine model.
Anyhow, I've been seeing a lot of Forgeworld models listed, and many of them are Russian, Greek, or Chinese knockoffs. Someone in those countries buys one copy of a FW set, makes a mold, and uses a terrible quality resin to duplicate the kit and sells them for half the FW price. If you see a listing from Hong Kong, Moscow, or The Tver Region (Russia), skip the listing. It's a knockoff, and the pieces arrive  reeking of chemicals and who knows what other toxic substances.
When in doubt, also check the seller's feedback history. You can see a list of every auction they've sold in the last several months. If the person sells the same kit over and over, they're either a recaster or a reseller. Recaster is more likely, as reselling FW stuff on eBay is a losing proposition, monetarily. You can't recoup the investment reliably.
Now that my rant is over...

On an impulse I threw a bid down on an actual FW piece from a US seller. I have a soft spot for Dreads, and have been slowly accumulating my way to a full six in my collection. I have four built an painted, with two more in boxes.
The opening bid was reasonable, so I figured if I won, neat, if not, no big loss.
Turns out, I won the auction for a nice price, and the seller shipped the arm straight away. The only other Dread arm I've ever owned is the Mortis Lascannon, also from an eBay auction (though that one was a bitz lot and I wasn't specifically after the arm). I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of the cast, and it's been rotting in my bitz box for a while now.
However, I was pleasantly surprised when the Dreadfire arm showed up. Here's a shot of all the parts:

I was surprised at how many pieces this thing came in. 9 parts in total, for one Dread arm (though the small canister in the upper left actually goes under the chassis of the MkIV FW Dreads).
The casting quality was good, with lots of sharp detail. It's a simple piece, but the rivets and well-formed flamer nozzles really make the piece.
These arms are designed to go on the Bre'arth Ashmantle Slamanders Venerable Dreadnought, as you can see from the shoulder plate:

Thankfully, the lettering can be easily filled in with a couple thin applications of Liquid Greenstuff.
There are a few mold lines here and there, but nothing I can't handle. The one exception is the huge fault line in the elbow joint plate:

I'm not entirely sure how I'll fix that one, since it's recessed inside the plate, and it would be tough to get a file or sand paper in there without obliterating the trim details.
My only other concern is how I'll magnetize this puppy. I magnetize all of the arms for every Dread I own with D52-N52 disc magnets from K&J Magnetics. They're strong enough to hold even the old, metal Dread arms on without drooping.
The concern comes from the thin resin that makes up the back of the shoulder joint:

That hole isn't quite 1/8" diameter, so when I drill for the magnet, I may end up breaking through that small perimeter at the bottom. I'll have to drill slowly, and possibly recreate the bottom of the mount with plasticard and Brown Stuff.
One other issue I've had with Forgeworld parts in the past is scale. Red Scorpions MkIV helmets are pitifully small next to GW plastic helmets, rendering them almost unusable. Thankfully, Dread arms don't seem to be too far off. The arm, loosely fitted together, next to one of the plastic Dread arms:

Pretty close. I can even make it look larger by using the four points of articulation (shoulder, elbow, mid-arm, fist) available. In the end, this will just represent a standard Dread Close Combat Weapon with Heavy Flamer. I don't have Ashmantle's rules, so have no clue what the Dreadfire arm is supposed to do.

All in all, a solid purchase. The detail of the piece is impressive, as is the available articulation. It might be enough to entice me to buy more of the Dread arms from FW to stand in for plastics.


  1. Awesome! Would love to get more details from you on magnetizing dread arms...I gotta do it...

    1. I'll document the process in a tutorial style the next time I do up a Dread arm.

  2. I've mounted tons of magnets where I've had to drill through the material, so no bottom for the magnet to sit in. The glue that sits around the sides of the hole though is plenty to keep the magnet in place, believe it or not.

    1. How strong and what size magnets? I'm afriad that the strength of these N52 grade magnets will pull them right out of the joint. I'm not sure if you've seen me use my Dreads, but pulling arms off after a damage result actually takes a little effort.

  3. On the drill-throughs they've been either 1/8" x 1/32" or 1/8" by 1/16". I haven't had one of those pull out yet.

    1. So about the same as mine. The nice thing about Dread arms is that I can just leave the bottom open, and if it becomes a problem later, use a strip of plasticard to close the gap and reinforce the hold. No one will ever see it, either.

  4. What I've done for my dreads is to glue 3 1/8th by 1/16th inch magnets in the shoulder of my dread then use a half inch zinc washer on the arms, once it's painted over you cabby tell is there...