Would-be Warriors Can Stand Vigilant With Skelton Crew’s Mouse Guard Replicas [Review]
David Petersen's Mouse Guard has long been a favorite fantasy adventure book of mine. On top of having some really tremendous art, the world, characters and mythology he's created and developed over the years have kept me engaged and interested, and eager to learn more. Part of what makes Mouse Guard such a fascinating universe is the lore tied to the weapons and armaments the Guard use to defend their home.
As Mouse Guard is a bit of a niche title, I never expected anyone to license the series for collectibles. A few years ago however, Skelton Crew, who you may know as the company behind all those Locke and Key replica keys or those BPRD artifacts, released the first in a continually expanding line of Mouse Guard weapon replicas. To make things even more impressive, the goods were to scale for the actual mice in the Guard. This year, Skelton Crew is again returning to the world of Mouse Guard with two new recreations, both of which should be welcome additions for fans' armories.
So far, Skelton Crew's arsenal has included the fabled Black Axe, Rand's shield, and Lieam's sword. The company sent over a few of the diminutive replicas for us to look over in anticipation of the upcoming releases, and they really are something. The Black Axe is regarded as one of the deadliest and fabled weapons in the mouse kingdoms. Once wielded by legendary warrior Celanawe, the Black Axe was forged by Ferrer after his family devastated by predators. The Black Axe is a weapon burdened by grief, and only the mightiest of the Mouse Guard are deemed worthy of its use.
At just a hair over 4" tall, the Black Axe is a splendid piece of craftsmanship. Cast in dull black nickel-plated pewter, the physical representation does the hefty weapon some justice. Petersen's tales depicted it as much darker, almost onyx-like in appearance, but the aesthetic works with the real world piece. The small details, such as etchings in the chipped blade and the twisted, forged grip, help sell the illusion even further.
As for Rand's shield, it's cast in copper-plated pewter, and is nearly 3.5" tall. A shield might seem like an odd weapon choice, but Rand subscribed to the Muhammad Ali school of combat, and would let opponents tire themselves out bashing his shield, while he waited for the right opportunity to smash it into their faces. There's some wonderful wear and tear on the shield itself, and the weathered look gives the impression this piece had seen its fair share of action. The simple cross etching on the front also gives it some personality, and let's you imagine all the conflicts this shield has saved its holder from.
In addition to the weapons, Skelton Crew also released two plush figures based on Mouse Guard characters Kenzie and Saxon. Kenzie is an elder statesman in the Guard, who relies on wisdom more than a physical weapon. That said, he does still wield a long, strong staff just in case the need arises. Saxon is an expert with the sword, and is one of the more celebrated combatants in the Guard. As arguably Kenzie's closest friend, Saxon turned down a promotion in the ranks to stay by Kenzie's side on patrol.
Both stuffed collectibles are about 9" tall, and each comes with a plush replica of their trusted weapon. The weapons being fastened to the arms makes posing the mice a little bit of a challenge if you want them to do anything more than sit, but they are still a welcome inclusion. These pieces are well crafted and appropriately soft, and as the only physical representation of the fan-favorite characters, provide a great way to show your adoration of this series off.
This summer, Skelton Crew will be introducing two all-new pieces into the mix. Delvin's shield is just 2.25" in circumference, and is built from individual planks of wood that are fitted together to create the final piece. Like Rand, Delvin relies on his shield, though he's been known to be a bit more aggressive in his attacking style. The branded design on the front looks great, but the shield itself isn't as weathered as Rand's. This is still in the early stages, and the final design may be slightly different when it arrives. Even without the weathering, it does look spectacular, especially for its size.
Gwendolyn's Pike Axe is also on the way, and this is the stunner of the line so far. At 6.5" tall, the matriarch of the Mouse Guard's weapon of choice is brought to life with tremendous accuracy. Though Gwendolyn hasn't dusted off the massive axe in some time, Skelton Crew's piece is a testament to the character. The intricacy of the design on the blade (sculpted by John Thompson) is impressive, and the ribbons leading down the handle make the piece pop. It should make for more than a great companion piece to the Black Axe if you already happen to have one on hand.
The Black Axe and Rand's Shield ($30 each) are already available through Skelton Crew's online shop, as are the Saxon and Kinzie plush figures ($20 each). Gwendolyn's Pike Axe and Delvin's Shield will be offered for pre-order starting this week. All of the pieces come in branded, debossed leather pouches, which also work as dice bags if you happen to need storage for the dice you use to play the Mouse Guard tabletop RPG.