The first review of 2013 and it's a big one.
The Platformer Construction Set from Pegasus Hobbies isn't lying on the front when it says large box. Containing thirteen sprues the set goes together and allows the construction of modular terrain. It's not ready for use straight from the sprue sadly; although you could avoid the use of glue, at the risk of structural instability, and create what amounts to Buckaroo with miniatures when it collapses (to be fair I've not tried it, and it'd probably be fairly solid).
The thirteen frames of the kit come in two varieties. Ten platform sprues, and three stanchion sprues.
I'll deal with the platform sprue first.
On this sprue you get walkways, connecting pieces (all those little strips), and the platforms themselves.The really small pieces (with the flash on them at the centre) are used for blocking gaps between the connectors and as they are glued in place, turn the terrain into a permanent structure).
The platforms are all two piece, so you need an even number of bits to fully construct the large ones i.e. two sprues.
The picture below demonstrates how the platforms glue together (having borrowed an extra three). On the underside of each piece is a set of hole and post connectors that align and hold everything together.Glue around the edges, squeeze together and you're ready to go. The connectors work in the same manner, and form a X, T, or L, shaped piece (in cross section) depending on their type. These are differentiated very easily by the lugs and locating holes used, so the two parts of each one only match with it's correct mate.
When putting together the platforms you'll need to decide if you want to match them together, or have them mixed up. If you do match it up hatch to hatch, beam piece to beam piece (as I did)then you'll run into an issue with the kit. As there's only one sprue, you're using identical pieces. The way the connectors work means that when they're fitted together the hatches, bars, or whichever detail won't line up. See the ;large panel in the middle of the bottom row, and the diagonal bracing running across it? Well that's how it'll cross when the pieces are together. It's a detail that irks me, but it's not a deal breaker.
Here we have two platforms jointed together. The connects and the platform fir together with a tongue and groove (which so far has been mostly fine, but the occasional bit has either been two tight or too loose). An L piece caps off one end, and two T pieces run down the middle, one facing up, the other downwards. This does mean that to have nice solid platforms, rather than ones riddled with gaps you are going to have to put a connector at each joint.
There are three copies of the stanchion sprue in the set, and it's probably best explained by jumping right to construction.
Above is the all the parts on one sprue constructed (with the addition on a platform). Working left to right:
1) Basic construction - The stanchions fit into their base pieces, and are held together at the top by the bars with connectors on them. These then fit onto the support girders, which in turn attach via a standard connector to the platform. (It's make sense in a minute I hope).
2) High stanchion - The taller version of the first piece. Hopefully the connectors at the top are more visible here.
3) Ladder - The short sections can either be used as just that, or combined with a series of connectors, turned inwards and running with the smaller parts to form a ladder.
4) Ladder 2 - The same thing, but taller, and from the side, with the support girders on top.
And here is is stood up.
Adding the two parts of the kit together lets you create multi level structures, linked by walkways, which clip on around the circular connectors that were used to fix the two parts of the platforms together.
Combining everything together can create quite fancy structures. I'm still experimenting but here we have a Space Marine navigating a walkway (made using two pieces side by side).
This illustrates one big issue with the kit, namely that the levels (here divided by a single square platform on it's side and a corner piece) are two low for a tallish figure to fit it. It's an issue that's worth bearing in mind when building.
I'll be adding in a picture of a whole building here, as well as the big pile of parts used to build it.
So far I'm impressed with the kit, it goes together well, and has a huge range of modelling possibilities. This is only broadened by the existence of a fair range of comparable sets.
The detail on the sets is good, and there is a minimum of mould lines. Plastic glue seems to have worked very well for securing the parts together, and the natural silver finish means you can probably get away with using it unpainted for a bit.
It would have been nice to have a bit more variety in the types of panels, but that's a minor whine. The style is generic enough that it's not going to look out of place for most sf games, and there are enough blank(-ish) surfaces to but a 40K, Infinity etc twist on it.
Thinking ahead the only issue I see is that the nature of the way the platforms join together is going to lead to a lot of paint rubbed off the parts.Construction times ought to drop with familiarity, and this is aided by the fact you could break it down into sections rather than fully into pieces.
The sheer number of options the kit provides if fairly dizzying, and it's major selling point. Sniper tower, weapons emplacement, industrial complex, spaceship interior etc etc. On it's own, or especially with minor additions it's got a lot of potential.