And so begins the first half of my review on the models in the Sedition Wars Battle For Alabaster boxed game. This post will focus upon the Vangaurd, with tomorrow taking a look at the Strain.
Studio McVey have been posting assembly guides for the models on their blog, and I'll be linking to these in the headings below where relevant. They're worth a read, especially the one about correcting the Grendlr (relevant to the Strain), and the point made about avoiding using a file except when roughing the feet to attach them to the base.
CoolMiniOrNot have gone to pains to point out that they will replace any missing or damaged parts. The details for this service can be found on this Kickstarter Update.
I've not used any bases below, nor cleaned the models any more than needs be for them to fit together temporarily (hence the blu-tak). This is mainly because there are thing I want to consider with the models that would have delayed this post if I'd enacted them.
All the models come pre cut, with very little of the sprue remaining attached. This does make assembly faster, but also means there is a risk of losing a piece.
There are some general points which I'll make at the end, but otherwise I'll be going through model by model, starting with...
Kara is the poster girl of the game, and the leader of the Vangaurd forces. She comes in 4 pieces and goes together very well.
As can be seen above there is quiet a bit of flash on the sword and gun arm, although Kara herself needs relatively little tidying up.
What wasn't visible above was the large piece of flash on her torso. This is by far the worst example I've seen across the whole set, and shouldn't be taken as indicative of the quality of the rest of the models.
I have two issues with the gun arm, one obvious, the other less so. Dealing with the simplest first; the sprue vent is in a damned awkward place. I've taken a dip out of the top of the arm to get rid of it, but you could square it off instead. Secondly, the barrel of the gun is hollowed out and the walls are very thin. This means it needs some very delicate trimming to square it off (see how the angles are slightly off above).
Kara goes together very easily, and the pose is a good one. The sword arm has just got a flat joint, so there's a degree of flexibility in how she is positioned. She is incongruously less armoured than the troops she leads.
The only model in the set to come with a choice of weapons load outs Barker comes in 6 parts.
Sadly there is some really fiddly flash to be removed (look the jet on the plasma thrower (top) and the wires of the heavy fusion lance (bottom).
Two things to note when assembling Barker, first the knee pad, and secondly lining up the arm support with the rear mounted power pack.
The detail on the power assist suit is great.
Here he is with the Heavy Lance
And the plasma thrower.
The drone isa fairly simple model to put together, apart from the need to cut a hole in the large base for the flying stand (the tube on the right hand side, which I'm tempted to replace the plastic flying stand with one of GW's clear rods). There's a bit of flash around the base of main body section, but it should clean off easily.
There is a guide pre cast, so you just need to make the opening.
My barrel seems to have become slightly twisted at some point, so I'll be heating it up and turning it straight, following the Grendlr advice. I'll let you know how I get on.
Akosha come in five very well split parts, with a main body, separate head, leg, arm and rifle.
Sadly Akosha's rifle is also going to need to be straighten up.
Her pose is a nice on, with the tabbed joints meaning everything lines up well.
Morgan Vade comes in 5 parts, and is my favourite model from the set.
There's flash to be cleared away, but it's minimal. Here's his back detailing, which will be covered by his kit bag.
And assembled. Note his left arm is probably lower than it would be had it been glued in place, but I like the pose it results in.
And from the back, highlighting the mould lines.
The Vangaurd line troopers, the box set contains 15 of these torsos. Only 11 of these will be armed with a standard Laser Carbine though. This splits down further into 5 helmeted male Samaritans, 4 bare headed female Samaritans, and 2 helmeted female Samaritans. Of these, the male Samaritan has a different gun arm.
Sadly, as seen above the female armour is more sexualized than the male version. Look at the overly enhanced abdominal armour, and the ridiculous sculpted bums. You may also want to check out Constantly Risking Obscurity discussing the glass ceiling and gender balance in the game.I'm also bemused by why the character models all have less armour than the Samaritans.
That said the detailing on the armour is great, and is going to show well whether washed or painstakingly picked out.
With their arms attached, I've added in a Space Marine for scale.
Samaritan Specialits/Heavy Weapons
The heavy weapons come on their own sprue. The top two weapons attach to either of the female torsos, while the bottom weapon and arm go onto the final Vanguard model.
The final Vanguard model follows the style of the helmeted Samartian, apart from missing both an arm and a helmet.
And the back
And with the arm in place.
And lastly, all three together
First a scale shot.
I'm am impressed with the Vangaurd models.The detail is lovely and crisp, the named models all have their own characters, and the quality is great, for the most part.
There are two complaints. The first is that mould lines run fairly sensibly for the most part, but then you come across ones like this, going down the faceplate. They're not quiet as easily cleaned as GW's models, are, but not as bad as DreadBall, and it has to be said that for the most part the mould lines are fairly unobtrusive.
My other complaint would be the amount of construction required to make the game playable. While not an issue for most, anyone without experience has a lot to tackle before playing the game. While with Dark Vengance you need to remove everything from the sprue, once that's done you're away. Here you've got to glue models to bases, and then guns, and then the character models. This is exasibated by the box not coming with full assembly instructions, an annoying omission, or a parts list, which makes it hard to know what you should have in each bag/for each model. While the Studio McVey blog has these details on, it would be better if they were to hand.
My complaints are fairly minor, and certainly not things that should stop anyone buying the boxed game. All in all it feels like a very high quality product, and I'm looking forward to properly constructing the models (although I will be waiting for the how to paint DVD that's coming in the second wave of releases).