Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dystopian Legions Empire of the Blazing Sun - Rocket Corps Section - Review and Unboxing

Dystopian Legions Empire of the Blazing Sun - Rocket Corps Section

The Rocket Corps Section swoop into battle in a medium spartan box!

As normal the back has a detailed render of the included models; very handy for matching the dazzling number of small components contained within.
Each member of the section consists of 5 or 6 individual metal components.
Contents as list:
1 Activation Card
1 Game card
4 rocket corps members

The models are cast in white metal, mold lines are well placed - not the face! Each sculpt is of comparable quality to a single character model in other ranges.
I have to wonder if the wings couldn't have been made from resin however. This would have reduced the weight of the model making them less top heavy and thus less liable to fall over. Despite the large number of parts the models are of a static pose and no optional components are included.

Flying samurai was always going to be an easy sell - the models look great!

Tabletop Usage:
Note: a new rulebook is soon to be released so this is liable to become obsolete.
The rocket corps section are the masters of melee! A full section will tear apart just about anything they can charge, likely only receiving a single casuality in return.
However, with only 4 models the section can easily be reduced in effectiveness by a small amount of shooting and in order to charge it must have line of sight to the target, exposing it to return fire.
One simple tactic is to move the section last in one turn then charge with it as your first action the following turn. Whilst obvious, this tactic is not easy to counter and should limit the amount of fire the section is exposed to - a single activation at most. This is a good tactic in smaller games where the section will be a large percentage of your total force and deploying it to maximum effect is essential.

Cost per model:
The rocket corps section retails with an RRP of £24 this makes each model £6, buying the box from reduces the price to £19.20 and the cost per model to £4.80. For a 32mm scale models of this quality I consider this to be reasonable when compared to other manufactures.

Cost per section:
The rocket corps box contains a complete section.

The rocket corps are impressive models at a reasonable price. Conversely, the lack of any options to customise is off putting in a section that is likely to be the highlight of your army. A total score of 8 out of 10!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Metcalfe Parish Church Review

Metcalfe Parish Church H0/OO scale

 The Metcalfe Church arrives in a slim A4 box

The back of the box shows a close up of the window detail and the extraneous gate.

Comments on Construction
Constructing the church required around 15 hours of effort spaced over several days; a large amount of this time was spent holding components together while they set. I loaded the dishwasher while waiting on one piece - multitasking! If you started this project on Friday evening then I feel you could reasonably expect to finish Sunday evening.
The instructions reference a component that does not appear to exist when detailing how to affix the pointed roof to the tower so be ready for this.
The instructions don't seem to mention the painted strips that go on the inside of the tops of the walls to cover the bare cardboard there, make sure you have attached these before attaching the capping stones.
I do not recommend following their advice and cutting out all the components before starting, this makes them more difficult to keep track of while not saving you any time.

Contents as list:

1 Parish church
1 Gateway 

Component Quality:
The church is made of high quality cardboard sheets combined with a single sheet of plastic. For a cardboard item the quality is very high with clear detail. However this material is not forgiving and while a small number of spares are provided any significant mistake will likely ruin the entire model.

Instructions Quality:
The instructions are provided in english printed onto two small A4 booklets. These start out satisfactorily however as the item progresses they somewhat decrease in quality. As an experienced modeller I didn't have a great deal of trouble following them - apart from when they mentioned a component that didn't exist! They could however have been much clearer and would have benefited greatly from being spread over more pages with a larger number of diagrams showing more detail.
I highly doubt these instructions were tested to any great extent!

From a distance the church looks very nice; on closer inspection there are some points that stand out as being rather poor. The turrets are perhaps the worst of this. The church also lacks much in the way of detailing (one cross on an entire church?) making it look somewhat factory like.

Tabletop Usage:
As terrain, the church's main table top usage is to block line of sight. The model is strong enough to support models standing on it however there is not a great deal of space to do so.

I paid £14 for the church from my local model railway store, online it seems to retail for around £15 delivered - for an item of this size and complexity this is cheaper than most terrain produced by other companies. On the other hand, most other terrain requires far less of an investment of time to construct. For those with the time or who enjoy construction for its own sake the kit represents a bargain. For those attempting to get their collection up and running I feel it would be worth investing more in a quicker to set up alternative.

The church offers the experienced modeller, with time on their hands, the ability to add a large item of terrain to their table top without much in the way of financial investment. It also offers the modeller a project into which hours could be poured adding small adjustments. For an inexperienced modeller or one more interested in having a set of terrain than making one the church offers hours of misery followed by likely disaster resulting in an unappealing mess arriving on the table top - assuming anything arrives at all!  All in all 7 out of 10

Friday, 1 August 2014

Dystopian Legions Kingdom of Britannia Terrier Ironclad - Unboxing, review and assembly instructions

Kingdom of Britannia Terrier Ironclad
The Terrier drives into battle in a large Spartan Box
The back has an accurate render of the model along with some fluff and a detailed listing of the box's content:
The three game cards contained afford the terrier increased durability and a potential to destroy terrain.
Here are the steps I took to assemble the Ironclad; this took me about one and a half hours including time to take photographs and allowing the glue to dry. To follow these instructions you will need: A sharp craft knife, super glue (brush applicator or gel type is best), pin drill and material for pinning. You could replace the pin drill with modeling clay (green stuff) if that is what you have. Thick protective gloves are highly recommended!
Step 1
Remove all of the flash and excess resin with the craft knife; if you aren't sure of something leave it for now. I wear a glove on the hand I am holding the part with while I do this and recommend that you do too! There was some pink mould related material on mine that was a pain to remove; if you encounter this you must remove it. The mould lines on the metal track bits are easier to remove if you use a needle file.
Step 2
I chose to assemble the tracks first. Starting with the metal track bit:

These attach to the end of the track to cover the bald area, if you clean the parts up and press them together there is a good chance they will look like this:
See the gap at the bottom :(
I was expecting this as the same thing happened with the Prussian tank. To fix it, put on thick gloves (I use a pair of gardening gloves, they cost ~£1 from a super market and should be part of everyone's toolbox), now hold the metal track bit between finger and thumb of one hand and gently crush it into a slightly tighter curve; I find it helps to push into the part with the thumb on my other hand at the same time. Pretty much straight away the metal should give a little with a small creak, let go and try it against the resin track - it should fit slightly better.
Repeat this several times and you should achieve:
Now do it all over again for the other side.
Step 3
Before attaching the tracks to the sides, paint the inside areas of the track sections first. 
 Next, I attached the tracks to the body of the tank. This seems simple, just fix the tracks to the sides and done, right?

Except that is about as square as your average orange!
I can think of three ways to adjust this: pinning, modelling clay or basing the tank. If you go with the base option you are going to want to attach the body of the tank to the base as well otherwise your tank is going to break in transport. I chose to pin the model as it is what I am used to and modelling clay takes around 24 hours to set. To use modelling clay: apply liberally to the side of the track and push the parts together, then find some way to hold the tank in the correct position for the next day.
When pinning this model I used one pin for each side, the reasoning is that this allows some freedom of placement if the holes don't align perfectly (Contingency!). As this will be the primary join for the entire model an inch long pin is not excessive.
I first drilled a hole into the side of the body of the tank, I then placed a smaller pin into the hole and applied some paint liberally to the end:
I then fitted the tank track to the tank body, this forced the pin into contact with the track leaving a small spot of paint where I needed to drill the hole in the track!
four carefully positioned holes later and the result was this:
A vast improvement!
Step 4
The hard parts are over now. Next I assembled the sponson guns:
 I held these in place with blue tack while the glue dried. Immediately after are the tack guards; take some time to align them correctly
 Resulting in:
Step 5
Next up was the doors on the top of the bridge. These I found were too small. Too address this I placed a blob of blue tack under them to hold them in place while the glue dried.

 Step 6
Now I glued the bridge to the tank body:
Step 7
 Finally the smoke stacks, barrel and headlights can be glued into place:
 Complete tank:

Contents as list:
1 Ironclad
1 activation card
3 game cards

The terrier is an intricate resin model with detail equalling or beating that of anything else on the market.

I like the terrier and its self propelled gun design, I look forward to both painting it and killing things with it.

Table Top Usage:
Like all Ironclads the Terrier is a complex tactical choice. Armour 4 and a shield generator give the Terrier the ability to shrug off most attacks and a reasonable chance in an ironclad duel, whilst its main gun obliterates infantry. Counter balancing this is the fact that the Terrier is a whopping 60 points, putting it at more than a fully tooled out mainstay section or unit of sky hussars.
To get the best from the Terrier, I think it is important to look at the 'Lethal' Weapon Assigned Rule (WAR) that its main gun has. This means that any attack from the main gun only has to reach the Injury Rating (IR) of a model to kill it rather than the Kill Rating (KR). Against regular infantry who already only have an IR this does nothing, against an expensive veteran unit this doubles the number of models you kill!
A final consideration that applies to all ironclads is that many infantry sections pack both anti ironclad and anti infantry attacks; try to position the terrier such that they can only optimise one of those each turn.

Price per model:
At £45 or £40.50 from FireStormGames or TheTrollTrader The terrier is a large amount of cash to put down at once. It is, however, an impressive centre piece for your army and a finely detailed model. Personally I think the price is fair for what you get.

In conclusion, the terrier is a nice kit. My only suggested improvement would be some optional upgrades. A solid 9 out of 10!