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Monday, 25 January 2016

Halo UNSC Punic Class Supercarrier Unboxing

I mentioned last post that I love the look of the Halo Covenant ships...I'm not a great fan, however, of the UNSCs' aesthetic. Fortunately Oscar does, so we fall naturally into the two factions in Halo Fleet Battles. Now, as the Covenant have the Assault Carrier, the UNSC also have their own counter, the Punic class Supercarrier.

Like the Covenant box, this is a large full colour box with artwork on the front and the usual contents on the back, showing studio painted models.

Opening the end, the box is pretty full - once again this is the width of my dining room table!

As with the Assault carrier, I won't go through the standard plastic minis that are included with the Punic. Also as with the prior unboxing, you get a bunch of card two each of token sheets, stat card sheets and base overlays.

The other paperwork are the instructions for both the plastic minis and the resin ship. As these are more complex minis than the Covenant, these are very welcome

Now, bring on the Punic...!

That's quite a beast - it could pretty much double as a lightsaber, it's that big! The mini is much nicer than I expected, and both looks great with intricate detail and has a very imposing presence.

The lower hull has some great detail, and also features a drop-on piece that fits perfectly.

The upper hull is less interesting, but gives the impression of massive armour plating well.

The front of the ship is a separate piece, cast this way (I'm guessing) because of the fine detail on the front.

The rear of the ship then has the engines as separate assemblies, which feature nice detail across all faces. There are also a number of "gribbly bits", the location of which I'm uncertain of (because I've not read the instructions!) However, all are perfectly cast and show just how far Spartan has eveolved their resin casting over the past few years.

As with the prior massive model, it's supplied with a large resin and acrylic base.

That completes the set, and I have to say it impressed me, considering I wasn't a massive proponent of the UNSC look, this is still a great model. Kudos to Spartan for realising 343 and Microsoft's virtual visions as such nice real-life pieces.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Halo Covenant Assault Cruiser Unboxing

I must admit, I'm a big fan of the designs of the Covenant ships in Halo, ever since I saw first them on the original X-Box game. Inside and out, they are just cool. So when I saw the Covenant Assault Carrier at SG almost a year ago, I instantly fell in love. Now roll the clock forward and Halo is out on the streets, you can buy it in Argos and the releases are starting to ramp up for it, including this ship and the UNSC Punic class supercarrier (covered shortly in a separate post).

Now Halo releases don't follow Spartan's usual format, being in end-opening card boxes with a fairly distinctive look. This one is no different, and the box is about the size of a Patrol Fleet box in Firestorm or Core Helix in Planetfall, but a touch longer and deeper. It's full colour, and looks good - with artwork on the front and contents on the back.

Opening the end, the box is pretty full - this is the width of my dining room table!

Now I don't intend to go through the plastic minis - those were covered in the original Halo unboxing, instead I'll concentrate on the main attraction. Now that's not to say there aren't plenty of other relevant components here - you get three token sheets, two stat card sheets and three base overlay sheets, which is actually a substantial amount of card!

You also get construction instructions for both the plastic ships and the resin Assault Carrier

Now onto the resin beast!

Here she is in all her glory, just placed together...beautiful. Getting in closer to each component, however, really starts to show the craftsmanship in this model. Here is the under section for the prow, for instance.

This features really delicately engraved and cast detail - it really shows how far Spartan have come in casting quality since 2009. The main spine of the ship also demonstrates this in spades - as much care has been put into the underside sections of this model as the top, it's a real marvel.

Last is the rear/low hull, another single piece which shows incredible finesse with a very complex shape.

The only other part is an inch-long (ish) part that goes neatly into the front section of the rear lower hull

Which, as you can see, it does flawlessly.

The model is also supplied with a large resin and acrylic base - I'm not sure if these are one assembly or different bases you can choose from (as I haven't read any of the instructions!)

So there you have it - the Covenant Assault Carrier - it's simply gorgeous!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Maelstrom's Edge Karist Faction Build

After the brief look at Maelstrom's Edge last week, the next step was to put the models together and see if they lived up to their expectations. As I'd chosen the Karist faction I started there, and the obvious model to start off with was the mature Angel. This has a two-piece body, split front and rear, with a separate face piece.

This is followed by the four legs

Followed by the two main claws - these are chosen from two options for each side, even before you start kit bashing.

There's also a small tentacle piece that goes between the two legs on the right side.

The model goes together flawlessly, and you end up with a couple of spare claws, so if you fancy chopping things about for different poses, you shouldn't be worried about messing things up! It's very imposing when complete...and I have four!

Next up are the Karist Tempest Elites...of course I went for the heavy guys with the big guns first! The bodies for these are split front-back, and go together very well.

Next are the legs - these take a little care in placement, but once in place the model is extremely well balanced, to the point where it will stand unaided without a base

After the legs, the head and arms go on. The arms are each in two pieces, which I was initially slightly nervous about. In practice, the shoulder pieces lock in very positively, and the forearms go on nicely. Once placed, I used the gun to ensure they were in the position they should be whilst the cement was still not completely set. This is the great advantage, of course, of having the kits in plastic as the cement gives you a tack bond with some flexibility before complete setting.

The head also goes on without issue, and between all of these pieces (legs, arms and head) they cover any joins in the torso pieces shown in the first pic. The last step in their construction is the addition of that big gun, and you get two options (whose names I do not yet know!). I went for this beast;

 As you can see, he maintains his centre of gravity even with the gun, and looks great. The power armour looks chunky but realistic, with a lot of support in the legs. The gun looks like it's heavy even in power armour, which lends a real sense of these guys being heavy support units - I hope their stats live up to this expectation!

I completed the other Elite with the other weapon, pitched up to fire. This did mean he didn't stand up, the gun pulling the centre of gravity forward a shade too much, but I hardly think that's a cause for complaint! I love the look of these guys, and can't wait to get them airbrushed.

Next up are the shadow walkers. again, I really loved the concept of these guys, so they were a priority for me in putting together. These guys have a similar back/front upper torso split, but then an abdomen piece and separate legs. They are "handed", but represent no problems going together at all. Once again I was impressed that they stand unaided without a base;

Now although you can make two of these guys from each sprue, there's only one head, so I left it off at this stage (I'll come back to that later). As you can see they have different arm options, and even with the default poses you can build some dynamic looking figures.

The next figures I put together were the regular troops. You get three of these to a sprue, and they're simpler again from the shadow walkers, being a simple single piece torso with a separate abdomen. They still have separate legs, and there are both several different arm poses and various different weapons. As the other figures, they stand independently of bases.

The arms are one-piece, with hands moulded onto the weapon separately in the same way as the Elites - this is actually a very painless way of doing things and worked well for my guys. Two shoulder guards (which are Space Marine-esque but look better somehow) later and the head pops on - voila!

You also get four heads for the three troops, meaning you can use a spare head for one of the Shadow Walkers, which is exactly what I did.

The other troop-like units the Karist's have are the Angel Minnows. These tyranid-like flyers come on a sprue with two bodies and multiple sets of wings, so you again get choice of what sorts you'd like to create. The fit on these is pretty exceptional - this one is just dry fit together!

With glue they go together without any fuss in no time. I spent more time deciding which wing options to use....

The final model in the Karist set is the Kaddar Nova, the chief loony. He's both the most complex single model and has the most choices. First of all you have the multi-part torso 

Now this is in four parts - in the image above two of these are just dry-fit, but the fit is near-perfect. Here I've taken them off sequentially - these images were all shot in this order, I've not cheated by photographing as I've glued it together!

This level of precision is really admirable from a Kickstarter, and can't be faulted. Anyway, I then glued it together properly, but just thought it worth showing how tight this design is. Once the torso is complete, I set about creating the three lower body sections, each made up of 6 pieces. Here he is with all the options laid out;

I decided to go for the head with the bits on it, and the pointing arm, to give me this guy;

I then took a picture of all the models;

Not bad for half a force, I thought, but then realised I'd not made two Elites and three troops, so it's not even half way through the box minis yet!

I have to give the guys at SAS a real thumbs up on these minis - the execution of them is pretty flawless. Whether you like individual designs or not, you can't really fault the crispness of casting, the fit and the poses these minis have. Add to that the choice that you're given and options for different poses, weapons etc, and this is a huge hit. If you're interested in the minis, then I have nothing but praise for the way these are executed, and have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending them.