Big Damn Ships

So I got a little treat in the post today in the form of the Dindrenzi & Sorylian Dreadnoughts for Firestorm Armada by Spartan Games.

As you’ve come to expect from me I thought I’d do a little review. The first thing is that they’re bloody massive. Now, I know I said that about the Covenant and FSA Dreadnoughts were massive for Dystopian Wars but these are huge. The Dindrenzi Retribution Class is so big it comes in 3 parts and just about fits in the blister pack.

In isolation they’re absolutely brilliant but, if I’m honest they feel too big when put next to other ships. Playing on a 6ft by 4ft board as I do, my 1,000 point Sorylian Fleet takes up a lot of space. Throw in a Dreadnought and it all gets a bit bonkers. But I suppose that’s always been the driving force behind Firestorm Armada; it’s a very cinematic game. Big fleets, lots of explosions and fecking huge dreadnoughts.

As one would expect from Spartan, the models are lovely. All the detail is there. Actually its there and more. It puts earlier models for those fleets to shame. And it has some lovely little flourishes like the Dindrenzi crests all over the Retribution Class, it which is quite something partly because they’re so incredibly clear on the model. The more eagle-eyed/Dindrenzi players will notice there’s been a slight design shift in the dreadnought (and the new models as a whole) that, coupled with the digital sculpting going on at Spartan towers, means that re-sculpts for the fire wave of ships can’t be far away. It’s an awe-inspiring model and makes the Sorylian dreadnought look a bit weedy. As does its stat lines. And at this point I must have a bit of a grumble. The stats and MARs rules attached to the Dindrenzi dreadnought are mad as bat shit, making it almost impossible to destroy. Coupled with devastating amounts of weapons it feels like the Dindrenzi are the pet favourite fleet of the writers which, to be honest, kind of sucks.

That’s not to say the Sorylian dreadnought is without teeth. In fact, were an opponent to allow it to close, it is utterly and completely, mind blowingly lethal. And looks way cool. Yes, the Dindrenzi dreadnought is big and junky but its Sorylian counterpart is lethality bound within elegance. I fell in love with the render when I first saw it and having the model in front of me has only solidified that love into something greater and, if I’m honest, slightly troubling.

One of the things I was most looking forward to was the Scatter Cannon. That big bastard mounted on the nose. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was expecting but the rules basically make it an epically big shot-gun. At first I was a bit disappointed by this but the more I thought about it the more I realised that it was actually incredibly in keeping with the Sorylian fleet. They’re an all or nothing force that, once committed, are devastating.

But all that aside, at a most basic level, the models are fantastic. The detail is crisp and nicely done, especially all the little touches and they’re easy to build, more or less, and once built are as impressive as they should be.

The important thing to remember though, before you part with your cash, is that they’re big ships with big points costs and you’ll need a big fleet to bury them in. And because they are so incredibly powerful fleets need to be of sufficient size that their destructive power is comparable to task forces within the fleet. Otherwise games will boil down to fleet verses dreadnoughts on both sides of the board.

All that though, means bugger all because they’re awesome models and if you play Firestorm Armada you need one in your life. Fact.

My Other Ship is a Dreadnought

Hot off the presses over at Spartan Games are these grabs of the Dindrenzi, Relthoza and Directorate dreadnoughts for Firestorm Armada, and like the three we’ve already seen, they’re absolutely massive!

My guess is that some new products will be appearing on the Spartan Games shop any day now that’ll make many gamers, myself included, extremely happy. And fear not loyal readers, I shall bravely review a couple of them for you. I know, I know, I’m a hero…

Dread to Dread

Following on from my review of the Covenant of Antarctica starter fleet by Spartan Games I thought I’d compare the Covenant and FSA Dreadnoughts and do a little bit of a review. Because I can.

I may have got a little gushy about the CoA in my last post but I couldn’t help it, the models are really quite lovely. In no small part to the groovy little details like the particle accelerator that runs around the aft of the ship. Or the recessed Death Star guns along the broadsides. Basically, it’s all a bit gorgeous.

The FSA Dreadnought on the other hand is a wonderful blend of form and function. I’ve always loved the FSA ships and it was those models that drew me to Dystopian Wars in the first place. And it’s little wonder that the FSA Dreadnought had me firmly by the hobby place for quite some time after the visuals were first released. It’s no surprise really I mean; look at it!

I think the thing I love about the FSA Dreadnought is that it’s brash yet refined, industrial yet stately. It’s a massive on contradictions, just like the nation that inspired it. The paddle wheels are crazy big and the stars along the housing so unnecessary but absolutely American. But in the crudity of it lies its beauty. Beneath the bridge massive, piston driven, gears grind the paddles forwards and fore and aft rocket batteries are primed and ready to unleash hell. And the especially cool clock work cannons that make the FSA so deadly in a fight sit surrounded by arched windows and wood decking. And there’s 3 of them… But beyond the obvious stuff there’s a huge amount of detail that really demonstrates the love and care Spartan put into their models. The decking, the stairwells and even the White House style windows. And if you look towards the prow you should be able to see skylights. It’s all a little bit mental and a lot bit awesome.

In gaming terms these two are actually quite evenly matched. The FSA has range on its side thanks to the rockets and the accuracy of those main guns. But Covenant ships are tough and if they’re equipped with energy turrets they can level a solid amount of fire at a target at any range. Coupled with shield generators, sturginium rounds and a shield disruptor, it’ll be able to close whilst dishing out significant damage before delivering the kill shot with the Particle Accelerator Cannon. That said, if the FSA Dreadnought were to get abeam, its main guns and broadsides would dish out some serious hurt. But its survival is dependent on keeping the CoA at bay, and that’s going to be tricky. But if worse comes to the worst, its iron prow will ugly up Covenant ships real nice…

But as with all games, it’s all about how well you can use them and, as they’re not going to be used in isolation, what the rest of your fleets are up to. Needless to say; the both dreadnoughts are capable of making mincemeat out of small class vessels so the smart thing to do would be to leave them to duke it out on their own but as we all know, a plan never survives contact with the enemy.

Spartan Spectacular

Anyone who visits this blog, Paint and Biscuits or the Spartan Games website will know that the fine chaps at Spartan have been very busy lately, with a bevy of sneak peaks hitting the blog pages.

Amongst the plethora of toys was the Firestorm Armada Dreadnoughts. Slowly leaked over a number of weeks, players of this fine space combat romp have been scouring the interwebs to find out when they’ll be coming out. Well I can tell you it’ll be next month. Just in time for Christmas so reserve a portion of your present budget from the wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend – delete as appropriate – for you dreadnought of choice. Prices start at £17 and go up to £23 in the case of the Aquan ship, but if you’ve seen size compared to the battleships, that’s still excellent value.

And before anyone asks, yes I’ll be getting a couple for review. And in case anyone’s interested, the destroyers will be out the same time in packs of 2 for between £9 and £10.50.

In other Spartan news Phase 3 of Uncharted Seas is rolling out with yet more choice models some of which can be seen below…

 

The Medusa takes to the Black

I know I said I’d cut back on the preview posts but I couldn’t help myself with these snaps. I’m not even gonna post about the rather groovy Empire of the Blazing Sun assault carrier on the Spartan Games Blog.

The Medusa class dreadnought, I think it’s fair to say, has prompted the most controversy over its design. It’s quite the departure from the existing Aquan ships sparking discussion that the range may well be replaced. The images of the Aquan destroyer released a few days ago doing nothing to quell those suspicions.

Here we have the Medusa next to a standard ‘old school’ Aquan Battleship. Aside from giving you the chance to see the size you can start to get a feel for how it’s all put together.

Made from 15 pieces (main body 3 resin pieces, prongs 6 resin pieces, tendrils 6 pewter pieces) it’s quite the monster and makes the Poseidon Class look a tad weedy. Having them side by side also really highlights the staggering difference in design. And, yes, it is perched atop 3 flying stands.

Personally I quite like the design. I like that it’s organic. I feel it’s in keeping with the Aquans a hell of a lot more than the existing ships. But it just doesn’t sit well with the rest of the fleet, it’s quite the odd one out. Perhaps this design will prompt a redesign of the Aquans, rather than having been planned all along.

Either way I think we’ll see quite a few conversions on the boards, and a lot of people holding back until they know one way or the other if the Aquans are getting a facelift as a whole.

Whatever happens, there’s no denying it’s an impressive model. I love Spartan Games’ ambition, and with each new model they push themselves that little bit further. I do feel that they let themselves down with overly complex/poorly explained rules at times (small flyers/fighters) but game development, as I’m all too aware, is a continual process of reflection and improvement and sometimes you just have to press the print button. But if new Aquans are in the pipeline I hope that there’s a second edition of Firestorm Armada to go with it.

Aquan Dreadnought

Well, it’s finally here. Spartan Games have released images of the last Dreadnought in the range – the Aquan Medusa class.
A pretty bold departure from the existing Aquan range but I think it’s got the stench of genius about it. Albeit with an under scent of the Vorlons from Babylon 5. That’s not complaint, just an observation.

Hopefully, now all the fleets have had details released for their respective dreadnoughts a release date won’t be far behind. And shortly after I’ll be getting my grubby little mits on a Sorylian one. Although the Aquan offering is so sexy that I might have to get one to paint.

A Feeling of Dread’

Fresh from the pages of Spartan Games’ website we have another sneak peek at a Dreadn0ught. This time it’s the Relthoza’s turn. The Apex Class Dreadnought is, in a word, epic.
The thing I’ve enjoyed most about the images that Spartan are teasing us with over the release of the Dreadnoughts is that they’ve managed to retain the ‘fleet identity’ whilst still presenting an awesome looking model that sets itself apart from the rest of the fleet not in size but in attention to detail. I think you’ll agree that the Apex Class Dreadnought fires the imagination and will get gamers psyched just as much as its rivals. If not more so.

The Apex Class Dreadnought alongside the Brood Class Battleship

The Apex Class Dreadnought & Brood Class Battleship front on for size comparison.