The Oroshan Menace

Not to be confused with Babysham, the Oroshan are a new and, by the sounds of things, gribbly race for Firestorm Armada. Aside from looking awesome it signals to me a potential seminal point in Firestorm Armada’s development. This new race represents either a new rule book or a moving away from having all the fleet lists in a single book, or both. Doing so makes complete sense as it doesn’t take much to make the existing lists obsolete which results in rule fixes on the website which have to be downloaded and before you know it you’ve got as many tatty bits of paper as you have pages in the rulebook. We’ve already seen individual books with the Covenant of Antarctica for Dystopian Wars and I think it works well. Personally I’d like to see a complete book for each fleet with lots of lovely background and data cards done away with all together but that’s just me.

Anyway, here’s what Spartan Games has to say about their latest creation…

For a millennia the Oroshan Imperium has lingered in despair. Lost in the vastness of space, this nomadic race is a danger to any space faring vessel they encounter.

Oroshan Reaper Class Battleship

Oroshan Reaper Class Battleship

Survival is the driving force of this proud race, and survive they must. Following the destruction of their own star system by a supernova, the Elders moved the survivors onboard vast colony ships and even into bio-habitats onboard their military vessels. The Oroshan now move from system to system, its military commanded by the Elders to strip any raw materials they need to keep their peoples alive and their fleet in space. Should a powerful race be encountered, tenuous deals can be struck and Oroshan vessels have been known to assume mercenary roles – for a fee of course!

Over the centuries this race has crafted its art of destruction, and now the Oroshan has begun its campaign of terror in the Stormzone. With no allegiances, the vessels of all fleets are at risk of destruction by this race, but the more daring races can forge relations.

Oroshan Reaper Class BattleshipOroshan Reaper Class Battleship

Oroshan Defiler Class CruiserOroshan Defiler Class Cruiser

Oroshan Defiler Class CruiserOroshan Defiler Class Cruiser

Oroshan Defiler Class CruiserOroshan Defiler Class Cruiser

Oroshan Defiler Class CruiserOroshan Defiler Class Cruiser

Oroshan Riever Class Frigate

Oroshan Riever Class Frigate

Freebooter Miniature Review

Yes, those fine chaps at Freebooter kindly sent me a couple of their models to review. Specifically, Romerto the Strangler from the Assassins faction and Totol from the brand new, and thoroughly shiny Amazon faction for the Freebooter Fate expansion; Deep Jungle.

Now, I’ve always been a big fan of Freebooter Miniatures ever since I stumbled across their stand at Salute many many many years ago and bought myself the Huntress and Aedui (an Elf) because they were just fecking awesome models. After then I always kept a weather eye on their website, picking up the odd model just to paint until the fateful day when I had the bright idea to start a Mordheim campaign with the chaps and with it start a new warband. The most recent addition of which was the Comtessa model that I reviewed here.

Now I find myself in a position with yet more thoroughly cool models and an opportunity to write about them. My cup runneth over.

First of all I have to say something about the quality of the casting. Considering each model came in four or five pieces (excluding the bases) and both are in dynamic poses, the models needed very little cleaning up beyond the areas that had to be cut from the casting flash. The castings were seamless and I think I spent more time trying to get Romerto’s right hand and bolas to line up with the left hand than I did removing mould lines. Which, I must say, is quite exceptional and puts certain other companies to shame with their self-proclaimed ‘superior casting technology’.

But on to the models specifically…

Romerto the Strangler

This old boy is getting quite a lot of space on my blog at the moment as I’d decided I wanted to use him for my proposed Middenheim warband for Mordheim because, well, he’s a lot awesome. An earlier model of Freebooter’s, but no less appealing especially as all of Freebooter’s models tells a story. Romerto, for example is clearly getting on a bit, judging by the thinning hair, and has had his nose broken a number of times which tells of a hard and violent life.

That aside, the model sets the benchmark for how simply an imposing character can be created by dynamically positioning the model. The massive hammer helps too… The model is nicely detailed and much of it gets lost the first time around. Aside from stuff like a superbly sculpted face, with its flat nose & grim set expression and theatrical masks dotted about his person – in keeping with his assassin allegiance, there’s also little touches like buckles on his boots and a spare bolas on his belt. Also the head of that hulking great warhammer is just awesome. As is the clenched fist pommel.

I think what makes this model work so well is the sense of power it evokes. A strong striding form, intent on bringing woe to someone. But really tips it over the edge into brown trouser territory isn’t the bulging muscles or the model’s height (he absolutely dwarfs the other Freebooter models I have) it’s the fact that the Romerto isn’t bothering with the hammer. Yes he has it, and yes he can burst heads with it, but why bother when a good old-fashioned thumping will achieve the same results.

On a pesonal level I’m delighted to have Romerto because he’s just fantastic to look at and going to be even better to use. And for the simple fact that there are few better feelings when playing a game [with The Chaps] then when someone picks up one of your models to take a look and is slightly jealous of you for owning it. Romerto will do just that. Then clobber someone with his hammer. Just coz.

Totol

Totol is lovely. The end. No really. Okay, not really. But she is a lovely model. The image above doesn’t even come close to putting across how nice it is. Models like this are a bit of a painter’s dream. From the base up it’s a bevy of detail. The base and tree the model perches on has enough detail that you’ll enjoy painting it, but doesn’t over load you so it won’t feel like an inconvenience, but, at the same time, sets up what is an incredibly dynamic model. The elegance with which Total is posed is a real credit to Freebooter as it is the kind of snap shot pose you’d expect to see in a film.

And looking even closer you notice yet more. The hide that forms her outfit is hemmed with the fur of whatever poor hapless creature donated it. The leather strap of the quiver as little rings on it. The flowing hair, combined with the pose tells the story of a hunter laying in wait, letting the world flow around them whilst never being moved. Even her Amazonian wonderbra (other Amazonian bras are available) looks the part and appears necessary for the model rather than preventing small children from seeing 30mm scale boobies. It’s just ace.

In total contrast with Romerto’s slow, purposeful brute force, Totol, as a character, oozes viper like menace – coiled tight ready to strike – with a combination of the lithe form, agile pose and a bow clasped in one hand and a wicked dagger in the other. In fact a fight between two such characters would be a spectacle to be sure. And most likely with the pair of them ruined corpses on the jungle floor.

But combine that lithe aggression with the contrast of the long hair, feminine figure and skimp-tastic outfit and you have the utter embodiment of an Amazonian warrior woman that evokes myths as well as the urge to tell tales of your own. I wanted to review this model because I wanted to take a look at the newest models compared to the slightly older ones, but now I have to somehow find a use for her because Totol is just too nice a model to have sat on a shelf gathering dust.

Uncharted Seas – Second Edition

As Uncharted Seas from Spartan Games is now out I’d do a brief rundown of the Phase 1 releases. Some of it is out yet, some of it isn’t but it’s a little taster and the opportunity to see how far the ships have come from the original release.

Now, I don’t play Uncharted Seas but the Shroud Mages have got me tempted…

Dragon Lords

Iron Dwarves

Shroud Mages

The Ralgard

Monsters

Gaming Cards

Fresh from the Forge

It looks like those attending Games Day this year are in for a bit of a treat. For £80 you can get your grubby little gaming mits on a Proteus (MKI) Land Raider. Yes the old tub is back in a complete resin kit. It’s had a bit of a tart up but it’s still the same old Land Raider that we remember from our youth. With the kind of price Forgeworld are asking you’ll have to be damn certain you want one but for anyone collecting a pre-heresy army you shouldn’t be let out of there without one.

The other slice of shiny is some mental Dark Eldar contraption called the Tantaleus. I don’t know what it is or what it does but it certainly hits my hobby spot. It is awesome, and looks on the big side. Although at £85 you’d have to be mad or mad about the Dark Eldar.

Fresh from the Forge

Forgeworld have once again released a fat slice of awesome with Armenneus Valthex, Astral Claws Master of the Forge with Conversion Beamer and a rather cheeky boarding assault upgrade pack complete with Graviton gun.

 

I love Forgeworld for the simple fact that everything they do, they do because it’s cool. Boarding assault upgrade kit? Really? Fuck yeah! Why not? Why the hell not? Stuff like that encourages us as gamers to dream up new and exciting scenarios and campaigns. It also makes us look at new environments in which to set our games, like this staggeringly awesome set of awesome from Ainsty – which was posted on The Shell Case forum by a member who clearly doesn’t understand my toy addiction:

And brings me back to a point I’ve touched on before, which is by having a narrative and story driven scenarios it takes the gaming experience to a whole new level. Plus, you get an excuse to buy the above. Which would be awesome. Maybe I should start a collection…

Amera Scenery Review

Regular readers and members of The Shell Case forum will know that I’ve been promising this review for a couple of weeks now and, finally, it has arrived. More to the point, the parcel arrived. On Saturday. For those not in the know, Amera produce plastic moulded scenery ranging from river beds, to trench networks, to ruined buildings to roads. And all for a staggeringly reasonable price.

When I saw that Amera had produced islands for Uncharted Seas & Dystopian Wars I simply had to get in touch to see for myself if £13 for four islands was too good to be true. And do you know what? It isn’t. They’re excellent.

The first thing that struck me after I’d ripped and gnawed my way through the layers of parcel tape and bubble wrap is how touch these pieces of scenery are. I remember vacuum forming from school and it was shit. I mean really shit. Flimsy brightly coloured plastic with no detail retention and prone to splitting. Not Amera’s stuff. Oh no. It’s tough like plasti-card and has a level of detail that’s more than adequate for scenery but not so detailed you’re going to spend hours and hours painting it. Plus as much of the scenery is single cast pieces and as tough as I mentioned, it’s not going to break. I dropped one of hills twice on my slate kitchen floor. It bounced and that was it. Sure I lost a bit of sand but that’s physics for you. Had that hill been resin it would have (cost twice as much and) shattered into a hundred million billion pieces. And then I would have cried.

It’s durability means that you feel confident not only painting it but using it. If I were to buy a building or a bridge I wouldn’t balk at the thought of putting my lovely metal Vanguard Veterans on them for fear the plastic would give way. In fact, based on what I’ve seen, I think the only time you’d have to worry about breaking the scenery is if you decided to deploy a 40k scale Reaver Titan on it.

With regard to preparation it doesn’t need any cleaning although word to the wise, because this stuff is thick, whatever you do, don’t take a pair of scissors to it when you’re trying to trim the edges. It won’t work and you’ll make a mess. A sharp craft knife, time and patience is what’s called for. But, to be honest, that was more me being a fussy bastard than actually needing to trim the plastic.

I must say, at this point, that I’ve not painted anything in a while. For months most likely. These islands excited me. They were nice looking, not too intimidating and didn’t require an exhausting amount of building like all the other scenery I’ve bought over the last year or so. Now, I actually gave the islands a deliberately slap-dash undercoating for two reasons.
1. I wanted to see how the plastic took acrylic paint without undercoat to help.
2. I was running out of undercoat and I still had the rest of my Sorylians to spray…
The truth is the moulds take paint exceptionally well and, because it’s plastic, it’s very fast drying. These bad-boys were touch dry and ready to go in half an hour.

Once the terrain has a bit of slap you start to realise how much detail there is. Not in a ‘holy shit is that a swarm of fiddler crabs nestled at the base of the cliff face’ kind of way but more the contours of each of the islands. They’re not just mounds that you’ll cover in static grass and forget. They have great shape and topography. This said, and in the interests of being objective, the islands need sand and flock/grass if you want to paint them as something other than a bleak, grey desolate, rock. That’s not to say you shouldn’t but I wanted these islands to feel like they’d have flocks of birds living on them and nothing else so they needed to look a tad on the wind-swept side.

Seeing as I have to wrap this up with some kind of conclusion I’ll say this – Amera scenery is excellent. It offers an affordable but attractive & durable solution to terrain other than buying expensive resin or multipart plastic kits, both of which require a degree of prepping and building. There are arguments for the high level of detail from those kits and they have their place, but having painted all three I know what I prefer as, at the end of the day, scenery is there to help make the game a challenge and lend something to the narrative, not to steal the show. It’s your toys you want your friends ogling over after all and I got this set cut, undercoated, sanded and painted in a about 4 hours, which isn’t bad at all. I don’t think I can recommend Amera highly enough based on what I’ve experienced with the islands but also what they’ve already produced on their website. They done the impossible; they’ve made an element of the wargaming hobby cheap. And that makes them mighty.

Very Heavy Metal

The splendid chaps at Forgeworld have released, once more, a couple of tanks that make everything else in Jo Average’s Imperial Guard army look a little limp wristed and girly.
I refer, of course, to the Praetor Armoured Assault Launcher & the Crassus Armoured Assault Transport. Both massive, both around the £100 mark and both cooler than Arthur Fonzarelli with a bag of ice crammed up his arse.

The Praetor’s size is impressive, although not quite as large as a Shadowsword or a Baneblade it still dwarfs a Chimera or even a Leman Russ.And as you’d expect from Forgeworld both models have excellent attention to detail.

Although the obvious panel lines on the Crassus above makes me a little wary of the cast quality. £100 is a lot of cash to part with for something to not fit flush…

 But that aside you have to admit; wonky panels or not you’d still like to have one to make the Monday morning commute.