Wednesday, 31 October 2012

338 Sadoukadi Greatcoats - Reviewed!

Hullo All,

Here at last is my (informal and entirely subjective) review of the Sadoukadi Greatcoats Infantry Squad from Mad Robot Miniatures.
[No.1 Daughter helps Daddy pose his toys]
Steve at Mad Robot very kindly sent me this kit in order for me to have a look over it with a possible view to me airing my thoughts, so after the fashion of other bloggers' reviews I shall mark the kit out of 5 for presentation and packaging, sculpt quality, options/ease of assembly and overall impressions.

As usual, due to light, technology and trying-to-take-them-in-the-morning-before-Mrs-Drax-arises, the photos are of an abysmal quality. Sorry.

1) Presentation and Packaging

This I cannot rate highly enough. The models come in assorted sealing bags (I believe they're called 'baggies' Stateside) sandwiched between light foam in...a VHS cassette box. A personalised and informative VHS cassette box.
This brought me utter, utter joy - so much so in fact that I immediately went out to a local charity shop and denuded them of four of their tackiest videos in order to transport my slowly growing Flames of War forces. Nice work, Mad Robot!

5 out of 5.

2) Sculpt Quality

I was absolutely blown out of the water by how well these models are sculpted (and cast). Quite apart from the stonkingly fine details (each tiny rivet is lovingly realised, as are the treads on boots which are only ever goign to be stuck to bases!) they are very well proportioned (more 'human' than 'Cadian') and there was hardly any flash at all. These were without doubt amongst the cleanest metal miniatures I've handled in some 20 years of modelling. Seriously.
The alignment was pretty much perfect too - so much so that in some cases I was wondering where the join was! Actually, that's indicative of the quality of the sculpts: unlike so many GW minis, these seemed to have been designed to take the join into account. Great!
The only drawbacks were as follows: firstly, it seems an unnecessary shame to have the right arms attached to the sprue by the shoulder pad, rather than the less detailed upper arm, and secondly, the bases were disappointing. Notwithstanding the odd (and slightly traitorous?) feeling of handling non-GW bases, the ten bases provided loose had not been cleanly removed from their sprues, and were therefore unnecessarily damaged at the rim.
I simply cannot lower the score by an entire half-mark, so we'll call it 4-and-three-quarters out of 5.

3) Options and Ease of Assembly

These models went together really well. The left hands which support the rifles are not only exquisitely detailed and proportioned - they also fit well in the appropriate place - which is a new experience after years of GW Guardsmen! Naturally, the cleanness of the casting really helped the ease of assembly too, so thumbs-up there. Well done, Mad Robot.

[the apparent gap behind the left arm is just a trick of the (lack of) light]
There was also a smashing choice of fifteen heads - 5 with goggles, 5 with goggles up on the helmet and 5 without goggles - and a couple of different arm and weapon choices...although I was disappointed not to receive the promised 'grenade launcher' option (maybe what Steve sent gratis was a promo set). I don't know if the missing bit would've also included an arm for using with that weapon and the flamethrower (which I did get) but I didn't fancy trying to convert a right arm, as I don't have a saw at the moment, so I stuck with the rifles other than for the squad leader.
For the record I should note that Steve apologised for the omission of bits.

If I'm honest I would've liked some more options for kit and equipment - I know that greatcoats lend themselves to a slimline appearance, but the poor chaps do seem a little lacking in personal load-carrying equpment...or simply spare ammo!

4 out of 5 (on account of minimal options)

4) Overall Impressions
These models look a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y  f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c! Seriously, they look brilliant. The poses are natural, there ar no unsightly gaps or awkward limbs, and the level of detail is astounding! Naturally, they have a slightly Germanic look to them, but I'm fine with that. After all, those Germans always did have a way of making their uniforms natty and smart!
I was wondering whether I could use them (or bits of them) in my Guard army, but I've decided against it as (a) they appear too well proportioned, and therefore they'd look a little out of place against the stockiness of Cadians, and (b) I'm too much of a GW purist to use whole non-GW models. This is great news, though, becuase I'm now looking forward to painting them up for fun - maybe to try some new techniques, maybe for use in another game in the future, or maybe even as a pressie for a friend. We'll see. Either way, it'll be perfect the next time GW burn-out sets in!

4.5 out of 5

[No.1 Daughter helps Daddy pack away before Mummy gets up]

 Overall then, I'd say that this is an absolutely cracking squad of models to buy, and I cannot praise the quality and beauty of these models highly enough. If you fancy a change, why not try Mad Robot?

- Drax.

Monday, 29 October 2012

337 'Deep' Thoughts - Why are there no moats in 40K?

PLEASE NOTE: This post is  NOT meant to be a serious suggestion - just the product of a tired and idle brain mucking around! See my comment below for details.

Well now.

Mrs D is full-term and about fit to pop with Child, Infant, No. 2, Changing for the use of,  and I've noticed with not a little dismay that not only have I had practically no hobby time in the last month, I've also been neglecting the blogosphere both passively and actively. So here are some thoughts about something whose absence is conspicuous in the 41st Millennium...

I love moats. I love digging them (in sand, naturally!), exploring them, running up-and-down them, seeing them and just being awed by how - well - awesomely effective so simple an idea can be.

So why don't we ever see them in 40K?
Take the slightly ill-fated 'Planetstrike' expansion: one of the things which (as I understand it) added to its lacklustre impact [pun intented] is the ease with which certain assualty or melta-bomby troops could appear next to the walls of the (oddly arranged and isolated) fortifications and simply either cut them open or melt a hole through them. This would be trickier under 12 feet of water (or acid, or slime, or magma...or whatever happens to flow around 40K battlefields).
Now the real trick is this: even if you place your meltabomb or use your chainfist underwater, in a well-moated fort you'll merely be attacking the rock beneath the fort, and not the supestructue itself. I'm not saying this wouldn't work, but it'd certainly take a lot of time. And you'd get pretty soggy. 

'But Drax,' I hear you cry, 'Many fortifications have a dry moat!' And you're right, of course.

But think about how they often work practically: the best one are comically deep and some of them even have my favourite features: caponiers and counterscarp batteries (or counterscarp loopholes), so that once the enemy are in your dry ditch you can absolutely rake them with enfilading and counterscarp fire. I'm not saying this is flawless, but it's a hell of a lot better than just plonking your fort down somewhere flat...

Southsea Castle, which was local to me growing up, is a classic example of this practice. Here it is from the air (the caponier is at the bottom and the counterscarp loopholes may be seen around the inside of the outer ditch wall); the second picture is along one of the countescarp tunnels in the outer wall:
 (the blue patches are the daylight through the loopholes. Source.)
Either way, I think if I ever build my own Fortress of Redemption I suspect I may just model it with a moat!


Monday, 1 October 2012

356 COMING SOON...ish

Hi All,

I'm not dead - just resting my aching ol' bones and facing up to some annoying Real Life(TM) stuff. Like work.

In the meantime, here's a sneak-peak at what I hope to be reviewing in the near future...just for you lovely people:
(image from Mad Robot

Ta-ta for now, and thanks for your patience...

- D.