Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In which our hero receives a package from GZG

I came home to find a remarkably heavy little box sitting on the kitchen counter.

Much about this is surprising.

First, that it is here at all. I placed this order with Ground Zero Games only a few days ago, I would have to look back at my emails, but it wad certainly only a week ago at most. They turned this thing around and tossed it over from England fast. I am impressed sirs.

Second, that it is so heavy. I didn't realize that the 15mm Stargrunt vehicles were all-metal. The website displays them in flat colors, which had led me to expect resin casts, but now I see that they were just base coated to show detail better rather than would brightly shining metal bits.

So, having ordered 8 tanks and three dozen infantry, it was a pretty dense block of tin that hit my doorstep. No wonder shipping cost was what it was. I think my lesson here is to only place smaller orders from GZG in the future to save my mailman's back.

And there will be a next time.

let's take a look at the first item I plan to put brush to, one of the Grav IFVs. Here is a look at what constitutes a single kit.

I ordered four of these in a platoon bundle, which with the vehicle kits, four all-metal flight bases, and some extra communications gubbins to stick on the tanks.

The casts are generally very good. The upper hull has some fixable mold lines and some shallow pitting, but the other parts are very crisp. Being a metal kit, and knowing what to expect from spincasting something this big, I was ready for some extra effort in getting everything to fit together, and there was some effort required to get the pegs that position the hull halves to work right, but nothing heroic and I did't feel like there were any gaps or pits that needed to be filled once it was all together, so the production quality is very good (the infantry figures I got, which I will profile later, were very good casts as well).

After assembly, here's an IFV sled (left) and MBT sled (right) as an added bonus.

I really like the assembled tank. It's a shade small to be hauling around six or seven scale-creeped 18mm troops, but not by enough to be incongruous at table height (and no more so than it looks to be the case with most troop carriers, judging from photos I have seen). Still, the design is very cool. I like the grav wings a lot, they seem to be a very well-played interpretation of what early efforts at such a tech would look like, and make the vehicles in this family from GZG very distinctive. It's a nice tech level bridge piece between something like a skirted hovercraft and a far future/alien smooth hull design, giving it a nice niche in a game world. Above the wings, it's a perfectly reasonable fighting vehicle design. Put wheels or treads on it and I would believe there were hundreds of these rolling around some failed state or another today. All in all, an excellent near-future design.

My only worry with this model is what to do with the basing. If I use the included base plate and post, I will definitely cut the post down a lot. Sticking it at full height as GZG does in their catalog would be trouble. The heavy tank would have an impractical center of gravity up there and would fall over constantly. Even mounted on a shortened post to appear to fly just a couple of scale feet off the ground, I fear there may not be a glue strong enough to hold the post in its mountings under the stresses of table use with the substantial weight of the tank itself. I may skip basing altogether and just let it sit on the grav fins. Experiments are in order.

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