We've heard about them, talked about them, we've seen the concept art and followed the WIP. But, what are the Critical Mass Games' Arc Fleet miniatures like in your hand?
I'm not going to flannel you or try and fluff up the minis with superlatives, so let's get down to what you really want to know about the figures.
CMG's initial release includes 4 packs of Arc Fleet Light Recon Troopers (AFLR1-4). It's important to recognise at this time that the Light Recon are part of a much larger Arc Fleet range and not designed as a distinct stand alone range in their own right. Craig's concept of them is for the Light Recon to be inserted well away from the main area of operations and infiltrate ahead of main assaul by the Drop Troopers. In combat they will act as a forward screen, protect the flanks and generally be the eyes and ears - on the ground - for the Arc Fleet's main dirtside forces. Additional firepower where required will be provided by these heavier forces.
The Light Recon Troopers are partially armoured miniatures that could pass as anything from Near Future 'Ghost Recon' to Far Future Mid-Tech main force infantry, para-military and police forces. With recent news reports suggesting we will be in Afghanistan for the next 40 years, the Light Recon would not be out of place in your 'Modern' encounters if painted to represent US MARPAT camo or similar.
They wear full face, visored helmets, and light armour which cover their torso and shoulders. Further pads or armour plate are on their knees and elbows. All troops in packs AFLR 1-3 are armed with a Gauss Carbine.
Light Recon Concept Artwork
The Light Recon Troopers are very close to the concept artwork. The amount of fine detail on the miniatures cries out for a wash technique which will give stunning results in quick order.
Each pack contains eight miniatures for £3.20. Packs AFLR1-3 have 3 different sculpts with a minimum of 2 of each sculpt. The remaining figs included in the pack are randomised. Pack AFLR4 (Missile Launchers and Sniper Rifles) has 2 each of four distinct sculpts.
The Light Recon minis themselves vary subtly in height and build. The largest standing figure from sole of boot to top of helmet is 18mm. Boot to eye level is 16mm. They have a slender 'true' human build which is extenuated by their very much in scale, armour. Limbs, head, body is all very much correctly proportioned and there's something very natural about the poses. Utilising the Barrett Measurements System, I'd say 16.5L would be a truer reflection of size and 'heft'.
The $64,000 question is will they fit in with your other minis? The answer, and I have considered this very carefully, is "mostly". You have to remember these figures are towards the taller end of the scale. They match Khurasan's Corporate Marines, GZG's Ravagers, HOF Crusaders and Mechanoids, slightly taller than Rebel Minis Earth Force Marines, but not uncomfortably so. However, the Recon Troopers dwarf RAFM ex-Citadel and many Laserburn miniatures.
Photos will be added when I sort my USB port problem.
[Comparison Pic 1]
[Comparison Pic 2]
[Comparison Pic 1]
[Comparison Pic 2]
I am completely enamoured with these minis. I'm even more impressed seeing them for real than in the photos I've been working from up to now. The sculpting is both naturalistic and in scale. There is an element of HALO ODST about them, or as some have suggested STARSHIP TROOPERS: The Miniatures Game. It's definitely the ODST look which attracts me to these minis, plus their sleek, natural look and humanistic proportions.
Let's be clear though, my current Sci Fi collection has not been made redundant overnight. The Light Recon Troopers don't quite push all my buttons. The two standing poses in AFLR 3 are nice figs in their own right but simply don't hang with the rest of the combative poses within the Light Recon range. Similarly with the standing sniper from pack AFLR4. Nice fig but he's a sniper! He should be advancing to a new position, pressed against cover searching for a new target or firing. But those are my own personal foibles.
For some Ambush Alley, FOF or Stargrunt squad/platoon level gamers, the one small downside to the Light Recon is that they may not able to stand on their own as a discrete range due to a lack of squad/platoon level automatic support weapons without importing figures from the forthcoming Arc Fleet Standard Rifle Infantry.
Critical Mass Games have raised the bar for 15mm Sci Fi miniature design and sculpting with these new Arc Fleet Light Recon Troopers. They won't meet all tastes. For instance, the minis lack the gritty character, sheer range and versatility provided by GZG's resculpted and expanded selection of NAC Marines. But as I mentioned in the background above, they weren't meant to, being instead one part of an integrated force of miniatures upon whom they can call for support.
The lack of a SAW is not really an insurmountable problem. I go with the Master Chef's assertion that the power of the Gauss Carbine effectively gives every man a SAW. We presume the Recon's Gauss carbine to be an OICW with the capability to fire programmable and targetable mini grenades on command. It might potentially act as a short range laser designator too.
CMG's Light Recon Troopers, with their nod to HALO's ODST are my futuristic human infantry of choice. So, all I need now are some decent 'Brutes'!
Arc Fleet Light Recon Troopers
Available Now from
Barrett Scale: 16.5L
£3.20 for a pack of 8 miniatures.