|"Notify HQ that we'll need more antitank rockets. And fresh underwear."|
I placed my first order to Ravenstar Studios just before the holidays. Now that life has settled back to "normal," I figured it was time to share a closer look at this new product range. I ordered just about everything he offered last month - and Chris L. kindly threw in review samples of the remaining items. Since the initial Ravenstar Land Core release was so diverse, I'll break the product reviews down into a few separate articles. We'll start with the minis that were on the top of my wishlist from the moment I saw them - the Thunderfoot and Silverback battle mecha.
The first words that came to mind once I started looking at the minis were "quality" and "detail." Chris L. sculpts everything by hand - no CAD design or 3D printing in these items. The level of detail in the vehicles is easily comparable to Ground Zero Games' newer vehicles. Ravenstar Studios has a great reputation in starship gaming circles - and it's easy to see why.
The castings are very good. There are just a couple of air bubbles in my castings - nothing that couldn't be filled in with gap-filling superglue or sculpting putty (or simply ignored). There were no miscasts, major bits of flash, or nasty mold lines to remove from any of the parts.
|Critical Mass Scout Walker, Ravenstar Silverback, |
Rebel Minis Titan HAMR Suit
This is probably what we would consider to be a typical or medium mecha in 15mm terms - very comparable to the Rebel Minis HAMR suits in terms of height, bulk, and weapons load. It does have a unique feature - a built-in jump jet. So what army would I assign my Silverbacks to? My Mad Robot Miniatures TMC Jump Troopers, of course!
The Silverback kit includes:
- A legs-and-waist piece
- An upper torso
- 2 shoulder weapons (interchangeable - not specific to either side of the body) that can rotate from forward-facing to upward-facing
- 2 arms with separate hands. These have a pretty clever mounting system - the shoulders are balls with a little peg sticking out. You can use the peg for a very secure (but somewhat static) mount, or you can cut off the peg and mount the ball anywhere in the shoulder socket you like. I used the peg on the gun arm, and cut off the peg and used the ball on the shield arm.
- A separate shield and wrist/arm gun
And Chris L. has promised a few more weapons for the Silverback kit, including the possibility of a melee weapon. I'm pretty happy just with the initial offering - the two shoulder weapons look ideal for direct fire/artillery fire, and the wrist gun looks great for antipersonnel combat. If the shield isn't desired, the free hand could easily be converted with a spare weapon from some other model. Overall it's a great mech - I finished one for the review, and am looking forward to painting the second one I bought. It will definitely add a level to my growing Jump Trooper army, and will also be a good core for my future mecha-centric battles. It's easy to imagine teams of Silverbacks leaping through a ruined city to outflank a heavier mech.
And speaking of larger mecha...
|Rebel Minis HAMR, Ravenstar Thunderfoot Mk 4|
This is truly one of the heavyweights in 15mm Sci Fi. There are four variants of this monster - I chose the Mark 3 since its weapons remind me of the Macross Tomahawk/Excalibur. I knew this thing would be pretty big when I saw it on the Ravenstar blog - but seeing it in person was a different experience. This is now the largest 15mm vehicle in my collection. It's no surprise that I painted it to match my favorite army - Rebel Titan Marine infantry/Kremlin Cyberian Power Armor.
Components of the Thunderfoot Mark 3:
- Separate legs
- Waist/lower torso
- Upper torso/crew area. This has two ball-type pegs for weapons - pretty similar to what JBR included on the Rebel HAMR suits.
- Shoulder mount for the cannons
- Two heavy cannons and two rocket pods
The Thunderfoot is excellent in concept, design, and execution. Most mecha/walkers at this scale look like they will barely hold a single pilot And those pilots are usually behind a gigantic windshield, waiting to be shot. But the Thunderfoot looks like it holds a crew - two or three abreast, one or two deep, and still more than enough armor to keep them safe. Its windows are more reminiscent of a bunker than a jet fighter.
If any of you were cautious or hesitant about buying from Ravenstar Studios - go shopping already! I expect to see these mecha showing up in quite a few different armies. And I'm really curious to see what some of you airbrush junkies can do with these bodies - no doubt you'll put my humble space-opera paint jobs to shame. :)
Still to come: Grav Vehicles and Quad Walkers/Drones.