Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Review - Ravenstar Studios Thunderfoot and Silverback

"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.

First Impressions

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.

The Silverback

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...

The Thunderfoot

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.  

Final Thoughts

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. 



  1. Cool mechs! Chris L's starships are awesome, so I know his Land Core line will be to the same high standard. I placed an order for a couple of Silverbacks after reading your article, and can't wait to get them into battle!

    Spartan 117

  2. That Silverback. I like it. Nicely sized, Chris!


  3. Just ordered a pair of Silverbacks!