Saturday, 11 February 2012

Review - Ravenstar Studios' Land Core Grav Vehicles

Here's a closer look a few more vehicles in the new Ravenstar Studios Land Core range.  While the new Mecha are excellent, and Chris L. has mentioned that he really wants to focus on expanding the Drones - these grav/hover vehicles are just as good as anything produced for 15mm Sci Fi.  Just like the mecha, these grav vehicles are great sculpts (done by hand - no digital sculpting or 3d printing here) and very clean resin casts.

Blazer APC

Comparison: Old Crow Glaive, Ravenstar Blazer, Rebel Wolverine
The Blazer is a simple, sturdy, yet surprisingly elegant APC.  It scales out to be about the same size as most medium/large APCs in my collection - you'll have no problem believing 8-12 troops could be carried and still receive some armored protection.  It includes a turret with a small support weapon.  

It almost reminds me of a grav version of a GW Space Marine Rhino - maybe a good match for Blue Moon Orion Republic infantry?  This would actually help to round out any grav armored company that doesn't have an APC (or, at least, an APC that you want).  I could see these supporting the Rebel Minis Earthforce grav tanks (which never had a matching APC), or the grav variant of the Khurasan Siler.

Or even better, if you don't want to look at other ranges for a matching tank...

Kensky Grav Tank

Comparison: Rebel Merka 5, Ravenstar Kensky
This chunk of armor is packing some SERIOUS firepower.  Chris L. mentioned that he envisions this as a heavy tank destroyer - I'd take it another step and call it the perfect mecha hunter.  Its massive gun will elevate on its hyrdaulic lifts, but the entire vehicle will have to rotate for targeting.  It has a small bubble turret with a light cannon for close defense - and the turret gun can even position itself for anti-aircraft duties.  

But it's not just the gun that makes the Kensky stand out.  It's a big tank.  Very big.  Borderlining the super-heavy class.  I don't own a Khurasan Siler or a Critical Mass Dragamaa for comparison, but I can tell you that this tank is bigger than my Old Crow Hammer's Slammers Blower.

Comparison: Old Crow Hammer's Slammers Blower, Ravenstar Kensky
Alright, so we have some serious pig iron for massed 15mm battles.  But what about small skirmish players?  Well, Ravenstar has us covered too...

Coyote Jeeps

These could be some of the most useful vehicles ever produced for 15mm skirmish games.

The open-top Coyote is an excellent little four-seat skimmer, and the enclosed version is just as nice.  Their skirts makes them usable alongside any existing hover vehicles.  But their sweeping lines and rear-mounted thrusters would make them right at home alongside even the most elegant Star Wars speeders.  These are suitable cruising around anything from a small ramshackle colony to a massive futuristic city, and could be used by any citizen, corporation, gang, or cult.  I painted my first one to match my Laserburn Law Officers, and plan to use a couple more with my Blasters & Bulkheads forces.  

Each open-top Coyote includes a generic resin driver figure.  It is dressed in generic clothing and a billed hat - but could easily be headswapped to match any figures in your collection.  I actually set one aside (so I could use two in one jeep) and substituted the seated Law Officer from the Laserburn range.  It worked just fine, though the Law Officer has a wider stance than the included resin figure.  

I ordered six open-top Coyotes, and each one had a similar flaw (first real flaw I've found in Ravenstar castings).  The front seats all ended up with an air bubble at the top.  It's really not bad - nothing that can't be filled in with a bit of putty or even a scrap of paper with some gap-filling superglue.  But I wouldn't be much of a reviewer if I didn't find SOMETHING to nitpick about. :)  No complaints about the closed-top versions - they were excellent castings.

The Coyotes are just slightly larger than the (two-seat) Old Crow jeeps. They're just about the same size as a Ground Zero Games Light Civilian Hovertruck.  Which means even if you're playing a skirmish on a pizza box-sized table, these are extremely useful vehicles.  Or, if you want to play large battles on an 8' table, a handful of these would look great inside the walls of a large military installation, or you can mix them with other civilian vehicles from Khurasan and 15mm.Co.Uk to make a bustling city or spaceport.

Jackal Grav Truck

This is based on an extended version of the Coyote chassis.  It is fully enclosed, and actually has a smaller windshield than the covered Coyote.  There are access doors on each side.  They also include a very nice optional weapon turret with a HMG/Mark 19-type gun. Chris L. envisioned these as a far-future Humvee, and I think he nailed it.  I painted my first one as a SWAT van, leaving the turret off so I add some kind of riot gas launcher.  

The Jackal is very convincing as thin-skin military vehicle.  It could easily hold 4-6 people with equipment, or be set up as a mobile command center or a fire-support vehicle.  And, just like the Coyote, this would make an ideal civilian speeder.  I plan to mount a small GZG radar dish to my second Jackal - it will be a research vehicle for my GZG colonists.

Final Thoughts

You really can't go wrong with any of these.  Every one of these vehicles has the far-future look that many of us prefer for our game settings.  I'm going to build a mechanized infantry platoon around the Blazer APCs, and the Kensky will provide anti-mech support.  And I'll end up using the Coyotes and Jackals in tons of different military and civilian roles.  Ravenstar Studios has quickly become one of my favorite 1/100 vehicle producers - I look forward to seeing what comes next!  



  1. Hmmm. I've never really given Ravenstar studio's a proper look before. You've just changed my mind. Popping over to their site now to have a gander.

  2. I was considering getting some of these but didn't have the capital available while he was having his weekend discount sale, I chose to go with a couple of Silverbacks before I started getting light vehicles, but after your review and seeing some of the Coyotes painted up I might have to place an order with him after I get my taxes back.

  3. Definitely worth adding to my wishlist for when I pick up on my 15mm SF stuff - need to finish off my 15mm Ancients first

  4. I think other than the Silverback mecha, both the Coyote Jeep versions and Jackal Grav Truck are Chris best models to date in his new 15mm range. Im personally really looking forward to seeing him hopefully produce a few civilian grav cars and hover bikes for sci-fi city games.

  5. "Im personally really looking forward to seeing him hopefully produce a few civilian grav cars and hover bikes "

    in the works plus more.