Throughout the week I have been pressing on with Scourge reinforcements for my fledgeling starter army and break into Hawk Wargames Dropzone Commander. If all goes to plan I will have the next unit completed over the weekend and will post something in the next day or two. A short interlude however, as an impressively large package arrived in the post containing an equally well packed copy of Fantasy Flight’s Imperial Assault which I couldn’t resist checking out. Having been impressed with the quality and playability of their X-Wing miniatures game, I thought I would give Imperial Assault a try as well. I’ll be honest I’m going into the game pretty cold as I know very little about it other than the marketing blurb and what I’ve read online. However it has largely been well received and although it leans more towards a board game than a miniatures game, the fun we’ve been having with the likes of X-Wing, Dreadball and Space Hulk (again!) recently make it seem worth a punt. That and the fact that it’s set in the Star Wars universe of course; how else could I resist?
If, like me you know little about Imperial Assault the short version is it’s a narrative driven strategic skirmish game played on map tiles pitching Rebel heroes against GM controlled Imperial forces. It’s apparently based on the Descent ruleset, but isn’t really what I would consider a ‘dungeon crawler’ as it’s a lot more objective and mission focused. There’s an additional ‘skirmish’ mode that lets you pitch more competitive Rebel and Imperial forces against each other but I haven’t delved into that at all yet. Like most Fantasy Flight games Imperial Assault comes with a mountain of cards and tokens for all manner of things and doesn’t skimp on the eye candy. It’s also a gateway product which will likely see a steady wave or (several) of future expansions much in the same way X-Wing has, so it could get expensive depending how far you want to go with it.
It also comes with a decent sized set of initial miniatures as well including six Rebel hero characters and mobs of Imperial troops including Stormtroopers, Officers, Probe Droids, Royal Guard, Trandoshan and even an AT-ST amongst others. To set some expectations this is a miniatures board-game first and foremost and not a tabletop mass battle game, so I wasn’t expecting resin masterpieces. That said however I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the quality. All of the figures (with the exception of the AT-ST) are single piece casts including the base. The material is a slightly soft variety so I’m thinking probably a PVC resin plastic, but not so soft that you end up with ridiculously bent weapons or other such shenanigans. The worst figure in terms of soft detail is probably the E-Web gunner, in particular the tripod mount and gun, the rest however I thought to be pretty good. Sculpts aren’t bad either. The Stormtroopers in particular are better than a lot of supposed ‘wargaming’ versions I have seen over the years, the only downside being all of the troopers are clones (no pun intended) as they are repeats of a single design. Like I said, primarily a board game.
Unlike X-Wing these are not pre-painted and come in either grey or beige plastic. They do however look like they can be given a hefty lift visually from even a basic paint job and was pleased to find the plastic they are produced in actually cleans up really easily using both scraping, sanding or buffing (bronze brush) methods. The choice is yours. Personally I found a combination of removing mold lines from scraping with a scalpel blade followed with a buffing from a wire brush brought them up to a decent standard for priming. I have no plans to get into any games immediately as I would rather paint all the figures up first, that plus Dreadball is currently our Monday night game of choice.
The other positive about the material is like most resin plastics it can be reshaped with a little heat. By far the worst miniature in the box is the E-Web gunner which due to al the thin cross-sections suffered quite a lot of warp. A short blast with a hairdryer on the base allowed me to remove the worst of the deformation.
So without further ado I’ll be drip feeding a few of the Imperial Assault figures onto the workbench whilst I work my way through the current Dropzone and Dreadball line up. It will be interesting to see how well they take paint?
Until next time.