There’s been a fair bit going on hobby wise this week between painting the JSF for Infinity, weathering buildings and prepping the next batch of Epic minis. The highlight though has to be the arrival of Spartan Games newly released ‘Halo Fleet Battles: The Fall of Reach’. I have a soft spot for space combat games, but that doubly applies when it’s based on a game like Halo. Having pre-ordered at Salute back in April it’s been a long old wait, but now it’s finally in my hands I can’t wait to get the two starter fleets assembled, painted and slugging it out.
The game comes with a mix of ship classes for both the UNSC and Covenant and clearly non-miniature painters have been considered when designing the sprue layouts as all require a minimal amount of assembly or gluing. The frames are also pre-coloured with the Covenant in a deep purple and the UNSC a nice Navy grey, effectively making them game ready out of the box for those not so keen on the painting shenanigans. I however am definitely of the painting shenanigans ilk so can’t wait to get stuck in.
Important stuff first, the HIPS plastic used for the ships is excellent. Lashings of fine and crisp detail, plastic has enough flex to come off the frames without breaking (although I strongly advise care removing the Covenant Frigates in particular as they are very thin and elegant). Mold lines are almost non-existent, other than the gates where I clipped off the frame there was little in the way of sanding required. Even for a modeller as OCD as me.
The assembly is also a joy as what few parts there are fit together effortlessly and with sharp precision. They don’t feel fragile either so I suspect can survive a drop or two, not that I advise putting that to the test!
The card stock tokens and ship overlays also have a really nice high gloss plastic backing to them. However, if you are a Fantasy Flight officianado of either X-Wing or Armada you are probably going to feel partly disappointed as they are nowhere near the same ballpark as the heavy card fabric imprint style they use. On the plus side the Halo ones look sharper, almost icon like which may be a deliberate design decision between Spartan and 343 Studio. My only reservation is the resiliency and how well they stand up to the test of time and my chubby digits. Not such an issue with the overlays as they fit snugly into the plastic bases, but may be more of an issue with the tokens which will be handled far more frequently.
Compared with the Covenant ships, the UNSC are a little bit more involved assembly wise. The instruction sheet Spartan include in the box is clear and they call out points to note which are worth paying attention to, especially when assembling the Marathon Heavy Cruisers. A couple of other tips worth considering are dismantling the frame rather than directly clipping out the parts below, this alleviates any stress being put on the plastic. By disconnecting the outer gate from the rest of the frame I could easily slice out the part without any pressure whatsoever being put on the tiny front pieces.
The same applies with the Paris Class Frigates (of which there are rather a lot!). By systematically deconstructing the supporting frame they can be easily cut/clipped out without any unfortunate incidents.
Job done and all primed up ready for painting.
Next update: Painting.