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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Relthoza Patrol Fleet Unboxing

So hot on the heels of my Battle Stations, my Relthoza Patrol Fleet (and Oscar's Xmas present Aquan Patrol Fleet) arrived in all their glory, plus my "Member of the Month" plaque for October - which was a nice bonus! Anyway, the Aquan fleet unboxing will need to wait until after Christmas, but didn't want to wait to show my Relthoza!

As with the other unboxings of SG products I've done, the Patrol Fleet comes in the now-standard cardboard box and sleeve. The outer sleeve has a picture of the Patrol Fleet all painted up - and in this case it looks simply beautiful! Possibly the best sleeve I've seen to date in FSA;


They look suitable brooding and menacing I think! On the reverse is a breakdown of what you'll be getting, together with a short bit of fluff-blurb about the space spiders;


OK, so away with the sleeve, and into the box...opening the sturdy cardboard reveals an interior chock-full of resin goodness;


Unpacking this lot out and laying it on the table, you get a sense for what you're buying into - the ships themselves in the bubble-bags, add-ons (including SRS tokens) and flight stands in two separate resealable bags, three sheets of card counters and a sealed pack of TACs. Oh, and a little bag containing four micro-dice for the SRS tokens. Nice!


Now onto the ships. Getting the resin out of the bags we can see exactly what we have, and it's quite a nice haul.


Taking the ships one by one, first off we have the Nexus Battleship, with its Brood predecessor. As you can see the Nexus is slightly shorter, but considerably higher and also broader. In fact the Nexus is almost twice the ship the Brood is, weighing in at 108g vs the Brood's 60g. The level of detail is excellent, and consistent themes across the two sculpts keep the Nexus tied into the old models, whilst looking very much more up-to-date. 

Next we have the cruisers, which I found surprisingly larger than I expected. Here is one of the Assassin class vessels with a Scarab, which normally dwarfs the Swarm. Some of this is a bit of an optical trick, however, as although the Assassin is 18g vs the Swarm's 15g  (20% higher), the Huntsman is 21g vs the 30g of the Scarab.


This brings me to my first real bugbear of the Relthoza Patrol fleet, which is the Huntsman upgrade parts compared to the Assassin parts. For me they're a bit of a let-down and don't really provide the imposing presence that the Scarab does on the table. As it is, this matters not one bit to me, as I have a full squadron of Scarabs in any case, so my cruisers will almost certainly spend their lives as Assassins. Still, it would have been nice to see something a bit more adventurous for these parts than "a little bit bigger" racks of guns - they don' really reflect the change in stats between an Assassin and a Huntsman.


Finally, we have the Widow Frigates. These are once again surprisingly large, 4.5g a piece compared to the 2g of the Drone (resin equivalent) - well over twice the size. It's a nice design, and shows how much SG have developed their design and casting processes in the past few years. I like them, and they'll certainly be finding their way into my future fleets.

At this point it would also be pertinent to mention the new flight stand inserts. These are present (in two different forms) on all the models, though I'm not sure I really "get" them....they're deep enough to fit on a flight stand without drilling out (which I think is the point) - to provide consistent and sufficient depth in the models to hold them on the stand without glueing. They seem to work, but I'll need to test further before coming to a conclusion.

Of course when I said finally, I was meaning the final main models, because of course we have the SRS tokens. 

The box sleeve states you receive 1 of each token (small and large) in the fleet, but I actually received two of each, plus four dice. I'm not sure if this was by design or error, but it looked like the former so I'll just presume they changed the quantity after sending the sleeve to the printers. No matter, it was a nice surprise to have more tokens than I expected rather than less!

Now onto the card elements of the set. The TAC cards supplied with the fleet are nicely presented and shrink-wrapped for protection. The cards themselves are very nicely executed, and certainly look better than the bits of printed paper I was using in the Beta Tests and thereafter. It's nice to get the whole set as well, as it makes games playable with them even if you have only one new Patrol fleet (provided you don't pick the same cards - perhaps an initiative test to see who picks the first one is in order in that case).


Under the other elements you have the pre-cut, pop-out token card sheets, which again are very nicely done, though you're definitely going to need more than one fleet to get enough tokens to play - having just two cloak active tokens, for example, in a Relthoza fleet is stretching it! Some have mentioned they find the card a little thin, but I'm fine with how they are - I don't necessarily want really think tokens everywhere.


The final element is the Battle Log, turn template and random direction indicator. These are nice, but I can see how the battle log is going to get dog-eared through a lot of use, and I think these items are prime candidates for either SG or an after-market company to produce an acrylic alternative (as SG did with their turning templates a while back).


Overall, the Patrol Fleet is excellent - it certainly feels like you're getting a lot for your money, and it feels like thought has gone into each item's crafting. With everything the packed into this box, I'm wondering just how the managed to cram everything into the Aquan box now, given they've four cruisers and their heavy upgrades are much more substantial. time will tell!