Monday, 6 June 2011

Review: Firestorm Armada Sorylian Fleet

The first of the four Firestorm Armada fleets that I'll be reviewing today are the very 'phalic' looking Sorylians, 'the cursed' thinks I chose them because I'm over compensating for something. However I'd like to point out that his Dindrenzi Battleship is actually longer than mine and shoots its load forward... I rest my case. The Sorylian boxed set was the fleet I first liked the look of when I first started looking into Firestorm Armada around the time it was first released so I was glad to pick them up.

Product Description

The box contains a profile and rules sheet so you'll be able to get playing with your fleet ASAP and on the flip side of that is and instruction guide for putting your miniatures together, although quite frankly its not needed because I think its pretty fair to say that the Sorylian miniatures are quite a simple design and are not really going to task anyone in terms of construction. The most any ship comes in is 3 parts and its very obvious which way round things go. The box also contains some card counter sheets for various things like showing damage and crew levels of ships. There are also 10 acrylic flying bases to mount the miniatures on...  more on those later.

Character of the pieces 7 out of 10

Some people have criticised the Firestorm fleets for basically following the simple design aesthetic of all looking the same and I can see where they're coming from to an extent. However in wargames you'll find most companies decide on a strong single visual aesthetic for each faction. With the Sorylians that's pretty much a tube with guns on it. I quite like the look of them though, they look like functional war ships and the unified look actually looks pretty damn cool when all glued together and put on the board.

Detail 8 out of 10

I think its fair to say that the promo shots of many of the Spartan Games miniatures don't do them justice and given the scale and size of the pieces I'm not sure any photographer could, certainly not me. Bit what I will say is that there are some quite fine detailing on the surface of the miniatures and as a design aesthetic I really do like them. The resin parts contained no miscasts that I saw and the metal components, which for the most part are the engine exhaust thingies again required very little cleaning and have a nice enough level of detail. Oh yeah and did I mention I now know the Sorylians are lizards!!! Space Lizards FTW.

The card sheets of counters etc. that come with the fleet are all nicely produced on a good quality glossy card, they do require cutting out but hey I'm sure we all own at least one pair of scissors or as I do a metal ruler and a craft knife. The artwork on the counters is nice and clear and easily visible and make using them an absolute cinch. In short everything is finished to a high quality and you have everything you need right out of the box to use the fleet.

I do however have one gripe, and I'll only mention it in this review and this is really more of a personal opinion because I know other people have the exact opposite opinion to me... but the flying stands are pain to put together. Or at least I found them so. The acrylic is a really good quality and I'm not going to criticise them on that count because they easily hold up, without problem the heaviest of space ships. They also have really handy little lines which help show which broadside targets are in. However getting them together was a pain, the acrylic rods were too big or really too tight a fit to get into any of the bases without a ridiculous amount of cajoling and brute force. I'd say the acrylic bases were the hardest thing about putting the miniatures together, which just seems a bit bizarre to me. Some people love this because it means that the bases can be taken apart and are easier to store away in carry cases and I see that, but for me I'll be gluing the stands together and might even consider gluing the bases into the ships themselves.

Quality 9 out of 10

Well with that minor gripe out of the way over the bases, and I must really hand on heart stress that its a personal minor gripe, we're onto quality issues. Absolutely no problems whatsoever. The card counters and profile sheets are all top quality and comparable with the best on market cards from other companies. The miniature themselves required virtually no cleaning, had no miscasts and were unbelievably easy to put together. The resin is a really nice tough substance that will stand up to any table top punishment I'm sure and it picked out all the nice detail. Even those stands I struggled to put together are a top quality component, the lines denoting 'arcs' are a stroke of genius and will stop any silly arguments dead, they're also sturdy and actually quite aesthetically pleasing and more importantly they do their job of supporting the models and also maintaining their balance, just wished they were a little easier to fit together.

Service 9 out of 10

I ordered a shed load of Firestorm Armada stuff off of Spartan Games themselves and I have to be honest and say they got the stuff out to me double quick time by courier; I think in terms of working days it was two at tops. The packaging they came in was all really good quality and postage for my order came via a very jolly courier and was free. None of the boxes or anything was damaged, well prior to my cats getting hold of it any way!!! No complaints at all and slightly quicker than I expected. I have to say a general comment here, which is that so many of these gaming companies now like Dragon Forge, Antenociti's Workshop etc. etc. are offering such a really quick turn around that perhaps I'm going to have to up my expectation levels!!! I'm used to two or three week waits and having to pick stuff up myself... perhaps I should start expecting stuff to turn up to my house before I even know I want them!!! I've also had cause to contact Spartan Games over a slight miscast on a model for Dystopian Wars and they sorted the issue so unbelievably quickly, politely and professionally that I'd have no qualms about recommending people use their store at all.

Price 8 out of 10

The Firestorm starter boxed sets cost slightly more than the ones for Dystopian Wars and I'm guessing its for those flying bases, which the other game systems obviously don't use as much. However this Sorylian starter set still represents fantastic value for money for me. You have everything you need to get started straight away and that's all for a very reasonable price. The game itself is also a really fun system that although I've only had one little dabble game with, thus far looks utterly ace so £36 to get into a really cool little gaming system seems like a good price to me... plus they were victorious in their first outing.

Overall 9 out of 10

I've made no secret of the fact that I like the Spartan Games systems, I love the Dystopian Wars model range and while these Sorylians aren't quite up to the detail standards achieved on that range they are nevertheless really nice little miniatures, with a clear and strong design. They do what they're supposed to and they're really well made. If you've been sitting on the fence with getting into the game can I urge you to sit no more... choose a fleet and get started. Peace out!

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