Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Review: System ∞ - Habitation Pod Explorer (Sarissa Precision)

My trusty unpainted Guija standing next to the Pod for comparison

Right I've got a bloody lot of stuff to get through in the next few days with these reviews. Firstly I'm going to apologise to those of you who don't play Infinity right off of the bat, I'm reviewing these very much with games of Infinity in my mind. Sure much of what I say will be directly applicable to other futuristic skirmish games, just maybe not all. I might stick some plastic skull all over them and do a 40k article though... or maybe not! So yep Sarissa Precision sent me a feck load of stuff to review, and I want to say thanks to them for doing so because it was totally awesome of them, and it is appreciated. Yep all this stuff was free, so as always I'll put my hands up and let you guys judge whether I'm being fair or not...

Product description

Its a compact HDF piece of scenery designed for use with 28mm sci-fi skirmish games. Sure you could put your Napoleonics or Teutonic Knights next to them... but if you do, expect to get worried glances from concerned friends. All the pieces are laser cut and therefore fit wonderfully well together, look totally spiffing and comes replete with burned wood smell. Various details are etched into the surface with lasers too. It comes in roughly 21 parts, there are 6 side wall sections giving the building its hex shape, 2 end plates with doors, a roof and a floor (handy), 2 suspension supports that attach the Pod either to its base provided or onto the roof of another pod. There are also 4 hand rails to go on top of the roof and a roof hatch made out of 4 individual pieces. So what are it's vital statistics? These are the rough figures, but height = 4", length = 5", width = 4.25". There are also two push out doors and windows on the kit, these can be left in or removed as you see fit.

Usefulness 9 out of 10

Honestly when I first saw the system I wasn't so sure I'd really want too many on the smallest pod in the range. But now? Now I've totally changed my mind! I can't express adequately in words I guess, just how bloody useful it is in the context of the full range. It is great for providing really small ground level buildings in the center of the board for breaking up fire alleys and giving small pockets of cover and creating those little nooks and cranies for your troops to move up behind. But even that's not their most useful role. Nope, plonk one of these on top of a Settler (medium) or Family (large) Pod and you'll have a great but well contained sniping position. Yes it's a vantage point because it is higher, but those snipers or missile launchers won't be able to run around on top of that roof and get good shots at all approaches around the building, because the shadow of the overall building will get in the way. I'm calling it 'controlled height' and I love it. I almost forgot to mention that you can gain really easy access to the interiors of this building too, the roof comes off far easier than the Micro Art buildings top roof does anyway!!!

Character 8 out of 10

Now Character is something that is very personal, some people will like these Pods and others won't. That's the nature of design and aesthetics. What I will say though, is that while they have a distinct 'style' I've been personally really heartened to hear all of the different ideas that people have had for using these. Rusted old industrial units? Check. Nomad itinerant worker camp? Check. Ariadna town? Check. Pan O jungle base? Check. Or even mixing them up with some of Sarissa Precisions own CityBlock terrain to make a Blade Runner or Fifth Element style board. I've had others say it reminds them of Fire Fly, or Aliens and I can see all of that in there I really can. I can also see what I'm going to do with them, which is make a Haqqislam research outpost in the desert. That's the genius of this stuff I guess, people look at it and see many things and that's great, it is like a blank canvass almost. You can make of it what you will and I'm going to love seeing what you all do make of it.

Detail 7 out of 10

The detailing on the side panels is nice neat and clean. The roof hatch is a nice addition and easy touch to add but could have easily been ommitted, it sort of adds a 3D element to what are essentially flat surface. Personally I like the hex tube shape of the pods. They look like some futuristic temporary construction air lifted in to some remote place. Or dumped on the outskirts of a city as a shanty town. The hand rails are finely detailed and do their job well enough. I love that you can add further kits onto the Pods and that ups the options quite a bit it really does, from different hand rails, pod side ladders and other roof detailing I'm yet to show you. I also like that the Pod is raised off of the ground just a little bit as well, that really adds to the 'temporary' feels as there are no foundations being laid!

The roof detail, still with added unpainted Guija!!!

Quality 8 out of 10

I got used to saying in my reviews of Sarissa's Old West stuff that they were slowly improving and getting better. These buildings are no different in that respect. All the pictures you'll see in this and my other reviews are done just dry assembling them, that means no glue at all. I couldn't do that with some of the Old West stuff, but these Pods stay together pretty darn well under their own weight. That's brilliant. Sure I'll be gluing mine together with a bit of watered down PVA glue, but you really don't have to is what I'm saying. I had no problems with pieces not fitting and it was all very straight forward, and HDF is a nice sturdy substance to make scenery out of.

Service N/A out of 10

Best service ever I guess, but I can't really fairly score it now can I? So what I will say is that if your order is over £30 Sarissa Precision offers free worldwide shipping. That's good service surely! Oh and they came really well packed with lots of bubble wrap.

Price 9 out of 10

Again maybe it's not really all that fair giving this a score as I got it for free. BUT, you know what I'm going too anyway, look at £12 I think this represents an absolutely fantastic price I really do. I have to say I'd be more than happy paying that price.

Overall 8.5 out of 10

I'm impressed. The mock ups and drawing had me interested in this range months and months ago. But, actually getting them into my hands and discovering that they are better than I thought they'd be has been really fantastic, it really has. This small piece of terrain might not be the biggest or shiniest on the list of options available in the System ∞ range, but you'll be bloody hard pressed to find a more versatile one. Peace out!

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