|The Revised Dust Tactics Core Set.|
OK so that title is an absolutely terrible tabloidesque pun, and yes it should be way beneath a quality Blog like this one. But, bad pun aside I'm really happy, I've got the revised Dust Tactics Core Set to review, and my copy of Dust Warfare. I'll be looking to do a few more Dust related articles in the next few weeks or so after I've had a bit of a blow out with both these games. For now you'll have to content yourself with some pretty pictures of me getting the contents out of the box...
Opening the newly revised boxed set two things strike you, one, the box the game comes in is exceedingly flimsy and won't stand up to much wear and tear at all. It really is that bad, way below what you'd expect from a Fantasy Flight Game. Secondly, they've really crammed stuff into it, so much so that actually some of my books etc are slightly damaged. Slightly annoying but what can you do, I'm sure a lot of them are going to be the same. However, I hope other peoples rulebooks actually come with staples... mine did not... really unhappy about that and I'll be having a word or two with the supplier to see what they can do to rectify the situation!
Here are the games two rulebooks taken out of the box, along with the two fold out poster tiles that come with the game. It's slightly disappointing that yet again Fantasy Flight Games have scrimped on the card components here, in the original boxed set we got lots of nice double sided card components. Here we have double sided posters. The print on the posters is fine, but playing on a poster as opposed to the tiles you used to get in the original boxed set is going to be a bit lame. I'm sure it's a cost cutting exercise, but it's not one I'm a fan of. As with the original boxed set the two books are split into rules and missions.
Underneath those posters and books we get to the good stuff, the miniatures. In this boxed set there are two light walkers, one for each faction, and rather spiffing they are too. The various units come in those two rather large looking brown card boxes, to the top left of the picture. Ironically they are possibly the best card based item in the product! There are the eight unit cards, 6 Dust Dice, some plastic scatter terrain, and some card scenery. It was all packed in a clear plastic... erm... 'thingy' I believe is the correct technical term... ahem... yes.
Here we have the full contents of the box displayed and arrayed in front of its flimsy container (can you tell its annoyed me?). It's not quite as impressive as the huge amount of stuff you got in the original Dust Tactics boxed set, but it's not too bad you know. You have the same number of heroes, except these are heavily armoured ones, and you actually have the same number of units, except less overall miniatures, by about six or so, because three of those units are heavily armoured units as well. The two Light Walkers look rather nice if you ask me, and as such I'm not overly disappointed with what's in this box entirely. In fact I'm the opposite, I'm actually quite pleased! Especially from a miniatures point of view. Still not too pleased about the lack of card tiles and the state of my rulebooks though.
Here you can see the cool looking Blackhawk Light Assault Walker for the Allies. It's spindly legs look really fine and delicate compared to the Medium Walkers I have from the original set, but I really like this miniature and of the two Walkers in the box it's definitely my favourite.
This is the Allies only Heavy infantry unit in the box, The Hammers or if you please the Heavy Ranger Assault Team. Personally I think these guys look a bit like Russian Cosmonauts, but in a really cool retro way... oh and with giant metal fists and jetpacks... so not really like Russian Cosmonauts at all. Just look at their heads you'll see what I meant! Non of them are in silly poses either, so that makes me happy. Probably the nicest looking unit in the box.
Next up we have the Death Dealers or Ranger Weapon Squad, again I like the look of this unit and if it wasn't for wonky gun syndrome I'd be rather chuffed with them. You see Dust infantry miniatures are made out of a rubbery substance that's quite flexible. On the one hand this means they're difficult to break... on the other it means they're often wonky and a bit bendy. I'm really not too sure how this will effect paint when it's applied and whether it is liable to crack or not.
The final Allies unit, the Hell Boys or Ranger Attack Squad to give them their full name suffer from wonky gun syndrome too. It is something Fantasy Flight games need to start considering if they want to be taken seriously in the wargames market. I can't see many wargamers I know putting up with wonky guns. There are also some two rather awkward poses, with arms in silly places, holding guns in ways that look 'wrong'. Not the best looking Dust unit, but not the worst either!
So we finally come to the two special characters, from left to right we have "Rhino" Sergeant Major William Springfield of the US Army, he's looking rather fetching in his heavy armour. He's also sporting an eye patch that kind of makes him look a bit like a young Revolver Ocelot. For the Axis force we have "Lara" as her pals call her, or Feldwebel Lara Walters as her misbehaving pupils call her. Seriously, she looks decidedly like a really pissed off primary school teacher. She's probably had one too many Ofsted inspections and totally flipped out!
This is the Axis Light Walker, otherwise known as "Hans" or if you prefer the far less snappier title of Panzer Aufklärerläufer I-C. Try giving the order to shoot that thing when calling it by its proper name! It's quite a cool looking walker in itself, but it looks a bit lit a robotic Labrador, nothing wrong with Labradors... just not in robotic walker form. Any way I put the right side weapon pod on back to front, because I'm an ejit! I could have put it right, taken another picture, and pretend it never happened. But, I thought it'd give you all a laugh and more importantly remind you to be really careful if you're gluing these things. There are no instructions, not that they're needed, but you can get it wrong so be careful. You've been warned. Still, it doesn't look half bad.
The second best looking unit in the boxed set, the Heavy Laser Grenediers or Schwer Sturmgrenediere Ausf.B... German is such a romantic sounding language don't you think? These would have arguably been the best looking unit if it wasn't for one specific miniature. Can you tell which, one I'm talking about? Yeah it's the awkward looking guy in the center of the picture, that I'm sure is meant to look all dynamic and like he's running. Except he just ends up looking like he's tripped over an outstretched leg in a Laurel and Hardy sketch and is about to perform a face-plant! Horrid sculpt.
Strange thing is they weren't content with ruining one unit with this God awful, cack handed pose. Oh no they had to ruin the Heavy Flak Grenediers too. A pose so bad they had to do it twice *face palm*. This unit would look alright too if it wasn't for the silly comedy pose. What ever possessed those responsible to think this was OK is beyond me, really it is. Still on the whole they look presentable enough, and I really do quite like how the Axis heavy armour looks compared to the Allies heavy armour, which looks strangely like 1950's American cars.
Finally we have Sturmpioniere squad. Not only do we have severe wonky gun moments with this squad, but we have full on wonky legs too... *sigh*... two of them are leaning at ridiculous looking angles because for some sodding reason they have been bent in transit. This rubbery gunk Fantasy Flight Games are making these miniatures out of is not the best substance in the world, and arguably it is the product ranges biggest weakness. Possibly only weakness.
Finally we have my copy of the Dust Warfare rulebook. Now that I have more units I'll get around to properly reviewing the game, and telling you what I think of it soon enough. But, first I'll review the Revised Dust Tactic Core Set to see if it fares any better than the original set, which was reviewed here. I hope so, because I want to like the game, actually I want to like both games, and I want to get fully involved and immersed in the Dust universe. I guess we'll find out in a week or two if that going to happen. Peace out!