Sunday, January 13, 2013

Flames of War: "Open Fire!" Review

Having made out like a bandit I found myself with a ton of holiday gifts in the form of cash to buy new toys with.

In the past I have toyed around with 15mm in the sci-fi arena and found it to be fun. However, I have been hearing really good things about FoW since 3rd edition came out.

So I traipsed down to my local game store and bought the starter set known as, "Open Fire".

I was unprepared.

You get ton of stuff in this box; over 100 miniatures, a quick-start guide, a rulebook shrunk down to pocket-size, bases, laminated full size army lists for included forces, and terrain (in the form of cardboard punch-outs and a sweet V-1 rocket objective/terrain piece). You also get the magnets for magnetizing the turrets on your tanks!

Fantastic stuff.

The quick-start guide and portions of the rulebook are photos of a game in progress, with overlaid graphics and explanations written in comic book form. The quick-start guide was worth a read no matter what.

The miniatures are fantastic. The eight tanks come on a sprue and have to be assembled. Kind of a pain at 15mm scale but fantastically detailed. The sprues even include optional stowage for each tank so that even at 15mm scale you can individualize your vehicles.

The men are included on two sprues, are one piece, and are glued to the bases in "teams" which is a concept that works within the rules.

My only complaint at this juncture is that while the vehicles are in separate poly bags and are either US green or German grey the soldiers themselves are uniform grey/green color and are intermixed on the same sprues. So, be prepared to use a magnifying glass and a well lit area for assembly. Of course, at 15mm if you should get some mix ups it is doubtful anyone will notice.

As mentioned, terrain is included in the form of punch out walls, houses, and trees. Also in the set is damn sweet V-1 rocket and launch rail that just looks great. Terrain matters in the game and it is awesome that it was included.

Points-wise both armies are close in points; 790 to 830 if my math is correct. I have heard that most games are in the 1500-2000 point range. This means that purchasing two starter sets and splitting it with a buddy is very viable in getting a functional army on the table at club levels.

I cannot speak to the mechanics as yet but I know it is an IGOUGO rule set (not my favorite kind). However, from a cursory inspection of the quick-start guide the rules seem to be fairly decent. They are however, not deep into simulation territory. So, if you are looking for a rule set that distinguishes between the individual weapon capabilities of a regular soldier, then it is probably not the game for you.

If you like really nice miniatures, have only a little room to play (as opposed to 28mm), enjoy a fairly tight yet abstract rule set then you might want to look more into FoW. I know I am.

For $70 USD I rate this a 9.0 out of 10 on my own personal satisfaction scale.

Predator Rescue, Part 03

After I completed gluing the magnets into openings to mount the turret I went ahead and glued the top panel down completely.

I did some more filing on the hull itself, mostly to neaten up the appearance of the tank overall.

The entire model was already primed a nice flat black. Since my army is painted in Blood Angels colors I figured I would stick with that scheme.

I have never been a huge fan of the all red look of the BA and I have taken pains to include a fair amount of black as well as yellow, green, and white in the army. Think of Death Company colors.

One of my Rhino's is painted in a mostly black with red as the trim color. My other Rhino is primarily red with black as the trim color. I firmly put my predator between the two and decided on a 50/50 color balance between black and red.

I use quite a few cheap acrylic paints in my arsenal and my standard undercoat prep for red uses the Americana brand in Khaki Tan.

In my opinion not only are acrylic paints inexpensive, you can make them into truly wonderful paints using water, matte medium, and flow improver to make them smoother to use. Even with the required doctoring they are still much more inexpensive than the GW pots. The base coat worked as intended and the red went on smoothly and with very few blotches.

I added some greeblies in the form of tow hooks, HK missile launcher, and smoke dischargers. Since I had completed a majority of the painting I went ahead and used decals for the first time.

Colors blocked out and decals applied. More on the magnetized sponsons next post.
For decals I used conventional wisdom. A coat of gloss where the decal would go. Application of the decal using decal solution and once dry the application of a matte coating over the entire decal to blend/lock it into place. I am very happy with the results and the decals really seem to give the vehicle an identity that is in context to the force.

At this point I would have no issues with putting this on the table. However, I do owe it some washes, drybrushing, and weathering. I also need to discuss the work I am doing on the sponsons.