Next up, we have the Romulan reinforcements boxed set from Mongoose Publishing and Amarillo Design Bureau. These miniatures are for use with any one of the numerous Star Trek war games set around the time of the Original Series: A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, Star Fleet Battles, Federation Commander, and Starmada to name a few. Most of the ships in the set are from the expanded Star Fleet Battles/Prime Directive universe. They have since been incorporated into Mongoose Publishing's own "A Call to Arms: Star Fleet" game.
|Size Comparison between the KC-9R Dreadnaught and a 6mm Rhino APC|
First off, let me just say that these are BIG ships by today's standards. While the Romulan Reinforcements box contains"just" five ships, they are very large pieces of metal and well worth the price of £29.99. The miniatures are much, much larger in comparison to the ships from Mongoose's other space warfare game; Noble Armada. In fact, they're about the same size as ships produced by the likes of Ground Zero Games and the old Battlefleet Gothic line from Games Workshop. Satisfyingly big and chunky, you might say. Consequently, they can quickly and easily be painted to a decent table-top standard using simple drybrushing techniques. Good news for all those gamers out there who don't have a great deal of time (or inclination) to paint fiddly miniatures.
Dry-brushing isn't a technique I use very often, largely because I'm being paid for my time and Dry-Brushing is an extremely fast way to paint a miniature. It also requires very little skill. It often results in a miniature less visually pleasing than painted using layered highlighting. But on the right model it's very effective. I have chosen to use layering techniques to paint the detailing on the red areas however, to provide some contrast to the Grey. I could have painted the whole miniature in the same way, but I decided to go with dry-brushing to better illustrate just how beginner-friendly (and time-challenged-gamer friendly) these miniatures actually are.
|Sparrowhawk Light Cruiser|
Mongoose designed these miniatures in-house before sending them off to Amarillo Design Bureau (which holds the license from Paramount) for approval. The casting quality, like that of the Justice Department box I reviewed last week, is remarkably clean. There's the usual bit of flash and mould lines that you would expect from any metal miniature, but nothing drastic Only three of the ships are multi-part miniatures. Assembly was both quick and easy, with no pinning required. The largest ship of the five (the Dreadnaught) is about twice the length of the next largest ship in the box and is the only ship with resin components, the rest being solid metal. The resin part of the Dreadnaught (the main body) was fairly quick to clean, with almost no shearing. I did miss some mould lines on the "neck" of the Dreadnaught. They're actually invisible to the naked eye, but the flash photography I used with these top-down images seems to have made them rather stark. That's a flaw with my cleaning of the miniature rather than an issue with the miniature itself.
The Romulan Reinforcement boxed set sells for £29.99 and gets you five ships from a useful mix of designs and classes:a destroyer, light Cruiser, cruiser, heavy cruiser and dreadnaught. That's good value for money considering the size of these ships and the the high metal content. The miniatures are supplied with transparent flying bases, but I'm not a huge fan of transparent bases in star-ship combat games, so I've painted mine black to better blend into the playing surface.
|Fire Hawk Heavy Cruiser|
A Call to Arm's is a rather good system. The Babylon 5 version of the game is still hailed by many gamers as one of the best Starship miniature war-games ever made. Despite the expiry of the license, a number of local gamers jealously guard their Babylon Five ships and occasionally break out the star maps for a game or two. I haven't had much experience with the Star Trek version of the game yet, but I suspect that will change when the next Star Trek movie is released and Star Trek fever hits the local gaming circuit again.
|King Eagle Cruiser|