X-Wing Miniatures Game – A Three Party System

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game By Fantasy Flight GamesIt doesn’t take much to realise that I’m really enjoying the X-Wing Miniatures Game at the moment. I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since I saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 2 or 3 and that love grown over the years with the introduction of the Star Wars novels, specifically the X-Wing series by Michael A Stackpole and Aaron Allston. If you haven’t read them do so, they’re awesome.

As Mat and I have grown our fleets Lee has found himself increasingly interested but was always put off by the fact that there was only ever two sides to choose from – The Rebellion or The Empire. Being a Rebel through and through, and the person he was going to play the most it left him with little option but to collect the Empire, which he didn’t want because, in his own words, he ‘had no love of the Empire and their ways’.

And that by rights would be that. He’d either have to collect a Rebel fleet and we never really get to play one another, or we have to play ‘training missions’ from now until the galaxy far far away collides with our own thanks to interstellar drift.

However, thanks to those wonderful novels mentioned above I was reminded of a third party that features often in the books and indeed one of the best loved characters fell firmly in their ranks for a while. I refer, of course, to scum and villainy. Smugglers, outlaws and raiders and pirates.

Granted, a certain degree of artistic license is going to be required as such ne’er do wells in the books and comics used Uglies, pilot slang for mongrel craft cobbled together from components salvaged from both sides of the conflict.

ZCeptorThey’re pretty cool but to recreate the craft above it would require the purchase, and subsequent chopping up, of an X-Wing a Y-Wing & a TIE Interceptor. And that’s £36 you could be spending on three ships and not chopping them up.

The point is this – a faction without allegiance is a faction that allows you to pick and choose whatever you want from the range. The transports and the Firespray are obvious places to start affording your fleet a solid core that’s entirely in keeping with its shady origins. A Rebel Transport suits the role of a mother ship or mobile base of operations just as fine as it works as its purpose for the Rebellion. And the fighters on both sides are fair game. Personally I’d set myself limitations – TIE Defenders, for example, are unlikely to make it into a pirate fleet. The robotic TIE-D – should it ever be released – would be almost impossible to maintain. The E-Wing would be too new and in too few numbers and in the likely event raiders did get their hands on one they wouldn’t know about the laser cooling issues.

But the most important piece of the puzzle if fielding unnamed pilots. This puts the pirates at a disadvantage in terms of skill but this tracks as few to none would have had military training. Plus the points saved by buying cheap pilots will mean you’ll have more of them. Coupled with the option of being able to mix the durability of the Rebel fighters with the speed and numbers of Imperial fighters and it becomes a very interesting fleet to go up against.

Moreover it represents the only truly legitimate painting opportunity for the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Whilst you can repaint the models you get for your Imperial and Rebel fleets, you don’t have to and generally the quality is gaming standard which suits most of us just fine. However with a pirate fleet there’s an opportunity to do some really fun stuff with your ships, making up for the fact that converting a fleet of Uglies would be prohibitively expensive.

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Throw in the fact that you have the pick of the Imperial and Rebel fleet lists (with the aforementioned limitations) and you’ve got a fresh set of tactical challenges along with the fun of painting up a truly individual looking force.

If your Photoshop skills can stretch to it there’s nothing stopping you from making up your own pilot cards to give your piratical dogs even more flavour.

Whilst somewhat of a bodge, putting together a raider/pirate force is relatively straight forward. It allows you to cherry pick all the ships you like from the Star Wars universe and use the various larger ships – with a groovy paint job – to add some real flavour to the force.

The X-Wing Miniatures Range is available from Firestorm Games from £6.29

 

 

Freebooter Miniature Review – Casimeere Flynn

The third part in my Freebooter Miniatures review is the eagerly awaited, and currently unavailable, Casimeere Flynn. I’m reliably informed by Hendrik at Freebooter that this is the model all the ladies have been waiting for.

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The thing that first struck me about Mr Flynn is that he tells quite a different story to pretty much every other model in the Freebooter range. Flynn is the cadish, fopish…something else beginning with ish swash buckler who woos the ladies whilst secretly stealing all their gold. And most likely wearing their underwear. What? It’s the hair style.

Flynn is another nicely understated yet cinematic offering confidently striding forward whilst…er…smelling a rose in a manly fashion with hand and drawing a fecking huge sword with the other. Despite the Hugh Grant hair circa 4 Weddings and a Funeral (showing my age now) and the aforementioned flora, the sword points towards only once conclusion. For all the flower sniffing and sensitive hair, this chap means business.

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The model itself, once again sorry for the shoddy photography, is a little light on detail especially if I was to compare it to Macati that I reviewed yesterday, however it does have a lot of nice little touches that points towards the characters wealth without being ostentatious like his other more black-hearted cohorts. For one thing he’s wearing a duelling jacket complete with offset buttons. His trousers also have tassels at the hems which is just a mad level of attention to pay towards a models trousers from a sculpting point of view.

There’s even clear detailing on the rose in his hand and the two he’d discarded on the flower. Presumably he’d used up all the smell and needed fresh ones…

If you take a look at the snap below it’s actually a great pose. It’s the start of the fight scene where Zorro, or some equally attractive demigod who all the girls fancy, smarmily tosses the girl with the massive boobs in the gypsy top a rose before drawing his big weapon (a-ha!) and then promptly dose in everyone in the saloon/taver/bar/ale house*. And as mentioned it’s a seriously big weapon (stop it!) sword. It’s also really nicely sculpted. The scabbard is, for a change with 28-30mm models, correctly proportioned and the basket is excellent, to the point that you can actually see Flynn’s fingers between each piece of metal. Which is just mad attention to detail. Love it.

*delete where appropriate.

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As I’ve come to expect from Freebooter Miniatures, the casting quality is very good with little cleaning at all and overall the sculpt is very clean. Building it is a bit on the fiddly side. That’s not to say it’s taxing but because both arms go across the body they slightly get in each other’s way regardless of which way round you glue them on. And because the rose needs to be near Flynn’s face and you’re dealing with super glue you have to get it right first time or there’s a lot of faffing and cursing. By no means the end of the world and the model still looks ace, it’s just something I found when building it last night.

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At first glance Casimeere Flynn seems very simple. Understated. But I think that’s the point. On the surface this styled and manicured sissy man looks more softy than swords men but it’s only when you start noticing all the little details that you realise that you’re dealing with a stone cold killer that will probably toss the rose he’s been sniffing – and that you’ve been teasing him about – on your lifeless bleeding corpse. Then go and sleep with your wife.