PythNutD here with an unboxing and review of the Robotech RPG Tactics main box set.
I know there are already unboxing posts and videos out there but I'm writing this as a review from the mindset of a former Warhammer 40k enthusiast and to simply give an alternate opinion. To start out, the box is very nicely designed with with some great artwork.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the box is how empty it feels, there is simply a lot more room than what is needed (I'm guessing that when PB sends out the battlecy boxes later this month they will be able to fit all the extra sprues in the one box to save shipping costs). With a little partitioning I'm sure the box could be modified to carry a finished army, although I plan on using my old 40k padded army case for transport to ensure the models don't get broken in transport.
The box comes with enough Zentradi sprues to make 12 Regult, 1 Glaug, 1 Scout Regult, and one of the new repair Mecha. The sprues look well organized in how the parts are arranged, and it appears that the mold lines are very small and will require little effort to scrape off when I build the models. A few things I noticed at this point is that the details are very shallow and/or don't pop out all that much, which means that during painting, if the layers of paint are to thick then some of the detail may be lost. I also noticed that the legs of the models seem to be very similar so I'll have to be creative if I want my models to have different and dynamic poses. Some of the pieces are thin so sprue cutters are a must! Now the one item on the sprue that jumps out at me is the flying stand, it is big and not clear. It would have been a simple thing to have a separate sprue for flying stands that could have been made in clear plastic.
For comparison I pulled out a GW Space Marine Scout bike sprue to illustrate the similarities and differences. Both have several larger parts split into to halves, although I noticed that the RRT sprues have a larger amount of pieces that are placed as halves instead of single larger pieces. With regards to construction larger pieces in sprues always require the mold lines and flashing to be cleaned off, while pieces that must be glued together sometimes end up with gaps. For the RRT models a little use of plastic cement (Important to note I used the cement designed for ABS plastic!!!) instead of super glue, and with some cleaning up after the glue dries you should be able to get the halved edges to appear as a continuous piece. Again you can see that the details on the RRT frame are subtle and could be lost with too many, or too thick layers of paint.
For the UEDF models there is enough in the box to build a four VF squad with added VF-1S, and a squad of four Destroids. Now the Veritech Sprues, in my opinion, are much more detailed than the Zentradi minis, however they have more parts. Each Vertitech sprue contains the parts you would need to build a VF-1A, 1J, or 1S and has two styles of missiles and bombs in order to build your model with the upgrade options available on the Force Card. I'm not an export on the technology used to make plastic sprues such a these, but based on all the sets I have opened and built over the years some of the pieces shown as halves could have been easily included on the sprue as a single piece. Regardless of piece count I found the sprues to appear well detailed, with less subtle detail as the Zentradi minis.
The Veritech Fighter Sprue. I noticed that the location of the arms in fighter mode was out of scale with the Guardian and Battloid. The fighter's missile pieces were broken on a few of my sprues but not enough so that I can't build missiles on each plane, as long as I mix in the missile options on a few.
The Battloid sprue has two models per sprue, so you end up with an extra in the box. There are only two types of legs Straight and knee bent so it will take some creativity to have more than two poses. Unlike the legs the arms, guns, and hands have several options so you can easily create multiple gun and arm poses. One Detail that I noticed missing is the wing stripe, it is on the Veritech and Guardian, but not on the Battloid. Of all the model pieces the one that seems completely unecessary to be two pieces is the Battloid (and Guardian) forearm.
The Destroid Sprues Have fewer pieces split into two, mainly just the legs and open missile bay, and both could have been one piece. Overall the detail level is decent, not as subtle as the Zentradi, but not as nice as the Veritech Models. Be careful when removing the pieces or you may snap the gun barrels on the defender.
On to the Miscellaneous items:
1) Bases: The black plastic bases are pretty typical, and have arrows imprinted in them to show the facing of the model, and a tab at the back that can be used to mark squad numbers for identification during play.
2) Dice: Set of 12 purple with yellow pips and 12 white with red pips, and the army symbol in place of the number six. They are not as nice as a good marbled chessex set, but as an inclusion in the starter box they are good for those who want to be able to play without buying to many extras. I had one die that seemed to have been painted with two number fives, although the pips are indented correctly.
3) Blast Template: The template is a five inch blue plastic with recessed design on one face. The template is the same size and thickness as what Warhammer 40k uses, but the RRT template has a almost frosted finish that makes it a tad less transparent. The design makes the numbers on the template (used to determine scatter location) hard to see. Overall I like the look and feel of the template as compared to my 40k blast marker, but I will most likely paint in the numbers to read them easier.
4) Command tokens: Ten markers for each army are included. They are tiny clear plastic and my first impression is that I'm going to loose these real fast. I think the design team should have gone with thick color printed cardboard tokens similar to what Fantasy Flight uses for their board games, or Games Workshop used in their recent Space Hulk box.
5) Decals: I have never seen so many decals shoved into one small sheet. It's going to take some careful exacto knife cutting to isolate sections to use. However the variety and quality is very good.
6) Game Cards: The Game card for the Squadrons, add-ons, unit data, characters, and support squads look real good. The Stats and basic weapons are a separate card than the force cards, and it would have been nice to have the stats on each squadron card instead. Although the graphics are good the cards seem too thin and are not coated like standard playing cards, meaning they are not durable! I will be making scans/copies to use during games so I don't ruin the cards, not mention that the support/upgrade cards are too small and could be lost easily. Now you could always get clear sleeves to cover the cards to not only protect them, but so you can use dry erase markers, or they could be laminated. With regards to game mechanics unit cards are a good option for keeping track of your forces in play, and other systems use similar unit cards for keeping track of units.
Finally we come to the Rulebook. Now I will have a review of the rules coming soon, but for this review I looked at the book with regards to design and layout. I am impressed, this has to be the nicest book PB has every produced. The graphics, charts, text, and layout are clean, well thought out, and up to par with what Games Workshop and the other leading mini strategy games are producing. The artwork is excellent and this is pretty clear looking at the cover before you even crack open the book.
The Book lists the units for each option but I immediately noticed that squad and unit pricing is missing. It looks like the Design team expects the gamers to rely completely on the cards included in the box. So keep those cards safe, make copies!!!! Also the cards in the box are for the units included in the box, so i assume that unit cards for what's not included will come with the separate unit boxes. At first thought this seems like a glaring mistake, but as I think about a possible reason I hope that this is a way for PB to allow for new and different Unit options without having to change the Rulebook.
Painting Guide looks good, with options for various paint schemes. I believe the numbers represent a common color code used by many of the paint manufacturers, but this info may be hard to relate to a specific product. Obviously PB did not partner with a specific paint manufacturer, and personally I think this is smart. Each mini hobbyist has a preference for what they use and while PB is probably not wanting to spend the money to partner with a paint producer, at the same time they are not alienating the painter further by dictating which paint to use. For me the picture is good enough for me to choose what colors to use.
Well that's it for my review/unboxing. Overall I am very happy and impressed with the box and it's contents and I can't wait to get these bad boys on the table. With a quick calculation of what is included in the box you can play a 140-160 point game right out of the box, or build a simple 300 point malcontent army. The book suggests 300 points for the standard missions so out of the box you still need to grab some more units for a full sized army, unless you plan on using malcontents. The rule book does have introductory missions designed to teach the game with just what is included.
I'll have assembly reviews, Rules review, and painting guides coming in the future.
And as an added bonus, here is the first set of models I put together. I used testors plastic cement (It is Important to note that I use the Plastic Cement made for ABS plastic and not modeling glue or super glue, the others can damage the plastic) in order to melt the parts together to limit the seems, followed by a scraping with an exacto blade to cut away the flash, mold lines, and smooth out the edges where the pieces where glued together. I abandoned the large flight stand in preference for clear acrylic. Overall the models took a bit longer than similar models of the same size, however they look great finished.