Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Thought I'd do a 'first look' review of the new 6mm Sci-Fi items recently released by Angel Barracks, having today received a bulging Jiffy bag within three day of ordering - great service as usual!
I had been looking forward to the release of the OKI walls set, as well as the new vehicles, at the same time as catching up by having a look at the excellent cargo containers that were available previously.
Michael at the Barracks has done a good job of describing and detailing his recent product developments in various places on the web, so much so that I feel even the most demanding gamer/collector will have been catered for - this is not the kind of manufacturer where you will have to struggle to find measurements, comparison shots or close-up photos of the products, as well as a straightforward purchasing process - and that is not even to mention both the quality and fresh designs of the minis themselves - truly a class act!
The items that I ordered were well protected when sent, and certainly did not disappoint in the flesh - no flash, casting irregularities or problems to speak of, and great proportions and clarity of sculpting all round.
The new OKI walls are in a smooth matt resin finish, and are particularly crisp - with a really close fit between all the component parts once you place them together. The containers are similarly well made, with doors at one end - the framework edging appearing smooth to contrast with the matt panels of the sides.
The vehicles, in this instance the Camel MPV and the MS1 Pathmaster, are absolutely lovely - great concepts and realisation, and I think extremely competitively priced given their quality.
We see below the two components of the Pathmaster, along with the weapon and sensor accessories, which slot cleanly and purposefully into place - the MLRS unit has an integral 'tilt' in the design, so that it looks ready to fire - a small detail, but an illustration of the thought that went into these - note also in the foreground the tow bar / umbilical link that comes with the vehicle components - this could easily get overlooked if you open the packet too enthusiastically!
This bar fits smoothly into two corresponding holes on the underside of the vehicles - like I said, a class act.
The weapon and sensor equipment is as well cast as the chassis themselves, and their mounting is straightforward - a recess on the Command Module, and with a small plate shim on the Pathmaster - all goes together smoothly, and of course means that you could vary the weapons fit as you might desire - plenty of space to put in your own ideas.
The Camel is of identical quality, detail being clean and finely cast - there is a space above the central portion that would allow the addition of more sensors or equipment, as well as the mounting spine of perhaps an antenna at the rear - a pin drill and some wire and it would be easy to personalise the vehicle.
Two in the pack also means excellent value, given how expensive Sci-Fi vehicles can be across the board.
Basing-wise, if that is a route you prefer, 50x20mm for the Camel and 70x20mmm for the Pathmaster would be quite adequate.
Moving on to the OKI walls - these are again going to have to attract some superlatives from me - these are not afterthoughts or contemporary ones scaled down, but rather freshly realised designs that are both simple and elegant - they ooze 'Futuristi-cality' (yes, it is a word, or at least it was since I made it up...), and have a lovely ergonomic curve to the outside face.
What is also impressive, and something that could have been overlooked by a weaker designer - is that the connecting 'corners' follow the same design and are beautifully and smoothly whole, ensuring that it all fits together nicely and in proportion.
I have to admit that I am sucker for a good cargo crate in a Sci-Fi setting, and any set-up that lacks them just doesn't look right to my eye - from Drop-ship pods via the cargo unit of a Space 1999 Eagle transporter, to well, anything painted Hazmat yellow with a radioactivity sign on it - it just has to feature - and these units are spot on.
The plain panel sides would allow for a number of different identities/employments through differing colour schemes, and perhaps the only complaint is that there isn't a half-sized version - just one 'cell' as it were - to add to the loveliness!
Finally an overall shot with a large MHU and some other bits inside to get an idea of the whole - a ground footprint for the compound would be around 180mm wide by 130mm deep, with the wall heights easily encompassing vehicles and the housing units and containers, which by the way stand some 18mm high by 40mm in length.
As you might have guessed by reading the above, I don't really have anything negative to say about these, or indeed any of the existing range - my only concern would be to hope that we see more, more, and more of the same!