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Monday, July 6, 2015

Star Wars Armada - Terrain for Armada by Space-Rocks Review

If you couldn't tell, we're pretty well smitten by Star Wars Armada right now! The game looks beautiful on the table... except for those boring, flat terrain tiles! Effectively utilizing the terrain is a big part of Armada, so they're an absolute necessity, but I yearned for something that popped more than cardboard tokens!

Then my friend John Brock introduced me to, a site that has a wide offering of eye candy for your tabletop - mostly targeted at X-Wing players. However, they've recently introduced their first Armada offering, which provides 3D versions of the core set terrain tiles.

Now, before I go on with my review, let me get two things out of the way. #1 - We are not affiliated with Space Rocks, and these were not provided for review - although Mike did generously offer after I had contacted him! But I was impatient and had already ordered by then!). #2 - Mike has offered listeners of Intensify Forward Firepower a discount code! Enter "IFF2015" at checkout to get 10% off your order! That offer is good through the end of July.
On with the review! What's in the box? You get exactly what you see above. 6 clear, laser cut bases, 2 debris fields (7 total pieces from destroyed versions of the core set ships), 6 asteroids for the 3 asteroid tiles, and a beautiful space station!

The models come painted as above. More than acceptable for the tabletop, though most players may want to touch them up a bit - more on that later! For $53 USD, with free international shipping, I was quite happy with my purchase. Please note that it took roughly three weeks from ordering to my door. Space Rocks is wildly popular and these are hand-painted so have a bit of patience! No problem with me, I'm a patient dude.

Now, the material is a bit different than I expected. I'm not entirely sure what it is, but it's lighter weight than the resin I expected. That's no problem - it cuts on shipping and ensures the pieces don't topple on the board. Now, that isn't to say the pieces aren't hefty. They feel quite durable. The asteroids seem to be made of styrene. They're very light, but with the texture applied to them I'm not worried about them holding up to the rigors of gaming.

The little docking arms on the station came fairly warped (see picture above). They feel like some sort of soft plastic, and it took me all of two minutes to reshape them. I held the bent pieces under some hot water from the tap for a few seconds, and it became quite malleable. I then quickly pulled them into shape and held them while the plastic cooled.

The debris is easily my favorite part of the set! They look like hulks of ships destroyed in a previous battle fresh out of the box... but I knew I wanted them to look freshly destroyed! More on that in a bit!

 More debris.

 I actually didn't wind up doing anything else to the asteroids- they look quite nice as is!

 The cuts of the bases are a perfect match for the cardboard.

The asteroids and debris are not permanently fixed to the stands so you can switch it up, but they do fit fairly snugly.

 Getting the most out of your debris!
As I said, they work fine out of the box, but I wanted to paint mine up a bit. I'm also lazy, so I didn't spend too long! You too can achieve these effects very quickly! For the VSD, I simply drybrushed Vallejo Sky Grey over parts of the hull, then picked out panels using Folk Art Dark grey (a cheap hobby acrylic).

For the Corvette and Nebulon I used the same Sky Grey, and Americana "Light Buttermilk" (also a cheap hobby acrylic).  I was quite liberal with the drybrushing, but it worked pretty well. Finally, I used Vallejo "Flat Red" for the markings on the Rebel debris.

 I didn't do much to the station besides a dryrbrush with Sky Grey over the whole model to lighten it up. I plan to add some splashes of color to it, but wasn't ready to commit to anything yet! Any suggestions? Let me know!

Next, I sprayed the bases and stands black to match my Armada ship bases. Finally, I carefully marked holes on my second set of core set tiles and drilled holes in them to fit on the top of the terrain bases. I wasn't 100% accurate on all of them, but it's close enough for me.

Finished space station (After taking this picture I noticed the slight bend in that arm and ran it under some hot water to fix it - no problem).

 Finished debris.

 More debris.


 The completed set.

Advanced techniques on the debris.
Finally, I decided I wanted the debris to look freshly destroyed! This was achieved using Vallejo flat red, a bright orange hobby acrylic, and vallejo deep yellow.

To recreate the effect, just paint red around places where the ship might still be smoldering. Particularly around large holes or tears in the hull.

Next, paint your orange on the inner part of the red so that the edges are still red.

Finally, add dabs of yellow over some of the orange bits.
Voila! Some awesome looking debris!

Finally, here's some pics from a recent game:

In Conclusion
By now it's obvious I'm a big fan of this product. I think it was really all my tabletop needed to make Armada pop. For $53 USD (less than that with your 10% discount code using "IFF2015" through July 2015!) I'm more than happy. Out of the box it's pretty great, but with just a little bit of extra effort you can really get the most out of it!

I've now spoken with Mike about his excellent product and he assures me there are some awesome things coming down the pike for Armada, and you can count on us to review it for you here!

REVIEW ADDENDUM: Mike has informed me that the method used for packing the Space Station has changed since I received my order. The new method has been introduced to keep the space station arms from getting warped in transit. He also informed me they have changed the paint on the station since my order, and they are now going out much brighter than they were initially. -July 6, 2015.

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