I have to start off with a quick apology - the holidays ended up being a bit draining on me, and I just couldn't get anything written up (I do have some different islands I want to compare, but they are still sitting in their bags :-( ).
However today I got a nice box from Mantic with the fantastic new Dwarf Starter Fleet for Armada! (I have more on order (not directly from Mantic) that I hope will be here soon.
The starter fleet has the upgrade and fleet rule cards - two of each. Like the other factions, they have 2 standard upgrades, 1 magical upgrade and two captains that are specific to the fleet (I particularly like that one of the captains is Gruffydd Egilax - I believe the brother of Sveri Egilax, the hero from Kings of War). Like the orcs they have two cards of special rules for the fleet.
Of course, what are dwarfs without ale and master engineers, though my favorite are the Ironwatch marines (however you will have to buy them yourself to find out what they do until Mantic decides to release these in some other format (like say an on-line fleet building program that would be easy to use, hint hint hint)).
There is also a card for each ship - GrimmStone (medium size main ship), RuneAxe (medium size main ship), and Thunderer (small size support ship). Mantic has already mentioned in their blog that the Dwarfs do not have any Large or Tiny ships - but the grimmstone is just as powerful (and expensive) as most fleets large ships, so no worry there.
The grimmstone comes with 4 sprues - the main body, two sets of side guns, and two fore/aft guns (one of mine was broken from the sprue). I could not find any difference between the GS1 and GS2 sprues - I suspect they only have two numbers as it may make it easier to identify missing parts than if they had 2 GS1 sprues.
The runeaxe is also a medium ship, just slightly smaller than the grimmstone (and with fewer guns). It also has a separate prow - because I believe there is a named version with a different prow in the booster box (I don't have it yet to make sure).
The thunderer is a small support ship - with a big mortar on the front. It has two small side cannons.
The dwarf ships are very simple to put together. The vents for the ship bodies are a little bit (hard to get your clippers around), but these don't seem to have the sanding issues that many of the ships in the initial release did.
One thing I like in particular is there are slight divots inside the holes where the guns are mounted, with corresponding tabs on the guns - so you can properly orient them. I found when I was assembling some of the Orc ships that I wasn't sure which side of the gun was up (which was fitting for orc ships built and maintained by goblins, but not for dwarfs).
The smaller guns also have small divots on the top of the ship with matching tabs so you can see which way to put them as well.
Since all the dwarf ships have engines instead of sails (with helps in game as well), it is nice that you can assemble them completely before painting (where it is much easier to paint sails separately from the ships), so that you can start using them even before you have painted them (if you dared to use unpainted minis that is :-) ).
So fully assembled ships
The Fury and Hunter are in the booster fleet (and the Dreadnaught isn't coming out until later this year with the other XL ships).
These should be quite easy to paint up as well, being all metal. I've already started with an army painter Platemail metal primer to give me a jump on things.
Because it is all fun and games . . .
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