Sometimes, bigger is better

While the common joke is that size doesn't matter - sometimes you just need to go big or go home.  In Armada, the size of the ship dictates the everything about the ship - the firepower it can bring to bear, the crew strength for boarding actions, the amount of damage it can take before being crippled or sunk (and corresponding, the point cost).

So for those admirals that want something more, Mantic has just released the XL ships for the first wave of Armada.

Let's start off with the Basilean Dictator.

This model has two variants - the base Dictator and the unique "Hegemon's Fury".  

The difference is in the poop deck (ok, quit snickering you in the back row).  The poop deck actually gets it's name from the French word for stern (which is the rear of the boar) - "le poupe" from the Latin Puppis.  So the poop deck is the stern deck - which is usually elevated as the roof of the stern or "after" cabin, also known as the "poop cabin."

It is a bit confusing, starting with the box.  The picture uses the simpler deck, and the inset on the back shows the fancier one.  However the cards are just the opposite.  They only have top down views, so it is hard to see which is actually which, but on them the unique ship has the simpler poop deck.

But just to add to the confusion, in the book, the picture of the dictator is the simpler poop deck.

However, it doesn't really matter unless you decide to field both in your fleet, in which case just pick one and stick with it.

You could always magnetize them, however since they fit down at the waterline, if you texture your base then it may be difficult to fit them in and out (not to mention having to remove the big 'tooth' in the middle to attach them together.

The fancier poop deck - and I'm calling this the Hegemon's Fury

The plain dictator poop deck

(Ok, as I write this out, I guess these are just the stern, not the poop deck - as that is already the huge cathedral that doesn't change.  But then I'm never one to let accuracy spoil a good joke!)

Wings for the Hegemon's Fury stern

bow wings

This one is taller than all the others - which means it won't fit in the cases I am using. 

Some size comparisons - vs the Abbess

And the Kingdoms of Men Warmonger (i.e. a Warlord Games 3rd Rate)

Of course the orcs are not to be outdone - piling more and more stuff making a veritable floating junkyard with the Ripper Hulk

This has the exact same issue as the Dictator - however a Ripper Hulk has an IW cannon on the front (vs the Maul with has 4C guns), so it seemed that the big gun made more sense.

What is interesting with the Maul[1] is that it has these huge grinding gears on the bow, but doesn't have the Ram(n) rule, so can never actually use them.  oops!

The sails are all two piece.  Instead of having the masts and sails separate like the other orc ships, the masts are molded to the sails, giving them more stability.  

The problem I've found is that the top and bottom halves of the sails are not marked, to indicate which goes with which.  I'm not sure if you can mix any (they do not seem to be identical), but is seems to me that they go together as follows
  • ORH4 & ORH7
  • ORH5 & ORH8
  • ORH6 & ORH9

and comparing it to the Smasher

Next we have the Dwarf Dreadnought

One thing I noticed is that the cards pictured on the back of the box actually have colored guns, while on the actual cards all the guns are black.

There is no variant here, as the unique ship for the dwarfs is a variant of the Medium RuneAx

One note - the port fin on the crown in the bow was broken off in my package, but still there.  I just glued it back on without any real issue.

Of course it couldn't be this easy - we now have 8 guns with no indication of where they go.  The other 4 canons go in the squares on the deck.

These guns all fit in specific places - so I marked where they all go.  The first pair (from left to right, with the sprue id up) go in the bow

The next pair on either side just behind the bow

The third pair fit in the LARGER square hole on the cabin, flush with the deck, between the two paddle wheels.

The final two fit in the smaller hole in the cabin, in front of the paddle wheels.

And that is it.

Finally is the Empire of Dust Monolith.

Again, hard to tell which is which.  I decided to go with the simpler pyramid, both because it is simpler and for quality issues (see below).

I didn't notice it until later, but he wings on behind the poop deck have the tips broken off both of them.  I trimmed the piece remaining to give it more of a point and I doubt it will be noticeable, but it is there.

Mantic's resin casting department does an excellent job, and this is really the first time I've had truly significant issues.  The two variants are distinguished by the pyramid in the center - which has a small border on it.

For one, the border was completely broken off - still attached to the sprue while the rest was not.

The other pyramid had a big chunk missing off of the front.  However when I went to clip it off the sprue, the border broke off in three pieces.  I think this has to do with the placement of the vents - so when you clip them off you put extra pressure on this thin lip.   I appreciate attempting to hide the vents, but this failed.

I felt the missing corner was a bigger issue, especially since it was where one of the statues was supposed to go, so used the other one.  This is truly a minor issue overall, and will be hard to notice after the model if painted if you aren't looking for it.

So four Extra Large ships taking to the seas of Panithor.  What is next for Armada enthusiasts - how about going small instead.  I have already started to see some pre-orders for the new Armada supplement, which will include the new flyers - two for each faction.  These are all on the tiny bases (30mm x 30mm) and look to add a lot of new options (not to mention the new magic cards).  Plus that also means new fleets are on their way (and these fleets will include the XL and Fliers when they are released).  

Also, if you just wanted one more Boomboat for your Orc fleet (and who doesn't), you can now order individual ships from the Mantic Web site.

Because it is all fun and games . . .