In my last post, I covered some of the changes that Spartan Games has made to Firestorm Armada in its new, second edition release. Spartan is also releasing a whole series of revised models to refresh the product line along with the new edition. I was thinking about waiting until I had a selection of those models in my hands before posting anything, but it looks like it might be some time before I get a hold of any, so I am going to comment on the new Directorate battle station that came with my rulebook.
Last time, I included this photo as a teaser. It isn't always easy to see detail in a picture of unpainted resin, but Spartan has certainly continued to improve both their sculpts and their casting quality as they have advanced their game lines. The first series of ships they put out were cool, but the ones I have definitely had some casting issues, especially the Dindrenzi cruisers that came in my original fleet box.
This base is of much higher quality, and has much more detail on the
surface of the model. In a few places, I have to wonder if Spartan's
fiddly grids might actually make painting more of a chore, but I can't
fault the casting.
The main portion of the hull is cast in two big chunks of resin that have big, flat surfaces to glue together. It might have been nice to have some kind of locator pins, or other devices to help the modeler align the parts perfectly, but overall, they are simple and nice.
What is less nice is Spartan's new foray into (presumably laser-cut) acrylic parts for flat elements. These parts have none of the fine detail that shows up in their resin counterparts. This isn't a great surprise, given the nature of the material and how it is cut to shape, but it is a weakness, in my opinion. Worse, these parts are very brittle. I snapped two out of the five ribs for my model while cutting them free of their surrounding sprue. I was able to glue them back together, and brace them against the resin hull, but I fear that they could easily snap again during transport, or game play. If the break happens at a point that it is not braced by the resin, I do not think I will be able to repair it cleanly.
Overall, I would say that Spartan has raised their quality level a half step over the middle-era Firestorm Armada releases from 2012. Parts that were previously metal are now all made of either resin or acrylic. In the former case, I would say that they have maintained, or improved the resulting product. In the latter case, I will need to see more to be certain, but I remain skeptical.