As promised, here’s my unboxing of the two starter sets I picked up as part of my Relic Knights Kickstarter.
I picked up two factions, the Shattered Sword, and the Noh. I have a thing for shields, so the Shattered Sword Paladins were right up my alley. I then wanted something that would clearly be different from the Paladins, so I went with the Noh, a race of crazy huge berserkers. These two factions also happen to have the primary colors of blue and red, so that’s handy.
Shattered Sword Paladins Starter Box
These Paladins revere a set of six warriors (The Six Peers) from long ago who realized that war is a huge waste of time and lives, and put down their swords in favor of peace and intelligent collaboration. So, unlike most paladins in other games, these guys aren’t out to do their god’s work, they’re simply policemen patrolling the galaxy, stopping wars. Violently, if need be.
What a bunch of stylish, well armored hypocrites!
First, I wanted to take a look at the tokens that came with the Starters.
These things easily outweigh the models by 2:1, and are made from a thick, transparent acrylic or plastic. They’re molded, not laser cut, and the various emblems are printed on, not etched. You get a good assortment, and they’re generic, which means you can use them for whatever you want – unit designations, effects, AOEs, whatever. The small ones (about the size of a 30mm base) are numbered 1-8 (along with the appropriate number of pips, so you don’t confuse 1 and 7 like I did at first), and you get a fair number of them, too: 6x of #1 & #2, 4x of #3 & #4, and 2x of the rest with three of the big ones (50mm) with the Esper / RK symbol.
Ok, onto the models!
They’re nicely detailed; here’s some of the components of a Paragon, the Shattered Sword’s heavy jump infantry. I love the big shield! (That’s his 40mm base for comparison) These guys are fielded solo or in pairs, and have some great movement shenanigans. Additionally, they have the Aegis rule, so when they are in between an enemy model firing on a friendly, the friendly takes 1 less damage. I didn’t take a picture of both, but you do get two different poses for your 2-man unit.
The detail is there on the smaller models, too. Note the feathers in the breastplate of the hawk-themed Questing Knight Francis Malory. The flash around the blade edge is typical for all the models. Some mold lines aren’t in good spots, as we’ll see later on. Others are hidden decently well or in easy spots like this.
Here are the Swordsworn, the faction’s cheapest infantry. My favorite part is the clear mix in gender (narrow torso = female, broad torso = male), as well as five unique sculpts. Since these can only be fielded in squads of up to 5, there are never duplicate sculpts in a squad! The bad news is that there are no assembly instructions, and very few 360-degree pictures of the RK models (yet), so figuring out which cape goes on who will be fun.
Click this image for a large scale version
More detail. Here’s a sword scabard for a Swordsworn, as well as a gun on a sling to put on one of the models. I have no idea who, but this thing is tiny. Stuff like this could have easily been left out or ignored for cost savings. The fact they’re here tells me SodaPop cared about the models.
Noh Starter Box
Much like the how the Shattered Sword are a diversion from the norm, these Berserkers are also different than the stereotypical “big, hungry ogre”. In fact, this faction is the token Holy Zealot faction. The Noh believe in a Hydra God, Nozuki, The Endless Hunger, (who has 9 heads and thus 9 aspects; thus their race has 9 interstellar fleets each named for and led by a Warlord). They go on slave runs to gather up sacrifices to their god, which they then kill whenever they want some good fortune. The males form the race’s warrior and leadership roles, despite the fact that the women have a stronger connection to their god, Nozuki. Another interesting bit about these guys: They have the fastest spaceships, because their god opens up portals to his realm (a demon world) and lets them effectively teleport where ever they want to go. They’re red and purple, they move incredibly quick, and their god is very, very hungry.
The beserkers here are the Noh “cheap” infantry, and can be fielded as singles or pairs. They’re on 50mm bases, so they’re huge! You get two poses: one with a mace and pointing finger, and another with a pair of nasty swords. Since you simply use abilities on the cards, rather than attacking with a specific weapon, I can see lots of conversion opportunities with these models that you can’t do with a stricter game like Warmachine.
Here is an example of a poorly placed mold line. Right across the shoulder, pectoral muscle and abdomen. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if these areas weren’t 100% curves. Also, it looks like the muscle is underfilled between the muscles (and it may be, I don’t have my second kit out yet to compare), but that’s also where this Berserker’s huge mane of hair ends up, so I’m inclined to think that it will be mostly hidden.
Thin bendy bits are bent. Luckily, we know how to fix minor issues like this.
The Noh’s Starter Questing Knight is Zineda, leader of the To fleet’s priestess cadre. She sits on a 40mm base, and is a rather complex model for being all one piece. She has a fairly small attachment point to her base, so that may require some extra scenery or cleverness in order to make her a little more stable.
The Noh Render was the only model without hige sprue bits on his attachment points, so I was actually able to semi-assemble him. He looks pretty good, eh? His gun fires a huge laser beam (30mm across, IIRC), and anything that beam touches takes damage, much like a flame/spray template would. Also, goggles!
Having read through the fluff and rules once now, I was really curious to see the Card Deck’s extras: The Initiate and Master Action cards, and the Scenario cards. Most models are an Initiate in at least one flavor of Esper, so they get access to a few abilities special to that Esper type. Some of the more powerful models are Masters in an Esper type, and get access to a few abilities beyond those the Initiates get. Since these actions are universal across the entire game, they’re referenced in the back of the rulebook, and on these handy full color cards, which will be a handy asset while playing the game, since I’m not a huge fan of having to reference other places to know everything my models do (one of my main gripes about the structure GW uses in their 40k Codeces).
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the models. They have a fair bit of flash to clean up, and the material choice means most of the fine detail will be shallow (filigree, facial features, etc). I love the fact that the units are 100% unique sculpts – that’s awesome. The fact that you get a mini rulebook, deck, tokens and models in the starter is amazing as well. All you need is a tape measure and an opponent and you’re good to go! You can’t beat that.
I’m not sure which of my two starters I’ll be working on first. Each box is about 30 points worth of models, so they only need a small bump to get to the smallest suggested game size of 35. For the Paladins, this would be a full 3-man unit of Purifiers, small based second-line healers / buffers. For the Noh, I can’t find any 5-point options save a single Beserker model which isn’t very cost effective considering you get two for 8 instead. So, I was considering buying 5 points worth of boosts – deployable AOEs that affect your units.
If you went in on the Relic Knights Kickstarter, or if you’re thinking about buying a Starter now that they’re in stores, what faction(s) are you interested in? Why?
If you’ve read the rules or fluff, what did you think?
Which of these two Starter Sets are you more interested in seeing painted and fielded?