Friday, August 15, 2014

To Repaint or Not to Repaint...

There will always be a debate among hard core Star Wars and Star Trek fans as to which property is better, while the rest of us simply enjoy the differences. Until a particular ‘fan’ tried to impose his own preference on me, I hadn’t really thought of one as better than the other. Of course, at the time there were only the Original Series episodes of Star Trek and the Original Motion Picture, while Star Wars had its first two movies and the made for TV Christmas Special. Clearly at that juncture Star Trek was the king of TV while Star Wars was superior at the box office. Since then, the addition of new series, movies, cartoons, video games, and extended fiction has only muddied the water. This debate has seeped into the gaming community for years as well, especially in video and role playing games.

(This logo was unceremoniously ripped off of

Enter Fantasy Flight and Wizkids. Each acquired to rights to a major property and worked their existing rules to fit. Fantasy Flight produced the X-Wing miniature game, leaning heavily on their previous Wings of War engine, while Wizkids produced Star Trek models using their patented ‘Clix’ mechanic.
The trouble was, for most miniature gaming fans, the clearly superior product was definitely X-Wing. The rules were reworked from a WWI/WWII fighter game, which worked very well for Tie Fighter vs X-Wing style. Wizkids, however, used a system that had been designed for ground combat and that worked reasonably well for their dungeon crawler and super hero games. From personal experience, though, the rules didn't work well for ship to ship combat… at all. I bothered to collect some of the miniatures, simply because it wasn't easy to find relatively cheap, small models of that many Star Trek ships.
Finally, Wizkids came to the same realization as gamers had previously. They engaged Fantasy Flight and licensed their X-Wing rules. There were some small changes to make it fit the Star Trek universe as well as some different emphases in order to reflect capitol ship battles, rather than fighter skirmishes. Overall it worked well and those of us who play have been fairly satisfied with the results.
Of course, now that the rule sets are so similar, we have to re-enter the debate of Star Trek vs Star Wars. For myself, the main reason I got into Star Trek Attack Wing was monetary. See, when I buy the Enterprise, I only ever want one… When I buy and A-Wing I want as many as I can get my hands one. The trouble is, they cost the same. In the end I will be spending a lot less on Attack Wing than I would on X-Wing.  There are also some faction issues, where with X-Wing you basically either play Rebel or Imperial, with Attack Wing there are four fully fleshed out factions (Federation, Klingon, Romulan, and Dominion), some neutrals, and some smaller factions, like the Borg and Bajoran forces, that are currently being added to. Some people, myself included, like the variety and it’s a little bit theme breaking to come to a tournament only to face your own faction. That can happen in Attack Wing, of course, but depending on how the tournament is set up, it could happen 50% or more of the time with X-Wing.
However, one of the big complaints is that the Wizkids models just don’t look as good as the Fantasy Flight miniatures. This is what I want to address here, especially for the hobbyist who is used to cleaning, modding, and painting their miniatures.

As you can see from this picture, there are some issues with the models. There are mold lines and flaws where the model came off the sprue. There is actually very little paint on the model. This green is the colour of the plastic itself. Compared to the X-Wing models, the Attack Wing models honestly look more like toys than miniature.
For those of us who are serious miniature gamers, though, that shouldn't be a problem. Part of the appeal of the ‘wing’ games is that they are playable right out of the box. No real assembly, no gluing, no painting, etc. But if you want your fleet to look it’s best, doing a little work on the models can really pay off. Scrape those mold lines off with a hobby knife or small file, prime it, paint it, and you've got something you can be proud of putting on the table. I've even seen some online examples of players ripping off engines in order to place them more accurately. Adding some authentic details with Green Stuff should also be a breeze for the experts out there. With just a little attention, you’ll wow your opponents and maybe even grab the attention of new prospective players, adding to the community.

This is an example of my two Vor’cha class Klingon ships side by side. One was left alone, while the other was primed with Army Painter Angel Green primer, layered ad highlighted with Army Painter Army Green, washed with Army Painter Soft Tone ink, and detailed with a little Army Painter Pure Red mixed with the Soft Tone ink to darken and dull it a bit. The red markings were taken from several screen shots of ‘actual’ Klingon ships, but don’t reflect a specific vessel.
This is really encouraging me to go forward with a few more repaints. Looks like the next might be the new Defiant I just picked up! (Like I really need more projects to take on though, eh?)

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