Thursday, June 07, 2012

Product Review - Sabre Dropship from Rebel

I took advantage of Rebel Minis sale, last month, and picked up a couple more Sahadeen weapons teams as well as four more Vipers and a Sabre drop ship.  It was quite a bit of swag for not much money.

Image from Rebel Minis

Image from Rebel Minis
 I've reviewed the Sahadeen before.  I was not entirely complimentary.  The weapons teams, however, are some of the best sculpts in the line.  I really like them and was happy to add more.

The two on the left are fire support Mechs for the ARC troopers.  The two on the right are for the Sahadeen.

I've also reviewed the Vipers before and just love these things.  This time around I bought two of the missile armed variant, the Mk III, and one each of the Mk I and Mk II.  Two of these will go to the ARC troopers (the two on the left in the picture above).  The other two will go to the Sahadeen.

Now for the dropship.  

Product description:  The Saber dropship is an acceptable model.  It is smaller than I expected.  It would be comparable to a Blackhawk helicopter, carrying a squad.  The fuselage was bent and quite a bit of time with warm water didn't get me very far on fixing it.  In the end I had to glue it together with some warp still there.  I'll fill it with green stuff and hope it isn't too noticeable.  There are also some pretty obvious joins in other places which will need to be hit with some liquid green stuff to hide them.  Other than those issues, however, it went together easily and looks really good.

The kit comes with the main body, the tail, the wing section, four engine pods the troop compartment and the gatling gun.  It is obvious how everything goes together and there is a good fit on all of the pieces, except the troop pod, due to the above mentioned warp problem.

Style and Character - 8/10.  This looks like a helicopter fuselage with pods instead of rotors.  Having said that, it's styling is definitely not current or near future.  This doesn't look like an Osprey with the engines switched out.  It looks like a futuristic utility dropship.  It's perfect for battlefield circulation missions with an adequate ability to land in a defended LZ.

Production Value - 6/10.  The detail on this is not super sharp.  A lot of it is just barely visible.  The fit was very good and the only piece needing work was the main fuselage.  The problem with that is this piece is a big, chunky piece of resin and it really resisted being bent into shape.

The other issue is that the cargo/troop compartment has a big cut out in the front to allow it to lock into a tab on the fuselage.  This is much bigger than necessary.  It shows as a giant gap once glued on.  I had considered magnetizing this part so it could be switched out with the gunship weapon pods or left on the ground as a detachable cargo module.  In the end I didn't because it would take some work to make it look good and I need to get it on the table.  If I buy more of these I'll probably end up slapping some plastic card on the top and front so that I can have that option.

Assembly and conversion - 9/10.  This thing goes together very well.  Even with the warped fuselage all of the parts glued in place no problem.  I think there is a lot of scope for conversion.  It would be fairly easy to magnetize it and leave yourself with the option to add different weapons mixes on, in a gun ship version.  It would also not be hard to build in a cargo carrier module to pick up cargo containers and the like.

The main fuselage is detailed underneath, meaning that dropping the cargo module in game doesn't leave you with a funky looking ship where the cargo should be.  This is a nice touch and one that I appreciate.  Installation of a single rare earth magnet will leave you with almost limitless options.  The only reason this didn't get a ten is because of the warping on the fuselage.

Quality - 7/10.  This is a good, solid cast with almost no air bubbles.  The detail is clear, if not exceptionally sharp.  I did not have any issues with loss of detail due to casting issues.  The engine nacelles are metal.  A couple of minutes with a file had all four clear of mold lines and ready to go.  The base is also metal and seems to be solid enough to hold the model during game play.

It loses points for the crispness of the detail and for the warped resin fuselage.

Price and Service - 9/10.  The price is very reasonable, at $14.95 US.  This is even better value if you don't glue the troop module on and use this as a basis for carrying different modules.  Sadly I glued it together before I bought my containers, so didn't think it worth the time to magnetize.  When I buy a second one I'll rectify that mistake and take full advantage of it's versatility.

The service was, as always from Rebel, top notch.  I bought this during a sale and still had it in my hands in less than a week.  I can't recommend Rebel enough from the customer service standpoint.  They are just great.

Overall Score - 8/10.  This would be a bit higher, 9/10 except for that darn bent fuselage.  Still, 8/10 is not a bad score and really reflects the versatility of this model.  I'm going to have to pick up another one, just to magnetize and see what I can do with it.  In terms of conversion it seems to have more potential than many other models I'm looking at.

I recommend this model for anyone looking for a futuristic battlefield circulation vehicle.  With some magnets you can make yourself a model that will serve a multitude of purposes for a low price.

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