Sedition Wars: A Good Deal for the Patient Modeler

I recently stumbled across one of the biggest bargains in miniatures today: Sedition Wars, Battle for Alabaster. The boxed game can regularly be found for 60% to 70% off, making it a fantastic deal for a box full of Studio McVey miniatures, and oh yeah -- the box also happens to come with a game.

However, as you'll see, I had to overcome a few hurdles to get the most out of these models.

In this review, I'll focus on the Vanguard troopers (the human faction), as I split the box with fellow club member Tim, and he got the other figures.

I have little interest in the game itself, and I plan to use the miniatures as the military forces of the Maersk-Tesla Corporation, a faction in our club's Galactic Frontier homebrew sci-fi setting.

To that end, they have been painted in a scheme similar to my Necromunda Van Saar gang, which also serves double duty as a Maersk-Tesla survey team. I ended up with a number of scenic bases from the Sedition Wars box set, but I set those aside and based up the Vanguard troopers on the same Champ Industries plastic bases as the Van Saar.

The Vangaurd Faction includes 22 models, 17 of which are variations on the basic trooper in four different sculpts.

Here's the male trooper with rifle.

These guys have shoulder joints that protrude much farther back than they should when you attach the arm/gun piece. Rectifying this required shortening the back of the shoulder pad and carving away a bit of the underarm area on the body.

Here is the male trooper with support weapon.

This one went together pretty easily without much trimming. I got two of these figures, both with the gun on the left. The figure on the right is converted with an optional flamethrower bit from my bits box.

Here's the female trooper with helmet and rifle.

The female trooper comes in two poses: one helmeted and one bare-headed. Unfortunately, the connection between right elbow and upper arm is not a perfect one. A bit of sanding to the upper arm helps, but unless you want to sculpt every elbow joint, I recommend a nice thick gel superglue to fill the join. This is annoying, but it looks OK when finished.

Here's the female bare-headed trooper with rifle

 
The bare-headed female trooper has the same assembly issue as the helmeted trooper.

Here we have a couple female troopers with special weapons.

As well as rifle arms, the female troopers include four special weapons: two plasma guns and two grenade launchers. I wish they had included at least two more rifle arms as an option, but there are no extra guns included. The special weapons arms can be used with the either the helmeted or bare-headed troopers, and both unfortunately have the same elbow issues.

So, the full roster of Vanguard troopers came out as follows.

  • 5 males with rifles 
  • 2 males with heavy weapons 
  • 5 bare-headed females 
  • 5 helmeted females 

Six of the females have a rifle, and four of the females have a special weapon of some type.

The Bad News
As noted, the joins between the bodies and arm/weapons on most miniatures don't meet exactly. This isn't the end of the world, but I can see how it would be massively frustrating to someone without much gaming experience (Sedition Wars was marketed as a board game, after all). This is a major failing when you consider that most minis consist of just two pieces.

The real kick in the teeth, though, are the mold lines. They aren't huge, but every miniature has them, and they're awkward to remove.

Mold lines are an expected part of plastic miniatures, but the issue here is that these figures are made of the sprue-less plastic material (aka restic, plastic-resin, etc) that many companies are using these days to save money.

This plastic cannot be scraped or filed or assembled with plastic solvent glue. All cutting must be done using a sharp knife (use a new blade), superglue is required to attach the pieces. Consequently, the removal of mold lines is a very long and sometimes frustrating task -- far more difficult and time consuming than with resin, metal, or polystyrene.

It took me noticeably longer to clean up a two-piece Vanguard miniature than to to clean-up and assemble a multi-piece Games Workshop infantry model.

The Good News
The sculpts themselves look great. They're a step above any of the other bargain-priced lines of sci-fi troopers. Studio McVey premium sculpts (some of the identical models) will set you back $8 to $15 each when bought individually in metal or resin.

Once properly assembled, these Vanguard troopers look almost as good. The style is crisp, the details are very well done and the design work is great. The figures are an example of the shiny sci-fi aesthetic seen in games like Infinity (where these figures would work as excellent proxies).

For those willing to put in the time and frustration, the opportunity to pick up McVey sculpts for around 50 cents each is too good to pass up.

My Overall Impressions
I really did not enjoy assembling these models, but I can't deny that they look great when done. The crisp sculpting and excellent detail made my speed painting style (block colors and a dip) look pretty darn good.

At this low price, I'm even considering buying another batch just to get more rifle-toting troopers. I might try some head swaps to add a bit of variation.

To be clear, I would never pay the original $90 retail price for this set. At that price, I expect better miniatures with less issues. However, at $25-30 for 50 figs, 50 scenic bases and a playable game, my calculations are completely different.

Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster offers the patient and experienced modeler a chance to get great looking figures at a superb price.

After I finish a large terrain project, I'll be back with the last five Vanguard minis from this set: four characters and a robot drone.

-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member


5 responses to “Sedition Wars: A Good Deal for the Patient Modeler

  1. I read a few articles when this came out describing these kind of issues, it's a real pity there was quality issues with the final product, otherwise sedition wars might have made a much bigger impact… I think a lot of people (including myself) were put off.

  2. Good review and article. My copy of SW (and all the stretch goal extras) is collecting dust until I gather the time and courage to tackle it. Thanks for the nudge.

  3. Thanks folks, glad you enjoyed the article.
    I do agree that the issues encountered did likely lead to the stagnation of the game. When one puts down 90 bucks for a game associated with McVey, certain expectations exist, and those just weren't met.

    However, I still think at the current price it's a bonanza for the experienced modeler.

    Karl, CSW member

  4. Brief Update:
    I've since gone ahead and ordered two more copies of the game. I actually broke even on both sets, by selling off the strain and some other game parts. Two more sets of Vanugaurd and I've got enough of the bases to rebase my Blood Angels (someday…). I've even cleaned up most of the figs, but they've not been assembled or painted as I've been preparing for Adepticon.

    There's a fair amount of Deadzone Rebs assembled and waiting for paint, so when I get them all done I'll do a big post filled with painted plasti-resin.
    Til Then,
    -Karl

  5. Final Update. I cleaned up and assembled the rest of the last Vanguard. Ended up having Tim paint them in exchange for some 10mm buildings. Now I've got 51 Vanguard troopers.

    As for the character figs, one set has been traded away, one is almost finished being painted in the same method as above. Not sure about the last set, at least two might become Necromunda Van Saar. All 3 of the gun drones will be painted as above.

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