My name is Bob and I'm mainly a warhammer 40k player though I also play a bit of Napoleonics, ancients and recently a WWII aircraft game. I used to play Warhammer fantasy and have been in the hobby for about 14 years. You can see some of my 40k works over on my blog http://spacesharks40k.wordpress.com/
Anyway, onto the initial reaction review....
The reason I bought these models from wargames factory is to use as part of a soon to be Imperial guard allies force for my space sharks. They cost me £15 from ebay. Therefore my review will be from the perspective of using these models are part of a 40k army. I'll keep it simple and go for the pros and cons and then comment on the value. I'll see if my reactions change once I've actually assembled and painted them.
- The box
I know his might sound stupid but once I've made the models this box will be sturdy enough to use with some foam to transport some minis in it. It's useful to have a few little boxes around for carrying that extra vehicle or model that won't fit in your case. It's certainly more sturdy than the GW boxes. The art work is quite nice and there are a few pics of the models you get on the side. Another nice touch (yes I know I'm sad) is that the box is sealed with little stickers that have the wargames factory logo on them. It's a small thing but it adds to the overall excitement of opening the box and getting at your new toy.
- The humble company
Let me explain. On the back of the box they thank you for buying their product and ask for your feedback. I know it's easy to write something on the back of a box but without being too cynical it's nice to be appreciated and for a company to genuinely want to improve and listen to it's customers (here's looking at you games workshop!).
- Spare bits
These days getting bits for the bits box is taken for granted with a lot of GW kits. This kit is designed to make three weapons teams and two commanders i.e. 8 guys and some guns. You get 4 torsos on each sprue and 8 heads on the main sprues. As you can see you'll end up with a fair few spare bits, not to mention various pouches, arms and other gubbins. I think the spare bodies would be good for tank commanders poping out of the top hatch of a tank. The models also come with all the bases you need which isn't always the case with 3rd party models. The kit also comes with enough guns to make 3 mortars, 3 lascannon equivelents, 3 heavy bolter or auto cannon type guns and 3 rocket launchers so if you pad this set with more figures you can get a good number of heavy weapons out of it.
- Good detail
Whilst they may not be as detailed as GW stuff, they are detailed enough for me (hell I sculpt and cast my own models so I can hardly be a snob about detail). There is variety in the torso design, several head designs My favourite is the chest with armour that looks like it's a bomb disposal unit vest. I also like the double barrelled machine gun, each barrel having four barrels of it's own!
- Some design fails
There are a few components here that frankly look dumb. The two officers heads have oversized hats (see picture below). Fortunately there's enough other spare heads that I can just swap them out. The arms of the commanders are also a bit weedy by comparison to the normal troopers. A couple of the basic trooper heads have a kind of weird long face mask I don't care for. I've seen a comment elsewhere that laser cannon type gun is a bit boxy and I can't really disagree.
- No real instructions
I say no real instructions because there are a basic set i.e. clip from frame, clean, glue, paint. Though I usually ignore the instructions on GW infantry models some of the guns in this kit look complicated and are multi part so some instructions would have been helpful.
This kit cost me £15. The GW equivelent costs £24 on thier site - so maybe £20-22 at somewhere with a discount. That's a £5 saving and I get two extra commander type models as well. Admittedly the GW kit contains one more gun variant than this one does. I think that the £5 (almost £10 at full retail) saving makes these a pretty good value as an alternative to GW as you get pretty much the same amount of stuff in each kit but this one is cheaper. Are they good value in and of themselves? I think yes they are. You get 8 models with 12 guns and accessories so they're less than £1 a piece which seems pretty good value to me.
Overall i'm very happy with my purchase (or rather Christmas present purchase). I like the effort of the company, the quantity of stuff and for the most part the appearance of the models. Best of all is a low price. Based on my first impressions I'd recommend these models as a good alternative to GW minis either for IG or some form or Chaos army using IG allies if your looking for a cheaper alternative and don't mind looking outside of GW.