2012/07/24

The Dust of summer

12 years ago while browsing the web, I came across a site that caught my eye called Dust.  This was an amazing site of an alternate reality WWII , with German Rocket Troops, armored Grunts,walking tanks and overall amazing illustrations.
   For some years I was in awe of the things come out of Paolo Parenre's Dust site. 1/35th scale figures and then 1/35th scale Walking Tanks.  I had SO wanted to game something like this.  Unfortunately, the price for these kits and the scale precluded me from such a venture.

  Cut to 2011, I'm browsing a game store in a small town in Northern Alberta thinking I'll not find anything here.  As I turned the isle, I came across a HUGE box with, what appeared to be... walking tanks.  Walking over I saw the box cover with that much forgotten name, DUST!  I stood in awe of what was before me.  I watched the brief video playing from a small t.v. advertising all the newly released board/ mini games.  On the screen I watched  two gents measuring and moving the miniatures included in the box set.  It must have been obvious, my drooling over this set, as the shop keep walked up and said "do you want to see what's inside?".  Shaking my head like a child looking for the ULTAMITE toy, I was lead to a case with all the contents of the DUST TACTIC's core set.  The miniatures were amazing, the walkers looking magnificent and the infantry looking stunning.  I asked the sales clerk the price.  He countered $150.00.  My giddy smile dropped to a frown as alas $100 was all I had brought with me.  I told the shop keep I would be back in a week to pick up the set.  The week came and went and I returned to that store with the $200 to buy that set.  As always, fate stuck her big nose in and the set had been bought.  I went about my life, busy with work and totally forgetting this set until June 2012

June 11, 2012 I was heading off to work for a midnight shift.  Driving through Selkirk Mb, fate cast her die again with ones being the result.



The vehicle was knocked on it's side, with my arm going through the drivers window and me having to climb out the passenger door.  I went to the hospital with a cut on my elbow and a bit of pain in my back and hips.  The Doc gave me an Aok but took me off work for 5 day's because of my hips and back.  5 days later I was still laid up in bed and walking like an 80 year old with 2 hip  and knee replacements.  Upon a visit to my family doctor I got the diagnosis, pulled and bruised soft tissue in my back, buttocks and groin area.  With a sick note taking me off work for 2 months I was stuck wondering what to do for the summer.  Browsing some online game stores I once again came across Dust.  Thinking the summer would suck just lying on the couch playing Xbox 360 I though, a new project would be great and painting involves no lower back or hip movement and that brings us to my review of Dust tactics.

This review will cover the Revised box set.  I will review many other Dust Tactics miniatures over the next while, as well as review the Dust Warfare rule set.

So what's in the box?


Upon opening the box, one is provided with a rule book, a scenario book, 2 walkers, 2 boxes of infantry, mini data cards, dice, some terrain features, terrain tiles and some maps.

The box contents.

The Dust tactics rule set has 27 pages all devoted to the rules.  As the rules have been reviewed by others, and I will be using the Dust warfare rules, I won't comment on them.



The "Victory Bridge" campaign book has 7 scenario all geared towards the Allies defending the Cobden bridge, a strategic pass to Southampton.  Also included is a brief history of the world of Dust and write-ups of all the units included in the set.

 The scenario book.

 The map sheets are a fare size, about 1 meter by 75cm's, are double sided and are pretty robust.


 The unit cards. Basically every unit has a stats card noting their faction, movement, armor type (soldier, armor of aircraft) and health.  Also included are the weapon types, range and the to hit value as well as the unit cost and any special traits.


 These are the terrain square tiles.  They are double sided, one looking like a landing pad the other, rubble.


And the terrain pieces.




Looking at the walkers, they are marvelously engineered with detail on par with companies like Tamiya or Dragon.   The main bodies are built to traverse 360 degrees with removable armament fittings.  These minis are pre-primed  and built, with the only assembly being the addition of the armament.


The infantry units look great and hold magnificent detail.  Molded in semi-soft plastic they are "bendy" which, IMO is not great.  I would have liked hard plastic, but I understand the reason for soft plastic.  Also, the figures are multi-piece units.  The head can be manipulated as it is glued into its spot and the glue is gummy and soft.  The chest's move freely on most figures which will help in posses, but leave some big gaps between the chest piece and the leg portion.  The only other complaint I have is all the infantry figures are molded in winter gear.  It's not so bad on the German infantry, but the allied infantry all have long trench-coat like uniforms.  As is stands right now, ALL Dust tactics regular infantry are molded in winter gear.



 The Allies


We start off our review with the allied Light walker M1-B "Blackhawk" .  This gaffer is equipped with 2 Heavy PIAT launchers.  I'm not fond of the little peg feet, so I may add some bigger "ski's later.

I have to reiterate how detailed these kits are.  Cupolas are provided as well as hatches.  Unfortunately the hatches are glued shut, but with a little persuasion they will come off.

Next up we have the "hero" Sergeant Major William "Rhino" Springfield



And his squad of Heavy Rangers Assault Squad "The Hammers"
All these dude's are equipped with the XM-18-22 aerial assault armor with rocket packs and Rocket Punch.  Rocket Punch, according the the Dust Warfare rules is a detachable rocket fist.
I like the look of these, but they are TO sci-fi for the period.  I understand this is alternate dimension, but these seem to high tech and going back to the original Dust stuff, I don't recall seeing any power armor.
 
The Hammers


On to the next units. Both are Ranger units, The first being Weapons squad "Death Dealers".



Unfortunately, when I was taking the pictures I grouped the dudes with rifles and the dudes with the rocket launchers separately.  So what you get in the "Death Dealers" are 3 guys with M1 Automatic Rifles,  1 Victory MG and 1 M9 Bazooka and all have knives.

This, of course is the M9 Bazooka included with the "Death Dealers"The other dudes belong to the "Hell Boys" equipped with Flamethrowers.

The last allied squad is the "Hell Boys" Attack Squad


Again, the composition of this squad is 5 dude's, 3 equipped with shotguns and 2 with Flamethrowers.  All, again with Knives and grenades.
  

 Ze German

So the Axis, is composed of similar units.  The walker is the Panzer Aufklarerlaufer (not sure of the translation) 1C "Hans"  This is a scout walker, but has some punch in the way of 3 Panzerfaust Werfer (launcher) and 3 Granate Werfer (Grenade Launcher).

This is the 2 weapons units, The Granate Werfer   and the Panzerfaust Werfer.



The hero comes in the form of a Fraulein Lara Walter Feldwebel (Sergent) in power armor.  She also wields twin MG44's on each arm and a combat Knife.

My dear Fraulein, you have buns of KRUPP Stahl!


Again, a bit to sci-fi, but the Axis power armor, for some reason, seems a little more acceptable to me.

Her entourage are the Schwer SturmGrenadiere (Assault Grenadiers) Ausf.C  Though the German means what is translated, FFG has deemed to call them "Heavy Flak Grenadiers"


These suits seem a little "beefier" than any of the others and IMO are closer to what power armor would look like in WWWII.  These gentleman are armed Fliegerfaust's (Flying Fists?) which, according to Dust warfare, is an ant-aircraft weapon shooting 9 rockets simultaneously and can be used against ground as well as air units.  Knives are also equiped.  Again I like the sculpts, nice detail but the poses could be better, especially the running guy.


The Germans get a heavy hitting squad in the form of  Heavy Laser Grenadiers (Schwer SturmGrenadiere Ausf. B)



These guys are equipped with Heavy Lasers and the ubiquitous combat knife

Last of the axis squads is SturmGrenadiere Pioner squad (Assault Grenadier engineers).  This unit is equipped with 4 StG 47 rifles, 3 Panzerfausts, one Flammenwerfer 40 and, of course, Grenades and knifes for close combat.


 Flammerwerfwr 40 and StG44/Panzerfaust.


 The rest of the gang squad leader, StG44, and Panzerfaust.


 Well that's the Dust Tactics revised core set.  I picked up a bunch more Allied, Axis and Sino-Soviet Union walkers and infantry and will review them over the next couple days.   Hope the review was helpful.

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