Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Battlestar Galactica Fleet-Scale Project and Starfighter Shipyards Review

Cylon fleet
So... this is the kind of project that starts off with a vague idea and quickly gathers momentum. For a long time, I've been a fan of "fleet scale" space gaming. Massive space cruisers, snub fighters darting everywhere, laser bolts creasing the blackness of space, etc. Battlefleet Gothic, Full Thrust, and latterly Star Wars Starship Battles have been the rulesets of choice.

So after having amassed reasonably sized fleets of ships from the Star Wars universe, I thought it might be fun to give another milieu a go. When a chance came up to acquire some metal and resin Battlestar Galactica ships in a trade I jumped at it. And they sat in a box for a year.

However, the spirit recently moved me to get at this project, and so orders were duly placed to Starfighter Shipyards and Studio Bergstrom to get the fleets into fighting trim. Models arrived quickly and were painted even more quickly, so we're ready to go!

Raiders!! These little beauties came from Studio Bergstrom and like all of Andrew's models, come out of the bag perfectly formed and ready for the paintbrush - no flash and zero defects.

The models were primed with black spray, grey parts were basecoated Mechanicus Standard Grey and heavily highlighted with Administratum Grey. The whole model was washed with Nuln Oil, then the black parts drybrushed with Mechanicus. Engines were lit up with Temple Guard Blue and they are ready for the table!

There were a few "Nu-Raiders" included with the trade. I'm not a huge fan of the look but in my "First Cylon War" battles they may appear as prototype interceptors. They were painted Leadbelcher and washed with Nuln Oil.

The heavy Raiders (Bergstrom calls them "Tarantulas" I think) were painted in the same fashion as the regular Raiders.

The fighters were based on standard GW 25mm slotless round bases. I drilled two small holes in each base, then inserted a dressmaker's pin (cut to length) up through from below. The head of the pin gives the superglue something to "bite" on under the base, and the sharp end of the pin is superglued to the underside of the fighter. Bergstrom's models have a relief cast in the bottom for this purpose. They're actually reasonably sturdy on the bases :-)

On to the capital ships... as noted above, I got these from an outfit in British Columbia called Starfighter Shipyards. Their website states that they've acquired Ravenstar Studios' line of BSG models and will also be re-releasing Hangar 18's range once they've been remastered. Obviously good news for BSG fans who have been looking for the Ravenstar models!

My entire collection of Cylon capital ships are from Starfighter so this will also serve as a mini-review of part of the range :-) First off, this is the "Hydra Light Cruiser". An OK ship but not my favorite from their range as the surface detailing is not quite as cool as the other ships (you'll see).

They were kinda crusty around the edges and I was too lazy/impatient to do a ton of cleanup work. I like them but there are way better Cylons in the Starfighter range. Grade: C+

Now THIS is more like it... the Cylon "War Destroyer". Note the surface detailing is way more intricate than the Hydra's. Each model comes in two parts - the main saucer and a tri-form piece that slots in the bottom.

This ship really fits my idea of the Cylon aesthetic. Casting is a bit manky but ehhhh... it's an unlicensed resin model so whaddaya expect? Grade: A.

Cylon "Medusa Destroyer". Another one-piece casting with excellent detailing and a very Cylon look.

Grade: A.

This is the Chimera Command Ship. Even though it's not as super-detailed as the Medusa and the War Destroyer, the slightly cleaner look works for me on this ship. It's a two-piece model with the saucer and "mushroom cap" cast separately.

Grade: B+

Here's the "Terror-Class Battleship". It's a large six-piece model: the "arms are all cast separately. This example wasn't an amazing casting and the resin was quite brittle, the arms needed some carving to fit as well. Still, it looks pretty cool and that's all that matters in fleet scale ;-)

Grade: B

Finally, we have the Basestars... the iconic piece of Cylon hardware. The BSG version of the Imperial Star Destroyer!

(Traditionally the Basestars were deployed in squadrons of three, so of course I had to get three!)

The Basestars, as well as all the other Cylon capital ships, were basecoated Mechanicus Standard Grey (are you sensing a theme here?) and drybrushed Administratum Grey, then washed with Nuln Oil.

The Basestars look great - easily the best models in the Cylon fleet. Superdetailing on the hull and all over really translate well on the model. In fact, I suspect that the master may well be a commercial model from Konami as this is suspiciously well-done...

In any case, the Starfighter/Ravenstar ones are just outstanding and really capture the essence of the Cylon empire. Grade: A+

Of course there's no point painting a bunch of Cylons if they don't have a rag-tag fleet to chase around the galaxy! So I added a few smaller ships from Starfighter Shipyards (noted below) and painted the capital ships that I suspect are Ravenstar but whose provenance is really unknown. On to the ships...

The Vipers are again from Studio Bergstrom and they are great. I went heavy on the Mark I's as to me, they are the iconic BSG Vipers and as noted, I'm representing the "Thousand Yahren"/First Cylon War, mostly.

The paint formula is a basecoat of Mechanicus Standard Grey, highlighted with Pallid Wych Flesh and White Scar. The stripes are applied with Mephiston Red, then the ship is washed with Nuln Oil. Finally, cockpit and thrusters are picked out with Temple Guard Blue.

Here are some Mark II Vipers that we'll say would appear near the end of the TY War. I'm not as big a fan of this design but they're still pretty neat.

Raptors are included in the fleet too - regular (left) and missile (right) variants. These are basecoated with Steel Legion Drab, highlighted Zandri Dust and washed with Agrax Earthshade. Cockpit and thrusters again Temple Guard Blue.

Capital ships! This is a Hunter-Class Lightstar. I left off the dorsal pod as I thought it looked silly. Painted, as all the other Colonial capital ships, with a Mechanicus Standard Grey basecoat and gradual highlights of Administratum Grey and AG mixed with White Scar. No washes on these ones :-)

Thrusters are Temple Guard Blue. Grade: B+

These are two of Starfighter's Mebd-Class Escorts. Four-piece models (hull and three drive pods), they were decent castings that assembled easily. Grade: B+

Oooooh, here we go! This is a large Battlestar (I think it's a "Bane-Class"), distinguishable from the others in my fleet by its double-stacked hangar bays. This will give some substantial in-game effects regarding fighter launches (of which more later...)

Really quite a nice model, all resin and very crisp.

I also have three of these - Titanium Series die-cast "Pegasus" models. These will represent the "line" Battlestars of the Colonial Fleet. They're great models - mostly metal and quite heavy and well-detailed.

Here's a resin ship of some kind. Can't find it on the Starfighter website but it looks like it could be a Ravenstar sculpt.

Some rag-tag ships along for the ride. At top and left are Goliath-Class refinery ships from Starfighter. The others are from Ground Zero Games and come from my Star Wars collection.

Here's a handy size comparison of all the ships in this post.

And finally, top-down views of the fleets in all their glory:

Cylons - by your command

Colonials - by the Lords of Kobol!
Now, I have to figure out what rules to use for these ships in a game. I'm thinking of our old standby, Star Wars Starship Battles, as they're familiar to the guys and with our house modifications, give a fast-playing and enjoyable game.

The ship stats should be relatively straightforward. I'll treat Vipers like X-Wings, Mark II (heavier) Vipers as Y-Wings, and the Mark VIIs as A-Wings. Cylon Raiders will be TIE Fighters, Heavy Raiders will be TIE Bombers, and the Nu-Raiders will be TIE Interceptors. The capital ships I'll work out as I go, although Basestars and the Bane-Class Battlestar will have Fighters 4 (meaning they can launch 4 squadrons (bases) of fighters per turn) and regular Battlestars Fighters 2.

The only thing that's missing are rules for the missiles which seem to fly everywhere in BSG battles. However, I reckon I should be able to puzzle something out for that.

In any event, stay tuned for the eventual battle report and thanks for persevering to the end of this post :-)


Stan M. said...

Great overview! Thanks for this and the pics...I've been happy with Andrews work in the past...great to see he's still doing well. I've always been curious about the capital ships, so again, thanks.

Great paint work by the way. Cheers.

Dallas said...

Thanks Stanley! I am really happy with Andrew's ships. I have a bunch of his ex-Stringvest Star Wars fighters as well which are great :-)

Michael Awdry said...

Oh my goodness what a wonderful project, I can certainly see the attraction of the massed space battle - tremendous stuff.

Don M said...

I too have always been happy with Andrew's ships, he does outstanding work!
I must say your painting and basing does them proud! Great project here, makes
want to dust off my neglected fleets!

DaveV said...

Great looking fleets! I was a big fan of the original BSG series when I was a kid.

Greg B said...

Great job Dallas - congrats on getting this project done, and so comprehensively covered! I only ever saw the re-booted version of the show, so very cool to see the older Cylon look!

Scotsgrey said...


NaRong said...

, he does outstanding work!
I must say your painting and basing does them proud!

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