Dreadfleet: Part 1 – The Models

Dreadfleet: Part 1 – The Models

Scott Pyle, Play Unplugged

Dreadfleet offers fantasy naval excitement for the miniature table-top.  The latest offering from Games Workshop’s irregular series of limited edition games, the Dreadfleet boxed set comes packed with ten plastic ships, plastic island terrain, dice, counters, rules, cards, and a gorgeous cloth play-mat that represents a high-seas environment.  A subsequent review will focus more on the storyline and rules of the game, while this one will cover the models and terrain that come in the boxed set.

Some of Dreadfleet's beautiful components

All of the figures in this boxed set require assembly and painting.  The ten ship models included represent ten distinctive “races” divided across two larger factions (“good guys” and “Bad guys”).  Overall, the models in the box will require an experienced hand to assemble and paint to a standard approaching what you see on the box art and examples in the color rulebook.  Glue, paint, brushes and other tools are not included.  The superb parts fit on these kits once again demonstrates Games Workshop’s mastery of the art and science of hard plastic model making.  Many of the components of these multi-part ships simply plug-in, and I was able to assemble them simply by looking at their pictures on the box and in GW’s magazine, White Dwarf.  Each ship comes with an awesome personalized base textured with sea effects.  These bases really complete the ships and will make consistent measuring in play a breeze.

Each major faction features a flagship of sorts.  The good guys get the Heldenhammer, a massive three master featuring an effigy of the Empire’s greatest god, Sigmar, on its prow.  Like all of the other insignias and devices on the sails of these ships, the Heldenhammer’s are “cast-in” and raised for ease of painting. The bad guys get the Bloody Reaver, a huge, forbidding barque festooned with skulls prow to stern.  Even its massive sails feature raised details of skeletal effigies.

The remaining eight ships all go in pairs, each with its opposite number.  The Swordfish, a famous pirate vessel, opposes the Curse of Zandri, a cursed funeral ship from the city of Zandri.  The Flaming Scimitar serves the Sultan of the Seas and enjoys the command of the Golden Magus.  Its elemental might stands in opposition against the Shadewraith, a ghostly ship that rises from the waves to prey upon the lands of the living. The Dwarves bring the steam-powered Grimnir’s Thunder against the Chaos Dwarves’ Black Kraken.  The Kraken is a mechanical squid sporting amazing details as it rises out of its base to plague the surface world!  The Elves command the Seadrake, a sleek schooner accompanied by a pair of majestic dragons, one separate from the ship and one cast on.  Undead Skaven on an undead leviathan, the Skabrus finishes off this pairing.  This zombified giant fish stands as one of the most visually striking vessels in the boxed set.

The Black Kraken: A terror from the deep

The terrain features and additional bits provided enjoy the same high quality and detail as the vessels.  These pieces include things like seven cog auxiliary ships, three sea monsters, seven islands, shipwrecks (5 of them), and and more.   Paint this stuff up and place it on the wonderful cloth sea mat included with the game and you’ll have a fully realized fantasy naval world on which to play out your games.

Although these models are made of hard plastic, they could prove fragile if mishandled.  Unlike normal board game pieces, these models will require careful storage to preserve their value and visual appeal. This game and its many small pieces are not suited for very young gamers.

One of the many plastic sprues found in Dreadfleet

Gamers who love fantasy naval conflict will love these models.  Highly detailed and a bit fiddly to paint, they might not be suitable for all levels of modeler.  These ships and terrain represent a new level of excellence for Games Workshop’s production crew.

The Breakdown

+ Amazingly detailed models
+ Excellent parts fit and easy assembly
+ Brilliant accessory pieces

– Fragile if mishandled
– Models will require a higher level of modeling and painting skill to fully realize value

Gamers who love fantasy naval conflict will love these models.  Highly detailed and a bit fiddly to paint, they might not be suitable for all levels of modeler.  These ships and terrain represent a new level of excellence from Games Workshop’s production crew.

Miniature gamers seeking a new game with a single buy-in point will find Dreadfleet’s “one and done” sales pitch quite attractive.  It’s a limited edition game that includes everything you’ll ever need all in one box and retails for $115.00.

You can check out pictures of Scott Pyle’s progress on his Dreadfleet by viewing his blog!

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