Saturday, April 13, 2013

SciFi Saturday – Unwrapping Sathar Minis

Today I'm opening up the "Sathar Ships" (bad guy) miniatures for the Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks game, which have been patiently lurking in this box for me to open them for the last 30 years. You may remember from last time that a major concern is a claim that the packaging material can react with and degrade the lead miniatures, so we'll keep a close eye on that.


Starting with the mint-condition box.



Cutting off the shrink wrap.


Opening the box.



Uncovering the packed miniatures inside.



Here's how they're initially laid out in the packaging in my box. Next, we'll inspect the individual miniatures:



Pirate Assault Scout #1 -- The first three ships are actually rogue pirates from the UPF (technically there's only 3 actual Sathar ships in the box). This assault scout looks fine to me.



Pirate Assault Scout #2 -- Now, this is listed on the back box cover as another "pirate assault scout" (and that's all the conversion book has statistics for), but to my eye, this is identical to the "Pirate Corvette" counter from the original board game (with stats appearing in the introductory module, SFKH0 Warriors of White Light). So I'll lean towards calling this a Corvette, but obviously we can use this to represent any scout-type ship we need in a given game.



Pirate Frigate -- The largest ship owned by any non-UPF Spacefleet humans, this pirate frigate has its side weapons-mounts a bit bent, but that's easily fixable and I don't see any other problems with the sculpture.



Sathar Frigate --It's a little bit odd that they decided to include a Frigate among the 3 Sathar ship miniatures, because the Sathar use a much higher proportion of Destroyers among their forces (missing from this collection). Of course, for a given game we could just declare this miniature to represent a Destroyer, as needed (although it's the same size, or a tiny bit smaller, than the UPF frigate). This is definitely the most mangled miniature of the bunch, with one engine strut bent entirely over the body of the ship. Hope I don't snap it off when I go to fix it.



Sathar Light Cruiser -- A very nice and clean sculpture to my eye.



Sathar Heavy Cruiser -- And here's the "big boss" of the Sathar forces, the flagship Heavy Cruiser type. It comes in a whole bunch of pieces (like the UPF Battleship), with a hollow body (unlike the battleship), and a bunch of engine struts to assemble.



Closeup -- The Heavy Cruiser does have a few patches of discoloration on it (whitish region below), which is the only place on any of the miniatures that I can see to attribute to the degrading-package problem. Whether that's the case or not, it seems like this will be easy to clean up, maybe with a little sandpaper and alcohol, followed by a coat of paint.



Summary -- While the UPF miniature sculptures have a lot more detail to them, the Sathar ship designs have a certain spidery elegance which I've always thought to be a lot more evocative and imagination-catching (in years past, whenever I made drawings, cardboard models, or 3D animations for Knight Hawks ships, it was always the Sathar attack vessels that I'd be depicting). The warning that getting a shrink-wrapped package of SFKH minis would be like "buying a box of little better tha[n] lead dust" seems very much overblown, based on this evidence. Given my experience with two boxes of Knight Hawks ships, I'd give a very confident recommendation that if you were to procure a shrink-wrapped mint box at this date, then you'd be quite happy with the product inside.

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