Last week I had a look at the first wave of fleet scale JAF releases for Jovian Chronicles and Lightning Strike and this week I'm reviewing the CEGA releases! We have the old school Wraith fighters, the stopgap Syreen exo armor and the new mass produced Wyvern exo armor. I put some more background info in this review, as the game is still an unknown for many readers. I'll be going back and updating the first review as well.
CEGA, short for Central Earth Government and Administration, is the second superpower in the Solar system, balancing the Jovian Confederation, and is desperately struggling to catch up with the technological leaps that happened after The Fall, where Earth descended into war and was cut off from the rest of the Solar nations. While CEGA doesn't represent all the nations on Earth it does wield substantial power and has resources to throw at aggressive R&D to fuel their plan of re-taking their lost colonies. This has not only made the rest of the Solar system really nervous but has garnered critique from CEGA's own citizens as resources are put into the navy rather than trying to rebuild the smashed ecosystem of Earth.
Now let's take a look at the models! Full disclosure, these models were provided to me by Dream Pod 9. Like last time let's start with the fighters!
Yes, fighters are still around as they can fulfill some roles exos are not suited for, at a fraction of the cost! The Wraith is an old design, dating back to the late twenty-first century. However, fighter designs don't change as quickly as exo designs and CEGA certainly couldn't afford to be choosy when emerging from The Fall to retake the solar system. Here are the models straight out of the pack. As you can see there's almost no mould lines and just a couple of pieces of flash to clean. Nice and quick! For some reason they look a little different from how I've imagined the Wraith. I wasn't all that fond of the original 1/500 scale sculpt as it looked a little too flat and "boring". It's a tricky design though, as it looks great as Ghislain's art but becomes a bit too boxy as a model. Still, let's have a better look at these fighters mounted:
Either the pictures didn't do the old sculpt justice or these fleet scale fighters have been ever so slightly tweaked to make the wings a little larger and with more of a downward slant. This certainly kicks them up a couple of notches in my view as I like the look of them better now. They look a little larger than the Lancers squadron but that's only because they're flatter and I guess their about the same mass. Just like with the fleet scale Lancer there are a number of small thrust vectoring plates that have turned into those small nubs at the end, but this, of course, can't be helped considering the scale. Overall I'm very happy with the Wraiths and I actually think they're a step up from the older, larger, models!
Next up we have our first CEGA exo armor! Well... it's barely a proper exo armor, is it? A hastily converted orbital transfer vehicle, meant to be used as a stopgap, that turned out to be surprisingly effective. Still, even after a refit the 30 year old machine is showing its age and has a hard time competing with the latest JAF has to offer. Of the models in this first wave the Syreen required the most amount of clean up. The flash attached to the engine bell and propellant tanks are quick to take care of but there were relatively visible mould lines along the side of the main hull, the tanks and on top of the "wings". Not excessive by any means, but enough for me to want to take out the file and get rid of them. Most likely this is because of the rounded shapes of the Syreen compared to the other more angular exos. Here they are mounted:
If you're wondering about the leader, it's the one in the middle. Syreens don't carry flashy close combat weapons like the plasma lance, so it's harder to make the leader stand out. What DP9 sculptor Tony Baltera has done instead is sweep the wings/arms back to give it more of a dynamic look. An alternative would have been to model the ECM pod that is only present on the command model. However the problem with that is that is has never been depicted what it looks like in the art (as far as I know). If I would convert it myself I'd probably put a comms dish vertically on its back. Anyway, when I first saw the renders for the Syreen I was a little worried that it looked too rounded and bulbous, but looking at the finished model in my hand now I can say that it's an almost perfect representation of the Syreen! People might wonder why, when there are such cool exos as the Pathfinder and Cerberus around, but the Syreen is actually my favourite exo design so I'm very happy to see it made the transition to fleet scale so well!
Ok, so even if my personal favourite is the Syreen most readers will likely be more excited to read about the Wyvern exo armor! Right about when JAF introduced the heavier Retaliator exo armor (which is being prepped for casting as I type this!) CEGA officials realized they needed to up their game and replace the Syreen with something sturdier. Not being able to match the speed of JAF exos they focused on armour and firepower! These guys required only a little bit of clean up, mostly just taking care of fhe pieces of flash underneath the feet and filing one or two areas where you could see some vague mould lines. Overall, great casts. Here they are mounted:
Another example of Tony doing a great job of catching all the important bits and the essence of what makes a Wyvern a Wyvern. The ins and outs of the armour, the thigh flaps and the thin, monitor-like head (less vision, but more firepower!). The hypergolic bazooka is pretty much just a tube, but that is how it should be. My favourite bit in this pack is the leader though! He of course comes with the comms upgrade visible on the right shoulder and has his bazooka replaced by a massdriver rifle, but the coolest bit is the hummer axe! If you've seen pretty much any Gundam series you know that the iconic Zeon front line Zaku suit, that was the inspiration for the Wyvern, often carry an axe shaped close combat weapon. It just fits so well and was not present in either the old model nor the actual rpg background. Wyverns carry hummer knives, but not axes - however I think this is much cooler from a visual perspective. Lovely models and I think they just nudge themselves past the Pathfinder as my second favourite fleet scale exos, thanks to the axe!
While I really like the JAF releases I think the CEGA models actually win this round. The Syreen and Wyvern are just so well translated into this smaller scale! Again, can't wait to get some paint on these models as I want to see them in their full glory on my space mat. I was out of onigiris so here they are grouped with a reference bottle of Ripobitan D!
Next up is Wave 2 which consists of the Retaliator and Vindicator for JAF and the Cerberus and Fury for CEGA and should be ready for sale in a week or two. DP9 also just revealed Wave 3 which will consiste of Venus units; the Brunhilde fighter, the Ryu exo armor and (sculpted for the first time ever!) the Bonebreaker exo armor! Lots of cool stuff in other words. Hopefully I'll be able to review these as well in during the coming months. I'll round off this review with the preview renders of the next two waves: