I've had en eye on Dust Tactics ever since I saw the first miniatures two years ago, I liked Paolo Parentes designs for AT-43 and having them brought back into their 'true' weird-war setting seemed like just the right thing to do. I never did get the old core set though, for two reason: the Allies didn't really do it for me (mainly due to their so-so medium walkers) and I wasn't sure the rules themselves would keep me interested. Simplicity can certainly be a good thing, but it seems like it might be a bit too shallow. The judge is still out though. Need to play it more...
Anyway, the Axis troops and walkers looks great and I was thinking about buying some anyway to paint at least, and then perhaps get into the game later. While I mulled it over my friend Anders bought the core set and since he's the kind of guy who always go for the German faction if there is one I shelved my idea. Simply because it felt boring for both of us to build the same factions. Instead I turned my attention to Infinity (and I'm glad I did!).
However, Dust has stayed in my mind and it has been interesting to see the new models FFG has produced. I'm still not very keen on the Allied medium walkers, but the rest of the range looks great. And I might be in the minority here, but I really like the Allied heavy walker! Hehe! The light walkers look cool as well and the addition of command squads and heavy infantry seems to help diversify the game. But again... with only two factions I hesitated.
There has been talk of the Russians for a long time and now they have finally been announced! Or rather, the Sino-Soviet Union, so expect some Chinese as well. Even more than the other Dust Tactics miniatures the Russians really channel the old Red Blok faction of AT-43. Obviously this shouldn't come as a surprise, but I'm happy since I liked those old minis.
Obviously the star of he show is the KV47 medium walker. We've seen it before in different collectible model kits from DustGame.com but now they're available for gaming (and a more affordable price). It kind of looks like someone took a Scopedog from VOMOTS and hit it over the head with a huge mallet! And since the Scopedog is one of my all time favourite mecha it might explain me instantly taking to the KV47. It comes in three different configurations; twin cannons, twin flamethrowers or twin combat saws. And then there's the special character walker as well, Grandma, piloted by Koshka Rudinova (seen up top) which is armed with a cannon and a flamethrower.
Then there's the core troop choices:
NKVD Battle Squad armed with rifles and two machineguns. The true backbone of the army I suppose. Perhaps not as nice looking as the close combat guys, but very Russian! :)
And then we have... er... the chopper (or is it an autogyro? I'm not sure). Until now the minis have been really nice so seeing this thing made me a little sad. It just doesn't look very good, it reminds me of a bathtub toy for toddlers! Now, they obviously modelled it on the Kamov Ka-25 and the Mil Mi-4 but they messed it up somewhere along the way. While both of those choppers could be considered 'ugly' they still look real (as in, not like toys) whereas this SSU chopper is just too squashed up and weird looking. I'm hoping it's the angle but something tells me it's more than that. Now if only there were 1:48 scale models of any of the real choppers I wouldn't have to bother with this thing!
However, it comes with one redeeming feature: a squad of Chinese volunteers! Sure it's basically just a headswap but for some reason I really like these guys! Might be the paintjob. So unless the volunteers are released on their own later I guess I might have to add a chopper to my collection.
So, thos are the models, but what about the game? While I would like to play it a bit more, especially using command squads, I'm far from convinced that it is the kind of game that will keep my attention for long. There's of course the upcoming tabletop version of the game (instead of board game) that is being written by Andy Chambers, but since it's written with the intent for all the unit cards to be compatible I fear it might have too much baggage from its board game sister. I'll give it a look for certain, but I think the answer lies in looking at different rules systems.
Secrets of the Third Reich. I don't know much more about it than what I read in this review, but I've heard several people speaking well of it and the setting fits like a glove. There wouldn't be any need to make up rules for walkers or Nazi zombies - they're already there! Then there's AE-WWII but it doesn't seem to enjoy as big a following as SotTR. Company B is working a 28mm version of DP9's Gear Krieg, called Gears and Guts, which might also fit the bill. Don't know much about how it will work though.
Any other suggestions for 28mm miniature game rulesets that can handle infantry and walkers well? Or do you think there's more do Dust Tactics/Warfare than meets the eye? Let me know. :)
EDIT: Well, I tried out the new Dust Warfare rules and must say I like them quite a bit! You can read about my first impressions here.