Despatch: Blastscapes

The online community has reacted with startling harshness to Games Workshop's new Planetstrike!-specific hobby terrain offering, the Blastscape--so I hustled out to grab a bag for myself after the online furor. The pieces in the Blastscape bag are designed to specifically replicate on-table several of the Planetstrike! 'special effects' Attacking armies can unleash upon Defenders in games of Planetstrike!. With it in hand (and having recently painted several sets of the similar Moonscape Craters for various retailers), I can make the following definitive assessments:

1) The Terrain pieces in the Blastscape bag ARE NOT comparable to those shown in the White Dwarf battle report introducing Planetstrike!, the advertising section of the same issue, on GW's website or, in fact, on the back of the Blastscape retail bag, either in substance or detail; those painted pieces appear to be resin, whereas the Blastscape pieces offered at retail are unpainted vacuformed plastic.

2) The vacuformed Blastscapes DO have a damage-inclined area--the high point of one piece strains the bag's ability to protect it in shipping because it is such a prominence, and if it gets crumpled it--like all vacuformed plastic--will deform, stress and break. This is the prominence in one of the earliest online reviews which reportedly punctured; I can confirm mine is broken, too...but should also note that it is only that peak of that one piece that has demonstrated damage in the bag I purchased, or any others I have examined.

3) Those criticisms being acknowledged as valid--I find the quality of the five vacuformed Blastscape pieces is quite good *given the medium*, easily on par with the Moonscape Craters bag (which have seen fine service in MegaBattles and tournaments at several local retailers, now, without any ill effect). If the pre-release pictures used on the website and in the Dwarf (and, probably worst, on the Blastscape packaging itself) did not exist and had not raised false expectations, I do not believe there would be many complaints about these pieces' tabletop utility at all; and

4) The set of five retails for less than twenty bucks US. That is what vacuforming allows. These pieces rendered in more detail in resin would cost at least that APIECE, I estimate. Done in vacuform, a player can easily cover even very large tables with these terrain effects.

The Blastscape bag provides: a terrain piece with multiple close craters, representing a crash or perhaps a multiround solid-shell barrage; a piece with multiple asteroids impacted; the much-talked- about orbital strike seared-lance- of-molten- earth piece (which *is* very cool and should be a great deal of fun to paint); a terrain piece with multiple bits of craft wreckage; and the problem piece, a huge piece of impacted wreckage (which has driven up a high wedge of earth, the topmost point of which is suffering the damage in packaging).

I understand the complaints; GW--intentionally or not, and since I suspect the painted pieces used in the battle report, online and on the packaging are the resin masters for the actual vacuformed Blastscape pieces, I am willing to give them benefit of the doubt on intent here--pulled a bait-and-switch with the Planetstrike! Blastscape terrain, advertising a level of precision and detail in the painted resin sculpts the actual vacuformed plastic retail offering could never match. Given I would not have spent a hundred bucks or more on resin Planetstrike! effect terrain pieces, however, regardless of quality--nor I suspect would many hobbyists--and given the inexpensive vacuformed pieces offer customizing/converting possibilities working with solid resin would not...from my position the Blastscape is a hobby product of outstanding value and utility. If GW would like to make it up to us by offering resin castings of those terrain piece masters at a significant discount--as a gesture of good faith--on the other hand....


Imperial Bastion Planetstrike! Terrain Kit: This is a nifty little thirty-buck model: the floors are modular, so combining kits can render very tall towers (great for Titan-cover in Apocalypse) and nice low shielded bunkers and entrenchment strongpoints (especially when combined with the new Aegis Defensive Walls) as well as the standard Bastion (which, it must be said, is the most common way this kit is likely to be configured, and is perfect for standard games of 40K and Planetstrike!, and pretty applicable for Cityfight and Apocalypse games as well).

Each kit includes considerable parts for customization and personalization, as has become GWs norm: of particular interest are the complete quad gun and lascannon turrets and the communications array, useful little subassemblies which will find their way onto lots of other terrain pieces, I suspect.

GW offers a 'Chaos Bastion' which includes Chaos sprues, and 'orkified' versions using all the bitz from the recent Trukk, Battlewagon and especially Stompa kits will be easy to convert, so the kit has plenty of application.

With a number of floor modules added my Bastion is about to become the basis for a control tower overwatching my in-progress airfield table; I suspect the variations on the basic Bastion will be endless, for terrain-oriented hobbyists. I am looking forward to battling for control of some of them on local tables soon!