Friday, 13 October 2017

Battle of Britain arrives

So back in the summer of 2016 I was tempted by a Kickstarter being run by the Plastic Soldier Company for a "remastered and upgraded version of the old, much loved TSR classic Battle of Britain".  This looked pretty good and, as well as the fun of masterminding the air defence of Britain (or the Luftwaffe's finest hour) it promised " fantastic little 1/300th scale plastic airplane models".

The Kickstarter went as smoothly as these things do with some stretch goals offering alternative aircraft including a Blenheim, Defiant, Gladiator and Ju87.  As usually happens the estimated delivery date February 17 came and went.  I tend not to worry too much about these things...I figure that's how Kickstarters work.  If you're looking for something to be delivered exactly on deadline then you've never worked for a local authority!  The overrun did cause a lot of angst on the Kickstarter forum with people vowing to never sign up for another KS or to never darken PSCs doors etc.  This wasn't helped by a distinct lack of communication from the company: a few messages and updates might have helped the general mood but this doesn't seem to be something PSC are very good at.  They did offer a 25% discount voucher on PSC products (which didn't appease the people who'd said they were never going to shop there again) and free model kit.  Unfortunately they offered a model aeroplane kit unconnected with the game and in a different scale!  Again, this wasn't well received...

Anyway... the parcel arrived today...

Well, actually it arrived yesterday but I was out and it was delivered to the local UPS access point (a nearby newsagents) who managed to lose it!  It eventually turned up on my 3rd visit and after a call to UPS.  It seems that the newsagent had been very tidy and put it away in a cupboard while they'd left all the other parcels lying around the shop!

By this point I'd spotted the comments from other people on the Kickstarter forum...all very disappointed with the model aircraft, packaging etc.  Mine wasn't too badly packaged although the extra aircraft were loose (in a plastic bag) in the outer box and the freebie model aircraft was pretty bashed about although the kit itself is ok.  This is how it arrived...


This is the Freebie, compensatory model...by Zvesda, not PSC!!

The actual main box was fine and undamaged.  The game board, tokens and rule book are all excellent (the rule book has a nice, large font!) and the map and counters etc look impressive...




The decals for thr planes arent so impressive...



The planes themselves are made of a soft plastic and clearly have some bending issues which you can see in these photos.  I'm hoping these will be straightened out using hot and cold water.  The debate  has continued on the KS forum and on Boardgamegeek with people vowing to sell their set or demand a refund. 


Major wing bendiness!


I have mixed views.  These clearly aren't " fantastic little 1/300th scale plastic airplane models".  In fact they're pretty poor bendy plastic aircraft that are just about identifiable.  They might paint up well and look better but I wasn't planning to do this anyway.  It does seem a very odd thing for a company whose whole pitch is about quality models to have dropped the ball quite badly on this.  On the other hand, Battle of Britain isn't a tabletop wargame...it's a boardgame.  If I look at the models in a game like Memoir 44 for example, I'm not expecting to see  fine quality sculpted tanks with a different model for each type of AFV.  For me this is a strategic boardgame with models representing squadrons being pushed around an operations room by some frightfully posh WRAFs (at one point one of the stretch goals for the game was going to be a croupier style stick to push the models around with!  Fun but pointless...)

I'll confess to being
a bit disappointed...PSC had the opportunity (and certainly had the time) to produce nice models to match the rest of the components but the planes feel a bit like an afterthought.  I could use my 1:300 WW2 metal models to replace them but the key thing is going to be whether the game itself is any good.  It's by Richard Borg who is usually very reliable so I'm confident that I'll still have a fun game to play with, even if the aircraft are a bit poor.  I think the whole episode isn't going to win PSC any fans though...

19 comments:

  1. Oh, this is not good. I’m expecting mine soon, and I would hate to have to spend a lot of time trying to unwarp the planes. PSC was in strife with broken bayonets and tank barrels for their WW1 stuff already, not to mention their poor communication. I really want to support him, but he doesn’t help himself...

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    1. The communication has been very poor which really hasn't helped. The hot/cold water treatment has reportedly fixed some people's models.

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  2. Yikes! Mine has yet to arrive and I haven't checked the Kickstarter page recently and so was unaware of the bendy plane issue. One positive may be that I don't have to worry about giving the planes a decent paint job - very simple one colour base coats may be more fitting (and in keeping with the war room theme....). We'll see.

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    1. That's what I was thinking of doing. Alternatively I could dig out my painted 1:300 planes which should look ok.

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  3. That's a shame to hear. I reckon the game will be good though.

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    1. I need to go through the rules but I have high hopes for the game itself.

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  4. I have the original TSR version still in excellent condition. My game components look a lot better than the PSC game.

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    1. I suspect your original might be about to go up in value :)

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  5. The wonderful world of production made in China. If you don't have a third party quality control in place, they'll churn out crap, or not.

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    1. They certain had entry of time to sort it out.

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  6. I have yet to receive my game. Now I am not looking forward to it after seeing this and other first impressions. I cannot believe the game has taken so long to produce. As the game has been in production before, I cannot understand why this has happened. I thought the aircraft would have been made in hard plastic and be of good quality, like those illustrated in the Kickstarter images. I have not had any dealings as a customer with PSC in the past. I certainly will not in the future. This was my first and probably last Kickstarter. Hopefully I will actually receive something for my money soon?

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    1. The rest of the components are very nice and the game itself looks good. I might dig out my Skytrex 1:300 planes and use them instead.

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  7. Very disappointing given the original hype, but thats the perils of kicker starters. I have not had one arrive on time yet.
    And don't get me started on "A quiet on the Martian Front" :-)
    Cheers
    Stu

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  8. Yeah...not good, though I guess if you are looking at the game as a 'boardgame' then a few bendy planes is not a biggy.

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  9. Got mine today - my planes look better than yours...and they have just announced that all the planes are being replaced

    Playing this tonight

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  10. Shame to see them so bent like that. Always a bit of a kick in the guts when a new game turns up and the components aren't what you'd expect.

    Hopefully they'll put things right.

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    1. I've added an updated post about this now...PSC have offered to replace all the planes which is an excellent response. The rest of the components were really good which is what made the planes such a disappoitment

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  11. When this was first advertised I got quite excited and almost jumped in with both feet.
    I'm thankful that several things dissuaded me.
    * I wasn't able, despite asking, to find the dimensions of the maps, so couldn't guarantee it would fit on my table.
    * I lacked confidence in the timescales.
    * I located reviews for the original game, and determined it wasn't for me.

    A lucky miss.

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  12. thanks for the taking the time to post on this matter. Much appreciated.

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