Saturday, June 10, 2017

BTGOA: Algoryn heavy hoverin' metal

Sh*t just got real for the Algoryns for Beyond the Gates of Antares. The latest release from Warlord Games gives them a jump ahead of the hated Concord.

What started as a mainly infantry force for me has morphed into a collection of heavier weapons as a result of playing games against formidable opponents. Trying to stop a Ghar battle squad with mag rifles can be intimidating. Trying to stop Boromites with mag rifles is intimidating, too. But the worst are the hi-tech Concord who have hard-hitting and hard-to-kill weapons systems. For a while, they had better stuff than anyone.

But now, the Algoryns have the X06 Liberator Plasma Destroyer. I got mine on Thursday. When I heard it was coming out I thought I'd wait a bit until John Kennedy of The Panzer Depot informed me that the keen resin 'n' metal model was soon to be superseded by a plastic kit. The spectre of plastic got me moving and I had him order me one, which he had to hunt down from his distributors.

Plastic may be seen by some people as the salvation of the hobby, replacing expensive metal with a cheaper material. I am not convinced. Indeed, I regard plastic as an abomination.

Do it for the children
When the hobby goes totes plastique, I'll take up scrapbooking. Until then, I'm acquiring all the metal ('n' resin) I can get before there's no metal to be had.

But I digress...

The main part of the kit (the resin bits) are five pieces. The turret is a separate piece. The main hull is one big chunk o' resin. The insectoid mandible-like fore-part of the vehicle is separate as are the "wings." However, all these parts fit together very nicely. The resin casting is superb, as is the quality of the resin.

Five Easy Pieces
The bottom of the hull has a "T"-shaped keyhole-like insertion for the stand.

An inconvenient "T"
I'm not a fan of the stand that comes with the model—not least because it's plastic. I prefer something more substantial. All my Algoryns are mounted on metal fender washers. The infantry is on 1.25" dia. washers, except for some weapon crews, who are on 1" dia. washers. The metal washers add heft to the pieces. I like heft. Heft is good.

Do you know what doesn't have heft? Plastic. Plastic has no heft whatsoever.

Getting back to the basing...

When I did my Algoryn Intruder skimmers, I used a 1.5" fender washer for the bases, with metal 1" tall FASA bases I get from CinC. 1", 1.25", and 1.5" fender washers are easy to find in any hardware store. But when I did my Algoryn Avenger skimmer, I wanted a bigger base, so I went to the Interwebs and was able to find some 2" dia. fender washers at

Avenger properly based (but WIP nonetheless)
With the Liberator, I was in a quandary. I didn't think a 2" washer would be a stable enough base for the bigger, heavier model. I went back to the Interwebs to discover—to my indescribable delight—that there are 3" dia. fender washers available (but not cheaply), so I bought a pack of 5. You'll have to look up how much I paid for 'em 'cause I'm embarrassed to say—but they did arrive in two days from Amazon, so that's something.

3" washers; dear in more ways than one
I'll create the base with the 3" washer, topped by a 2" washer, with the FASA base on that.

Base is a many-layered thing
I'll terrain the base, as I've done with all the Algoryns, using heavy wood filler and then bits of model railroad ballast for texture. Once painted and flocked, the bases look pretty nifty—and have heft.

I'm just at the point of having cleaned and washed the resin parts and just assembling them now. Getting back to that keyhole at the bottom of the hull, I'll need to fill that in with modeling expoxy, as I did for the Avenger, so I can replace it with a hole drilled for mounting the vehicle on the FASA base.

The Intruder skimmers are done and have actually been used in a game. The Avenger is still a WIP, though very near to completion (I just need to get to it). The Liberator shouldn't take much time if I devote myself to it. Maybe scheduling a BTGOA game will get me motivated. I have so many other project irons in the fire, which I'll address in a future post.

So, I'm glad to get a bit more firepower for my Algoryns. When I got into this project in 2014, I figured I'd just do some infantry for some one-off games. However, the more stuff that's coming out, the deeper in I go. I don't think I'll expand to other Antarean races, however. I'll stick with the Algoryns.

All hail Algor, Founder of our race!


  1. Why the dislike of plastic miniatures? Genuinely curious as someone looking to get into the manufacturing of miniatures for my own game and am curious about what people like or dislike.

  2. I like the weight and heft of metal miniatures. Plastic ranges may have improved, but the first plastic minis on the market required significant model-building per figure. Cleaning a one-piece metal mini is enough work. I'm also unimpressed with the size of the plastic minis I've seen, e.g., Perry plastics seem dinky compared to metal 28mm ranges, but I tend to like oversized figures.

    The bid advantage, for now, of plastic over metal is cost. As the market moves more towards plastic, I expect the cost of plastic minis to go up to metal prices.

    I think that before plastic minis are a viable option for me, they need to be one-piece (no assembly), unique (i.e., something I can't already get in metal, and significantly cost effective. They also need to be robust enough not to come apart in play.

  3. Typed out a long response only to lose it because of a sensitive touch screen. Stupid phones...

    Heft can be a detriment as it can lead to metal and resin miniatures break at the joins of parts or, in the case of one of my resin models, shattering into tiny pieces. The weight can also cause chipping on a model id it falls over on the table (as I have had happen with an Infinity T.A.G.).

    One part plastics tend to either defeat the purpose of making them plastic, lose too much detail because of the type of plastic needed, or are too soft to be worth while. The uniqueness is an odd requirement cause the reason for plastic is usually the modelling sixe of the hobby. After all one can make a Bolt Action Army without a single repeated pose using plastic kits. As for Robustness... Plastic Cement literally welds the miniature together into a single piece. Much more effectively than superglue that will deteriorate over time.

    The only time I have heard of any durability issues where with things like Tamiya kits and GW's vehicles that were excessively chopped up and thin walled. And those were more to do with bad design or the fact that the kits were designed to be on display and rarely touched.

    Guessing this all comes down to experience. Cause Superglue with Metal/Resin Components has always been worse for me and gas always made the armies look like Clone Troopers when compared to the variety possible with a good plastic kit. Especially since one could include all possible options on a plastic kit and offer magnetization built in for the same price as a metal/resin kit. The only possible exception I could possibly see is some historical or sci-fi (e.g. Infinity) kits that need the ability of metal to be made thin and in as few parts as possible. But those tend to be geared more towards painters or gamers who don't like the modelling side of the hobby.

    Honestly your reasoning sounds like what one of the older gamers in my area used to try and avoid some games because he was convinces plastic miniatures hadn't advanced since Rogue Trader Box 1 days.

    Also the price for plastics depends more on company than anything. If you look at Games Workshop you will see Plastic that is higher than metal (though modularity wouldn't be available on the metal models) but with Warlord and the like you see more affordable kits.