TGN Review: Mecha Front Light Mech Kits from Paulson Games

By Polar_Bear
In News
Oct 10th, 2013
10 Comments
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Paulson Games is a relatively new company that makes resin bits, but now they’ve started to expand their repertoire into minis games.

Mechs have been a favorite of mine for quite some time. The first computer game I really got into was Mechwarrior 2. I played that game even after it was cool to do so. I only stopped playing because (after what felt like a century of waiting) Mechwarrior 3 came out. So any game involving mechs already has my attention. So when I started seeing previews and initial concepts for Mecha Front from Paulson Games, I knew it was one I would be following along as it developed.

Then I found out that one of my coworkers was the brother of the guy behind Paulson Games. It was looking like everything was coming up Polar_Bear! So I’ve gotten a hold of a Neo Bloc Goshawk kit and two NorAm Raptors (the Beta and Gamma loadouts) and wanted to let you know my thoughts on them.

So without further ado, I give you a review of Mecha Front NorAm Raptor and Neo Bloc Goshawk kits.

My expectations for these kits were very high. I’ve been burned in the past by mech game kits that I was exceedingly excited for, but horribly let down when I finally got them. So when I got my first little bag that had the Goshawk inside, I looked very carefully at the pieces. I was actually surprised to find out the parts were resin. Most resin I’ve handled felt at least a little β€œchalky” or at the very least felt slightly rough. This resin is entirely smooth. It feels much more like a plastic than it does a resin. Being large, blocky pieces by design, there’s not a lot of fine detail to really talk about on the pieces, but you can tell that the few places there are details like that, they’re very crisp (like at the end of gun barrels or near ammo feeds).

The bases the models come with is 60mm and you can see that they fill up the bases fairly well. You can see them here next to a 30mm base model. They’re about as tall as some of the warjack kits from Privateer Press.

The Goshawk came in 10 pieces and required very little cleaning. There were the obligatory places that the resin was injected into the mold, but really no mold lines to be found. The left gun assembly did have some, but they filed off rather easily.

I got the Raptor models a bit later (I’d been too busy with other projects to get around to reviewing the Goshawk by itself, I’m sad to say). I was happy that when the other models arrived they were made out of that same high-quality resin that the Goshawk was.

The two Raptors only vary slightly in the upper torso as one is molded to be able to hold the railgun while the other is symmetrical. The third Raptor chassis (the Alpha) I assume is also slightly different as it has two torso-mounted guns on it.

As the models are meant to be rather modular (you’re able to buy separate weapon packs from the game’s webshop), I decided to do something a little different than just straight assembly and went in for adding magnets to the kits. I got a ModFX Starter Set and set to work. The resin was very easy to drill into and the light weight of the parts meant the magnets have a pretty easy time holding the arms on. I magnetized the arms of all the kits as well as all the waists. Also, the one Raptor with the railgun (the Gamma), I magnetized that gun as well. The only criticism I have here is that the waist on the Raptors is really small, so I had to use the smallest magnets. While they will stay put, it’s a bit of a tenuous connection. I’ve considered simply gluing them in place instead. I would only lose out on the torso-twisting, which isn’t much of a loss, really. But overall I am rather happy with how the magnetizing came out.

The resin models are $25 up in the webshop. You can get different weapon packs for $5. So it’s actually pretty cheap to get some great-looking Mech figures if you want.

There are unfinished Mecha Front rules out there that Paulson Games is working on. I’ve tried them out, but it’s been a couple months and the rules have been changed since then, so I won’t really get into that too much, but I can say that what I played was pretty fun. I look forward to see more-complete versions of the rules, but more importantly, I’m looking forward to Medium and Heavy Mech kits.

There will definitely be reviews of those when they’re available as well.

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  • I too am a lover of mecha… While gundam kits are “fun” builds the designs are kind of silly. “Proper” Mech designs (if there is such a thing) are kind of scarce. I am a fan of the walkers and some of the Mechs from the old Robotech kits that Revell put out in the 80’s, most of which were licensed from Takara if I am not mistaken. I know a good deal of them were from a series called “Dougram”.

    These mechas have that kind of look, you know the “these might actually work” look.
    And it looks like the casts are pretty nice too.

    Thanks for the review πŸ™‚

    • Daniel36

      More like “these are probably very easy to tip over.” I don’t like this design. The only mech designs that I have really liked were the Front Mission ones. They were slightly bulkier, sturdier if you will.

      Then again, I am not much of a mech lover to begin with.

      • For your viewing pleasure… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwoFjzLZ5rQ
        Bipedal robot counteracting being pushed and kicked around… One of numerous projects around the world. There are also numerous working robots that are bipedal that don’t serve any real purpose yet other than advancing the science. You could do a search for asimov on youtube or robotics football.

        I don’t think the tipping over is an actual issue at all. I’d say the practicality of having a mech in the first place is in question since there are more practical machines in both terms of mobility and other areas. It’s a silly premise to begin with, but for the sake of argument and to clarify what I meant – having giant robots that look like a samurai is on a whole other level of silly when all they need to be focusing on is mobility, firepower and armour. I almost forgot the most important one – powersource. They don’t need to have a “human” form to accomplish that. I’d say for all intents and purposes the human form is counterintuitive and very impractical to achieve those things.

        As for aesthetics – yes I do like the front mission designs. I enjoyed the Lost Planet mechs even more though.

  • Thanks for the review πŸ™‚

    The Alpha and Beta versions of the raptor have an identical torso piece. The machine guns on the Alpha model glue on teh side and don’t have tabs or indentations. As you noted the gamma (sniper) version needed a seperate torso design in order to accomidate the railgun.

    I tried a lot of differant resins before I settled on this brand, it has a great feel and density to it. It’s very easy to work with yet it’s strong and is a bit more durable than others that I tried out. Another benefit that’s easy to overlook is the lack of odor when it’s cured. Many other brands have a have a very strong and distinct chemical smell when they are being cut or worked on.

    The walkers vs tanks arguement it’s as old as mech games are, and its not going to be settled anytime soon.

    How I impliment mecha within the game setting is that they are used for urban combat and other terrain that tanks have difficulty opperating within. They would be very vunerable on a battlefield enviroment with lots of open space, but their strength comes from an ability to opperate in urban areas where tracked vehicles have difficulty. Being able to side step around obstacles or leap over things is a huge mobility advantage. Their larger profile is a weakness, but in cities (where most of the combat occurs) there is lots of vertical cover.

    In end its a game, not a depiction of reality. For those that are a fan of robot combat I hope they’ll enjoy it.

    • In regards to the magnets, I (foolishly) didn’t have them in mind when I first started on the Raptor. I was lucky enough that 3mm dia magnets managed to fit each of the connection points.

      When I started on the Gowhawk and my models currently underway I have been taking magnets into consideration, while I can’t have them as a built in feature I’m making sure all of the components have enough internal space to hold at least a 3mm magnet (or larger).

      With the waist conenction I’ve found that going two magnets deep greatly increases the gripping power.

    • Daniel36

      @ Basement Dweller, thanks for the youtube vid. That was actually really cool and I didn’t expect that. Made me more appreciative of most mech designs.

      @ Paulson, you are absolutely correct. They don’t have to be a depiction of reality, and your designs as far as mechs go are just as nice as others out there. I wasn’t implying they were bad, just not to my taste. They share a feel to stuff I’ve seen from things like Robotech, which are also not to my liking. Like I said, mech isn’t really up my alley to begin with, the only mech game I loved was Front Mission. I do really like the 4 legged mech in the top pic, though. It’s bulkier, and I like that look. And I do wish you the best of luck in your endeavours and I am sure there are plenty of people out that there that do like it.

  • 4tonmantis

    If this is getting looked at still..
    There’s a pair of arms with light autocannons on them that would be suitable for other uses but I think they are too small for mounting on a 1/35 (roughly) vehicle as an anti-air weapon. Any chance of seeing this as a 1/54?

    • The autocannons measure 40mm in length. The models I didn’t build with a hard scale, so they’d be able to be used with either 10mm or 15mm infanrty models.

      As I was working with wargame models in mind I’m not sure on how they’d pair up to 1/35th or 1/54th scale models. I’d guess they’d be a better fit for 1/54 as AA guns tend to be quite long.

      • 4tonmantis

        Yeah, I was hoping for something I could slap on a Chimera.. sounds like these are a little on the small side for that. I’ve got your site bookmarked and will probably be buying some mech figures for various things but will also be keeping an eye on those weapons as they are very nice bits.

        • 4tonmantis

          *Those Weapons – Being the weapons in general, not specifically the auto-cannons.. though I will be watching to see if those are released in a larger scale for any reason πŸ˜›