As of this writing, I’m still waiting on the resin prints that I had setup to be made specifically for this review (like... In the beginning of the year). After waiting without reply from the individual in question I decided that I needed to get this one written, so I went ahead with my inferior FDM printer using year old PLA and knocked out a set for myself. If you read my conspiracy theory about Wargames Atlantic, then you already know that I have somewhat of a history with the original producers of these figures and that I have been waiting a REALLY long time to have these things in my grubby man hands. Fortunately for me, it seems that some stuff was overlooked when these were being funded which means that ten years later I have my preferred Terminator proxies (even if only in PLA right now).
Given the limited printing capability that I currently have, the review will be somewhat limited. However, given the comparative digital file quality of the Hardsuits when compared to other figures I’ve bought/downloaded, I can say that these guys will be amazing in high quality printed resin (and it’s making me want to dump this PLA printer and go whole hog into a good setup). However, given that I haven’t gotten my hands on the real deal just yet, I will limit my review to the things I can talk to. Scale, ease of construction, options, etc. So, without further ado- a review a decade in the making.
Ordering the files was easy. One thing that caught me off guard is that if you don’t download the file within a set time, you can’t access it at all. So, download it pronto and then save it in a few locations- just in case. Cost was reasonable given what you get. Some may find it lacking given that there are three different leg options, but this expands to 6 when you flip them. Same with the weapons. 5 basic weapons (“HArdlaser, GL/Cannon, Gatling gun, Missile pod, heavy flamer), 3 claw types, and some accessories (Heads, a dead Hardsuit, ammo belts, drum, bayonets for the claw hands). Overall, pretty damned good value for the coin. And with the ability to scale the model as you want, lots of versatility. You could use these as Dread sized mechs, Terminator sized heavy infantry, or just heavy suits for regular people. They can even be used as a base for some epic conversions, though to fit Terminator arms, you’ll need to scale them down. Something I haven’t felt the need to do as I prefer these to Terminators anyway.
Of course, all that goodness will be found wanting if nothing fits. Again- limited to PLA that I more or less know how to work with- fitment is great. I had some cleanup to do with the ones I made, but overall, everything fit as it’s supposed to. There are some things that I wish were done different in the design of the mini, but given that these were going to be cast, I think they are actually really damned good. The hatch actually has nubs to allow it to click into the Torso so you could have that stogie chomping Marine head in there waiting to be shown to your friends (and if/when I get the resin stuff, I’m going to do that) and still have it look like it’s getting stuck in during the game.
I see some potential for magnetization as well. Given that these will be printed, some drilling for small magnets will allow weapons to swap easily, giving you the ability to tailor these guys to the task at hand in whatever game system you are using them in. Removing the arm nubs isn’t even really necessary. Just drill into them, and into the torso, and put the magnets in. Simple.
There are a few things that I wish had been done different, and given that these are likely to remain digital, could be done rather easily to increase the value (and yes- I'd buy the set again if the upgrades were made). First, I’d use ball and socket joints in the shoulders and split the arms at the elbows with a simple hinge. This would allow more variability in the posing of the arms, and potentially allow for a reduced overall part count (read “smaller download file”). You’d need at most two upper arms, and then one piece for each lower arm. With the ability to “flip” parts in the slicer, you can double the total number of iterations for each part (this is how the legs and weapons are already, sooo… Why not do this?
Second, While the pod options are good, drop the “pod without back plate” and just have the “pod with back plate.” Replace the “pod without” with a “pod enclosed” that is fully assembled. This way, if all you want is buttoned up suits, you need only print one piece, rather than fiddle with them in the slicer like I did. I was able to make it work, but a lot of print time was wasted printing an interior I'll never see.
I would also like an option for unsupported components. On my filament printer, I found that supports did help some, but overall I could print faster (and actually get better prints) if I used unsupported parts, and oriented them as I needed. This allowed me to put the “bad side” someplace that I could hide it, and orient the component to ease removal. Very handy for fragile pieces like the ammo belt.
Third, a third leg option that doesn’t look strange. There are some simple “walking “ poses that are just fine for what these are. The third leg option looks… Well, I’m not a fan. I’m assuming it’s meant to look like the suit is “kneeling,” but given the mass of the model in comparison to other figures, it’s kind of silly to think about these things taking a knee. They’re basically light walkers. Which is fine. No complaints there. But a third leg option that looked like it was running would be nice.
The fourth and final thing really is a design choice that I find odd. If you look at the barrels of the minigun, and the ammo belt that goes along with it, the rounds seem… Large. Looking at the model, this does seem to bear out. What we’d assume are the barrels don’t… Well… There’s no way that the round could work. However, if we’re wrong in assuming that the “minigun” isn't a “minigun,” and is instead a railgun, then this starts to work. And The more I look at it, the more I’m convinced that may be the case. Perhaps the “barrels” are really “rails” meant to propel a larger anti-vehicle round. Not sure, but I like the belt option, and used it on the “grenade launcher” to make it look like it had more going for it. Which brings up an interesting aside- the belt works for both.
All that being said- this is a definite buy in my book. Yes, all you get are files, and if you don't have a printer that means you need to find a friend with one who will hook you up. But you'll have Hardsuits, and that's what matters. Plus, this company could have just left us without the ability to get these files- send them some love. BUY HARDSUITS! Then, go to Wargames Atlantic and join the forum and tell them to work with these guys and MAKE PLASTIC HARDSUITS!
Are you going to go get some Hardsuits? Let me know in the comments below.