Monday, 14 April 2014

Going out on a rail - Dropzone Commander Monorail Scenery Pack

Monorail Scenery Pack

OK before I start I need to declare an interest. I’ve just been accepted on to the Hawk Wargames “Talon” program – basically you run demo’s and tournaments for them in return for toys. I hope that doesn’t cloud my judgement too much, and I promise to be as honest and forthright about Hawk stuff as anyone else’s. After all, no matter how much you polish a turd, it is still a turd.

So without further ado, Hawk Wargames Monorail Scenery Pack!

This is not yet on sale and was picked up as a "special" at Salute, but it should be available through Hawk "soon".

First thing you notice is it comes in a nice, if not too remarkable box with a pic of the finished product on the front. Shortly thereafter you notice the price, which can cause a sharp intake of breath, and then lastly, assuming you are either still interested you pick the box up and notice the weight – and it weighs rather a lot!

Opening the box quickly provides the answer to the weight issue. Inside are seven steel base units designed to keep the track stable, seven high quality lightweight resin track supports, a coil of strip plastic for use as the track – seven feet of it apparently, one locomotive model, and three identical model passenger cars.

The train and carriages are all in the now familiar neo Art Deco style. The models are pretty much what you expect from Hawk, crisp and highly detailed. The cars and supports all have a separate tab which when attached will slide over the plastic strip rail to hold everything in place. The supports are also highly detailed and crisp.

All in all a very nice model and I’m sure it would be a great looking item on any table.

The elephant in the room however is the price. RRP is reported at £35 -£45 (still waiting to get this confirmed). That’s a lot of money for something that is at the moment just a table talking point.  I was thinking about getting a Japanese Fujimi N Scale 1:150 Tokyo monorail set for my DZC table before this was announced, so I priced one up from an on-line store I have used before and found to be reliable and reasonable about postage. They offered a static plastic kit with 4 cars for £16, and a track set with 10 straight sections, 10 curves and piers for a similar price, plus another £10 p&p. The straights were (I calculated based on box size) about 20-24cm so you would be getting about the same length of track as the hawk one, give or take, and for a similar price. The Fujimi kit looks modern and would fit a SF setting but there is an awful lot of sticking and assembly (really a lot) needed. I also suspect the Fujimi kit would be less flexible than the Hawk one, which is clearly designed to be set up and taken down quickly, whereas the Fujimi one probably would only be worth the hassle if you were planning a fixed table as a display.

All in all I would not rush to recommend buying this yet, unless you have a pressing need for a monorail. There is a scenario pack promised that will used the monorail, with additional rules etc so it may become something more than a talking piece at that point.

If you are in the market for a  monorail, the Hawk one is a damned nice model designed for wargaming use and in that sense better than the other available options and similarly priced.  

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