Product Lab - May 2009
We review Hurry'cup from Asmodee Editions, Autoart's Kawasaki 900, ParkZone's Super Decathlon, Osprey Publishing's Field of Glory, and more!
Published: April 14, 2009
Race to the finish with Asmodee Edition's Hurry'cup!
Product: In the tradition of exciting, no-holds-barred Grand Prix races of the early 1900s, Hurrican's Hurry'cup! pits three to six players against each other in the "Cannes-Monaco" car rally. Inside the box are six colored dice (called fuel tanks) and a tumbler, 18 cardboard trump chips, six colored wooden pawns, bonus chips and a wooden accelerator die. Also included are six race cars and 36 sections of track and a starting board to make up the race course.
All of the components are very high quality, and the full-color instruction book is written in nine languages, including English, Spanish and French.
Performance: Players take turns placing track sections to create a unique course every time the game is played. The starting board should be in easy reach of all the players, since it maintains a central role throughout the game. Each player chooses a car, places it on the starting board, and then positions a number of pawns on the starting board equal to the number of players.
Only fuel tanks that are the same color as the pawns are used. For instance, if three players are using the red, black, and white pawns, then the red, black, and white fuel tank dice are used.
The active player rolls the fuel tank dice, but doesn't reveal them right away. Instead, players put one hand behind their back and place the other palm down on the table. Once everyone is ready, the active player reveals the dice and players must try to grab the pawn whose color matches the fuel tank die they want. Howls of disappointment and peals of laughter were common in our games as pawns were snatched in a mad scramble.
Each player, now with a fuel tank, takes a turn rolling the accelerator die, starting with the active player. The result of the accelerator die is added to the fuel tank and multiplied by 10 for your car's overall speed. This matters for portions of the track that have a speed limit due to sharp or winding curves, and can range from 60 to 100 km/h. So, a player who has a fuel tank score of 4 and rolls a 2 on the accelerator is traveling at 60 km/h (4 + 2 = 6; and 6 x 10 = 60).
You can move your car a number of track sections equal to the fuel tank, so long as the car's speed doesn't exceed the speed limit for that section. If it does, then movement must stop on the section before the speed limit.
Once everyone has had a chance to move, the pawns are replaced on the starting board, and the player that started last time passes the tumbler and fuel tanks to the person to his left. A new round then begins.
Of course, there are special trump chips that players can use to break the rules, like the Road Ace (ignore speed limits), Nitro (move ahead one extra section) and Horn (look at the fuel tanks and pick a pawn before anyone else). Bonus chips are awarded for ending on specially marked stretches of road. Five of the bonus chips are helpful (Fast Forward, Assistance, Oil, Swap and Short Cut); one (the Empty Tank) is not.
Marketing: For three to six players, ages 9 and up, Hurry'cup! is more luck than strategy, but choosing the right time to play trump chips can mean the difference between winning and coming in second.
No two games are ever the same, since the race course changes each game. The game is very interactive, fit for family playing and sure to cause lots of laughs.
Customers may find the price a bit daunting, considering the size of the box, but the components are all very high quality and will last a lifetime.
Reviewed by Tim Kidwell
Stock No.: 700200
Availability: Asmodee Editions, 514-504-8461, firstname.lastname@example.org
Board changes for each game
Good mix of luck and strategy
May be a hard sell to the thrifty
Click to see reviews of other Asmodee Editions games:
Werewolves of Miller's Hollow
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Autoart's Kawasaki 900 Super 4 Z1
Product: In 1972, Kawasaki introduced its first four-stroke motorcycle to America. Named the 900 Super 4 Z1, it set new standards for performance in the motorcycle world. Autoart has just about done the same thing with its 1:6-scale replica of this bike.
Performance: Upon opening the packaging, the first thing that I noticed was the striking and well-done color scheme. The metallic brown with orange highlights looks good on this bike. The paint quality is superb; I could find no flaws in it. I was a little disappointed in the orange pinstripes on the gas tank. They're rather thick and slightly mismatched where they meet at the center of the tank.
I was impressed with the emblems on the gas and oil tanks. They're nicely detailed 3D miniatures of the real pieces. The gas cap is engineered to open, using the supplied tool, though it was rather tough to do so. I was also a little surprised that the chrome front fender is made of plastic and not metal.
The replica of the 4-cylinder engine is also well done. It's finished mainly in flat black paint, with the fins, covers and other pieces done in aluminum. The bright chrome-plated metal and plastic exhaust system really stand out against the engine and black frame. Near as I can tell, every fuel, oil and electrical line that is visible on the real bike is included on the model. The use of real screws and bolts on the engine really enhances the realism.
The frame of the bike is made of black painted metal. Completely functional front and rear suspensions are attached to each end. The front forks are represented nicely in accurately colored metal and plastic. The movement of the forks, both turning and up and down, is very smooth. The photo-etched brake disc even has wear marks on both sides of the disc! The rear suspension is almost as nice as the front. The highlight here is one of the nicest chains that I have ever seen on a miniature motorcycle. The coil-over shocks look good, but they do not work as smoothly as they should.
To me, the biggest stars of this model are the wheels. The chrome-plated rims are laced with individual stainless steel spokes for a very realistic appearance. The hubs and valve stems are also superb. The tires are another story altogether. While they are made of rubber, I think that the tread is a bit too shallow. Also, there is absolutely no sidewall detail on them, which is a glaring omission on a model of this caliber.
Marketing: The tires aside, the Autoart Kawasaki 900 Super 4 Z1 will make a nice addition to anyone's display case. Make sure you make this model visible. And if you want to get creative, consider putting together an entire display of die-cast motorcycles, especially now that summer is coming and the real things will be hitting the highways.
Reviewed by Mark Melchiori
Product: Kawasaki 900 Super 4 Z1
Stock No.: 06001
Availability: Gateway Global
Striking color scheme
Detailed, realistic wheels
Lacks sidewall detail on tires
Related review: 1:18 Porsche Spyder
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ParkZone's Super Decathlon goes the distance
Product: I don't think it's ever been easier to get people interested in flying R/C planes. When I started out, you entered the hobby shop with a list of items you needed to build a specific plane: the kit, a motor, radio gear, glue and covering. It also meant that the shops had to carry a lot of inventory.
Enter the ParkZone Super Decathlon BL. Everything your customer needs is in one box. With a suggested retail of $199.99, this is a good deal. There is also a Plug n' Play version for $159.99. ParkZone even includes an extra prop.
Performance: The kit comes compartmentalized in a foam container; the plane goes together in less than 10 minutes.
Assembly begins by charging the 800mAh battery included with the kit. The balance charger plugs into an accessory plug in your car. The battery can also be charged using a variety of other LiPo chargers on the market.
However, it can't be charged using a balance charger other than ParkZone's because the polarity is reversed. I have had this come up with other ParkZone planes that included chargers. It also means that you're probably not going to be able to charge extra batteries, other than ParkZone's, through the balance port.
The landing gear fits in a channel on the bottom of the fuselage. Take care to make sure it gets in the channel, otherwise it will fall off during flight. On our review sample, the receiver antenna wire was tied in a loop, shortening it by about four inches. If customers encounter this, they should untie the antenna.
There was also an extra bag of rubber bands included, with a note not to use them! They are too short for the wings, but I couldn't deduce why they were included.
Since I was under a deadline for this review, I flew the Super Decathlon for the first time on a very windy day. This can be a challenge for a 3-channel plane, but the Super Decathlon was up to it. I hand-launched it; the 370 brushless outrunner motor had more than enough power to cut through the wind.
The radio has a toggle for low and high rates that control the throws on the elevator and rudder. I found the low too soft and flew it mostly on the high rates. However, inexperienced pilots would probably find the low rates more than adequate until they have a few flights under their belt.
The plane has great slow-speed handling, but I found the claim of "surprising aerobatic performance" a bit of a stretch. It will do a loop easily, but since it has no ailerons, rolls are challenges. The Decathlon required a lot of up elevator while the plane was inverted in the roll to keep it from losing altitude.
Marketing: The Super Decathlon is a great entry-level plane. For those who don't have a dedicated flying field, the Decathlon could easily be flown at a baseball diamond, or even at a school's soccer field.
It is extremely portable. Its size allows it to be transported in the trunk or back seat of even a small car without removing the wing.
Customers who have success with the Super Decathlon may find they are prepared to add a plane with ailerons to their fleet. The ParkZone T-28 would be a great step up.
Reviewed by Paul Daniel
Product: Super Decathlon Brushless RTF
Stock No.: PKZ4800
Availability: Horizon Hobby
Good beginner aircraft
Very easy to assemble and fly
Make sure antenna isn't looped
Related reviews: ParkZone Ultra-Micro Vapor RTF
ParkZone F4U Corsair
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Field of Glory historical tabletop wargame rules from Osprey Publishing
Product: Field of Glory, written by Richard Bodely Scott, Simon Hall and Terry Shaw, is a very comprehensive rules set, presented in a 176-page, full-color hardbound book. Different chapters are color coded along the page edges to help locate rules more easily. A very good index has also been included for easy reference.
Performance: Field of Glory, in my estimation, is not targeted at inexperienced wargamers. While the authors claim that Field of Glory is intended to get past the minutia of other rules sets, to let players get on with recreating battles of ancient and medieval eras, it is still very dense. And rightly so!
The rules are presented in a logical order, starting with basic terms and progressing to different phases of the game turn: movement, impact, shooting, melee (followed by the combat mechanism) and joint action. Everything is rounded out with an explanation of battle group deterioration, victory conditions and rules that need special attention, such as scythed chariots.
The images and diagrams presented are extremely helpful in explaining movement and battle formations. I found myself poring over them, relying on them to help me visualize what the text was saying. The diagrams are confusing in a couple of places when taken in context to what the rules are saying, particularly in the Impact Phase section regarding evade moves. However, a little patience and some reasoning will see the reader through.
Not atypical for tabletop wargame rules, some terms are introduced but aren't explained until later in the text. This can be disconcerting for some, and flipping back and forth through the rules to try to find an explanation can be a bit confusing.
The authors provide tips throughout the rules that give advice for successful game play and good command-and-control.
The game engine is elegant, using only six-sided dice. The number of dice rolled per unit depends upon a number of factors, including the phase, troop type and eligibility. Points of Advantage, listed as +s or -s, are used to determine which side in a given fight has the upper hand, and these determine the minimum score on a die required to hit, ranging from 2 at best to 6 at worst. Obviously, it is better to fight with +s.
Marketing: Osprey has long been a publisher of books in support of historical games and modeling. It has taken a bold step in producing a tabletop wargame of its own, and the game is a good one.
Let novice customers interested in Fields of Glory know that there are certain conventions that come with the presentation of wargame rules, and while the authors try to avoid the pitfalls inherent in extensive rules sets, they do hit a few snags - the main one being the introduction of terms without explanation. This streamlines the book, but can cause some consternation.
I find it useful to have miniatures on bases at the ready, so I can set up units and "play" through the examples depicted in the diagrams. If you have a tabletop gaming guru who frequents the store, see if he or she would be interested in demoing Fields of Glory. For wargames, that is truly the best way to get sales.
Also, Field of Glory comes with a ton of support, in the form of Gaming Companions, complete with army lists, historical overviews and maps for different ancient and medieval battles.
Finally, since Field of Glory can be played with figures ranging from 2mm to 28mm, there is a huge choice in figures for players to use. Those who are price conscious could opt to use 1:72-scale plastic figures produced by Italeri and Zvezda. Others could decide to compose their armies from any number of companies who manufacture models in white metal.
Reviewed by Tim Kidwell
Prodcuct: Field of Glory tabletop wargame rules
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Elegant game mechanics
Very comprehensive rules
Can be a difficult read at times
Related reviews: Osprey Publishing's Modelling Scale Figures; Darkson Design's AE-WWII retro sci-fi miniatures game
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1:48 F-22A Raptor from Academy
Product: Academy's impressive 1:48 scale F-22A comes in a big box comprising 259 gray-green, individually bagged sprues of injection-molded parts featuring finely engraved panel lines and complex surface detail. Instead of the usual left/right fuselage halves, Academy molded the fuselage and wings together in top and bottom halves, eliminating wing-to-fuselage seams and any wing alignment issues.
Abundant detail includes full ducting for the air intakes, exhaust section, and the option of exhaust petals. Flaps can be displayed lowered, the arrestor hook can be be posed deployed, and all three weapons bays can be left open or closed. A bounteous assortment of ordnance includes AIM-9M and AIM-9X Sidewinders, AIM-120 AMRAAMs, and GBU-32 bombs. You can also attach underwing fuel tanks. The main wheel wells are nicely detailed, but, strangely, there is no detail in the nose wheel well.
Closed gear- and weapons-bay doors as well as a pilot figure are included so the model could be displayed in flight. You can also pose the canopy closed or open.
Performance: Beginning in the cockpit, construction is straightforward. I deviated from the instructions and painted the whole cockpit flat black, then dry-brushed it before installing it from below in the top fuselage half.
The cockpit is OK, with raised detail on the instrument panel and side consoles, and decals to replicate the "glass" displays. The ejection seat comprises six pieces but has only molded shoulder belts and no lap belts. The gold-tinted canopy is thin and crystal clear.
The landing gear has fine detail, but it's so close to scale that it's a little too delicate to support a model as big as this F-22.
I found some fit issues with the intake ducts. To achieve a proper fit without filler on the lower surfaces, I had to lightly sand the lower front of parts D29 and D31 so the ducts would sit slightly lower and flush with the lower fuselage. Then, I had to cut the intake turbine face (Part D9) into two pieces and attach them to the mounted intake ducts. This small deviation from the instructions allowed a much better fit. Once accomplished, the fit of the upper and lower fuselage halves was outstanding!
In painting the plane, you'll find clear indications by color name and references for Gunze and Testors acrylic or enamels, as well as Life Color acrylics and Humbrol enamels. I painted my Raptor with Xtracolor enamels, going by the color names and not having to bother with a gloss coat afterwards. Once I had completed the rather complicated paint scheme, I began the decaling process.
The most impressive thing in the box is the Cartograf decal sheet, with markings for no fewer than 18 Raptors! Included are many of the small painted panels found in pictures of real Raptors, saving you a lot of masking and painting. The superb decals were thin with perfectly in-register printing. They performed flawlessly, needing only a small amount of Micro Sol to settle into recessed details. There were a couple of small errors in the decal instructions - national insignia was numbered incorrectly - but the error was easy to sort out, due to the size and colors of the insignia. Also the decal instructions showed markings for a Langley aircraft, but there were no such decals.
Once everything was dry I, applied a black acrylic sludge wash to enhance the panel lines, and followed with a coat of Testors Dullcote to flatten the finish and seal the decals.
Marketing: For a model with so much detail, Academy's Raptor is a relatively easy build which will be an impressive addition to any display case. Scale is right on the aircraft's published dimensions. I spent 30 hours on the model, mostly masking the complicated paint scheme and applying the multitude of decals. I wholeheartedly recommend this kit to intermediate modelers with a couple of years' worth of experience.
Reviewed by Jon Hergenrother
Product: 1:48 F-22A Raptor
Stock No.: 12212
Availability: Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100, www.modelrectifier.com
Injection-molded, 259 parts, decals
Fine fit, detailed weapons bays with scale-thin doors, excellent decals
Fragile landing gear, understated cockpit and figure, some missing panel lines
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1:35 SdKfz 221 from Bronco
Performance: Bronco's kit is the first SdKfz 221 in 1:35 scale, and it reflects modern quality standards with clean, flash-free moldings.
The kit is rich in intricate features. The crew compartment is fully detailed, including full driver and commander stations. Detailing is enhanced by clear and photo-etched-metal parts, along with metal springs, jerry cans, and brass fender indicators. No crew figures are included.
Performance: According to the instructions, I started construction with the chassis and drive train. These assemblies installed neatly on the lower hull, with very nice detail.
Next came the suspension units. Real springs are used in creating the four units. While the parts give the impression of movement, they are essentially static. Take care when attaching the wheels; the attachment points are a bit weak. Make sure the glue has set before putting any weight on them.
Inside the hull, a fair amount of time is required to install more than 70 parts. The driver's station is surrounded by a control panel, pedals and levers. Also included are crew details - helmets, water bottles, mess kit, machine pistol, grenades, and three mounting panels. The commander/gunner station is neatly detailed, including a nice MG34 machine gun. The seat even has real metal springs!
To show off all this great stuff, all the hull hatches and ports are separate parts and can be displayed open. The vision ports even work with internal hinges. Bringing the hull top and bottom together, I found the fit was adequate but required careful attention to ensure there were no gaps at the joints. Photo-etched metal screens are provided for the turret grenade screen and hull top.
I painted my 221 with Hobby Color and Tamiya acrylic paints.
Four different vehicles are featured on the decal sheet. The decals are neatly printed and went down well on the gloss paint finish with a little decal-setting solution.
Marketing: I finished my 221 in a quick 12 hours, and the completed model captures the look of this diminutive armored car. The intricate assemblies and variety of materials make Bronco's kit best suited to modelers of intermediate skills or better, but German armor fans will definitely be pleased with this kit.
Reviewed by Jim Zeske
Product: 1:35 SdKfz 221
Stock No.: CB-35013
Availability: Stevens International, 856-435-1555, www.stevenshobby.com
First time the SdKfz has been kitted
Kit is a little over-engineered
Related reviews: Modelling Armored Vehicles published by Osprey Publishing
1:35 Mid-Production LWS from Bronco
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Quick-Build Dodge Viper and Saleen S7 from Testors
Product: Testor Corporation's Quick-Build Model activity sets include complete 1:32-scale kits for the Dodge Viper and Saleen S7. Each kit contains three colors of acrylic paint, a paint brush, and decals.
With minimal parts count and press-fit assembly, these kits are intended to introduce children ages 8 and up to model kit building, with "assembly time of less than 15 minutes" as stated on the packaging.
Performance: I built the Viper kit first, to get a feel for assembly and build time; our 14-year-old son Bill then agreed to build the Saleen kit for comparison.
It took approximately 25 minutes to build the Viper, using a sprue cutter to neatly remove the 23 parts. No sanding, painting, or decaling was done at this point, to give a baseline for the minimum amount a young modeler might do to complete a kit.
I encountered a couple of problems that could hinder inexperienced builders. The wheels did not fit well into the plastic tires, so I used my soft-jawed Dremel vise to exert pressure on the pieces until they snapped into place.
The other difficulty was in mating the body to the chassis; it would not snap cleanly into place. After inspection, I found that a tab inside the body was the culprit; it would not "click" into place as it should. After several attempts, I simply cut off the offending part, which had no real impact on assembly anyway, and the fit was fine.
With my model complete, I asked Bill to start on the Saleen while I timed and documented the build. He was not present when I built the Viper, so as not to bias his thoughts on the building process.
The Saleen went together more smoothly than the Viper, with Bill using a sprue cutter to cleanly remove the parts as I did. The one-piece "glass" was a bit tricky to keep in place, but no other problems were encountered, and he finished the basic model in 25 minutes - the same time it took me to complete the Viper.
The models looked a bit strange without paint, because the bulk of the parts are molded in gray plastic, so the models were disassembled and brush-painted per the kits' instructions. This added 30 minutes or so to the building time, but Bill said, "they really do look better painted."
We never did add the waterlside decals, which probably would have taken another 30-45 minutes to apply. They look fine on the sheet, and would probably "dress up" the models a bit more.
Bill added that "it was a fun kit to build" and "the cars look cool." That basic appeal was a factor in his decision to build the Saleen.
Marketing: These are definitely "parent-child time" kits, of the type where a rainy afternoon can be put to good use. I strongly recommend painting the models, because their all-plastic construction looks a bit toylike without a little help - especially the tires.
With no need for glue, and a low parts count, these models should work well for make-and-take activities.
Be prepared to invest more than the stated 15 minutes to build one of these models, or perhaps break the building into two or more sessions if your young modeler's concentration wanders a bit. A few small parts may require assistance for proper assembly, but the clear, concise instruction sheet should keep even the youngest builders on track.
Reviewed by Bill and Jim Haught
Product: Dodge Viper (No. 4091); Saleen S7 (No. 4094)
Maker: Testor Corp.
MSRP: $8.99 each; also available in one box (4032) MSRP $19.99
Construction time approx. 25 minutes for basic model
Paint definitely helps
"Coolness factor" a plus
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