Today, after too long a wait thanks to real life concerns so rudely taking up too much of my hobby time and money, we can finally take a look at one of the new Posse sets for the second edition of Wild West Exodus.
But first, a bit of background for those of you who may not be up to date on everything.
Wild West Exodus is a 35mm tabletop skirmish game set in an alternate history Earth in the 1870s featuring robotic sheriffs, outlaws racing across the deserts and plains on anti-gravity motorcycles, Native American tribes summoning spectral mounts to launch lightning raids, and otherworldly forces vying for control of the planet’s history. The game was developed by Outlaw Miniatures and launched in 2013, and was sold to Wayland Games spin-off Warcradle Studios last year. The second edition of the game launched at the end of September and has been growing in popularity since. If you’d like to learn more, my review of the second edition of Wild West Exodus will be posted in the near future.
Now that all the necessary details are out of the way, let’s get started with Armoured Justice!
The first thing you notice is the packaging. Previous boxed sets from Outlaw Miniatures was simply comprised of a plain box, the plastic sprues, bases, stat cards, and assembly instructions thrown in rather unceremoniously. The new packaging comes with not only a very well done slip cover for the box but a very nice container for everything that shows a level of detail not normally associated with general releases of tabletop games. A rather industrious person could even convert the packaging itself into a inexpensive and rather eye-catching carrying case for the entire posse with a bit of foam and some glue.
Inside the package, you’ll find pretty much what you’d expect: a collection of resin and plastic sprues, a set of bases (five small round bases and two medium oval bases), the various stat cards required for using the miniatures, and a very nice promotional placard featuring the upcoming Lawmen boss Helena Miller of the Infernal Investigations posse (you can find the preview video for the Infernal Investigations posse here) on one side and some interesting preview artwork for an upcoming miniature on the other side along with the company’s official social media accounts. I personally stuck mine to the wall in my office, as the artwork itself is simply too good to not display. And yes, I am well aware of how much of a nerd that makes me, but that rather comes with the territory when talking about miniature games, no?
The cards themselves are nicely done, printed on high-quality card stock with wonderful artwork. Not only does the posse set come with the stat cards for the various units, but they also contain several reference cards for the various buffs and debuffs in the game, a card detailing the more common unit rules, and a posse reference card showing players just what is need to build either an Armoured Justice theme posse or a generic faction posse led by Morgan Earp.
The stat cards, while very well done visually, have some issues with them. For starters, while they are well laid out and easy to read, they’re also a lot bigger than the previous edition’s cards. While this may not matter to some people, it does provide an issue for those of us who prefer to keep our cards in protective sleeves. You’ll either be buying completely new card sleeves or printing your own cards to use your current sleeves.
The other issue with the stat cards is that they’re currently outdated. The stat cards currently in the posse set are version 1.00, while the newest stat cards are currently at version 1.03. While this is currently a very small issue (the only difference being in the rate of fire for the K9 Gun Dogs), it can potentially be an issue in more organized play settings as time goes on. It's also something that practically every game featuring unit stat cards deals with, so people coming over from Warmachine or Hordes, for example, will not find this out of the ordinary. Warcradle will be releasing faction decks for the various forces to bring the physical cards up to date in the future. For now, though, if you have a decent printer and want to have the correct card versions available, I’d recommend either getting some card stock and making your own or putting the faction stat card PDF on a tablet or mobile device for in-game reference along with the rulebook.
The model contents of the posse set are:
The resin miniatures are very well done. As you can see in the pictures of the sprues, there is minimal flashing, and the gates were very easy to clip off and clean up. Some of the smaller and more fiddly bits (the Lawbot hats, for example) ended up snapping off the sprue in transit, but that didn’t prove to be an issue until I took them out of the box for assembly and promptly lost track of them in the carpet after being a bit careless. Fortunately, my carpet is rather dark, so the light resin color made them easy to find. The components are also rather large and sturdy, making assembly very easy. I was initially worried about the UR-31C Lawbot assembly, as resin and metal miniatures holding two handed weapons can be difficult to assemble properly at times, but that wasn’t the case here. Everything came together without any issue after a bit of cleanup.
The only problem I had with the resin miniatures were some of the mould lines. As much as we like to complain about them, they’re just a fact of life we all have to learn to endure. None of the resin had any major mould line issues per se; the issue primarily comes from the fact that all these minis have so much detail crammed into them that cleaning the mould lines off can be a hassle. One of the main reasons I’ve held off on getting these models painted in the fear of missing a mould line that I won’t see until after the model is primed or painted. I’ve done that too many times in the past, and I always kick myself mentally when I find one after I’ve already started (or finished) getting a model ready for the tabletop. Picking out the stray mould line among all the leather straps, robotic bits, and clothing can be a bit of a strain on the eyes if done for a long time, which is why I’ve chosen to do them in small bouts throughout the week until I’m brave enough to get them primed.
Now on to the plastic miniatures. While I like the Gun Dogs overall, there one hurdle I had with them that dampened my enthusiasm overall: the lack of assembly instructions. I was eventually able to get them assembled properly, but not without a good amount of fiddling, dry fitting, swearing, and referencing the model renders from the Wild West Exodus website. One of my favorite points about the first edition of Wild West Exodus was the assembly instructions not only grouping each model by an alphanumeric code but showing exactly where on the sprue the various components are. It took me much longer to get the two models assembled than should be needed for models of this complexity due to having to constantly go back to the website to see what I had overlooked. I almost missed the spiked chest plates for the Gun Dogs simply because I couldn’t see them on the model renders; it took a minute of looking the bits and the models over to figure it out. While I’m not a master model builder by any stretch of the imagination, I have been in the hobby for about six years now, and if the lack of instructions was an issue for me, it will be even harder for a novice to figure them out. Aside from this, the Gun Dogs turned out rather well and will need minimal cleanup work before being ready to prime.
So, with all that being said, is the posse set worth it? Absolutely! If you were to purchase each model individually from the Wild West Exodus web store, you’d be looking at spending $107.79 at the time of this writing, while the Armoured Justice posse set only costs $47.04 USD. Granted, the individual price is rather inflated currently due to the fact that the only way to get Morgan Earp is to buy the set containing the regular and Legendary boss versions, but the additional cost isn’t all that much overall. The themed posse sets are an absolute steal at their current prices, and you can probably get a better deal through your FLGS if you order through them rather than from Warcradle directly. Feel free to check the prices for yourself; I added links to the individual units above in the model list.
Another added benefit is the posse cost in game points. I haven’t had any official confirmation from Warcradle staff on this, but practically all of the themed posse sets come in points-wise between 610-620 points, which is an excellent point range for small skirmish games focusing more on learning the various rules and mechanics of the game without it seeming overwhelming. The themed posse boxes also allow for players to start the game in a more cost-effective manner than getting the starter set version. The starter set versions of these posses also contains a small rulebook, a set of tokens, a blast template, dice, and the two card decks needed to play (action and adventure cards) for an extra $20 USD. If you have a decent printer, some card stock, a pair of scissors and some free time, you can print out the tokens and cards to use and download the free rules PDF to use on a tablet or mobile device. If you do go that route, I’d highly recommend getting a cheap 1 inch hole punch and a sheet of 1 inch epoxy stickers for the tokens to make life easier and help protect your markers. If you play other wargames such as Infinity, these will definitely be worth the investment.
While the initial purchase of Wild West Exodus and the first few rumors of the upcoming changes left some people wary of the future, the company has shown their dedication to revitalizing the game and the community with high-quality releases like this one. And if the fact that these posse sets and starter sets are selling out so quickly once available that the company is currently looking for additional staff to help with production is any indication, the game will be sticking around for a long time to come.
The Armoured Justice themed posse set featured here was purchased by the author. Header image courtesy of Warcradle Studios; all other images were taken by the author.