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Painting with the force 1 – The Rebels

One of the few games I play regularly is Star Wars Imperial Assault, not because I’m a big fan of Star Wars but because it is a clever tactical game with team building and deck building features and an almost infinite amount of scenario/team/deck possibilities. It also sets up quick and you get two games in a couple of hours. The pitfalls of traditional wargames such as long set up times, never finishing a game and the pernickety measurement of angles and distances are all avoided and unlike my other favourite game – Advanced Squad Leader – I don’t end up feeling slightly miffed if I make a mistake and lose because there is less brain commitment!!

I had begun painting a few figures from my collection as a way of taking a break from painting commissions. These were random bits and bobs that I just took a fancy to painting spread over the whole collection

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Jet troopers
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Palpatine
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Sentry Droids
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Darth Vader

These are not GW quality figures by any stretch of the imagination but they can paint up very well for boxed game figures and are a nice break.

I was then pleased to be asked to paint the whole core set for a customer as I would be able to get across all the figures in one box and do a really good ‘how I paint…’ piece for the blog which would include all the rebel figures I hadn’t yet touched. Sadly excitement and incompetence got the better of me as I sat down to prepare the rebels for painting on Saturday morning. Saturday evening arrived and I had painted them all and not taken a single photograph of the process….

Anyway… here are the Rebel heroes from the core set (plus some interlopers I had copies of for some reason).

Luke Skywalker
Hero of the rebellion but this is farmboy Luke not the deadly Jedi Luke of later Imperial Assault waves

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Within the context of the core game he is still good as long as you remember his buffing reroll ability…. The figure is also ok but has a bit of a gap inside the right arm where it joins the body. The face like all the IA models bears only a passing resemblance to real Luke but the pose is good and there is no mistaking him on the board.

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Diala Passil
Another figure who was good in the core but who has aged poorly in comparison to later figures. In core armed with her Sarlacc Sweep command card and using her Shattering blow ability she could travel 5 out of hiding, play surprise attack and do some serious damage on Darth - and anyone nearby. However with only 8 hit points and costing 7 points she is easily one shotted by the weequays for example long before she gets traction now and is not viable. The figure is nicely dynamic though and apart from the curse of the bendy light sabre paints up well.

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Fenn Signis
Another cool dynamic looking figure but rarely used in the current climate. When painting I was puzzled by the enormous eyes which looked ridiculous until I realised that he is wearing a sort of space age set of mauve cycling glasses. This looked way better painted correctly. Fenn costs as much as 4 Weequay Pirates who will total 16 hit points and who can force defence rerolls on even white die dodges and get 8 green dice per turn shooting.

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Gaarkhan
Gaarkhan the wookie was another useful anti Darth character in the core set effectively moving 8 on the charge and hitting red yellow with probable pierce, then getting wounded and hopefully getting off 2 attacks against Darth before dying. And only 8 points. With a Diala/Gaarkhan combo Darth could be taken down regularly. However once again time has not been kind and Wookies need a boost somehow. The figure is cool though and even the doglike teeth are paintable with a nice overall effect.

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Mak and Loku
A Sniper figure who was a useful stormtrooper/officer killer in core. With long range dice and +2 accuracy he was the sniper cannon of core (along with Loku from wave 1?). Unfortunately with only 4 hit points they were both glass cannons and died to anything that could see/hit them. In a rebel Spy list they may have some use to better players than me who can get them past turn 2… This is a pity as Loku is a great figure with rifle at port and trenchcoat billowing. I’m not so keen on Mak who looks as comfortable as you would imagine a donkey on its back legs with a sniper rifle would look. Despite the enormous orange head which can’t be good for a special

Gideon Argus
When I first played IA I never used Gideon because he was useless…..or so my massive tactical acumen told me. Old guy with 5 hit points and a mediocre attack, definitely not worth the 3 points I thought.

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However as my mum used to say “you know what thought did, it followed a muck cart and thought it was a wedding” – in other words I was dead wrong and Gideon has been a staple of Rebel lists alongside C3P0 since day 1. Giving extra movement and a focus every turn to more powerful characters he has endured as part of what IA players call the ‘Rebel care package’. The figure also paints up really well with nice crisp lines.

Jyn Odan
Lastly comes Jyn Odan a genuinely useful Rebel hero with a place in some lists today. With more hit points Jyn could be a staple in more lists as her ‘hair trigger’ and ‘nimble’ abilities as well as her speed 5 make her very annoying. I’m not convinced by the Crouching Tiger pose but she remains worthwhile especially with some of the later Smuggler command cards not available in the core.

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On the whole these figures provided a gateway to Imperial Assault but most have fallen by the wayside due to a combination of high cost and low health. I hope that at some point FFG will release a card set which officially upgrades the early figures to be usable in the current meta as this would give a new lease of life to the whole game without changing/adding to the rules and every IA grognard would buy it.

Until then here are some fan-made upgrades which help. HERE