I finally received my VaS starter set in August and to be honest, after having had the rules provided free with Wargames Illustrated and having printed up some ships from the interweb, I was a little underwelmed :-(
When you take into account the retail prices being charged for the fleets and individual battleships, the starter set is actually rather good value for money.
You get all you need to start the game - dice, mats, fleets, counters, templates etc. so shouldn't complain really.
However there are two major gripes I have with the set; -
1. The rule book isn't the complete article. Its like a quick start guide you'd get with a GW boxed set. The full version (hardbacked etc.) is still to be announced, which means you only have the ship data that comes on the cards to match your starter fleets....nothing about the Atlantic war, submarines, Mediterranean sea, convoys etc. etc. And only the briefest notes on aircraft and carrier actions. Also there's a distinct lack of historical scenarios, which the original rulebook (thankfully I still have this) was full of.
2.The quality of the ships. The scale is 1/1800 which should offer the opportunity for good detail. Some are better than others....I suspect the better items are the old mongoose models repurposed. But they overall they are not bad.....however that cannot be said of the material they are cast in. The website announced they would be using the "New Warlord Resin" which we now know is something akin to the Siocast moulding materials now used by PSC to mould their Battlegroup Northag items. This is a grey slightly flexible material which whilst robust for delicate parts, is hard to straighten if warped and dificult to clean up as it does not sand easily. That said not all the ship models were of this material in my box, some were the old type resin and when I tried the "Hot & Cold Water" technique to try and straighten the banana like USS Chicago it promptly snapped in two!
Having got over these two issues I proceeed to get the set ready for use.
The ships were finished simply (no dazzle camoflague here I'm afraid) by spraying an overall coat of grey automotive primer. Then painting the deck colour, followed by white for lifeboats and yellow for infaltables and finally black for funnels and masts.
Once dry a coat of Army Painted Dark Tone to pick out the shadows.
Then a light drybrush of white to pick out details before painting the base in Vallejo Pastel Blue.
Once this is dry and give the base a coat of Army Painter Blue Tone before dry brushing white over the wave texture. Finally I painted the edge of the base in Vallejo Intense Blue and highlighted the name in white.
A spray coat of satin varnish completed them. In all about 2 days work at the very most.