Powered-Play Gaming Product Review:
Alpha Kit, Fiber Optic, and 9v Battery








Here at 2Ton Studios I had the honor of being able to review and test out the new Alpha Kit and a few little upgrades to it from Chris and Chris over at Powered-Play Gaming. First off I just want to say what a wonderful couple of guys to get to work with, I wish I would have been able to meet them face to face at Adepticon this past April but I had to miss out on that trip. But when I saw the Kickstarter that the guys put together I really got excited for their product.
Now for those of you living under a rock let me explain what the Alpha kit is. It my friends is by far one of the coolest products ever thought of. Have you ever seen the pictures of tanks where the modeler has put real lights in them and you thought that was really cool and ever wondered how they did it? Or have you looked into and thought to yourself “that looks way to hard to do” because of all the fiddly little parts you have to buy and then solder together, and pray you bought the right things? Well worry no longer my friends, the Alpha kits are preassembled so there is no guessing what parts or what size lights to buy and no risks of burning the crap out of yourself. They are completely plug and play because of this handy little computer board.
 






The kits come with the board that you can plug up to 4 sets of lights into, 5 different sets of lights (which are all wired in pairs), and a 9v lead to help power the kit. All you have to do is supply a 9v battery. Then all you have to do is plug the chosen lights into the board and then plug the 9v battery lead into the board and flip the switch.
BUT WAIT… there’s more my friends. Not only do they have the Alpha kits but they also have a 9v battery that you can buy from them that is wired and ready to just plug in.



So now that I have got past a brief explanation of what the Alpha kit is and told you about the really cool battery I get to tell you about the project that I set about doing. Originally I was going to do something simple and just put lights in a Razorback for my a Death Company squad that just painted up but I have yet to acquire the Forge World door set that I have my heart set on. So it was on to plan B. which was a bit ambitious because I was going to put a crap ton of lights in a Stormraven but I don’t have enough lights for all the lights I want to put in that monster. So plan C it was… pretty simple really light up a Baal Predator.
Step one. Figure out what lights I want to put into the predator and how complicated do I want to make this. I was defiantly going to give it real headlights (that was kind of a given as that is standard practice), Then I wanted to light up the assault cannons to make them look like they were firing (IF I had the micro effects controller they would blink too),




but I also wanted to show something that you normally don’t see on tanks. In the world of 40k… the driver. So I set about carving out the “window” on the front plate and I used what is normally the guy firing the gun off of the cupola painted him up and stuck him in the front of the tank. I decided that green lights would be cool for this little bit. So if I turn on the lights and you look in the slit on the front plate you can see the driver looking back at you. Which is really kind of cool. 




I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to light up the sponsons but in the end I decided to pass on that one because I didn’t have the lights for it because I had already decided on red lights in the assault cannons. Maybe on the next one if I have the lights for it.
Now the Turret was really a challenge to figure out because of how the assault cannons are made. Now when I got my Alpha kit I got the fiber optic upgrade for it (and thank the painting gods too). I had to cheat a little and watch a video that Brush 4 Hire did on the Fortress of Redemption and how they did the big lascannon turret and followed their tips with drilling out the barrels and then running the fiber optic and heat shrinking it together and then heat shrinking a bulb to the bundle and there you go.
 




With the turret all sorted out I set my sights on the headlights. Now we all know how hard it is to drill through a curved surface so I carved the actual headlights off so it was a nice flat surface and set gluing them down to the top plate of the tank and then I drilled out the spots for the yellow LEDs to go. Then I set about doing a dry fit before I even painted the model to make sure that everything was going to fit together the way I wanted and that it was going to look cool.
 






Now I am not going to turn this into a painting article and tell you how to paint a Baal Predator, so I am just going to say that I pulled all the lights back out and then I primed and painted the tank and reassembled the whole thing. Like in the video that I saw on the Kickstarter for the kits where they showed how plug and play the kits were on a Razorback and converted it into a Predator, I mounted the board to the bottom of the tank and drilled access holes for the wires to run through.


And then I got everything all plugged in and powered up. It looks really cool I think.








Now that I explained what all I did time for the review. The Alpha kits retail for $31.95 and like I said the come with one each red, green, blue, white, and yellow lights along with the 9v battery connector and the PC board. I was told that they are planning on selling just the wired lights for $8.95 that they call a “Color Pack” and will be available for all 12 colors or size options. So if you are working on something and you need a bunch of one color you will be able to buy just those colors extra. Which is a cool idea, though personally I do wish that when you order the Alpha kit you could pick the color lights you want up to the 4 possible sets that you can plug into one board. But honestly that is the only major gripe that I have with the set up that they offer. The lights come already pre wired which is really nice cause they made them plug and play so the set is modular so if you are running a tank and have multiple weapon options for it you can still light them up and have them be swappable.
They are really well made, all of the solder points are properly shrink wrapped so you don’t have to worry about shorting anything out. Also the lights are labeled so there is no guessing which lights are which when you get your kit. Now it is cheaper to buy the parts and wire up your own set up… but honestly I would much rather pay for the convenience of having it already assembled so all I have to do is plug in the colors I want to use. So this is one of those situations where you are paying extra for a convenience factor and honestly it is well worth it cause I am not an electrical engineer.
So the Alpha kit gets 4 out of 5 stars from me cause I would like to pick the colors that I am planning on using for the task at hand, and like I said earlier that is the only thing that I have wrong with the kits. The space saving battery upgrade that I got with my kit is one of those things that is really cool and it does save space and weight in the model. I actually decided to just use the 9v lead that the alpha kit comes with for the Baal Predator in the end because I want to save the battery for a later project (I have a second Alpha kit that I am going to light something else up with and I not going to have a lot of space to work with for a regular 9v).
The space saving “experimental” battery is a little on the pricey side though so honestly order it if you have limited space or you want to save on weight (like in a flyer). So the battery option I am going to give 3 out of 5 because of the cost because a regular 9v works just as well unless you don’t have a whole lot of room to work with.
That leaves us with the fiber optic upgrade. Now this one I don’t have a price handy or a whole lot of details as of yet with how it is going to be officially packaged but whatever it is and whatever the final cost on it is going to be, it will be well worth the price. It is simple to use cause all you have to do is position the light at one end of the fiber and it carries the light to the other tip. You can cut it to whatever length you need it to be with just a regular pair of clippers so there is no fancy tools needed and it is the perfect way to light up the barrels on things like lascannons. So I give it 5 out of 5. The fiber optic upgrade is almost a required upgrade to the Alpha kit.
So if you plan on or are even thinking about lighting up tanks in your army you really do need to take a very serious look at Powered-Play Gaming. Personally I am planning on buying a bunch more kits since I am just starting this Blood Angels army I want all of my tanks and even my Stormravens to glow. LIGHT UP THE NIGHT!

 







3 Responses so far.

  1. That does look easy. I should get some.

  2. You should. I was told that the kits should be up for preorder this week at poweredplay.net and that they are talking like they will also be for sale with CMoN. The kits are really easy to use just keep in mind that you might need to go somewhere and pick up some shrink wrap if you are going to be using the fiber optics so that way the bulb is secured to one end of the optic.

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