The first thing I noticed is that the box is made of the same thick card that the Space Hulk box is, however, it is slightly deeper--more stuff to fit in the box, apparently! The Space Hulk box is 9cm deep, Dreadfleet is 10.5cm.
Tearing open the shrink wrap and getting to the goodies, the first thing you see is the sprues. I knew that the models were going to be large...but not this large.
Each ship is several inches long at least. With Space Hulk, with all the parts assembled, you could still fit everything in the box. I don't think you're going to be able to that with Dreadfleet. Or if you can, not easily. But we'll see...
This dude, who is some kind of sea monster/swamp thing/ocean zombie (UPDATE: it's a "Sea Giant") is about the size of a normal 28mm miniature.
The side of the box is where the assembly instructions are located.
The sails are huge, and each is embossed with designs unique to each ship. Unfortunately that means it will be harder to customize the ships if you don't want them to be exactly the same as the GW paintjobs, but it's a nice attention to detail, and will help the novice painter avoid having to freehand all those sail images.
They didn't skimp on the terrain pieces either. The largest sprue contains various islands, shipwrecks and the measuring device. Like the rest of the pieces, they're huge!
Underneath all the sprues, a card divider keeps the sprues from damaging the rest of the contents and vice versa. With all the copies of Dreadfleet in the mail, this was prudent.
Under that we have the rule book, damage and event cards and dice (not pictured--standard D6s, several white, one red), all shrink-wrapped. They also include (shown at right), a bunch of other small baggies which can be used to store the cards when not in use--another nice little touch in a box filled with quality stuff.
And finally, the vaunted game mat. I was looking forward to seeing this, so I was eager to open it and check it out.
The cloth is pretty thin, but of good quality, and feels silky. The artwork on it is superb, and the stitching on the edge gives it a nice touch. However, being pretty thin, I can see how if you're not careful, during gameplay you might snag a ship's base on it and scrunch it up. I think I would have preferred a slightly heavier cloth, but that's a minor complaint.
So I laid it out to see how big it was--and it is pretty big, but I also noticed...the problem. See it?
Here's a close up:
And the reverse side...I don't know what happened, but it's almost like someone poured some acid on the cloth! I paid good money for this and it's defective! Grrr....
All in all, I'm pleased with the contents--aside from the manufacturing defect, it looks to be a high quality product, and I look forward to playing it!