I have to say that I think that Spartan Games did a stellar job (get it? stellar?) on these ships. The detail is great, assembly isn't a problem, and the final product can be amazing with a minimum of work.
The nice thing about painting the 2 player starter is that the two sides are so different in pretty much every way. The UNSC ships are blocky, militaristic, and their colors should reflect that. The Covenant ships on the other hand are smooth, elegant and colorful. Of the two I find these the more satisfying to paint. It's not often that I love a paint job that I've done but I will frequently find myself just staring at the beauty of my Covenant ships.
How's the game? We're still getting used to it, but by our second game we were really starting to figure out strategies. The first game took hours, the second game took about half the time and we were using pretty much everything in the box, so you can see that it probably is a reasonably fast-playing game once you know the rules.
The rulebook could have been better... but that's for another post (or video... who knows).