I managed to get my hands on a Maximus AVR 1.2 using the new PIC chips.
Design: This version comes shipped in a nice sturdy enclosure with a hole to put it into programming mode
The Guts: The components on the board are well assembled, nothing cheap here
Flashing: I had to do some digging around for this one but i found a modified version of HIDLoader from Maximus. This requires you to have the following components installed:
Download details: Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Web Installer)
Download details: Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (x86)
Plug the device into your your PC and press the little button to kick it into bootloader mode
Launch the HIDLoader.exe file and it should recognize the device. Load the hex file and program the device.
Booted up with no problems at all with the hermes v4b file i used.