Friday, 7 June 2013

In the wilderness far too long..

There's a running joke within the office about how there's always a parcel/package arriving for me. However, people have recently started commenting about the opposite.. no parcels, no packages, no nothing.

I've been on a model buying hiatus of late, the last models I actually bought were from Salute - Something the wife has been quite glad of - this is mainly due to the time i'm putting into Red Wyvern Games (website, blog)

That is until now! 
Arrving into the office  this morning was a small brown cardboard box, which I instantly knew to be my 15mm high elves from, well, I have bought from before, but never bought the high elves, so i thought I'd give a quick review of them.

I have been a long standing 'elf' player, with Games Workshops High Elves and Dark Elves forming my largest and greatest armies (both around 5k points) but as i've moved down in the scales and away from GW, i've not really carried on this love of all things elven. I'm on a bit of a 15mm fantasy frenzy at the moment though and when I saw these guys knew i'd have to recreate my 28mm army in 15mm scale.

I bought two packs of the Elf Spearmen from the HOT 15mm range (see this link) they're £4 for 16 miniatures (25p ea)  in four different poses - which form a very nice squad with spears primed. 

Image from the website

I'll break down my review into 3 aspects, followed by a summary

  • Detail on the model
  • Quality of casting
  • P&P/Company review

So here we go!
[I appologise for the photo quality, im in some horrible dark back room office]

Detail on the model

The models are in fact, really well detailed. The smaller you start getting with scale, the harder it gets to achieve really good looking chainmail. The mail on these guys however, is really well done - very fine small holes that don't look like they'll fill up with paint the moment you add your brush and not so big that they look like someones taken a drill to them.

there's lots of additional detail as well, the helmets have some embeleshments on the front of them, that stands off of the helmet quite nicely and the finer details such as the face and hands have come out well - you can distinguish the facial features and count each of the fingers. 

Other details such as belt buckles and sword handles only help emphasise the detail on these minis.

Hopefully, you can see some of the detail I was refering to.

Quality of the Casting
This one is a bit of a mixed bag, the fact that all of the minis came out with the details I mentioned above being present is really, very good and a testiment to the quality of the molds. 

The level of flash on the minis however is quite astounding, some look like they've been 'flattened' with the flash coming out of all sides. whilst I don't think this will have a major impact of the model, though it might fill in some of the chainmail, it's more the amount of it, and clearing it out of those gaps between legs and in the nooks and crannies around hands/weapons can be a right pain in the arse. 

The above pictures will give you some idea of the amount of flash on some of these model (not all I must say) but some. It's a shame given the quality of the model itself.

Post, Package and

The models arrived, seperated into bags and in a brown, slimline box. Unlike Magister Militum who will add 'padding' in the form of those 'S' shaped foam bits, these were left to slip and slide, though there's no apparent damage - the spears, for example, were in excellent shape - so i'm not too fussed by this, though packaging wouldn't hurt.

Now, as I said earlier, i've bought from many times over the years and I do so because I feel confident in the quality/level of detial on the minis i'm buying, they've got a massive range plus they're prices are excellent, I'll certainly be buying more of the high elves! But there's just one thing that irks me.. their postage system. 

It's £3.50 flat rate, worldwide shipping and that includes the UK. This is an excellent method of getting worldwide customers, lord knows i've paid stupid amounts for shipping from the states for example. In the UK however, this is very high price for shipping of such small, light minis. 

I certainly feel as if i'm being overcharged to subsidise this flat rate system and have been put off buying from them in the past for one off items as i'd be paying almost as much in shipping as I am for the minis. My friends and I usually group our orders together when buying from them.

I paid £3.50 P&P and the stamp on the box says that it cost £1.10 to post, even if you include the price of the box and bags (which I would assume are bulk bought) this surely cannot push the price past £2.00! which means they're making £1.50 off me in postage. I certainly believe they'd get more order from me if they charged me appropriately. 

Anyway, enough of my moaning, here's some shots of a few of the models lined up as they will be. 


I've bought from them in the past and I know I'll be buying more in the future. A couple of tweeks to their business model and a bit more attention to the flash and you're making the finishing touches to an excellent company.
  • Level of Detail - excellent: 9.10
  • Casting Quality - mixed bag, great that the detail is there, but too much flash - It's the detail that counts though: 8.10
  • P&P and Company - Great company, excellent ranges just a shame about the postage system: 6.10

Monday, 25 March 2013

Here's a review!

Hi all,

Been a bit slow on the posting front I'm afraid, however you can check out a review I did of the Baccus 'Command Horizon' 6mm sci fi miniatures.

Really nice models and you can check out the review here!


Monday, 25 February 2013

My far from (really far from) exhaustive list of minature companies by scale!

As the title suggests... I have undertaken a rather dangerous task of trying to compile a list of companies that produce miniatures based on the scales of those models. (even if that means companies are duplicated several times on the list)

A lot of the work was done by Ben over at Tiny Mini People, however I'm trying to add to it as/where I can. 

I know i've missed *a lot* of comapnies of on this list, and will be updating it as soon as possible with more.. If you have any suggestions then please leave a comment and i'll update it.

You can check it out via the link towards the top left of the blog or just click here!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The grass is always greener..

The flock 'recipie' from my 'To Build a Board' post.. which you can find here, is as follows:

Two bags of 'Gaugemaster: Spring Green flock'. 
1. Two bags of this
One third of a bag of 'Woodland Scenics: Fine Turf Green Grass'
2. One third of a bag of this.
And finally, two handfulls of 'Games Workshop: Scorched Grass'
3. Two handfulls of this.
Which, when mixed all together, should create a rather nice tub of this!

We had to do this process twice to create enough flock to cover the board (though it did leave enough for us to do quite a few models for a while to come)

If you have a keen eye and you've read my other post, you'll note that there are other colours on the board. We used some other flocks (in small measures) to create a bit more texture to the board, and make it a little more reaslistic. I can't remember what they are, but Ben will have a list of some (all?) of them on his blog here! (I'll link that when he's updated it)

To Build a Board..

Being the hardworking fellows that my friends and I are, it's been a long while since we've had a whole day to spend working on a project. Most of our time spent together 'gaming' usually ends up with procrastinating..

So, we decided to book a day off of work in order to start early and crack out one big project. I present to you the 14 hour Gaming Board Challenge.

10.00 start.
Ben's on time.. Ian's 32 minutes late.

When Ian finally arrives we start drinking tea and procrastinating.. not a good start. But some fiery rhetoric from Ben gets us motivated and we're soon off to B&Q for wood to build what will be a 3'x2' gaming board for smaller scale miniatures (namely 6mm and 10mm).

£40 of wood and poly-foam later we're making our way into town for the various other supplies necessary to create a gaming table (Static flock amongst other things)

We finally get home some 5 hours after we started the challenge (Ive no idea why it took so long) and start work on building the board. (p.s. please excuse the mess that is my house)

Given that we are adding 'intergeral' terrain in the form of hills, we decided to add some battons running along the outside of the board (which you can see) to help protect the foam, this does mean that we won't be able to make it modular by adding other boards along side it, but it was a reasonable sacrifice to ensure that this new gaming table has a long life.

Using the board as a guide, we used a touch of Carpet tape to hold the battons in place and then nailed them together (We didn't have any screws) we then had the delicate task of flipping the whole thing upside down in order to attach the actual board to the battons (again using nails)

After which we got creative and worked out where our hills were going to go, before creating a mess by cutting up all the foam.

(fortunately) the Wife was at work...

Next Up, remove the foam, spray the battons;
We wanted to give the battons the a quick blast of black spray (we used some half empty GW Chaos Black spray) so that we'd only have to 'touch up' the edges once the board was done instead of worrying about getting black all over the flock.

Remember to spray in a well ventilated space ;)
Then stick the foam down with carpet tape and pva glue!
I cannot explain just how fantastic Carpet tape is.. it meant that the PVA could dry in it's own time and we could get on with the job of painting the entire board including hills, without worrying about them going anywhere. 

A touch of poly-filler to seal the edges.
Paint it all brown and wait for it to dry!
This was probably the easiest and longest job to do.. due to some rough edges on our cutting there were a couple of deep pockets of paint that took some time to dry. But it did mean we could get some miniature painting and dossing done in the mean time.

An electric heater really helped, though don't put it too close!
Once we'd finished waiting for it to dry, we started the job of flocking.
This is where it started getting good, as we started to see the final thing coming into shape

Nearly there;
So close yet, so far.. It took several attempts of flocking and sticking to make sure all the gaps were filled. As you can see in the picture above, we used a typical household sieve to apply the flock, this gives a fantastic even coverage that means you spend less time removing the excess to use again. Apparently it helps get the static to stand up on end too.. and it's far cheaper than using these 'puffer' bottle i've seen around lately.

After putting down the flock, we used a variety of other flocks (in small measure) to add some 'texture' to the board, providing some lighter and darker patches that are more realistic of an open area of grass. I'm not sure what they were, but Ben will probably provide a list on his blog. I'll add a direct link when he adds a list. And to finish off we used 'Woodland Scenics: Scenic Cement' in a spray bottle to just add a layer of safety and hold it all down.

Our finished board!
Well, almost.. the 'cliff' edges still need painting.. there was just a little too much loose flock around at the time, thought the black edges have now been touched up!

With some models on it;
The PVA was still a little wet, and we didn't have many painted models to hand, so here's a some of snap shots of a couple of units;

Some 10mm  Normans that Ian is working on, you can see a close up of these guys on his blog here!

My Plasma Blast Orbital Combine tanks, hiding behind the terrain!

Taking aim at the Progenetor tanks rolling down the hill!
Finish Time: 23.30.. final cost was around £60.
If you're interested in what was in our flock mix, then i've added it on another post here so that this one didn't get too much bigger!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

So Pop to the Top with your first Soda Pop

I picked up this little lady because I felt it was about time I fulfilled the stereotype of a war modelling man with a penchant for suggestivly clad female miniatures..

Personally I feel i perform the role quite admirably..

Anyway back to the model; I have here one Soda Pop miniature from their 'Relic Knights' range. In particular, one Isabeau Durand from the 'Shattered Sword Paladins' sect. I must say I quite like the 'anime' style miniatures. One day I might get round to actually picking up a copy of their Chibi style 'Super Dungeon Explore'!

First Impressions

Wow, this mini is tiny.. the Relic Knights minis are apparently based on 32mm Heroic scale, which should typically mean 'bigger proportions'.. the only thing that is big about her is her over sized sword. She's a thin as a rake.

There are some bits that might prove finicky, including this braid of hair which is on the right hand side..

In terms of flash there was very little, a couple of spurs that needed clipping off, but that was about it. There was a slight defect at the end of the sword, where it looks like the side of the blade has been etched away by something, but other than that good quality.
Building the model

The model is designed to have quite a dynamic pose, with the hair and skirt blowing behind the her. For the head in particular that means a lot of weight put on just the neck of the model, which is thin.. so i decided to do some pinning, which had it's own issues as I tried to ensure the drill bit didn't go through the neck itself.

After I'd drilled the holes for the skirt and head I did the age old 'sitting around pressing two bits of metal together' in a vain attempt to get the glue to dry quicker. 

Side profile
Front on.
Something that did make it harder putting this model together was that the base supplied is a slotter base, but the model doesn't have the 'bar' of metal for the slot, instead she just has a couple of pins on the bottom of the feet that look like they were designed to go in holes..

Next up, 
The Sword, Arm and Hair.. 

Again, this required some pinning, the sword connecting to the arm pointing forward was easy enough to do, but the the arm that is going from left to right (face on) I gave up pinning, especially when there was, unbeknown to me, a small hole in my tube of superglue and I soon became attached finger to thumb and hand to miniature..


It was a tricky model to put together, it certainly required some patience from someone with fat fingers like myself, but it was a very enjoyable model to put together. If I had to put together an army of these I'd probably get quite frustrated, however Relic Knights itself is a skirmish game, so you wouldn't have to put together lots of models, and it would certainly ensure you got the most out of putting them together!

A quick wash of devlan mud so you can see the detail.
For comparison, here she is next to a Bezerker Dwarf from Mantic's Kings of War range.

I give it an 8/10 - Aesthetically pleasing with some really nice details, but fiddly. Certainly looking forward to painting it!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Studio Bergstrom OCRDeF Ship Review

In this post i will be reviewing some of the OCRDeF ships from Studio Bergstrom's Future Frontier range..
please excuse the crappy start of a paint job.. I got a little carried away.

From Left to Right;
1 x Battleship (Resin)
1 x Cruiser (Metal)
2 x Destroyer (Metal)

First Impressions;
Nice and simple, from what I could see from opening the box, I only had 1 part that needed attaching, which is the 'exhaust' from the Battleship. At a quick glance I couldn't see any obvious flash/bad molding on the miniatures.

This range is very bulky and fat, it lacks the smoothness or elegance of the Terran range, but that's what I liked about them, they look like they can take a lot of damage and pump out some extreme firepower. 

A closer look at casting and quality;

Once I got over that initial rush that comes from opening new toys, it was time to be objective and take a look at the casting quality and amount of flash. I must say that I was really shocked about the quality of the cast, it was superb. 

There are lots of deep parts to these models, lots of places that on some models get clogged up and lots of places that detail can get lost, but on these guys every groove and recess is crisp and clean, the casting is excellent, even better still is that there is no flash on the models! From the marks on the models it appears that Drew at Bergstrom has taken the time to remove the flash for me so that I don't have too! Now that's some service!

Each of the models has a piece of metal that 'juts' forward from the from the front of the ship and the exhaust section of each model has these small bits (for lack of better description) that point out back, I was concerned that they'd be a little flimsy and maybe prone to bending and breaking, but from my intial time spent with them and the couple that I have dropped whilst undercoating and painting not one has moved out of place. 

Scale and Comparison 

I bought these models to play some Full Thrust with so the ships i'll be up against will be GZG's Full Thrust range.. the Star-Ranger scale chart classes Bergstrom minis as 'Fleet/Squadron' scale, which is somewhere just under the size of the Full Thrust range which are 'Squadron' scale. 

The biggest of my ships, the Battleship, including its jutting front and 'bits' on the back put it at a little over 3" long, which means that it fits alongside the middle of the range FT ships from my Neu Swabian League FT ships quite nicely. It does look a little out of place against the dreadnought, but I'll be using these guys for smaller fights. 

The Cruiser against some of the medium sized FT ships

The Battleship against the FT Dreadnought..
it's here that you really notice the size difference
Here you can see them against the FT 'Eurasian Solar Union' miniatures - there are also rules and ship stats on there for using ORCDeF ships in FT.

Postage, Packaging and Price.
I live in the UK so was expecting a couple of weeks wait for post from the states but in fact received them in less than a week! Postage was $9, which for us Brits is a little under £6, which I didn't think was too shabby at all for postage from the states. 

The packaging was just what you'd expect, sturdy cardboard box with enough packing to keep them safe from sliding around.

The price of the models is really good value in return for the quality of the models you receive, especially given the extra touches like mold lines being removed before being shipped to you. I will definitely be making a purchase in the not too distant future.

With Hostile Intent

In this post I will be reviewing Magnetic Adapters for space ship combat miniatures from the 'With Hostile Intent' Range, I found this by accident one day and ordered them from Rattlehead Games;

Magnetic Adapters

Designed to resolve that age old issue of  stands breaking off in the bottom of your models and the problems of transporting minis with big stands on the bottom of them. They're made of white metal and earth magnets, and they're pretty strong, there are also sizable metal 'teeth' that are designed to stop the ship spinning like a top whilst moving it around

Here is the one i'm using to support my Full Thrust NSL Dreadnought.
The part connecting to the ship

The part that is attached to the stand.

They are pretty good for the job and have resolved the issue (for me at least) of those pesky plastic bases breaking off in my larger ships... Gods I've got so many ships with broken stands embedded in them...

However, they are quite large, I'm not sure they would look particularly pretty when stuck on the bottom of the ORCDeF ships in my previous post, however for medium to large Full Thrust ships, or larger scale ships like those in Firestorm Armada they'd do the job perfectly without pulling the attention away from your fancy well painted ship, these ones need painting black too, this will help with the keeping it out of sight.. I guess it is these larger (heavier) ships that it was designed for anyway, as they're more likely to break the stands.

They do also sell 30o, 45o, 60o, 90o and 180o adapters which is pretty cool, and from what I can gather as long as you have the basic adapters (with 1 part attached to the base, 1 part your ship) can put these angeled ones inbetween those two parts to 'turn' your ships at different angels, I imagine they'd work quite well when using 360o fighting rules etc and rolling your ship to fire broadside from the undamaged half of your ship... just reminds me of Battlestar Galactica when the Pegasus is destroyed.. (S3:E4)

Here's the 45o angle ones from the Rattlehead website

Price wise, they're perhaps a little expensive, especially given that they're a non-vital addition to your army and won't help you win any games. For the basic adapters, they are $6/£3.90 a pack, you get four in a pack, so that's just shy of £1 each! They are well made, but I could become an expensive way to help maintain your army.

If you've got your fleet built and are looking for a way to help maintain them and resolve any issues of bases falling off, then they're well worth picking up. I'd give them an 8/10.

On a side note and not something I can blame on anything other than my own idiocy, the make sure your ship and base line up the way you want before you go glueing all the parts together.. :/

As for ordering them;
Rattlehead Games were really good with their postage, $4.50 international shipping for orders under $15 is an excellent rate, plus I received the parts in less than a week! I'm not sure you can go wrong with that!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Commision Figurines 20mm WWII Scenery

Review of Commision-Figurines 20mm WWII Scenery

Whilst trawling the internet for some scenery for our new game, I came across these little fellas on eBay, I thought to myself why not! so I picked up one of each of these three laser cut MDF building ruins from Commission Figurines a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately I have only now gotten around to having a look and putting them together!

First Impressions
They look fantastic, really high quality and lots of detail; Pavements, 'plastered' walls, floorboards, door ways and windows. Everything has been done, and there are some really nice little touches - the interior walls are smaller than the external walls, the floor boards are 'split' into individual boards, there is plaster falling off the walls and there are archway decorations above doors and windows.

Putting them together
They went together really well.. I did pick up a trick or two to putting them together a touch easier..

The corner buildings.
- put them together flat, put the floorboard into one of the walls and then turn the other wall so they make the 90o that they should. The floorboard should slot into the hole in the other wall as you bring it into place.

The middle building. 
- Attach the floorboards to the middle wall before attaching it to the front wall.

Once you've done these, then attach them to the floor.

Some of the joints were a little stiff, but I would rather they were stiff than too loose! I didn't feel the need to, but a little trim with a modelling knife of filing would solve that problem easily enough.

With Models
15mm and 20mm work really well, with these ruins. They are advertised as 20mm ruins and they fit the role perfectly, the models really look in scale with the building. They are also advertised as being usable for Bolt Action (and I would guess all 28mm by extension).. they would do well if you had no other scenery, but aesthetically  they don't work, it's far too small for 28mm.
20mm Germans from Warmodelling

I'm not quite sure how i'll go about painting them yet.. I'm not sure how well they'll react to paint and if it will warp or not, but i'm sure i'll soon find out. Any advice? then please leave it in the comments!

£4 each, which is crazy low for what they are imo. I've seen some really expensive mdf laser cuts, which have far less detail than these.

Packaging and Postage
The postage rate was pretty reasonable and the seller gave me a pretty decent discount on combined postage. The models arrived well packaged in one of those bubble wrapped envelopes, nothing was bent or warped, they arrived in good time too.

You can find the stuff here!
p.s. I promise i'm not working for the guy.

If you're still looking for something to do, then head on over to this blog here for a review of Khurasan's new 15mm Abrams!