Monday, 23 March 2015

495 - Review: T&L Terrain 40K/28mm Resins: Part 1 - By Gamers; For Gamers

Hullo, All.

The good folks at T&L Terrain [link here] have been so kind as to send me a package of their resin goodies to review, and though time and photographically useful daylight have conspired against me for the last few weeks, I've finally got the opportunity to post up my first impressions.

In Part 1 I'll take you through the models themselves and my thoughts on the casts.

Before I start, though, I ought to point out that I rather like the idea of what these guys are doing: they're trying to offer what they describe as gaming 'scenics' for "pocket money prices" - their words - and straight off the bat this to me is a hugely tempting prospect. At the moment they're trading mainly via facebook and ebay, and I must say, their communication with me has been personable and prompt!

Let me talk you through the sample pack they sent me and then I'll explore each pack's scuplts. The package was incredibly swift to arrive: it got to the back end of nowhere in Devon the next day! FULL POINTS for postage.
Included in the parcel from T&L (clockwise from top-centre):
  • medium (40mm) round cobble street bases (x5)
  • well kit
  • 25mm round 'industrial' bases (x10)
  • bunker door
  • 25mm round 'desert' bases (x10)
  • half bag of 'dark soil weathering powder.
NB: All of these 'baggies' will - in this post - be reviewed just as they were unpacked: any clean-up will happen later, trust me!

40mm Round Cobble Street Bases:

[With these, as with all of the items, the flash on the bottom edges is inconsequential.]
These really are delightful. They're beveled after the GW 40K style of bases (in terms of angle, depth, texture etc.) but stylistically probably more suited to basing more 'real-world' miniatures...and the detail of the cobbles is wonderful in its European timelessness. I can imagine these being absolutely perfect for Malifaux or anything with historical or pseudo-historical setting.
The Good: 
The detail is lovely and not too uniform - although they are all identically sculpted, the scalloped pattern of the cobbles means that this works extremely well together. 
The Bad:
One of the bases (the centre one, above) has a few tiny bubbles in the cobbles (like, 0.5mm), which is a shame but easily remedied; the only other thing I might have liked would be same deliberately missing, damaged or loose cobbles, as these would be brilliant for - say - the fall of Berlin.
The Price:
£5 for a pack of five.

The Well Kit:

This is another great idea for a pretty damned timeless bit of battlefield scenery, and I simply cannot look at it without thinking of the opening of '300'. The well is in two halves and includes a trio of beams to surmount it.
The Good: 
Pretty much everything, actually: the detail is crisp and the damaged stone edge (near the left-hand post-hole, above) is a great little detail.
The Bad:
Struggling here. It's just smashing to look at - we'll see how it goes together in the next post...
The Price:
An absolute STEAL, I reckon, at just £3!

25mm Round 'Industrial' Bases:
These really impressed me. Again, the detail is crisp and clear, and there's a good bit of variety here too. As before, they're GW-like in style, but be aware that 'industrial' is more 'late-Victorian factory or slum' than 41st century 'Manufactorum'.
The Good: 
Again, pretty much everything. These are very good-looking bases, and I particularly like the height dynamic of the clumps of brickwork clinging together.
The Bad:
If I had to find something, one could argue that the bricks are maybe a little on the large side...but I rather suspect that all of us playing at 28mm scale (heroic or otherwise) are used to suspending out disbelief...
The Price:
£6 for ten. I would be very happy with this price. Pocket money prices.

Bunker Door: 

- This is genius. Lump of packaging material + this door = awesome bit of scenery. The most fantastic element of this is that it is every bit as usable for a WW2 setting (think 'Wolfenstein') as it is for 39,000 years into the Empire of Mankind! 
The Good: 
Great, simple, timeless design.
The Bad:
This piece was quite warped when I got it out of the bag (it's quite thin in the middle) so I had to warm it up and flatten it - this was straightforward at least. It also came with some weird black marks all over it - I assume they're part of the mould release, but I thought it a little odd to ship a piece out like that...
The Price:
A smashing idea, but somewhat pricey I reckon, at £5.

25mm Round 'Desert' Bases:
Oh boy. 

For me, these are the best thing in the sample. They're cast in what I'm told is a newer resin: it's whiter and significantly cleaner-looking...and these bases are just gorgeous!
The Good: 
Simplicity done really, really well. Again, T&L have managed to gauge the 'height' dynamic of the bases just right with those jutting rocks: they just look perfectly organic...if 'organic' is the right word for things geological!
The Bad:
NOTHING. There is nothing bad about these.
The Price:
As before: perfect pocket money cost at £6.Here's some more pics, because I like these so much:

'Dark Soil' Weathering Powder:
This was the first thing I pulled out of the parcel and the ever-patient Mrs Drax gave me a brief 'are-you-in-fact-receiving-shipments-of-heroin?' kind of a look before sighing and walking away.

This is a half-portion sample of T&L's weathering powder, and I must admit this is something of an unknown beast for me: I've never used it before. Still, I've been watching some tutorials, and I'm going to try my damnedest to paint up my Bolt Action Cromwell ASAP so that I can review it properly. Watch this space.
The Good: 
It looks like dark soil. That helps, right?
The Bad:
It's also looks like heroin.
The Price:
Apparently, a pot with twice the sample amount I have above costs a mere £2. Happy days.

VERDICT (Part 1): 

These are some lovely-looking bits of kit for pretty damned reasonable prices.  

If you're wondering whether I'm on the take here, then shame on you! If your a reader of my blog then you know me better than that! I just wanted to give them some screentime because I like what they do. Here's their link again: [here] and here: . WHY NOT HEAD ON OVER? - With luck and a following wind I'll pop up a permanent ad for them very soon...

Do please let me know your thoughts...

- Drax.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

494 - First Bolt Action British - Finished!

[...pretty much.]

With hearty thanks to all those of you who offered such wonderful and helpful advice: I've lightened the First Six with a light drybrush in key places and almost finished the basing.
I say 'almost' because I fully intend to add some higher grass tufts or flowers to the bases, but I don't actually own any, and I've banned myself from ANY hobby spending this month after a splurge.

Here them be:

After some further advice from Karitas, I might even try highlighting their faces a little, but watch this space...


- Drax.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

493 - 28mm Painting Help Needed, Please!

Hullo, All.

Much to my surprise I've been enjoying the process of painting my Bolt Action British troops, but I have a worry: they appear rather dark.

In my ongoing bid to 'grow up a bit' and try paints other than Citadel (which are excellent, but which keep changing!) I thought I'd try some of the well-regarded Strong Tone. It seems more-or-less on a par with GW's Sepia anyway, BUT now I've used it, I'm a little worried that my minis look a wee bit too dark even for me...and I like 'em grimy.
My question is: what can I do, please, to either lighten them up a little or bring them a little more dynamism.
I do realise that once the bases have some greenery on them they'll look less severe, and I love that they look infinitely better than they did before Strong Tone, but I'm still a little frustrated. I suspect one of you might advise me to repaint the lighter colours, but I don't want them to end up looking like the Warlord Games Studio Brits - as if they've just Blanco'ed all of their webbing and khaki [see here: link] - so I thought I ought to ask for your help first.
In case you can't see it(!) I've used the dreaded 'autocorrect' to adjust this next picture a little so that you can just about see the red details above and below the Black Bull: the curved red regimental title and the red 'arm of service' stripe [excellent research notes on these, incidentally is to be found here: (link)]: I painted these an appropriately muted red before, but now they seem too muted.
Likewise the NCOs' stripes: I'm fairly pleased with them, but ought I to have painted them white in the first instance, rather than 'biscuit' (Bleached Bone)?

Any help you can offer, Dear Readers, will - as ever - be gratefully received.

Yours hopefully,

- Drax.

PS: I'm rather worried that the chap on the left rather has the look of Nigel Farage about him...or should that be 'on the right'?