Monday, 23 February 2015

We Built This City - Test Paint

Just a quick update today.

I've done the test paint on one of the terrain tiles, take a look:

 I'm really happy with the way it turned out, I was a little worried at first as when undercoating the ghost of the circular pieces that are on the reverse of the tile came through the paint, but after I started the highlight coats that went away.

The yellow lines are more vibrant IRL, but other than that the colours in the picture are pretty much what you see.  Although I'm trying to keep it as simple a paint job as possible I decided I wanted the tiles to look a little "lived in".  The yellow lines were achieved with masking tape, masking fluid and an airbrush and came out really well I think.  The dirt on the sides of the roads was achieved using weathering powders (my first attempt at using them), it took me a little longer that I wanted to get the effect I was looking for, but now I know how to do it the rest of the tiles should be a breeze.

One final pic today, proving I was right about the Batman minis fitting the scale of the tiles better, Harley and Mr J were kind enough to help me test the theory:

I still have to varnish it, but it's practically done, just another 23 to go...

I hope you like it, C&C always welcome.

'Til next time, take care


Monday, 9 February 2015

We Built This City - Prelude pt. 2 [Secret Weapons Miniatures Tablescape Tiles]

A little later than intended, sorry.

On Wednesday 21st January a rather large parcel was delivered and as mentioned in my last blog post I thought I'd do a light review/first thoughts post.

So, here's how it looks once out of the shipping box:

28mm figure for size comparison...there's one there I promise
In the words of Brad Pitt: "What's in the box?!"
What it looks like when you first open the box.
Each of the 24 tiles are in individual plastic bags and the smaller bag to the left of the tiles contains the connectors for holding tiles together whilst gaming.

Each tile is one foot square (12 inches/30 cm) and certainly seem durable.

Here's a closer look at a couple of the straight sections:

the 2 types of straight.
With a 28mm mini for scale
two 1:43 scale vehicles for scale
 As far as connecting the tile together it couldn't be easier

note the "loops" in the corners
the two types of connector
simply a question of pushing the connectors into place
 The connectors seem to hold the tiles well enough to withstand the usual gaming knocks, but don't hold it so strongly that it's impossible to remove them.

So, my thoughts.  

First the cons:

1 - Let's just talk about the honking great elephant in the room straight away, these suckers weren't cheap.

I ordered them during SWM's pre-christmas sale, but they were still $224.99 (£149.32), then you add the shipping charges. SWM pay the first $25 but that still left $64.08 (£42.60) and finally once they were in the UK I had to pay customs charges of £46.11 before they could be delivered.  Which gives us a grand total of £238.03 (still only a little more expensive than GWs basic Sector Imperialis set though and for my purposes a lot more practical).

So, not a purchase to make if they're only going to see action once in a blue moon.  But as I mentioned in my first post of the year I have at least 5 games I intend to play that I will use them for, and quite frankly the cost just makes me want to get my money's worth out of them.

2 - The road texture on some of the tiles (the 3 straights that have manholes on them, left hand tile in the comparison pic above, and the 2 individual straights) is a quite a bit lighter than the rest of the road sections.

3 - Scale wise the tiles feel aimed more toward the "heroic" side of the miniatures industry.  By that I mean everything on them feels a little larger than life and the Hasslefree mini I used for scale seems a little dwarfed by it all, whereas I think the Batman Miniatures Game minis will fit quite nicely.  Part of the issue is the pavement area, I think the massive slabs give an illusion of dwarfing a normal 28mm mini that if they'd gone with a paving stones texture wouldn't have been there, also the drop from the top of the pavement to the road is about 5mm and some of the ironworks are proud of the surface by a good 2mm (a blatant health & safety issue if I ever saw one).

Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a massive problem for me, once there's more terrain and mini's on the board it won't be as noticeable and if the paving slabs bothered me that much an hour with a scriber and metal ruler would be all it would take to sort it out. Like I said this is just my initial reaction to seeing the tiles in the flesh for the first time.

Now the Pros:

1 - As I said, the tiles feel like they will put up with a lot of wear & tear and the connectors are a nice addition that remind me a little of the old Worldworks games Terrainlinx pieces which gives me quite a lot of confidence in them.

2 - I could never build tiles that look this good, believe me I've tied.  I'm unlikely to use them as a full 6'x4' board and the fact that I can build 2 or 3 smaller boards and have them all be different will make playing/demoing games like Pulp City and Pulp Alley at the club easier as I'll be able to have more games running at a time on decent looking terrain which IMO always helps.

3 - I can see a lot of potential layouts for them, some only coming to me after I saw them all in "the flesh" as it were.  The non-road tiles in particular have sparked a number of ideas that I think would make interesting gaming areas and that's something that really makes me like these tiles a lot.

So, overall I really like them, I may have a few gripes, but they're minor and nothing a little tinkering won't fix if it really bugs me.  I'm also hoping that the extra space that is in the box means they'll do some expansions down the road, or at least release smaller sets of tiles, as there are a few ideas I've got that may need more of a certain type.

Since arriving I've managed to undercoat all the tiles and I'm currently in the process of test painting one of the straights to figure out how I want them to look, I'm hoping to have something to show you on that front in a few days.

So, until then, take care.