Normally when I'm basing miniature figures, I use either the plain base that came with the model or I use a 25mm washer and some filler. Either way, I then decorate the base a little with (usually) sand, gravel and a little static grass. That's fine for most rural or wilderness scenes, but doesn't really portray town or city streets very well.
Many months ago, I purchased a mixed bag of bases from one of North Star's occasional sales. At the time I had no particular need for them, but they were cheap enough for me to buy "just in case". In other words, they were a bargain!
Now that I'm building some zombies and survivors as part of the Zomtober 2014 challenge, I've retrieved this bag of bases from storage and examined them a bit more closely. So, what can I tell you about them?
Firstly, these are resin bases, made by Escenorama of Spain.
There are 3 different sizes of round base in the mixed set that I bought: 25mm, 40mm and 63mm (?). I'm not sure if the latter are nominally 60mm or 65mm, but careful measurement suggests that they're somewhere in between. As might be expected in such a variety pack, the smallest bases are more numerous than the bigger ones.
There is a very good variety amongst the bases. Both of the largest ones are of different designs, the 40mm bases have several forms and I've discovered 10 distinct patterns amongst the 25mm bases.
What I Like
- The number of different patterns is very impressive and should allow me to produce some quite unique models. Lots of variety!
- They're cheap - though since I bought mine in a sale that's perhaps not a completely fair comment. Your mileage may vary, as they say...
- Resin is easy to drill, glue and paint, so they present no great technical difficulties.
- This may be a bit fussy, but there are a few tiny air bubbles on some of the bases. More significantly, one or two bases still have some of the rubber mould attached to them; they've torn the moulds when they've been released. That's not so much of a problem for me, but it will degrade the quality of the next casts from those same moulds. Of course, it might be that the manufacturer binned those damaged moulds and made fresh ones anyway, in which case there would be no problem at all.
- Some of the bases are very slightly distorted, as if the moulds have flexed a little as the item was being cast. I don't think that anything will be noticeable once the bases are sanded, painted and finished, but it might annoy a purist.
- Another really petty point: the discarded items on the bases (crushed cans, sports bottles) are a bit over-scale. They're larger than they should be for 28mm figures. Looking on the bright side, it'll certainly make these features stand out when the bases are painted!
- Although they're all different, there are a lot of manhole covers on these urban bases. OK, I suppose that they add interest to what might otherwise just be featureless paving or tarmac, but other things could do that as well. Perhaps the odd damaged piece, a pothole in the road or something like that would be nice?
Things that are less good
I haven't really got much to say here, but I feel that I need to put something otherwise this review will look a bit unbalanced.
- The depth of the bases is a bit uneven - some are much deeper than others. Also, they have a distinct "wasp waist" around the middle of the rim. I've had to use filler on the ones I've used so far, just to give the bases smooth, sheer sides and while that's not a difficult task, it's an extra piece of work that maybe shouldn't have been necessary.
The Bottom Line
These are perfectly acceptable accessories that will paint up well and add a lot of interest to suitable figures. The full price may put some people off and the quality of manufacture is good rather than excellent.
What happens next?
This should be obvious, really! Some of the 25mm bases will make an appearance as part of the models I build for Zomtober 2014. You should be able to see the first of these in next Sunday's post, so stay tuned.
I'm less sure about the 40mm and 63mm bases. I suppose that if I was using these for proper military forces then they'd be good for crewed weapons such as heavy machine guns, mortars or small anti-tank guns. However I'm pretty much only using this style of base for individual skirmish games. I suppose that I could use them for multi-based hordes of zombies or rioters? The larger bases should be able to hold 10 or 20 shamblers easily enough...