Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Escenorama Urban Bases

Introduction

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!


The Facts

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.

Nit-Picking


  • 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...

16 comments:

  1. Hmm I think sometimes when things are small on bases I think they need to be that little bit bigger so as to stand out and be seen. They do look a bit weird in that last pic. Be interesting to see what your modifications have done to them

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    1. Well, I haven't made any modifications to the tops of these bases - just tidied up the sides and bottoms.

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    1. They look even better painted :-) .

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  3. I think its very true that a good quality base can really make a model, and these look very nice... except the unevenness. I don't use such bases myself just for this reason. but I'm looking forward to how these turn out for you :-)

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    1. I wouldn't be too worried about unevenness - the criticisms I made were very mild in that respect. Nothing an experienced model-maker can't fix quite easily!

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  4. Looking forward to seeing some of these painted up and with figures on them! A great bargain find by the sound of things!

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    1. You'll have to wait until Sunday to see the first of my models that use these bases! Yes, a bargain when reduced in a sale :-) . I suppose that even at full price they're still very cheap compared to a decent metal figure.

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  5. Resin bases must be popular judging from the amount I see and I will admit I have a few. But I have never used them and probably never will to any extent. But that does not stop me liking the idea, or condemning any who do. So good luck to you and I shall enjoy the results you are able to deliver.

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    1. Some might feel that an army which used such bases would be tied to the one range if/when you wished to add new figures. That's not really an issue for me as I have such a wide variety of style in my collections anyway :-) .

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  6. The thickness of the bases is very off-putting, it seems to me that they've got a base and put an additional scenic baseon top of it, which along with the other more obvious flaws I wouldn't beat all happy with these if I used resin bases.

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    1. I have cut down some of the thickest bases by removing around 1mm off the bottom with a razor saw. It's not especially difficult, but a bit annoying that I had to make such an adjustment.

      Again, I wouldn't be too bothered by the list of "flaws" that I put in this article: they're all very low-level concerns indeed.

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  7. They aren't too bad for a bargain (nothing is!), but I did notice the excessive amount of manholes, as well. It's nice of them to try and make them all really nice and all, but in their quest for such a large variety, they seem to have forgotten about the most basic pavement without anything else. Then again, why buy something that simple.

    Not a fan of resin bases myself, I'd rather build them myself, but above all, I'm put away by the idea of cutting integral bases and tabs and all the drilling :D.

    Larger bases could also be used for larger zombie monstrosities.

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    1. Integral bases would certainly be a problem, but many figures are either plastic or are slotta-based. It's not difficult to cut off a slotta tab or a plastic base :-) .

      You're right - I could use the larger bases for monsters. I hadn't thought of that, but now I'm thinking that I might need to find some "urban nightmares" or some sort or another, just so I can use these bases :-) .

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  8. Whilst I've not used that many (only a few projects) and still sculpt my own I think a resin base can really transfomr a miniature if you get it right, these look great by the way!

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    1. They add a fair bit to the cost of a finished model, but I also think they look good. Not sure I'd use them on every figure, mind.

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