A few weeks ago, I got an email from a friend of mine looking for my opinion on a resin base line he is developing.
Sure, no problem I thought.
I'd love to see them and get my hands on a few of the resin bases he was creating to see what they were like.
A couple days later, a small package arrived from Secret Weapon Miniatures with a bunch of 40mm bases inside for me to give a good "once over." I got 5 of the 40mm "Urban Streets" and 5 of the 40mm "Trench Works."
Now resin bases are all over the place these days. Everyone and their brother is making a line of these things to help us non-resin people make our armies look better. It's a tough market out there, with so many compaines making them, consumers have their pick and choose of exactly what they want.
You've got to have something unique and the detail has got to be there to get me to buy them. Like everyone else, I've got higher than usual standards. If I'm going to pay good money, I want a showpiece for my model to stand on.
Since I got one of the first batches of these bases, some of the kinks were still being worked out. That aside, I was pleasantly suprised when I opened the package and started going over what I received.
Quality: Above Average
Resin can be tricky to work with and these bases, while one of the first casts, had very few imperfections. Next to no bubbles that had to be filled and minimal work to be done to them to get them "painting ready." I'm not counting the standard procedure for getting anything resin ready for paint, that's a given.
The only issue was the edges of the bases were a bit rough, but nothing that couldn't be cleaned up easily with a little scraping and sanding.
NOTE: At the time of writing this, I was sent another batch of 40mm and 25mm "Trench Works" bases done in their improved casting method.
Looking at the 40mm bases side by side, I was able to see the reduction in "flaws" like tiny surface bubbles and such. While it's not anything life changing and a model will cover most of the base in the long run, it's nice to have a base with as few imperfections as possible. I'll say the new method (now the current method) is a step up in casting and definitely something I look for in a finished base. The last thing I want to do is pay good money for a scenic base and then have to do repair work or fill in gaps, holes, etc.
One thing that really impressed me was the fact that the bases, despite the varying amounts of terrain on them are all about the same height overall. This make for a nice, consistent look to the squad. This is accomplished by varrying the height of the actual base to accomodate the environment on top of it. Bigger elements have a thinner base so that all the guys in the squad stand about the same height. A very subtle, but much appreciated touch to these bases.
Another nice feature is the overall balance of environments in a group of bases. Not all 5 bases are the same and not all 5 bases are completely different either. Each of them share some similar elements, but not so much that it feels like things are just repeated. This can be very difficult to asccomplish and I think these do a great job at acomplishing this delicate distribution of elements.
And last but not least is the amount of "useable space" I call it. You know, the space where I can actually put a model on the base. There's lots of environmental details on these and yet there's still plenty of room for a model to stand without looking out of place on it.
One thing I found you do need to keep in mind with resin bases is that they are different from your bog standard flat base. This may seem painfully obvious but it does take a little more work to get models mounted onto a resin base as opposed to just gluing them to the regular flat base.
The end result is worth it though.
It's one of the better points of the bases for me. The bases have lots of detail without crowding the space so much that you can't get a model on there. There seems to be a good balance between providing enough environment and still leaving room for the actual model.
I like lots of detail, don't get me wrong... I just like to be able to set my miniature on top as well.
And the scale of the details is appropriate too. Not something you see all the time. There's no silly proportioned stuff on there, things are the size they should be and it adds a bit of realism to the feel of the environment even if there is a 10 foot tall armoured Space Marine standing there.
I'll be honest, these were given to me for the purpose of this review so they didn't cost me anything. They are priced comparatively to other products out there. Coming in at $10.00 for a set of 5 40mm bases, they fall in the same price range, but slightly higher than some of the competitors out there.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding just the right look you want for your army and these won't set you back an arm and a leg for a few sets.
The website has got the standard shopping cart feature and and they're currently shipping to the US only. They've got plans to expand Internationally in the coming future.
I do like the flat rate shipping feature with delivery confirmation. It's one price so there's no worrying about how much it's going to cost unless you order so many bases they have to use the next box size up.
Overall Impression: Above Average
Despite my initial thoughts about these being just another resin base from just another company, I'm impressed with these and would use them on my army. I'll tell you that I was really hesitent when I learned that the bases would not be beveled like standard GW bases are but have straight edges.
After getting my hands on them and seeing them in real life though... that's no longer an issue for me. After asking about this, my friend explained to me that instead of beveling the edge, he made a conscious decision to leave them unbeveled to get those couple extra milimeters to add more environment to the top of the base.
I'm sure it can be hard to come up with a good looking resin base. There are lots of companies with some great bases competing for our money. Shop around, you should be able to find exactly what you want and not have to settle for something "close enough."
I'm giving Secret Weapon Miniatures an Above Average rating for a company that's just starting out, but I hope they're on their way to being one of those compaines that has some great lines of bases for players to choose from at some competetive prices.