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REVIEWS

REVIEW: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS COLLECTOR’S SERIES

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

Who does not know Dungeons & Dragons from either paperback or PC role-playing games? I myself am a big fan of D&D franchise due to uncountable hours spent gaming or reading related stories. D&D offers a lot to our imagination, but in the recent years Wizards of the Coast took extreme efforts to both promote and expand the variety of products branded with the holy D&D logo. Well, as it happened, there is a vast series of miniatures designed to fit the universe of D&D. Easy to say that I was thrilled to work with some of the Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s Series. More so, when I saw the boxes delivered by a courier. These looked really sweet and the designs and intricate detail presented in the cover was pushing my impatience into the danger zone!

PACKAGING: 5/10

When it comes to how these miniatures are packed I can only say that the boxes look great. Classic D&D style with nicely painted miniatures in the cover. Unfortunatelly looks are the only thing of value, as the protection offered by the box is rather mediocre. Inside each box I found a protective layer of cardboard supposed to keep miniatures from harms way when it comes to some degree of damage, but failing exponentially to keep the miniatures from being crushed. That’s because one long wall of the casing is loose and not supported by the short one . On top of that each miniature was wraped in a piece of bubble wrap for additional protection, but the boxes were not filled to the brim. This led to miniatures being thrown up and down during transportation and some small details were damaged beyond repair. This would be totally ok in case of regular plastic miniatures, but resin, of which these are made, is crunchy as hell and was punished severely by the lack of better protection.

QUALITY: 2/10

I must confess that the first impression when I took a closer look at the miniatures was ‘what the fuck?!’ I was almost blown off the chair and couldn’t believe that Wizards of the Coast accepted this quality to actually hit the stores. Some might say that Games Workshop or Corvus Belli’s quality spoiled me, but guys – this seemed unreal. I was swearing under my nose and shaking my head with disbelief. The miniatures presented in the pictures where nothing close to the final product and as much as I understand how things work with modelling and that some miniatures require additional preparation – I considered calling the friendstomer and declining the commission. This would have been the first time in my entire career. I really like the particular friendstomer so I decided to inform him of the quality and proceed with the miniatures, but the bad taste follows me up to this day…

 

So, what is actually wrong with the miniatures? Everything… I know how it sounds, but just take a look at the pictures below and weep. Oily surface with dimmed details, holes, extreme mold lines, shifted form, shifted surfaces, broken parts and unbelievable differences between the pictures and the real deal. Add to it that almost all thin parts were distorted and you might have a dim idea of what I faced. Atop of that some parts just did not fit each other, creating huge gaps inbetween. This last one was a common thing in every big creature from the series I have worked upon, but almost each miniature had some major defects. Even the bases looked like crap and that is not something I usually deal with…

VISUALS: 6/10

The ideas and designs for D&D miniatures are really nice and if not for extremely bad quality these might have been a group of really awesome products. What pains me the most is the amount of work required to bring these to a decent level so that they might be painted. I never done so before, but upon agreeing with the owner I just had to skip some of the defects or in one case even trashed a miniature. I don’t know how these would fare if not for specific style I choose for the job. I won’t lie – upon finishing the commission I was happy with the effect, but would always feel like these might have been done better if the quality let me. For this reason and taking the quality factor into consideration I must give a ‘6’ which is just ‘OK’.

FUNCTIONALITY: 3/10

I already mentioned the defects that clearly translate into bad modelling experience. Instead of repeating myself I would like to point out two more things.

  1. Material used for the miniatures is very fragile and does not work well with the super glue. It has high contractility thus leading to even the big parts being distorted and not fitting each other.
  2. Designs for casting ducts and casting templates are horrendous, obscuring important details, leading to excess resin leaks and detriments in key fragments of the miniatures.

Most of the quality issues could have been avoided by simply improoving the casting ducts and redesigning the way the miniatures are divided into particular parts. All in all the quantity of work required to prepare the miniatures was insane. I would never call these even close to proper and functional. Actually I think that the Wizkids Dungeons & Dragons miniatures might be much more hobbyist friendly than the Collector’s Series… and these are made of gum…

 

PRICE: 2/10

Here’s probably the craziest thing. For the quality and functionality already described a box of approximately five to six miniatures is around 50€ (E-bay prices). Let’s say that these are of perfect quality, then they still would have been a bit overpriced but fully acteptable. With ‘crap in the box’ that you get the pricing is just ridiculous! 🙂

 

SUMMARY: 3/10

Miniatures should look cool and working with them should certainly be fun. I tend to pick products that I really like for a review, but once in a while I feel compelled to shout a warning to fellow hobbyists and this is just such an occasion. On a scale where 10 is awesome, 8 is good, 6 is ok, 5 is mediocre, 3 is bad and I don’t want to even mention 1 – I would give a 3 to Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s Series and would advice you to avoid these products if able. I myself would decline taking these to my desk, unless these are for a particular friendstomer of mine in which case I will make an exception, cuz he’s my bro.

 

Please remember that this is just my personal opinion, based on my own experiences and you have full right to disagree. I wish all of you the best possible experience with Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s sets and that I’m ultimately wrong about this series.

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REVIEW: ARMY PAINTER TUFTS

ARMY PAINTER

The Army Painter – a worldwide supplier of hobby products, such as paints, colour primers, glues, brushes, tufts and well… fck’n barbaric ‘Quickshades’. The company entered the market in 2007th introducing a medium sized offer of hobby products meant, as the name suggests, to paint entire armies. My personal adventure with Army Painter started pretty early, as I was a hobby store manager back in the days they’ve appeared. Easy to say that throughout ten years I had a pleasure of getting to know their entire range to a point, where Army Painter’s products had no secrets from me. Since 2007 the Army Painter’s offer had grewn potentially expandindg their paints range more than thrice and introducing some revamped products as well. This brings even more opportunities to get to know some new cool stuff.

When it comes to my opinion about entire AP’s range – I have mixed feelings. AP do have some fantastic products like:

  • Washes Warpaints, love them, old Games Workshop’s washes 100%, Strong Tone INK = Devlan Mud etc.
  • Metallic Warpaints, again love them, old GW’s ripped off 100%, they even taste the same and I will always use them!
  • Basic colours from Acrylic Warpaints, 18ml of white/black priced 25% cheaper than 12ml GW’s? Count me in!
  • Miniature & Model Super Glue, best in the world, I love it, it’s my favorite hobby product – ever.

Still, they also produce stuff like:

  • Quickshades, such barbarism… just watch THIS and frankly: die laughting (and I’ve tested them thoroughly).
  • Battlefields flocks and basings, reminding me of the old guys modelling trains, not nowaday’s quality, nor price.
  • Brushes, which are ok, but such quality comes waaay cheaper where I’m from.
  • Colour primers, varrying from awesome to utter crap.

Atop of all the above they also produce Hobby Tools, different glues, paints, Licensed Warpaints and Battlefields XP Tufts – and today I would like to take a closer look at the latter.

QUALITY: 10/10

For me the most important trait of a product is the quality. There’s plenty of products priced closely in the market, but among them there are some which exceed in quality. That’s where I aim, when deciding if I should purchase a range of particular products or not. In case of Army Painter’s Battlefield XP Tufts I used them for a very long time due to easy access and limited competition. Back in the days I wasn’t entirely happy with the AP’s tufts, as their quality varried between good and very bad. Old tufts were applied randomly, rendering a significant part of the product useless, be it due to not enought material being used or some tufts being applied to the fold in the foil, they came attached to. New tufts in the contruary, are applied selectively, numbering the exact 77 ideal pieces in a straight raws and varrying in shapes and sizes. This makes the new tufts superior to their previous incarnation and most of the current competition in the market. One might say that they are as close to being perfect as possible.

VISUALS: 9/10

They come in a variety of colours and designs. I really dig the entire range. One thing that set’s me on edge and lowers my rating from ‘awesome’ to ‘very good’ is the number of differently coloured blades mixed with the main colour. Oh’ Army Painter – why, for the love of God, you do things like this? These black hair are more horrific than your graphic layout and it is ‘a thing’…

Jokes (or not) aside, I miss the old Swamp Tuft’s strong green colour, not to mention old Winter Tuft. I do hope that with all the new designs and revamps you will bring more tufts to the fold and fill the void in my heart. Either way – be it mixed or solo, all the new Tufts look very good.

FUNCTIONALITY: 10/10

I have the exact zero issues with new Army Painter Battlefield XP Tufts. They come in perfect shapes, hair held firmly in the adhesive base. All hair are pointed upwards and on the sides. Colours are mixed well and in some cases different colours are also of a different length. Being arranged in straight raws makes these tufts easy to grab, while adhesive base has enough glue to keep them in place once used.

I have a little fetish of mine, tending to apply tufts over Super Glue and AP’s tufts behave very good when done so.

 

PRICE: 9/10

Army Painter’s Battlefield XP Tufts are very well priced. They are priced close to previously reviewed Paint Forge products, offering 77 pieces in a variety of sizes, including big ones. Would be awesome if they were cheaper, but that would be just too good, to say the least.

SUMMARY: 9/10

On a scale where 10 is awesome, 8 is good, 6 is ok, 5 is mediocre, 3 is bad and I don’t want to even mention 1 – I would give a solid 9 to Army Painter’s Battlefields XP Tufts. I had a strong need to give them a ’10’, but hey – they could’ve always been insanely underpriced didn’t they? he he he… Either way, they look cool, are very user friendly, easy to apply, of solid quality and come in a variety of colours – and yes, the price is exactly what I would expect of these.

 

All in all I’m happy to finally be reviewing the Army Painter, with which I spent like ten years of solid painting by now. In my opinion some of their products are totally undervalued by hobbyists around the globe. I plan to bring more AP’s products on to the review table in the future. Mostly, the ones I like to use and have plenty of, like Washes or the best of the best Miniature & Model Super Glue.

Where to purchase? If you are lucky, then your local hobby store has some, but if not – go straight to the source at Army Painters Online store. If you happen to be managing a hobby store in Poland, then I strongly recommend you to contact THESE GUYS, they are very friendly distributors based here in Rzeczpospolita Polska.

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REVIEW: PAINT FORGE TUFTS AND FLOWERS

Static Grass or Tufts? That is a question that each painter has to answer by himself before going commando with basing miniatures. My personal favorites are off course Tufts as they offer a great visual effect. Sure, tufting entire base can be a bit expensive in comparisson to using Static Grass, but isn’t the looks what truly matters? So Tufts it is – and during many years of miniatures painting I used a variety of them. Recently I work with Army Painter’s, Citadel’s and MiniNature’s but when I want to pop the visual effect of a base with something more colorful or just fancy – I bring Paint Forge to the table!

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PAINT FORGE

From what I know Paint Forge is a Polish painting studio, that produced tufts and Flowers for own use, then seeing how popular they are – started mass production. I first encountered their products by accident, just scrolling through online offer of a friendly hobby store – seeking something to fill my shoping cart with. After seeing the offer I grabbed a handful of different Tufts and Flowers to test them. Since then I already had to resupply as I used up couple of packages during INFINITY: TOHAA project. Must say that most of the time I’m happy with Paint Forge’s stuff but let’s take a closer look at how their products present themeselves…

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QUALITY: 8/10

Both Tufts and Flowers are of fine quality. Once you work with them you will quickly notice the lack of the flaws that most of the nowadays Tufts and Flowers have. There will be no huge, random chunks of Tufts that require you to tear them into smaller pieces before usage. There’s almost no need to prepare either Tufts nor Flowers before use as they go in shapely groups – self adhesive and ready to be glued onto the base. When I say ‘adhesive’ I mean – like really, really adhesive – these are based on some sort of goo that really sticks to the surface. Upon opening the package there won’t be hundreds upon hunreds of loose grass blades – only few of these. There’s also no Games Workshop-like shine of the grass blades. Some flaws are still present but it is common with this kind of products.

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VISUALS: 10/10

What can I say? Paint Forge’s Tufts ands Flowers just kick ass when it comes to Visuals. I know that it is a matter of taste but hell – I’ll just drop some pictures of the miniatures that I used Paint Forge’s stuff on:

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TAU Ethereal 3

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FUNCTIONALITY: 8/10

Paint Forge’s Tufts and Flowers are rather functional. Most of the time the only preparation they require would be to pick them with tweezers and just put them on the base. Some things that I have issues with are:

  1. Rough grass blades, which can be encountered in Flowers. Instead of growing out of the base (goo) of the tuft, they are kept by the upper flower part. This qualifies them for removal, but…
  2. Goo that keeps everything in place is soft and sticky. If you want to remove a single, regular grass blade – it will work just fine, but if you want to remove a grass blade kept by the upper part, then more will surely follow, as the base will give up before the upper part does. It is also near to impossible to tear the goo appart without damaging the Tuft.
  3. Mutated grass blades, which happen to appear in Tufts. These extremely long hair tend to go through entire goo-base of the Tuft making them difficult to be effectively removed without damaging the soft base of the Tuft.
  4. Goo-base of the Tuft is sticky and will surely keep the Tuft on the miniature’s base, but if you happen to be a fan os Super-gluing tufts onto the bases then Paint Forge’s Tufts will dissapoint you, as once the glue is applied you will encounter some crazy difficulties with gluing the Tuft onto the surface.

These are not some huge flaws, still once they appear – they tend to consume time, and time (at least for me) is the most important factor in miniatures painting. Either way these are rare while the overall functionality of the products is really high. No need to remove a rough grass blade – it’s easier to stick the Tuft on the base so that this flaw will stay hidden. You can also try to reposition such grass blade into the goo. There are many quick ways to fix any encountered bug – while using the Tufts with ease.

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PRICE: 9/10

Paint Forge’s products are well balanced when it comes to price. Not too expensive with price gauge placed somewhere around Army Painter. It wouldn’t hurt if they were a bit cheaper, thus competitive, but considering the quality – pricing is really ok.

SUMMARY: 9/10

Not too expensive, great looking and user friendly – Paint Forge’s products are a great choice to compliment the arsenal of Tufts and Flowers used to base the miniatures. Personally I fell in love with them and will expand my collection. I only wish I got to know them a bit sooner so that many fine projects would benefit from it – still there’s a lot of projects before me and you will notice Paint Forge’s Tufts and Flowers appearing in a lot of them.

 

Where to purchase? The best way is to contact Paint Forge directly via Facebook or to visit Vanaheim.pl/eu and order some!

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REVIEW: RIGHT ARM LABS WARGAMING TERRAIN

If you are reading this blog regularly, then you already know that my life is not entirely composed of painting – some gaming is also involved! Here and there a more gaming-centered article pops out and today’s review is just such an article. If you came here for a painting article, please do not be discouraged and still give thise one a try – who knows, maybe you will end up ordering a bunch of miniatures along with some cool looking terrain, or at least see something new?

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RIGHT ARM LABS

I stumbled upon Right Arm Labs during Polish National Championships of Infinity the game. This friendly, wargaming terrain producing, company visited the event, providing awesome looking terrain pieces for couple of gaming boards. Many times have I gasped with admiration seeing how cool looking and playable their gaming boards were. Unfortunatelly for me, back then I didn’t play a single game on their terrain, but in the end I won a painting competition and received some gifts funded by guys from Right Arm Labs. (Lucky me!). So I took my spoils of war back home and gave them a try in couple of games. Here’s my thoughts on them…

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QUALITY: 9/10

If I’m to categorise Right Arm Labs products I’d say they are of a good quality. The material used to construct them is durable and the parts fit perfectly to one another. They are easy to put together which is uncommon in the market of wargaiming terrain. Another uncommon thing is that they come pre-painted and not in some dismissive way, but a totally nice looking, precise and ready to play one. Sure, the colours could use some juice, but it’s better than regular HDF!

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VISUALS: 7/10

Right Arm Labs took an interresting approach to visual aspect of their terrain. Exteriors are a bit crude and some features were clearly left out to make these terrain pieces more playable. At the same tame there’s a lot of detail and pre-painting. Sure it’s not Zen Terrain complex design or Micro Art Studio’s fine style, but still it appeals to the eye isn’t it? We must remember that there are plenty one-man-companies that produce flat walled cubic buildings and don’t even bother to add detail. Right Arm Labs proudly stands above the latter.

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PLAYABILITY 10/10:

Along with nice looks the Right Arm Labs Terrain comes with high playability. Flat surfaces and sharp angles are perfect for Infinity and will fit in many different games including Warhammer 40,000. Height and dimensions of the objects and terrain pieces goes well with 28mm scale, providing enough cover and options for our miniatures to explore. While smaller scenery pieces can be mounted on bases and used as objectives, the buildings are designed in a way that lets you manipulate their features between games! Just take a look at this interresting Control Room:

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Now let’s break it into particular pieces…

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Each of these pieces, even the floor, is two sided, with one side being more military themed and the other more industrial…

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Walls can be switched at a whim and go smooth into special sliders designed to accomodate them…

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I see many different uses for this kind of building, including but not limited to: Objective Room, bunker, regular building, urban platform…

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FUNCTIONALITY: 10/10

They come pre-painted and let you manipulate features for more re-playability, but most of all they are well designed with particular pieces being held in place by sturdy elements. Even doors are made of two layers – one fitting perfectly into the wall, while the other is holding it firmly in place. Also, due to the clever construction, the walls seem much thicker than they actually are. The key feature is that the entire construction can be easily assembled/disasembled in a matter of seconds.

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PRICE: 4/10

Price is the only thing setting me on edge when thinking about these splendid terrain pieces. A complex objective room along with a roof that must be purchased separately will see you spend around 50€ to obtain. I’m not suggesting it is not worth the price – I’m saying it’s just a lot for a single building. In comparisson for this price you will get not one but between two to seven Micro Art Studio’s buildings! It is a well known fact that most of us would rather spend majority of their hobby cash on miniatures instead of a gaming board. Still if you count in the time and resources required to paint a single building – the initial price of Right Arm Labs terrain does not look so bad.

 

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SUMMARY: 8/10

Personally I think that Right Arm Labs does a nice job with their terrain. Their products are not ‘designed for Infinity’ but rather designed for Wargaming, but ideal for Infinity. I’m willing to forget the price issue due to awesome playability and unprecedented solutions. I can only recommend you to try some of their stuff yourself. I’m sure that you won’t regret it. To contact Right Arm Labs check out their Facebook page, Instagram profile or write’em an e-mail. (This is their preffered way of providing you with particular prices.)

If you have some experience with Right Arm Labs products – I’ll be glad to read your opinion in the comments 😉

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REVIEW: DISPLAYS AND GLASS DOMES

Have you ever created a work that you were so proud of as to arrange it in a display or glass dome? If so – you probably know that finding such is a quest in itself. With few ‘worthy’ miniatures of my own I have wandered the web in search of proper displays and glass domes. I’ve seen many forum threads and online stores but to no avail. At some point I even abandoned all hope. Stores that might provide me with good quality items, that I was searching for, seemed to elude me. Years passed by, while I grew more and more tired of my unsuccessful search.You see the biggest issue about the displays in modelling is their size. It’s difficult to find a display of the exact dimensions to suit 28mm scaled miniatures. Usually what’s available for purchase is huge in comparrison to what you are looking for and in worse cases – of bad quality.

 

Fortunately for me, the search ended abruptly few weeks ago when I stumbled upon not one but two ideal sources of the items I was looking for. After making a test purchase I’ve decided to share with you some the insight…

 

IZMOD DISPLAYS

Izmod is a Polish company producing Displays for miniatures and models. The company seems to be a one-man bussiness with a small online store. The owner is a kind and trustworthy person, open to ideas (at least that’s my opinion) so I asked him about few things and  got to know that right now he is preparing an english version of his website. Good news is that anyone interrested in the purchase can still contact him via e-mail, as it is possible for him to sell and send the items abroad. He also informed me about the differences in the wood structure and the ways his displays are being glued. I’m sure that he is ready to answer any questions regarding eventual purchase, while his producs – well, just see for yourself…

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QUALITY:

Quality of Izmod’s displays is really nice. Depending on the choosen type of wood, the base elements are smooth and cut in a way that compliments the shape of the base. The base comes laquered and feels great in touch, while also being paint-friendly. The plexi displays came to me unscratched (excluding one that was damaged by the post office and exchanged shortlya fter with a new one). The walls are perfectly translucent and edges are rather even. I say ‘rather’ cause here and there some small irregularities appear, but I would still give them 8/10. The only flaw I could find is the way the outer cuting edges are rought in some places, but I’m sure that these can be further polished once I’ll start preparing these displays for the exposition.

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PRICE:

Price of these items is fair, varying between 13-25€ with no item from the above picture being even close to the upper price. I’m sure that once you will check out this offer you will find the price well balanced.

LARGE SELECTION:

As I have already mentioned – these items come in a large selection. A variety of shapes and sizes with bases being cut in few differend ways and laquered in different colours. For me being able to choose from between the size of 6/6/6cm and 50/35/35cm is just a thing of beauty. To sweeten the deal, the displays come in few types of wood.

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Maybe I’m hyped a bit, but I just want to scream ‘awesome!’ about these things. If you are looking for a proper miniature display – be sure to give Izmod a shot.

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IKEA GLASS DOMES

Everyone knows IKEA. So many houses felt it’s presence these days. Every kind of house related stuff can be found there, still I was somehow shocked to see a series of cool looking glass domes there. Maybe that’s because I was hunting for a fine glass dome with a wooden base for couple of year – don’t know. What I know is that once I accidentally caught a glimpse of a glass dome – I just stood there mesmerized untill me gf bumped into me asking what am I looking at so intensely. It was like a dream come true. Just look at these beauties and you will understand…

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QUALITY:

In comparison to what I already had at home, the quality of Ikea’s glass domes is very good. Glass is smooth and translucent while bases are perfectly shaped. Some small flaws can bee found here and there, but the overall visuals of the domes is just cool. Also the glass is thin making these domes light (which can be very helpful while cleaning the insides).

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PRICE:

Both domes are priced around 10€ which is more than a fair price. I remember purchasing an unbased glass dome for more than 15€, with glass being dimm and blurry (can be seen in the above pics). I don’t know how these will be priced in your place, but be sure to check out both items in the closest Ikea.

Small glass dome code: 303.272.52

Large glass dome code: 403.273.03

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Here’s my advice for you. If you have any advice for me in return – be sure to leave it in the comments section – I’ll be happy to expand my collection of displays and glass domes.

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REVIEW: BRUSH CLASH KOLIBRI vs WINSOR & NEWTON

Are you hungry for spilled paint? Ripped hair, broken handles? Another fight of the century is upon us! Today, in the left corner, we have a Kolibri 88 ‘3’! This, standing 7 inch tall, 2 grams of a brush is ready to fight till death against a half inch taller and one gram heavier – Winsor & Newton Series 7 ‘2’! Will ~8$ Kolibri prewail or will it be crushed by ~12$ Winsor & Newton? Both fighters seem to be in shape so let us begin!

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Both brushes used are of similar properities, tips shape and size so I decided to clash them against one another. For the purpose of this clash I used Warhammer 40,000 Tau miniatures. Got plenty of those on my desk, awaiting further paint job – so I seized the opportunity. I also used a mix of Vallejo Rust, Bright Bronze, Black and Thinner (Which I called the ‘Underrust’). After checking out the paint and preparing some working space – I’ve started with Kolibri 88 ‘3’, painting ten miniatures with the ‘Underrust’. The surface being painted was rather small, but I tried to compensate by quantity of the miniatures being painted…

Kolibri after 10

Kolibri went through this test really nice. Regardless of not cleaning the brush with water mid-testing, the tip stayed sharp with no hair being separated (Remember Citadel Layer S from the last figt?). Head worked very well, but at first I had to get accustomed to it’s softness. Painting with Kolibri for the first time in my career was a pleasant experience.

I switched to Winsor & Newton Series 7 ‘2’, checked the tip and went all ahead full with another ten miniatures…

Winsor and Newton after 10

The painting experience was almost identical to Kolibri. At some point a single hair split from the tip but rolling it in the paint reshaped the tip to it’s former shape. This happened two times during the ten-miniatures test, but other than that I did not encounter any alarming behaviour of the brush. Main difference between these two brushes was the softness of the head. While Kolibri was pretty soft, W&N stayed firm throughout the test.

I counldn’t decide which brush performed better thus I decided to continue the test. This time I went all-in and painted the entire collection of miniatures with four layers of paints including wash. I grouped the miniatures into two similar groups of over 30 pieces and started my work. It took almost four hours to complete (Oh how the time comes and goes)…

Brush Clash allin

Here’s the video from the fight – I filmed the first round so you can see that the fight was a real deal 🙂

RESULTS:

This was a really long battle between two very good brushes. In the end I was able to test both brushes to the extent of their capabilities. I really liked and will certainly paint with both of them from now on, but there can be only one winner of the ‘Brush Clash’. During these four hours of painting I grew accustomed to Kolibri – it felt somehow more pleasant to paint with it. The price, size and weight of the brush have nothing to do with it – it’s just my personal feel. I’m sure it’s because the head of the brush is softer and it was easier for me to operate – at least in this kind of paint job. That is the reason for me to deem Kolibri the winner of the secong Brush Clash, with Winsor & Newton being defeated just by the margin.

If you have any experience with either of these brushes – be sure to leave me a comment with your opinion on it’s performance.

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REVIEW: HOBBYZONE ‘MODULAR WORKSHOP SYSTEM’

Many names are given to this place. We call it a workshop, a working desk, a hobby spot. Each of us has his own nickname with which he adresses this special place, and it is special cause no two are alike! Filled with brush stands, cans, mini-organizers, boxes, shelves, holders, cutting mats, pads and a variety of tools – working spaces come in many different shapes and forms. Still one vital trait stands out and is common among working spaces – they all are temples of our hobby and as such are treated with love and care.

For me a Workbench is an altar. Each time I add a small detail – be it a single accessory holder, a new brush can, or a new addition to my modular workshop system – I feel like a builder expanding an antic temple to stand even higher and wider – all to the glory of the gods. And just as such I tend to hire the best architects and artists from around the globe to lend me their skills…

workbench new 3

The bulk of my personal altar is mostly made out of HobbyZone’s ‘Modular Workshop System’. I have expanded this set three times by now and am sure to purchase even more pieces, just as the opportunity presents itself. As it happened, couple of days ago I felt the need to expand my Workbench a bit and ordered two new pieces of HZ ‘Modular Workshop System’. So as a happy customer and a total fanboy of HobbyZone I wanted to share with you some insight into their fantastic offer.

QUALITY:

One of the two most important things about HobbyZone’s products is quality. It can be seen in every detail, starting with how these items are packed, how they look like, with nice, almost stylish combination of white and plywood. Add to it the width of all the outer casings and inner ‘holding’ walls which makes these things durable and reliable in many crisis situations. Also each piece is designed to withstand stress of moving them around with additional waight on top. Walls are clamped together providing a sturdy structure and on top of that there are actual magnets inserted into the construction to help you keep everything in place.

HZ 10

HZ 11

FUNCTIONALITY:

Second most important thing about HobbyZone’s Modular Workshop is functionality. OK, I haven’t tested all the different parts of ‘Modular Workshop System’, but hey – the entire point is to pick a set that would suit your needs best! Right now my set consists of three drawer modules, one paint module, one showcase module and one brushes and tools module with an addition of eight paint hangers. Each of these items prooved to be usefull to me and I don’t see a way it can be further improoved. And I am a guy who tends to redesign stuff to better suit his needs – It’s just that HobbyZone’s stuff is cool as it is.

HZ 9

HZ 12

PACKING:

I believe that the way an item is packed corresponds directly to it’s quality and the way a custumer will perceive it. I appreciate when an Item I spent my money on is well packed (cared for). That being sayed – I just love the way HobbyZone stuff is packed. Each item has it’s own box, filled with bubble wrap. Inside you will find an instruction and all the pieces required to ‘build’ particular item (except for glue, but which hobbyist does not have that already?). By now I know exactly what I would see inside a new HobbyZone box – even so each unpacking is still a pleasant experience.

HZ 1

HZ 2

HZ 3

HZ 4

HZ 5

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FRIENDLY:

Each piece of HobbyZone ‘Modular Workshop System’ is designed to be user friendly and easy to assemble. No tools are required to put these things together. With a nice and easy to understand instruction (that comes with each set), I was able to put this module together in less than five minutes. Half an hour later when glue was dry, I was able to use this piece.

 

HZ 7

HZ 8

AFFORDABLE:

Each hobbyist is probably going to see the matter of price differently. For me the quality and functionality of HobbyZone’s ‘Modular Workshop System’ is well ballanced with a price oscillating between 10-20€/medium piece. Purchased items are shiped within 72hrs from purchase (during working days). HobbyZone is well stocked in it’s stuff. Don’t know how about you, but I totally appreciate it. If you still not into it – just check out this MIND BLOWING STICKER!

HZ xd

For me HobbyZone’s stuff is totally 10/10. If you struggle to keep your workbench organized do not waste your time – just go to HobbyZone.pl/en(EU) / HobbyZone.biz(USA) and change your life for better. Zapisz

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REVIEW: HARDER & STEENBECK NOZZLE SET 0,2mm

An important thing that makes me use a Harder & Steenbeck airbrush is it’s quality.  I’ve been using Infinity  CR plus for around a year now and am really satisfied with it’s performance. Futhermore I can say that I love this Airbrush so much as to expand it’s set of needles and nozzles whenever I have an excuse to do so. But this is a review of a 0,2 mm Nozzle upgrade set, so I won’t let my overall sympathy for H&S cloud my judgement.

harder and steenbeck complaint 3

!  This article is made of two parts, first being rather a complaint about how this item was packed. If you want to see the actual performance review, scroll down to the second part...

PACKAGING:

The packaging of my brand new 0,2mm Nozzle upgrade set was the usual. A plastic tube, plugged at both sides and filled at some point with puffed-up foil separator. At one side was a nozzle along with a nozzle protector, and at the other the most fragile and delicate piece – a needle. At first glance it looked just fine…

harder and steenbeck complaint 2

But it was not! Take a closer look and you will see how badly packed this one was…

harder and steenbeck complaint 1

Uuuugh… This needle was totally out of commission. No way to even try to repair it. I was very dissapointed.

I quickly filled a complaint and sent it to the store that sold me this ‘thing’. Fortunatelly for me the item was purchased in one of my favorite stores, which is well known of being both solid and supportive. They quickly redirected my complaint to Harder & Steenbeck and soon after I got a needle replacement. If I am to give you advice at this point, that would be:

  • To purchase stuff in a reliable store,
  • To always check out the needle before unpacking,

PERFORMANCE:

Due to a basic needle protectors being rather open I’ve already damaged an unimaginable number of 0,15mm and 0,2mm needles, that’s why I tend to work with a strong 0,4mm one. 0,4 being my favorite by necessity, I’ve decided to use it in 0,2/0,4mm sets comparison.

Harder Steenbeck 02 Nozzle 04 close

It is a precise and smooth working nozzle, with needle being long but durable. For the purpose of the test I used Vallejo Magic Blue. Air preassure was set to 2 bars, while I’ve made some dots and lines. It wen’t a bit grainy, so a Thinner was added to the paint. More dots and lines, and here’s the result:

Harder Steenbeck 02 Nozzle 04 all

For me it’s the usual stuff with 0,4mm needle providing me with means to paint entire miniatures and some small spots as well. So I’ve changed to a smaller caliber, installing 0,2mm nozzle set. With Infinity CR Plus being user friendly, I was ready for action in merely moments. The needle was very fragile, but also well covered and set up much deeper than it’s 0,4mm counterpart. The important difference is also the fact that nozzle protector and needle protector are just one piece in this set. I couldn’t see the needle while working, but at the same time it was well protected from my clumsiness.

Harder Steenbeck 02 Nozzle 02 close

Once again I’ve made some dots and lines using Vallejo Magic Blue. The paint was flowing without issues. I’ve added a thinner and made some more dots and lines. I was under a big impression of how tiny and precise the dots were. Also lines were slim and nice. Here’s the result:

Harder Steenbeck 02 Nozzle 02 all

And a result using Vallejo Light Green on the actual miniature:

Harder Steenbeck 02 Nozzle 6

At this point you may also want to see the performance of both nozzle sets in a short Video:

SUMMARY:

In the end for an unexperienced airbrush user like me 0,2mm was a totally new experience. Also entire thing being just one part made it much easier to use baskwash to clear up the nozzle by delicately turning the  protector left and letting the air flow to within the paint container.

Harder Steenbeck 02 Nozzle backwash cleaning x

 

I’m very happy about this set. It not only lets me use a tiny needle without fear of it being damaged, but also makes it easier for me to use some cool features of Infinity CR Plus with it. My verdict is 9/10 – a very useful thing to add even more value to an already awesome airbrush.

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REVIEW: BRUSH CLASH TAMIYA vs CITADEL

Welcome to the Painting Arena! A fight the of century is before us! In the left corner we have a ‘Citadel Layer S’ brush! When it comes to painting miniatures this hobby brush is a Games Workshop’s bread and butter! Worth approximately 4,3 €, Citadel Layer S will be clashed against a cheaper Tamiya 87050. Tamiya’s approximate worth is only 3,4 € but it has a fighting spirit like no other! Which brush will emerge victorious? Which one will fall to oblivion? Buckle up and see for yourself…

Brush Clash Tamiya vs Citadel 5

I used a Infinity: Lunokhod miniature that could use some paint job to clash Citadel Layer S against Tamiya 87050. Both of these brushes had seen some action but not enough to be called a ‘veteran’. Let’s say that both were purchased recently and were used just couple of times before this clash. For the purpose of this article I used Games Workshop’s Mechrite Red. Till now I had no problems using this paint. It’s consistency let’s me paint constantly for a long period of time before I need to either clean or switch brushes. I started by applying Mechrite Red on one leg of the miniature – I used an unrelated brush for that, to check out the paint. It went good, so I switched to Citadel Layer S. This is how it looked after painting a single Lunokhod’s leg…

Brush Clash Tamiya vs Citadel 11

After only one part of the miniature entire brush turned into utter chaos. Hair behaved like if they really ‘wanted’ to disperse. I had a lot of difficulity covering the entire surface without moisting and reposing the brush (which I didn’t for the sake of this article).

Next in line was Tamiya 87050 and I’ve painted both rear legs with it before taking a picture…

Brush Clash Tamiya vs Citadel 12

As you can see Tamiya 87050 hair held ground and stayed composed. I wandered how long this brush can stay this way so I kept painting and painted entire Lunokhod without ever reposing brush’s tip. Here’s the result…

Brush Clash Tamiya vs Citadel 13

Tamiya 87050 stayed composed till the end. Must say that regardless of using Tamiya’s brushes for some time now – I was surprised to see it’s performance. Check out the video below to see how the clash proceeded…

RESULTS:

After long battle in which a lot of paint was spilled – Tamiya 87050 emerged a victor! Not only cheaper but much – MUCH – more durable and paint job friendly. The tip worked well throughout the entire process with hair flexible and pose reshaping itself. This kind of brush will surely provide you with comfort. Opposite to that Citadel Layer S failed after merely seconds of usage. It’s tip went berzerk the instant I started painting. I would never recommend this kind of brush for anything except washing or applying glue. I wander why I’ve tolerated this kind of brush’s behaviour till now… well it’s either trash or death in suicide mission for this one now. Will never purchase another Games Workshop’s brush again.

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FISHING BAG? RATHER A TOURNAMENT HOBBY BAG!

Guys – I have a nice story for you.

Today, just as usual, I was wandering around LIDL supermarket. I have my favorite route which goes something like ‘bread, vegetables, meat, milk, all the crazy sheeet section, cash-in’ and just when I got close to ‘all the crazy sheeet section’ I went numb. There was a basket full of HOBBY BAGS! I’ve seen many strange things in LIDL, including shoes, bikes, guitars, puzzle, tools – but to see a hobby bag was unexpected! I assaulted the basked and started digging through bags to find an opened one and check it out. As it happened it actually was a “Fishing Bag”, but still it looked so good, that I took a peak inside – and BOOM – there where fck’n hobby bitz boxes inside! And plenty of them too! My mind blown I checked the pricing and saw 25€. Soon later, with a smile splitting my face in two – I was walking home, with a new Hobby Bag under one arm…

Lidl Bag x1

For it’s price the bag is of a really good quality. When taking these pictures my mind was racing with the possibilities. All the future tournaments… all these segregated bitz…

Lidl Bag x2

Lidl Bag x3

Lidl Bag x4

Lidl Bag x5

Lidl Bag x6

Lidl Bag x7

I bet you feel it too… in your mind’s eye you see all the miniatures, tournament accessories and bitz being put into this awesome bag and boxes!

Lidl Bag 5

If you read TUTORIAL: 10 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOBBY SPACE ORGANIZED and GAMING TUTORIAL: INFINITY TOURNAMENT PREPARATION, you now that I’m a hobby bag freak, who likes to keep his stuff organized and miniatures zipped. My eyes filled with tears of joy when I layed eyes on this beauty while taking the pictures. I also went to check out if this one will be Infinity Tournament friendly…

Lidl Bag 1

Lidl Bag 2

Lidl Bag 3

Lidl Bag 4

 

It passed the test! So much space in the main body that both my Feldherr Mini plus tank and Feldherr Mini (in which I keep my miniatures) fit in.  There’s a special slot to keep the army list in. There are two side pockets to keep some sweets along with tape measures… one bigger pocket at the front to hold some additional stuff like cash and phone. This one is perfect for Infinity or other skirmish games… ‘fishing bag’ my ass!

LIDL you made my day once again…

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