Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mantic Terrain

OR

Your terrain isn't gothic enough !!

  My friend and fellow photographer +Matt Genuardi gave me the Sci-Fi Landing Pad kit from Mantic Games as a retirement gift. He picked up one of their larger Kickstarter packages for the Battlezones terrain kits which provided him more than enough terrain to keep him busy building for months.  LUCKY ME!



   The group of local gamers I play with regularly already have a Skyshield Landing Pad, so I knew that I would NOT be building it out as a landing pad.  My intent is to keep it as modular as possible realizing that the kit IS made of plastic so parts will eventually break with continual assembly and dis-assembly.

   Starting with a big bag o' sprues, I thought about painting the panels first, but after seeing how several other modelers had worked with the kits, I decided to practice building something first, and paint later. (okay, so that is a rationalization about wanting to just play with the modular kit!)
   I wanted to take advantage of the pillars and walkways in the kit to build something with a bit of a balcony, but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough flat sections for walls. (so I decided to keep it small.)  The kit comes with 4 of the sprues on the left, so I shouldn't have been too worried, but who wants to get halfway through a building and come up short?

 It was pretty easy to build a 3-sided box that allowed access to miniatures inside the structure while giving a somewhat rigid base to build out a balcony.  In case you didn't notice, the mounting points have two pin locations, allowing you to mount multiple brackets in one spot.  VERY useful when adding balconies, ladders and other overhangs!
   Initially I just wanted a quick balcony build off of the side of the box, but once I built that out, I realized I had plenty of parts left over and continue to mirror the angled balcony onto the other side of the structure.  It took me about 20 minutes of cutting and fiddling with parts to build the half-balcony, which isn't bad for the first time fooling with a kit!


During the build-out of the balcony I realized one of the problems that some people might have with the kit.  A bit of thought has to go into the components of your structure and the order that you build them in.  Inevitably, I found myself trying to add panels onto the balcony, when I should have assembled the whole balcony separately and THEN attached it to the base.  Plus in hindsight I realized I should have reinforced the vertical walls of the base with at least one connector joining them to each other.  Ooops!  I was just too excited to think about the weight-bearing structure of it all.

Adding the second wing to the balcony went fairly quickly and in about 35 minutes I was at this point, placing models onto the kit.



Here are my first takes on this particular kit and the Battlezones terrain in general.

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble for basic structures
  • Rigid and stable once structures are pinned
  • Diverse amount of connectors to build various angles and shapes
CONS:
  • Pillar bases fit loosely.  (since there is only one use for them, I may glue the ends on.)
  • It IS plastic - so just be careful and deliberate disassembling your building
  • Almost as addictive as building my first ForgeWorld kit.  I think I know how I'm going to waste a lot of time now, drafting up structures for upcoming games! (okay, so that isn't really a bad thing!)
RECOMMENDATIONS:
  • Consider building up some basic blocks of structures or architectural elements and leaving them assembled.  The modular connectors make it very easy to mix and match, and from what I've learned just working on a basic balcony, it would have sped the process up.
  • Bag and sort your parts.  LOTS of little connectors that you don't want to lose in the bottom of a container.

I intend to pick up some of the reinforced wall panels from the Fortified Sector, so I can build up some Bastion-like structures, but until then, I need to spend some time prepping and painting the kit I already have!  More to follow on this terrain...