Sunday, 18 May 2014

Monster Lab Miniatures

Compared to many other tabletop wargames like Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and Dropzone Commander, Malifaux uses a lot of counters. First off, most Schemes require the placement of Scheme Markers, living creatures drop Corpse Markers, constructs drop Scrap Markers. In the Squatters Rights strategy you need Squat Markers. Then you have to keep track of conditions like Burning and Poison, place Ice Pillars or Flame Walls...

There's going I come a time when you just can't handle that all with blank 30mm bases, trying to remember which is which. So I turned to a different approach with a company called Monster Lab Miniatures. 

I was asking a Facebook Malifaux Fangroup (A Wyrd Place) about what they used for Scrap Markers and Scheme Markers, especially for Arcanists players like myself. There were lots of cool suggestions, including using watch parts (miniature cogs etc), and someone then suggested Monster Lab.

Monster Lab Miniatures, as I discovered through their website, is an American company that do all kinds of stuff, from selling pre-painted models (mainly Warhammer 40,000 it seems) to modelling their own unique range of bases and markers. They describe the latter as: "...perfect for table top wargaming at skirmish, army, and other levels.  These high quality resin bases were sculpted to a 30mm standard and are specially designed to be compatible with genres ranging from sci-fi to steampunk" and then suggests that they be used to "...represent objectives, mechanical treasure, resources, or as fantastic scenic basing in your next game!"

I was quite impressed with the look of the markers, so picked up two packs of their 'Scrap Base and Markers' and then individually ordered four of their toolkit 'Scheme Base & Markers', and one of the dynamite ones. As you'd expect from an American order to the UK, they took about a week to arrive.

The Scrap Bases packs were flawlessly cast resin, though it did surprise me that one pack came as a cream coloured resin, and one as a black resin. The second picture is not an undercoat, that's how they arrived. Beyond the colour of the resin I could find no difference between the two casts.

The Scheme Bases were equally as exquisite, and the dynamite one has exceptionally fine detail, especially on the wires. I was most impressed. The only issue I could find is that one of the tool kits is slightly miscast, as if someone has shaved down the bottom of the base. It doesn't really detract from the base, but it puts it at a slight angle and is shallower to the ground than the others. It's a minor fault, but one I felt I should mention. 

But of course, how do they paint up? If the model cannot be painted, it is useless, surely? I used an Army Painter Gunmetal Primer spray and it took well without any pre-cleaning of the resin. The models themselves were then a joy to paint with sharp detail that took well to a brush. 

All in all, I am exceptionally pleased with these bases (you can see the slightly shallower and angled toolbox in the bottom right) and they looked fantastic in my game on Monday (previous blog post). They were very modestly priced, arrived swiftly, and were better than they appeared. 

I would wholeheartedly recommend Monster Lab Minis, and will be using them again myself. 

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