Saturday, 11 June 2011

Secret Weapon Miniatures Resin Bases: Desert Sands / Wasteland

I've blabbed on about my checkered past with resin bases before... so I won't bore you again. I brought some of the Desert Sands and Desert Wasteland bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures after I'd had an exceedingly good experience with Dragon Forge Designs. I decided to branch out and see what other companies were up too. I also decided as my Aleph were going to be on spanking gorgeous resin bases I might as well put my Haqq Islam force on some as well, hence the deserts sands bases. However...

Character of the pieces 6 out of 10

They're sand bases, that erm... look like sand. Some of the sand has nice wavey patterns in it and some of the sand has stones in it. They're not exactly going to score highly on the old character stakes now are they? However to be fair they are exactly what they're advertised as, and as such what should I expect? With some dried out looking static grass and maybe the odd spec of desert floral coloured flock they could look pretty characterful.

Detail 6 out of 10

This is probably my own sodding fault for ordering 'sand' bases. Seriously what the HELL was I thinking? Sometimes I think its best if I just let other people make decisions for me!!! Unsurprisingly these bases... look like they have some sand and rubble glued on them, there are some nice patterns in the sand that look like the wind has blown them, but seriously what the hell was I thinking? However given that its resin and the paint will adhere better to it than it would normally to sand glued down with PVA I can actually build up some weathering pigments on these and create a really dusty desert feel so it ain't all bad, is it? However they're hardly likely to show off what Secret Weapon Miniatures can do and that's my fault so sorry about that!!!

Quality 8 out of 10 (please see EDIT 2 at bottom of the review)

Again much like the Dragon Forge bases these are pretty well made with a nice firm resin that's a joy to work with. There were however a few minor miscasts and the odd air bubble in the 30 plus bases I ordered, more than I had also with the Micro Art bases which were a bigger order. There was also a small amount of clean up work to be done before they were ready to use... but I'm not saying I had to dig out my sculpting set and start putting them right, nope that just would not true. I did a craft knife skim around the edges that cleaned them up nicely and took care of the flashing and some of the 'build up' of resin around the edges. A small amount of green stuff on a couple of bases put the minor defects right... this is resin after all and I do expect to have to put the odd air bubble right every now and then!

Service 7 out of 10 (Please see first EDIT at bottom of the review)

Service is a bit of a mixed bag really because on the one hand my order came with 10 of my Desert Wasteland bases missing, which was a pain in the you know what but Justin did respond to my email quickly, and these things do happen, he has sent the bases on to me now though, just waiting for them to arrive. In fact I held this review off in the hope that they'd arrive before I put it up, but they haven't yet. However on the other hand they did get the first part of order out to me in quite good time, roughly just over a week, which again is fantastic service considering they had to come from the States. Those yanks know how to send a package and I'll let him off the missing bases... as long as they arrive!!!

Price 8 out of 10

Just accept that I'm really unlikely to give to give many 10 out of 10's on price for anything. Its not in my nature!!! However the 'all your bases' deals represents great value if you need large amounts of bases and the various prices for the bases are all very competitively and reasonably priced. While I don't think they're the best sculpted bases in the world they have kinda saved me time plonking bits of slate onto some bases and sculpting little lines in the sand myself. I don't feel like they've been a total waste of money, I'm just not sure they're the 'best' Secret Weapon Miniatures have to offer, if it wasn't for the deal though, I'd have probably scored these as a 7 on the individual prices I'd have had to pay to make up the sets in the 'all your bases' deal.

Overall 7 out of 10

Perhaps I should be slightly more generous than I am being because I'm the one who ordered sodding 'sand' bases, but even though they are are 'sand' bases the detailing isn't all that sharp on them... plus by God I'm an eejit for ordering them!!! But having said that the fact they are resin does mean I can get some cool effects going on them with some MIG weathering pigments, which would be difficult believe it or not with actual sand on the bases, see there's always a silver lining. However I shouldn't penalise Justin at Secret Weapon too much for my own stupid choices, they're as detailed as they need to be I guess and the moulding is crisp enough, just not as sharp as the Micro Art or Dragon Forge bases. Luckily though I do have a few other different bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures for a different project I'm working on, so I'm going to do a quick review of them. Peace out!

EDIT: Missing bases turned up included in another small order I'd made about a week or two later.

EDIT 2: After using these bases a little while they've actually started to chip quite badly round the edges and although Justin at Secret Weapon miniatures assures me its a one off problem with the batch I had, its enough to put me off. If I were scoring them now they'd get a 3 out of 10 for quality and would score overall no higher than 5 out of 10 at best.


  1. I need a decent set of Desert/Wasteland Bases for my Starship Troopers Miniatures - and I need a SHED LOAD of them too LoL!

  2. Buy some sand then!!! Seriously they're not 'bad' per se but I think with a bit of watered down PVA and some slate you'd probably get just as good if not better effect. But there you go.

  3. The problem I have with that, and its something I'm noticing from models I painted over 10 years ago. After a period of time the sand/pva starts to "lift" off the plastic base (as you know using PVA to glue onto plastic is not a permanent hold) - so now I now have a host of miniatures that need re-basing, and I know for a fact (now) that a few years down the line, if I go the PVA/Sand route - I'm going to end up in the same situation again!