|This is how it comes packaged|
As you will no doubt know if you have read my reviews of both Micro Arts Studio's Urban Building and Micro Art Studios Tech Walkway you'll no doubt know that I'm a big fan of the aesthetic of Micro Art Studio's Designed for Infinity range. However, I think it's fair to say that I've not been overly impressed with the versatility of the range. After all there is only the one building type and the one walkway, but I guess I really ought to hold off judging the range until I've reviewed the Concrete Wall's, Holoboard's and Internal Walls. Well today I'll be reviewing the Concrete Wall Holoboard section. I chose to review this section of wall because I felt I'd get a sense of what the other wall sections are like, as well as seeing what the most complex piece was like... well... the other sections are one piece moulds while this section is made of three parts. Yeah hardly complex I know, but still my thinking was sound. Hopefully!
Well it's a wall, with a Holoboard on top of it. Job done! What do you mean you need more of a product description than that? OK, OK keep your hair on, I'll give it my best shot. Here goes... The Concrete Wall Holoboard Section comes in three parts as I said above in my introduction. The largest of the three parts is clearly, and unsurprisingly, the main wall section, which is a sizable chunk of resin. I assume that all the other wall sections from the range are cast in the same way and come as single pieces like this one. The next resin piece is the frame that sits on top of the main wall section, it's sort of a 'U' shape with a grove cast into it for the final piece, while it itself sits in a groove on top of the main wall section. And so, onto the final piece we go, I'm sure you've all guessed that the final component of the Concrete Wall Holoboard Section is indeed the actual Holoboard section itself. I know, it surprised me too! The Holoboard is a precision laser cut and etched piece of Green Acrylic and very snazzy it is too! Obviously the laser etching only fits onto one side, so sadly it'll be back to front one way, but I guess it'll have to do until Micro Art Studio's get their act together and make me an actual Holoboard... just kidding guys, although just so you know, that would totally rock!
Usefulness 9 out of 10
I think I've said before now that Infinity requires a fair old amount of scenery. Varied scenery, adaptable scenery, modular scenery, scatter scenery and especially line of sight blocking scenery... and if we can we'd like to have access to those interiors pleas. Thanks! It's a demanding game on scenery. This can sometimes be a bit of a pain in the proverbial when trying to build a good solid game board to play a game of Infinity over. It's a topic I actually hope to come back too in the next couple of weeks or so. There is one really simple solution to all this though, and one that enables movement and stops games bogging down horribly, or becoming too defencive, and that is to put some walls on the table. Yep it's often the thing that people forget about when building gaming boards, but walls actually do a really great job of sectioning the table off into manageable chunks and blocking line of sight. I know, go figure! So having a highly versatile set of wall sections that allow you to manipulate them and play with various set ups has to be highly desirable right? Well that's what Micro Art Studio offer, although you can also get it at Maelstrom Games and Antenocitis Workshop. So how does it look and play on the board?
Well pretty good actually. The fact the walls are in resin gives them a pleasing 3D thickness and solidity to them that is often missing with HDF walls. These feel substantial, and you could certainly see a miniature being able to gain cover from the side profile of the wall too. But as with most wall sections in terms of gameplay and effect on the board it's not so much 'girth' you have to worry about, but 'length' and 'height'... I know, I know, that's what she said. The wall sections length is roughly 3.5" long and about 2" to the peak of the wall. Then to the top of the Holoboard section it measures about 5" again. So each section isn't very long at all, but that actually lends them more versatility. You can create the sorts of lengths and designs you want to on the board with this stuff, and look good while doing it. The height is also a really good height too, with the lower MAS gantry just about clearing it at 2.5", which in and of itself sets up some interesting angles on the board. They also interplay nicely with the MAS urban design buildings, blocking lines completely at ground level (obviously) but at varying distances the interplay between first and second story buildings is interesting. But anything higher than three story's and it's pointless... but that's how it should be, and it still means you need to be careful with those 3 story MAS buildings. The walls are high enough to block line of sight to most TAGs in the game and will cover all REMs and troopers too.
|As you can see the resin components look sleek and crisp.|
So They do what they're designed to do well for me, and they look snazzy while doing it. So as far as I'm concerned these are a bit of a home run. Another interesting thing specific to the Holoboard section is how you play the Holoboard, as theoretically you can see through it clearly. I think there's scope in the rules to play it various ways, such as a smoke grenade, zero visibility grenade or just straight line of sight. Its up to you really and you can play about with it. Just make sure everyone is clear prior to starting the game! I guess though I haven't actually had the full set or range of options to play with, and realistically I think I'd need two of the Concrete Wall Set II, to fairly and accurately judge them as a range. As well as the awesome looking Concrete Wall Gate, I seriously love the orange Hex acrylic power gate. I am just extrapolating really from just this one piece, and I fully accept that is a dangerous thing to do, and I'm probably on unsound ground doing so. But, I think this stuff has great scope to be useful on the board and I think there's merit and thought gone into my belief in these as a system. I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it, and while I know I have a tendency to fall in love with certain products that look shiny, I really do think these will work well and I want to get more of them for my own board.
|Yay! Screw you Gym... oh it's not real. Bugger :(|
First things first I know it's a chuffing wall and is therefore highly unlikely to be the most characterful of pieces now is it? A wall is a wall is a wall. Well yes, but even so this particular stretch of wall has some nice touches and features. Firstly I like the tapered profile of the wall, don't ask me why but it just looks futuristic to me, in an Art Deco sort of way. As do the two slightly raised strips that run down the wall, and house the two street lights on either side of the wall. More Fifth Element I guess than Blade Runner. The lights too make this stretch of wall feel somehow more modern or sci-fi, but again strangely Art Deco. You might not be able to see them in my pictures, but on the surface of the main wall section are tiny little indentations where maybe some bolts or rivets were placed during the walls construction. It might not sound like much, and I guess individually they're not, however the surface of the wall would have been a big boring flat expanse had they not placed them there. They do just enough to break the surface up, yet are small and unobtrusive enough to not effect that 'sleek' look they were going for.
|Grrrr.... walls have never looked so sexy!|
The two lights placed centrally in either side of the wall also play a big part in stopping it look characterless. They break up the surface nicely and uniformally as does the indent or grooved channel that connects vertically down the wall with the light housing units. It's all very minimalist and sleek, but stops on the right side of that line and is never in any danger of becoming bland. As to the top of the this wall section, the Holoboard, it's actually got some nice detailing. The resin frame has a number of junction boxes, vents and wires and other doohickey's all over it that at least make it look like it is genuinely a working piece of equipment. They could have gone for a totally sleek look with this, but I'm glad they haven't. It's still minimalist but it feels like it's actually meant to be a working Holoboard. The green laser etched acrylic board itself is really quite a nice looking component, that just sets the piece off nicely. The image and writing is very crisp and clear to see, and it just sort of 'glows'. I don't mean literally of course, but it does look like it when the light hits it just right, giving off a pleasing green aura.
Detail 8.5 out of 10
I guess it's fair to say that Micro Art Studio's resin components are exceedingly well cast on the whole and all the detailing on this wall section was sharp and crisply reproduced. The lights were well cast, the ribbed electrical tubing to various components was again pin point accurate and not at all 'fuzzy' like these sorts of detail often can be. The electrical boxes have nice crisp lines and it's all just ever so well defined. The sides of my Holoboard did have some mould lines, more on those later, but on the whole there weren't any blemishes that ruined any of the resin details at all. The sweep and gentle curve of the walls surface were well realised and the grooves, ridges and channels were well cast and sharp, which made painting them relatively easy. However, there isn't much 'clutter' on these walls and as such there's not too much that can go wrong. The final piece of detailing is the green acrylic Holoboard, the laser etching is neat and tidy and clear, it's not overly fussy at all and that helps the overall look as to much more would have made it very cluttered in my humble opinion.
Quality 8.5 out of 10
The main thing I want to get across is that there really weren't many problems. There was a slight bit of a weird mould line on the one side of the Holoboard frame. You can see it in the picture to the left, but it makes it look far worse than it actually was. It actually was more just a build up of excess resin that was really easy to cut away. That was it. Honestly. Absolutely no other issues or air bubbles. Nothing. I think it's fair to say that I've actually had a fair degree of resin components off of Micro Art Studios over the years and I've hardly ever had any problems. They just simply make good quality resin products, and they must have a strong degree of confidence in their casting prowess to try to pull off what they have with the Holoboard frame. In the picture below you'll see an indented channel inside the frame where the acrylic Holoboard is supposed to slot. Resin is a notoriously fickle mistress, and to attempt such a narrow channel shows a degree of confidence in their ability to reproduce it accurately everytime. So sure the fit is snug, and I'm not too sure the superglue was really needed... but it did fit perfectly. So... erm... well done!
|A brave design move that paid off.|
Service 9 out of 10
These were sent double quick time by Maelstrom Games, during a period of demand for the 'Designed for Infinity' stuff. I went cheapo free second class delivery and it turned up the next day after being sent. Bargain. Really well packaged too. Personally what I've come to expect from them.
Price 7.5 out of 10
This is a difficult product to score price wise. I need to be completely clear that the price you pay for the various MAS concrete Wall sections is actually really quite reasonable. Especially given the huge lumps of resin that they are, and how useful they are on the board. They also look very sexy... well for a wall they look sexy. However, you can achieve very similar effects on the game board with far cheaper options, however not many will look as good. So how much does it cost? Well it does cost £7.88 from Maelstrom Games. I know it looks steep for a section of wall on a board... and it is. But think of the children!!! OK, so I'll have to admit it, this time the pretty has well and truly got me and I've been slightly blinded to the cost. At least I honest enough to admit I have an addiction to shiny things!
Overall 8.5 out of 10
Bugger. I really, really like this wall section, which is a pain, because I think I might need to try and get myself two of the bigger wall sets you can get. As they do look really nice, and this Holoboard section just confirms that for me... in the flesh. That's not good given I don't have the funds to get them yet and once the shiny, shiny gets a hold of me I can start getting the shakes quite bad if my lust isn't sated! Oh well at least I know I like them now. I think they actually interact quite well with the Micro Art Buildings and Walkways, they also have their uses when mixed in with the Sarissa Precision range too, and why wouldn't they? They're walls! What I'm trying to say is that there is always a need for some good looking, tall and solid wall sections, that's exactly what these wall sections provide you with on the board. Any way, I mentioned earlier on that the one struggle Infinity has is scenery, in short it needs a lot of it. So I've started to set myself challenges, can I get a piece of scenery table ready in an hour? The first piece I tried this out on was this very piece of scenery. To the left and below you can see my results, which I don't think are that bad. From a standing start, I cleaned, assembled and primed the resin pieces. That took 5 minutes. I then had a break while the primer dried and I went and ate a bowl of soup... mmmm... soup. Any way I then came back to it about half an hour later, whipped out the airbrushes and 35 minutes later it looked like this. Not too bad if I do say so myself. I know it took over an hour, but does my soup munching really count? If I had a large set of these I think I'd get them done within 2 hours easily I reckon as an airbrush assembly line work quickly. Peace out!
|Just to prove I did the other side too!!!|