Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Review: MAS Concrete Wall Holoboard Section

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!

Product Description

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 :(
Character 9 out of 10

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!!!


  1. How many wall sections do you get there, just the 1?

    1. Alas GoldenKaos I only got the one section. The Holoboard section you see. I used it as a wall section to try and understand how a big set of the stuff could work on the board. The cost of the stuff from the Maelstrom is as follows:

      *Holoboard Section = £7.88
      *Concrete Wall Section = £5.25
      *Concrete Wall Section Left = £4.72
      *Concrete Wall Section Right = £4.72
      *Concrete Wall Hologate Section = £15.76

      they also do the following 'bundles too:

      1) Concrete Wall Set 1 - includes:
      * 1 Holoboard Section
      * 2 Wall Sections
      * 3 Corner Sections
      Cost = £30.49

      2) Concrete Wall Set 2 - includes
      * 2 Holoboard sections (different style Holoboards)
      * 3 Wall Sections
      * 4 Corner Sections
      Cost = £47.32

      I'm not pretending it's cheap my good friend. But I won't lie to you it is a good quality product. I've given my verdict, it's up to others to decide whether they think it's worth the cash or not... I kinda do think it is because they're just so pretty.

    2. If only I had a salary...

      Is what it boils down to.

    3. You and me both buddy, you and me both. Still applying to every and any job going and trying to keep as many irons in as many fires as possible. The jobs market is just too grim for words right now.

  2. If they do what they've mentioned and release new holo-bits for these walls then I might consider it, but as it stands the green acrylic is just ugly. Resin scenery, given its cost, has never really been my thing. Having ended up with a few of these pieces by accident, my opinion hasn't changed.

    Given that MAS seem to have realised that driving the prices down is a very good idea, I'm hoping they re-do this product line.

    1. I quite like the green acrylic actually, but each to their own. I also quite like the wall sections as they are. True resin scenery is expensive. Certainly more so than HDF scenery for instance... but on things like walls Jersey Barriers etc, I'm not so sure HDF or other materials are the way to go.

  3. Ummmmm....
    Hey, nice wall!
    And you painted it, too!
    Please post pics of you in a gym.

    1. Yep I did indeed paint it... and I'm not sending you pictures of me sweating in Lycra you pervert!!! :P

      Unless you ask nicely ;)

    2. I'll check my e-mail constantly....hoping....

  4. Good review, as always. :)

    These walls coupled with some K-rails and other scatter terrain from Antenociti are at the top of my list of stuff to get for my Infinity table. Even above things like the Sarissa pods or MAS' own District 5. Like you say, walls do wonders for the "health" of the table. I think I might make next month "Infinity Terrain Month"...

    Also, I have airbrush envy!

    1. I have some reviews of Antenocitis stuff coming up actually. I got a few bits and bobs a few weeks back and I really like it. I think walls and boxes, Jersey barriers... whatever scatter terrain you like, really makes a big difference.

      Are you envious of the fact that I have some airbrushes (yes I have multiples) or that I'm not too bad at using them? ;)

    2. Yes, pretty much everything I've seen from Antenociti has been of very high quality. Putting together a scatter terrain order with a friend. And I badly want some of Jed's vehicles! Both in 28mm and 15mm.

      Oh, I'm envious of everything airbrush related. Haha! Well, I have said that 2012 will be the year I get one myself. :)

    3. I'll be getting the reviews of some of Antenocitis stuff up ASAP. I had just one problem which as always Jed sorted pretty darn rapidly.

      If you ever want airbrush advice just drop me a PM or something.

  5. Nice review. I did look at these at a con afew weeks ago but didnt pick any up for some reason.
    Now my MAS board is started though I will definatley be getting a pack or 2

    1. Yeah they're high on my wish list for when I actually get a job. I want to pick up two sets of the Concrete Wall 2 set. Plus one or two of the Hologates and the odd wall section. Just seem like a handy thing to have kicking around the place.

    2. I have picked up the new Holoboards and they are STUNNING!

    3. Yeah. I've got a review of those on the way and the counters too. Some sweet product out there right now in support of Infinity.

  6. I was going to ask a couple of questions about these but it seems that they've been answered in some of the comments...

    I was wondering about corner pieces, I thought that there'd probably be some judging by the edges of the walls and, secondly, I was wondering about the availabilty of alternative holo-boards otherwise by the time there's a couple of these on the table it'll look like Armstrong Bodyshop have been buying up all available advertising space.

    I'm a bit unsure on the price of these; it does look a little steep for what they are but I can see that they'd be very useful. I think I'll probably end up getting some of these at some point but I reckon there are plenty of other Infinity terrain based things further up my list of potential purchases, mainly bits from Sarissa Precision.

    I noticed that you said that there's the potential for an Infinity board related article in the pipeline - consider that very eagerly awaited - I think that would be really useful personally as it could well help me out with planning some potential purchases.

    1. Yeah I'm waiting on a box of stuff from Sarissa Precision to turn up, but it hasn't arrived and it's been over two weeks now. It's not coming I don't think and that makes me a very sad panda. :(

      I might switch tack as I have a lot of MAS scenery too, to doing a MAS based board but I'd prefer to do a Sarissa Precision based board because I had some big plans for it!

    2. I've had a few parcels like that but after I'd given up hope of them ever turning up and forgotten about them they arrived, which was a nice surprise!

      I've been telling myself for ages that I'd build an Infinity board but there's been no progress on that front. I was chatting to a guy at work today, he's an avid wargamer and got me to join our local club a few months back (after 2 years of telling myself that next month I'd definitely head up there), today we were discussing Infinity; apparently a few of the members have picked up some bits and had a bit of a play but it doesn't seem to have really taken off and he thinks that's down to the need for such a lot of relatively specific terrain. Seeing as I've been intending to make a board, I'm going to try and take note of your "Hobby Evangelists" article and spread the word about Infinity locally (for the purely selfish reason of getting some more games in).

      All I need to do now is paint my Yu-Jing, order, build and paint some terrain, get fully familiar with the rules and potentially order, build and paint some Haqqislam... should be easy then... :)

    3. Buddy... if you enjoy it, anything is easy!!! I like that you're taking up the mantle of the hobby evangelist for your area. Good stuff. Build it and they shall come!!! I've watched peeps play Infinity on 40k type terrain and just not get the game. Put them on a proper table with Jersey barriers and suchlike and they totally get it. Plus the game just looks way sexier than most on the table when it's a proper board of terrain.

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  8. Great review, as always.

    Honestly, I'm surprised you could write that much about some walls!

    They are beautiful pieces, and whilst quite expensive, I think you get what you pay for. Yes, you could make them yourself, but it would take so much longer, and not look nearly as nice.

    Walls are such a great addition to any table. I made a couple of wall sections out of foam board a few years back (just with off cuts), and they have been by far the most popular and useful terrain I've ever made. So handy for LoS blocking, breaking up a board, and generally spicing things up. From 40K to Malifaux, wall sections are a must.

    Also, I hadn't heard of Antenocitis; some great stuff there.

    Sigh, so many shiny toys, so little money.

    I think I might have to go the paper terrain route for my first Infinity board, as I am not going to be able to afford all this terrain in the near future.

    1. If it's hobby related I can talk about it!!! I also happen to think that when it comes to scenery there's a lot of thought that goes into stuff like this and things like the Jersey barriers from Antenocitis Workshop. So I like to try and sit down and work out what it was that was going through the designers / sculptors head at the time. I actually find it fun... yeah I know I'm a sad bast... any way, this stuff screamed art deco at me when I had it in my hand. Clearly a hell of a lot of thought went into this stuff, which I think is commendable given it's a wall and I felt I should at the very least explain some of it and give them credit for it. As you say walls are very often overlooked in many games and people just don't think about them at all. A good few walls often make the world of difference to a game. Oh and sorry for introducing you to Antenocitis Workshop... I'm a bad bad man!

    2. I totally agree. The walls just scream Infinity. It is clear a lot of thought went into them, otherwise they would just be bland rectangles, or such.

      Also don't apologize! The more the merrier! And besides, we all know you don't mean it :P.

      You're the dope man of gaming.

    3. Well I found out about 12 months ago now that some people in my locality refer to me as pusher!!! The cheek of it. I'm no street level peddler of gaming crack!!! I'm more of the kingpin, pulling the strings behind the scenes, I never acyually 'touch' the product... sadly this means I don't ever touch the bloody cash either. D'oh!!! :P

  9. Picked up the big box set and several loose blisters of walls for use with 15mm SF gaming (think future Israel Wall) and they are exceptional. Being in Australia the price wasn't too bad either.

    1. Well that's good to hear! At least one games related European firm isn't rogering Australians roughly from behind with no lube! o.0

      I agree as well, I think the walls look really quite good and are damn good quality. Never thought of using them for 15mm games though... interesting.

    2. I think it's only one particular company giving us a "truck stop bathroom special", and I'm sure we all know who that is.....

      I for one refuse to behind over and touch my toes (well, not anymore).

      I'm actually glad they did, as if they hadn't screwed us so bad, I would never have found all these other great games and companies.

    3. I have a fair few friends in Oz. I offered to buy stuff for them here in the UK and ship it for them IF they wanted me too. Do you know what? Not a single one of them took me up on the offer. They all play Mofaux, HoMachine and some are getting started on Infinity now. I guess GW should have at brought you all a drink before they tried to ass f*** an entire region of the world!

  10. Yeah picked up some of the Walls today. Look pretty good, and I can back the very reasonably priced for being in Australia.

    Cheers for the Review, but like others have said you need to stop reviewing other games, I only have so much spare time.

    1. I'm sorry about the reviewing of other games. There are more planned throughout the year, but they will be slowing down for a bit now as I've got a lot to be getting on with. So I'll be talking about that. However, Dark Age will be being covered shortly, just to give you a heads up!!! You can expect to see others throughout the year though, so you might want to avert your gaze from time to time IF your wallet is feeling the pinch.

    2. Good to hear you are doing a Dark Age review; that was another one on my list.

      Can I request Eden too?

    3. List so far looks like this:

      Dark Age
      Pulp City
      Dust Warfare
      Relic Knights

      I'm also going to do a specific article looking at 15mm sci-fi wargaming. There will probably be more games added to that list or that I've no doubt forgotten.

    4. Most excellent.

      Carnivale has been on my watch list too, so I look forward to it!

    5. Awesome. I'm glad my finger is still on the pulse! Hopefully they'll be useful and informative for you.

  11. Nice review.

    So, what did one wall say to the other?

    Meet you at the corner!!!

    1. badoomtish!!!

      Will you be here all week? :P

      Thanks for the compliment!

  12. Very nice reveiw FLG but I'm sorry, I'm not sold on these.
    I just think they look a little off, not sure why but I think considering that its meant to be a futuristic holo board the edges don't look neat and strait? enough for me.

    Also I think the price is crazy, £8 for 3 inches of scenery is very steap. I can understand why its that price, resin, plastic etc. But for what it is.. Nope.

    Anyhow, keep up the reviews and I'll keep reading them ^.^


    1. Absolutely no problem old chap... I'm not trying to sell them as I have none to sell!!! :P

      But you're right the price is a little steep, I even say as much in the review. You could buy some moulded MDF skirting board etc for about £10 and make about 5ft of walls. lol. So I know it's steep, but for me I do like the look. Although it's only 3" long its the value walls have on a game that shouldn't be underestimated. But as I've said you can get very similar game effects for a fraction off the cost.

    2. I've only just started to look into the world of infinity (your fault BTW, lol) so I don't really know all the ins and outs of the game yet, only just managed to get hold of the full rules.

      But I do understand that the game needs alot of hidy holes in order for the wee fella's (that are pandering to our every whim) to stay alive.

      The holoboard sections are awesome, if you could buy them on their own that would be great. I just don't like the look of the rest of the wall.

      On a side note, I wanna say thanks, if it wern't for your blog I would never have convinced myself to try out infinity, which means I would never have found the greatest Mini of all time... The Zondcat ^.^


    3. I'm happy I've convinced somebody else to take a look at Infinity. I'll be doing some Blogs soon on Infinity scenery set ups and setting up a board as it's one of the most requested article that I get. So hopefully there will be something in that for you. :)