I’ve been asked a few times in different places just how big the Ashoka model actually is. Because apparently my memory is getting worse, I keep forgetting about that, and then forgetting to photograph it alongside some other models. So I finally remembered – here he/she (I’m not looking to check!) is alongside a standard Space Marine on 32mm base, and a Khorne Bloodbound model, also on a 32mm base. Ashoka is on a 50mm “rolled edge” WMH-style base, and also raised up a little on a platform of stone (cork).
Sort-of a reblog here, but something worth sharing with the community. It’s actually an older post from Geek and Sundry dating from May 2016 that I’ve just seen a week or so ago.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that there are a ton of free designs up for grabs. Or to repeat G&S’s headline:
ARTIST RELEASES 300 PRINTABLE D&D MINIATURE PATTERNS. FOR FREE.
So anyway, I’m not trying to steal G&S’ clicks. So if you’re interested, go have a look at their article and then on to Shapeways to download the patterns for that day when you finally get a 3D printer, in case they’ve been taken down by then.
Warning, Pic HEAVY! – Also, most pics can be clicked for larger versions.
Often when I buy something from a company, there’s a “key” item that acts as an anchor for other stuff you then add-on. In the case of my Urbanmatz order, it was this mat. After seeing several photographs of it online, I was sold. The overall colours and theme matches my bases once again, as the Urbanmatz Badlands mat did.
As with the other mats I’ve gotten from Urbanmatz, the design is printed onto neoprene (mouse pad material) and is once again quite nice. This time, the game I’m using to showcase the mat is an Age of Sigmar clash between Dwarves and Ogres, set in an unnamed Old World city (because I can use the ruleset without the background!) We were trying out the rules, so it’s an actual game rather than a mockup.
We made a bunch of mistakes, mostly due to not quite understanding all of the nuances and not reading warscrolls properly. I’ll put a lot of that down to the rules. Well, not the actual rules, but man-idiot Kirby’s insistence to the designers that everything fit on four pages in total. I’m all for streamlined rulesets, but 4 pages is a bit much (or not enough!) I’m looking forward to trying out 40k 8th with 12 pages of core rules.
One thing that can’t be argued is that we had a good looking game of toy soldiers. While I consider the quality of my models and terrain to be pretty solid, quite honestly the mat really does add to it. And no, I’m not paid to say this and didn’t get a discount – if I were offered one I’d certainly accept it – as I accepted the stained Snow Territory 6’x4′ mat, but I’d also state it upfront in my reviews, as I did there.
I didn’t set up a full 40k mock battle, nor any historical skirmish games because it literally takes hours to get out all of the stuff, set it up, photograph it and take it away for photos, but the actual AoS game being played on it shows it’s versatilty pretty well, along with those scale shots. I think this mat works very well for a variety of genres and a variety of scales. I could easily use this mat for 40k and it’s derivatives, Fantasy Battles/9th Age/Kings of War with fewer buildings, Age of Sigmar and other more densely built up fantasy skirmish like Mordheim and Frostgrave (if you play outside of the snow!) or Malifaux (in a sectioned-off area, or the smaller versions). It also works across period and scale quite nicely, as demonstrated by the below set of photos, so 20mm games such as Flames of War/Team Yankee/Crossfire will work as well as Bolt Action or SAGA with Romans or SAGA with Crusaders.
Based on its similarity with the “Badlands” design and colouration for the non-road sections, I’ve also found that it works both with “forest” and “jungle” foliage when I was playing around with my scenery, so once again that’s a positive.
Once again, the mat came in it’s own, labelled bag at no additional cost, which is good. Until this one, I really liked these bags. Unfortunately, the zipper turned out to be faulty on me as I was putting the mat away after reviewing it. I’ve got it back in awkwardly by not drawing the zip to the end, which is awkward. Since this was only the third or forth time I’d had the thing out of its bag, I found this really disappointing. I’ll let them know about it, and update with their response.
Verdict: I’ve said this before, but this mat is very much what I wanted it to be. As I’ve mentioned, it was the “key” design that motivated me to buy this batch of mats from Urbanmatz, and I’m very happy with the final product, as I was with their service. I’m considering buying another batch of mats in the near future (another 4 or so). I figure that while I’ll have spent a fair bit on game mats in 2017, I’ll then be set for the rest of my life, assuming that the neoprene lasts!
Those readers who have been following this blog for awhile might recall the Painting December project, where in December 2015 I attempted to put aside the normal-scale models I usually work on in favour of getting some larger, more centrepiece models done. I managed to complete the Mierce’s Talos, before moving onto both the Marauder Giant and Be’Lakor. – Neither of whom I managed to finish, and both of whom still lay on my desk, sadly buried under other projects…
Ashoka, from the now-discontinued Hell Dorado game’s “The Lost” range was a figure I picked up several years ago. I got a pile of figures in their Kickstarter, and another pile via retail, though I never got around to reading the rules or playing it. Still, as you can see – it’s a bloody nice figure, and one I decided was going to be a “bonus, secret stretch goal” for the Painting December project. Like the other two, he sat forgotten and unfinished for a couple of years (despite a couple of false starts that kept ending when his arms broke off) until recently, when I just had one of those “just finish that fucking thing” moments, and so that weekend, I did. As it happens, it worked out nicely, since his dual-wielded axes helped him get proxied into our first games of Gorechosen as one of the champions. Despite not being an obvious champion of Khorne, I think his aesthetic fits into a game of gladiatorial combat just fine. So he came back inside to get his base-skull added. I based Ashoka on a rolled-lip 50mm base because a 40mm GW base was too small, and 60mm was too large. 50mm just seems to be the right balanced size for some figures, and mounting him on some cork allowed enough clearance for his tail to not be scraping the base edge. It also makes an already-imposing model even moreso, so there’s that as well.
I dunno if I’ll ever actually play Hell Dorado. I’ve certainly got enough models, and I’m not too fussed about the lore, but it’s yet another ruleset to learn, and it’s one of those games that comes with printed cards for the miniatures. Anyone reading this have any idea where I left Ashoka’s card? Yeah. That’s my problem with card-based unit stat systems. Give me a codex-style book-based system any day of the week.
So aside from Gorechosen, what does the future hold for Ashoka? Well, I figure he’ll find a home alongside either or both of my eventual Chaos Beastmen and Lizardmen forces, as he fits both aesthetics nicely enough. Especially now that GW are starting to recognise beastman sub-races other than Gors again.
I don’t often pimp Kickstarters on this blog, but I’m happy to make an exception for this one. It’s RPE’s (Ral Partha Europe) s̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶ third Kickstarter, and like the first one, they’re keeping the scope quite small. A 14-day campaign with a £1,000 goal, with £775 pledged so far at the time of my writing, so success is pretty much a given at this stage.
It’s a crew of pirate dwarves which fits perfectly well into a little project I’ve got lined up for the future. 9 models so far, with freebie stretch goals at £2,000 and £3,000, and (possibly) more if it gets higher. Delivery is set for August this year, so a plan for (roughly) a 4-month turnaround from completion to delivery.
I personally had a good experience with their previous campaign, the Dwarf Veteran Warband, with it delivering on time(!) and producing quality models – the sculpts being a nice throwback to the characterful “Oldhammer” Citadel style of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and that of the satellite companies where ex-GW sculptors like Kev Adams and Tim Prow ended up.
Having said that, delivery was a little rougher for some others who backed as they had it set up for a la carte additions and such which they have said complicated matters on their end. To stop that from happening again, they’re making each pledge reward a set group of models – 1 of each without add-ons and duplicates and so forth.
So if piratical dwarves seems like the sort of thing that floats your boat, go and have a look at the Kickstarter campaign.
Tomorrow: Back to painted miniatures!
Warning, Pic HEAVY! – Also, most pics can be clicked for larger versions.
Here’s the next of my gaming mat reviews. Once again, this one is from Urbanmatz, based in the Czech Republic. The Badlands Game Mat. I chose this one as I’d been wanting something to (approximately) match the style that the majority of my models are based with. That is: dark earth, patchy grass and the occasional bit of rock.
As with the other mats I’ve gotten from Urbanmatz, the design is printed onto neoprene (mouse pad material) and is quite nice. The following pictures of a Kings of War game basically show the mat off for similar Rank & File-based games, so your WHFB, 9th Age, WotR, or historicals such as Hail Caesar, Pike & Shotte, etc. I recently reviewed their 6’x3′ Space Mat along with the Fantasy Flight 3’x’3′ X-Wing Starfield Mat and also their Snow Territory 6’x4′ mat.
While the mat may look a little glare-y in some photos, and perhaps a bit washed out – it’s my lighting and photography to blame there. In person, it looks really nice.
Having said that, this is probably the time to emphasise again that despite them sending me a (stained) snow mat gratis, this isn’t any kind of paid for review, I paid full price (plus shipping to Australia!) for this mat and just as when I’ve reviewed and links to places like Red Box, Maxmini, Kromlech, Scotia Grendel, Brigade, RPE, Reaper, Games Workshop or anyone else, I don’t get any kickbacks from the links inside this review to pimp their wares, nor to I carry on and on about how wonderful (X company)’s products are every post. Unlike some others out there. 😉
I also took a few 40k-themed photos as well. We set up a small imperial supply outpost out in the boonies somewhere, where the Imperial Guard present are assaulted by (who else?) the Iron Warriors.
I didn’t set up any fantasy or historical skirmish games for photos, but I think you can pretty well judge for yourself at this stage. It’s going to work well for a lot of genres and games from dinosaurs, through ancients, all flavbours of historicals and moderns through to sci-fi. It’s a nice, generic rural “out int he bush somewhere” pattern that works well with the three elements that I use in most of my models’ basing. I also found that it works both with “forest” and “jungle” foliage when I was playing around with my scenery, so that’s a bonus in my book.
Once again, the mat came in it’s own, labelled bag at no additional cost. I really like these bags, and it would be great if Urbanmatz would consider selling them separately as well. I need to get one for my FFG X-Wing mat so I don’t need to store it in the box anymore, one for my GW “green grass” mat, one for my ancient Armourcast (I think) mat, and then a few (or one) to bundle my smallish Mantic ones into. I know of another vendor who does sell them, so I might have to sort it out that way later on.
Verdict: This mat is pretty much what I wanted it to be. I can’t say that I’m surprised, but if it wasn’t a good one, I’d be pretty disappointed and would not be shy about sharing that. It’s a good mat, the quality is there, and the design is one that I’m happy with. If you like the design, I can’t complain about the quality of the mat or the service I got from Urbanmatz, so I really don’t have any hesitation in recommending them.
I’ve got one more of these things to review now – Dirty Roads. We’ve actually got an AoS game set up out in the shed ready to go, so I’ll try and get some in-progress shots to include in the next review.
Warning, Pic HEAVY! – Also, most pics can be clicked for larger versions.
Recently, at the end of 2016 I placed an order for three gaming mats from Urbanmatz, based in the Czech Republic. There was a delay on one of the mats I ordered, as it was out of stock for a few weeks, though Martin was kind enough to offer me a freebie Snow Territory mat, which he explained had some yellowed stain marks on it. I gladly accepted the offer, and am reviewing the mat now, with the noted discolouration noted and allowed for. I recently reviewed their 6’x3′ Space Mat along with the Fantasy Flight 3’x’3′ X-Wing Starfield Mat.
Once again, the Urbanmatz mat is on neoprene (mouse pad material) and is quite nice. I wasn’t sure what to expect when it was offered, and while I was secretly hoping for a 6×4, was expecting a 4×4, not wanting to get my hopes up – but it turned out that it was a full-sized 6×4 mat.
Now I don’t have any models at all based for a snow environment, and even my thoughts around (eventually) playing Frostgrave involved basically ignoring the cold-weather setting but my initial thoughts when it was offered was actually to use it as a second mat for X-Wing, especially given the precedent from the recent films for atmospheric fighter battles.
Unlike some other Snow/Arctic mats I’ve browsed recently, the details in the Urbanmatz offering are quite subtle and non-specific, even being pretty scale-agnostic. Just offering a hint of something buried below the snow, but subtle enough that the mat could also be used as a cloudscape if that was something needed for a game. I’d take some comparison pictures showing the textures with 15mm armour followed by 28mm infantry if I had anything painted appropriately.
I did spend the better part of an afternoon with Marouda setting up and laying out figures to see how it all would look. First up were a couple of flights of X-Wing ships.
I honestly think it looks a treat for X-Wing and gives a nice unique look to the (pretend) battle – and should do so when we actually do play X-Wing on it.
Here’s a close-up of some of the discolouration on the mat. I was expecting it to be far worse, potentially in large yellow piss-patches in the middle of the mat but the issues are limited to a few places around the edge. While I can fully understand why Urbanmatz are unable to sell these, they’re minor enough for me to be able to ignore, especially given that the mat was a freebie.
Time for some 28mm models, then. As mentioned before, I lack enough proper painted WW2 to really do much, and I’m completely lacking in snow-themed terrain, so I laid down some old, old Armorcast ruined building corners and my platoon of painted Warlord T-34/85 tanks. The tanks looked alright, though obviously whitewashed would have fit in more effectively.
The buildings, left unbased as they are is usually a positive on darker surfaces as it allows for much more modularity, but on the Snowy Terrain mat they do kinda stand out too starkly. Clearly, if I want to do much with this mat, I should sort out some snow-covered hills and perhaps a few copses of snow-tipped trees. Frozen lake? Snow-covered cabin? Grimdork from Dakka did a whole little snow-themed table recently, and I do have a jar of Jo Sonja’s texture paste around here somewhere…
The buildings could probably work reasonably well on the Snowy mat if I were to make some squares of “internal damaged building” to lay in the middle of them. Or maybe even some squares of appropriate-looking linoleoum cut with slightly uneven edges?
Next up was to lay some more dense scenery onto the mat and see how it looked. First up we went for a kind of Fantasy layout, a pretend-game of Sorta-Frostgrave, to see how it all looks. More specifically to see how my existing terrain worked with the Snow Territory Mat.
And… it actually looked decent. To me at least. The dark, scorched brown looking bases on both the models and some of the terrain obviously contrast quite starkly with the Snow Territory mat, but it kinda works for me. Obviously snow on bases would make everything tie in much more effectively, but it’s far from awful.
I hadn’t expected it to work this well, but I found it quite reasonable. Far from perfect, but very workable.
Next up I added my Conan Wolves into the fray. Frostgrave has random encounters. Probably not 10 wolves at a time, but whatevs. This is for photos.
So yeah. Not too bad at all. Next up was to swap some of the fantasy terrain out and do the same with some 40k models and terrain.
Yeah, that’s a lot of 40k photos. Basically, I took a ton photos and used a small proportion of them above. I guess the point of them all is to give a good “feel” of how the mat works in a smallish 40k game with a pile of scatter terrain on it. I wasn’t hopeful when it came to using it for 40k, but as with the “Frostgrave” game above, I’m pleasantly surprised with how well it works.
I thought I’d see how the wolves I painted recently look on the mat without vikings and scenery in the way as well, especially given their snow-grey coats. The answer: pretty decent.
Star Wars Imperial transports in roughly 6mm scale? Seems to work well…
As does their larger cousin in (sorta) 28mm scale from the Hasbro/WotC Star Wars Miniatures game.
Leading to potential use next time we go to a snow planet in the Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG (The PC’s minis are on the far right).
I evidently only have 6 Snowtroopers. How embarassing! I also couldn’t find my AT-STs.
Bringing us full circle with some air combat, I got out some Axis & Allies Angels 20 planes to see how it looked.
Once again, I feel that it looks fine – Great even for air combat battles. I got out some Soviet and Luftwaffe planes for these pics, but it would work just as well for Western Europe 1945 or any other era’s dogfights above the snow. I had a feeling that it’d look good after seeing the X-Wing ships on it, but I wanted to put the WW2 fighters on it and see for myself.
Once again, the bag shots. The 6×4 bag comes with a carry bag that’s noticeably larger than the 6×3 (above in the shot).
Verdict: I’m very pleasantly surprised with the snow mat. I have to admit, it’s not something I’d have ever really considered purchasing, and getting it for free is the only reason I own it. Having it in hand and having had a significant play around with my models on it along with the camera, I can really appreciate it now – especially given the versatility that I managed to work out of it. It’s perhaps not the very best design out there if you only want to play Frostgrave, but I personally really appreciate the fact that it’s very scale-agnostic and works for games and scales from X-Wing to WW2 Dogfights to the more typical 40k/Frostgrave/etc. Clearly it’d work just as well for SAGA, WHFB, Kings of War, Bolt Action, Flames of War and pretty much anything in pretty much any scale needing a winter snow theme, given some complimentary scenery (which I mostly lack).
And to reiterate – while I received this mat for free, there was no request for, no offer nor any implication of Quid Pro Quo in exchange for it. It was kindly offered (I’d guess because I’d already bought 3 and 2 of them were OOS) and gladly accepted, without knowing the size or condition it would be in, given that they were upfront that it was marked. All of the photos were taken over a couple of sessions as I worked out how best I could make use of it myself, and all of the review text are my honest thoughts, feelings and reflections on the mat.