Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Product Review: Mark IV Miniatures Eastern Front Buildings

Since I started playing FOW years ago, I've been searching for some suitable Eastern Front terrain - which unlike Western Front or North Africa, is not well-represented in 15mm terrain production. There are some nice ones out there but many are sadly out of production. I searched for ages for the older Battlefront Eastern Front boxed set and the JR Miniatures Rural Russian Church but never got ahold of them. Last year, I came across Mark IV Miniatures and their "Fury On The Steppes" terrain line. I kept putting off purchasing them until this year's Adepticon gave me an excuse to break down and buy some...and I can't believe I waited this long!

Shipping was very fast - a little under a week from placement to receipt of goods. Below are the pieces as I received them - well packaged and ready for display in a retail setting. Not something I expected from a small hand-cast resin producer! I ordered the L-shaped Log House (Tin Roof), L-shaped Log House (Thatch Roof) - Damaged, Small Cottage, Smolensk Log House - Damaged, and the Russian Church.

Here they are assembled straight from the bag. There was very little flash, no mold lines, and the only bubbling was on the chimney of the L-shaped House and the icon over the rear door of the church. Again, not something I expected from hand-cast resin. I've ordered miniatures from major resin producers that don't look this good straight from the box.

Scale is pretty much spot-on as well. The only one that seems slightly over-scale is the Smolensk Log House due to it's larger door.

Cleanup was pretty straight forward. I had to remove some flash from the metal Orthodox cross and from the ends of the logs on the Russian Church. The only bad part is the bottom of each roof wasn't completely flat, so I had to sand each of them down using a palm sander and 100grit sandpaper for a couple minutes. Easy enough. I then cleaned them thoroughly with warm water and dish soap, let them dry, and primed them with grey primer.

Details on these buildings is fantastic. All the chimneys have brick texture, the tin roof has realistic looking flashing, the small cottage has paneled walls. Neither my pictures or the pictures on Mark IV's webstores really do these fine textures justice. That said, the damaged houses have some very odd "damage". First, the bullet holes are a little over-done in both buildings. They're too deep and tend to cluster in the middle or bottom of walls, rather than around openings that enemy troops would be using as cover. Second, the L-shaped Log House has a damaged corner with a window...with glass still in it. Glass would be the first thing to go if half the wall structure was missing.

Still, these are minor quibbles in otherwise amazing buildings. I debated for a long time with adding scorching and smoke damage around the damaged portions of the buildings but left them off, not wanting to obscure the details. I may go back and add them later (very lightly) with the airbrush.

The pictures below show the only other minor problem I have with these buildings - they are a tad small for FOW bases. Small bases fit easily but medium bases can be tricky. Large bases won't fit at all. If each one was only 1/2" larger in width or depth, I think this would solve the issue of troop placement. Again, a minor quibble and certainly not an issue for gamers not using the FOW ruleset and basing.

All in all, these are excellent kits, well worth the money and highly recommended.


-Super clean, easy builds
-Amazing detailing
-Very unique designs
-Affordably priced for what you get


-Some odd battle damage
-Slightly undersize for medium FOW bases


Samuli S said...

Nice review! I'd never heard of them, but darn they seem to make good looking buildings. Will have to seriously consider buying from the to supplement the Battlefront ones I already have.

Dai said...

Been eyeing this company's stuff for a while. Their pricing for Train tracks is hard to beat.

DFlynSqrl said...

I picked up a couple of their buildings recently. The casting was really good quality. I was impressed and plan to get more of their stuff. I agree about the size of the buildings as well.