Monday, 14 February 2011

Essex Miniatures, My Unsung Hero: A Review

    Hey hey guys (cough cough BTP), today I'm gonna tell you about the possibly known Essex Miniatures (, which are, for some reason, based in Essex, UK. They do online and in-store orders, and stock a great range of paints, basing material, cool painted terrain, tons of books, resin buildings, and of course, shed loads of miniatures! So here's my story with this encounter...

   So here's me, living in Canvey Island, Essex. At my wargaming club I see a cool bit of terrain, so I pick it up, and examine it. Upon it's underside, I found a sticker, with the address of the store on it. It struck me that this piece of terrain, from Essex Miniatures (I'd heard of it before), was located in the industrial estate around only a 5 minute drive from my house (though hopefully not too near!). I set out to find it, with a print out from google maps, but came home not at all victorious - I suspected the store had closed down long ago, or had moved, but checking out the website, it listed the same address, and was regularly updating itself! Setting out again, I found it's entrance (a generic wooden door, withe the industrial estate's generic small sign on it) - if Essex Miniatures are reading, then you need to make it bigger, and more interesting! Going inside, I turn on the light switch to the 'show-room/store front'. I am overwhelmed by hordes of miniatures, all in display cabinets, some painted, some not, some 25mm, some 15mm, some resin buildings, some books, some Wargames Illustrated, and even some free catalogs. I think 'to hell with that 25mm roman leader on horse', and turn my eyes to the more intricate and cheap/fun-2-paint 15mm models. They look awesome, and I think "Forget that 25mm 100 Yrs. War English Army, bring on the 15mm". They looked so much more fun and 'bitesized' to paint, and, it's only £2.29 for 8! That's not even that 'spare fiver' gone! I purchased 8 spearmen, 8 handgunners, and 8 foot knights, along with pvc cut bases, which were really fun to buy as well suprisingly. I find myelf in a hobby addiction, going back 3 times in 2 weeks - the 2nd time the day after the 1st! They even sold printed sticker banners! And so, my first 15mm army began, on 100 Yrs. war English! Now, down to the models...

Quality (material/casting wise) - 9/10:

      So far, I've not seen a single bit of flashing or vent on these models, and the models come with little or no grease! The metal quality and type is not at all different from that of Games Workshop themselves, perhaps even better, due to no flashing!

Convertibility/Gluing Ease - 8/10:

     These will be glued together/to their bases with no difficulty at all, and take all super glues. The metal is bendable, allowing pose changes, and they can be cut and converted with the relative ease of any metal model, allowing me to create full command sets. the spear tips (pointed poles) can be easily turned into a leaf shape by flattening with pliers. Priming is a piece of cake.

Quality and Detail of Sculpts - 6.5/10:

     Here's probably the only downfall, and it's only visible on the older models (whatever scale). Some areas may appear a little rounded, or a little cartoony/heroic scale.

Painting Ease/Fun - 9.5/10:

     This is why I love 15mm. 8 models can be painted in an evening, and are much more fun to paint than other minis. They come out very pleasing, I only use 2 layers per 'part', which goes great with the 15mm scale, and looks very crisp afterwards.

Affordability/Range - 10/10:

      Like I say, 8 15mm models for only £2.29 - awesome! There is almost any historical mini you can think of here, plus some fantasy  although I think those look a little '80's', and cartoony. Like i say, any hobby/gaming item - they'll have it, they even do painting commissions of any mini!

    So, spread the word, buy one set! Try something different, for the better! Great 2 paint, start an army in a day, for the surplus of a days wages! I love 'em. More coverage on historical wargaming will be living on this blog, but for next time, it's the Deathmaster Snikcht...

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