Hello there Reader.
One thing I’ve been trying to do a lot more with the blog lately is reviewing and showcasing different options in the miniature war gaming market to the Brazilian community and the blog’s audience. As you probably know it’s been increasingly difficult to get hold of GW products down here in Brazil (and pretty much everywhere else in the world where GW doesn’t have a presence or retailers carrying their products) and we’ve been purchasing our hobby supplies from other companies in the market.
The art of scenery making has taken a few blows since GW and other companies have begun making top quality scenery pieces and lately I’ve been fascinated with laser cut MDF scenery pieces as it seems there are a lot of options out there in the market today.
One of the companies that started selling scenery kits in this new material (at least when it comes to miniature scenery) is MICRO ART STUDIO a small company based in Poland. I first noticed them a good while ago when some nicely converted Adeptus Mechanicus armies started appearing featuring miniatures and bits from them (which are still sold on their site as the Iron Brotherhood – a must see for any Adeptus Mechanicus fan).
And then “BAM” Micro Art Studio started producing scenery pieces for Infinity. Infinity was one of the first games I started looking into when the first GW Embargo came to be, and one thing I quickly realized was that my collection of scenery pieces was ill suited for this new game given the scale issues involved (as I pointed out here the Infinity miniatures are indeed smaller than the ones from the GW games I played then) so I naturally came across the Micro Art scenery pieces while looking into the options available for the Infinity game.
The company produces different lines of scenery pieces but I was immediately interested in the MDF (or HDF) scenery pieces. Their pieces looked very different from anything I had ever seen and sported a very clean Sci-Fi look that seemed perfect for the Infinity game’s setting (as opposed to the grim, gothic, architecture of the far future depicted in Warhammer 40.000).
Back then there weren’t that many kits available yet (yes, I’ve been sitting with these kits here for a while now) other than the Catwalk Set and the District 5 Apartment Set but the range of available scenery has been greatly expanded with a lot more to come.
So I got a couple of samples from each set to review and decided to begin with the Catwalk Set. One of the things I really liked about them is that they immediately added an element of height to my scenery collection I had never had before. Just using the Catwalk Set on the table (without connecting them to buildings or any other scenery pieces) adds tactical advantages and disadvantages I had never faced on my games, such as having an area of the combat zone I could only reach by climbing the stairs that led to it, or by deploying jump (or flying) troops that could reach the elevated portion of the catwalk. I found that great and could already imagine deploying some camouflaged snipers from such vantage points.
But I might be getting ahead of myself here. As all scenery pieces we must first assemble the kits. The Catwalk Set is presented in pre cut boards of MDF (HDF) packed in a plastic bag. When we first open it assembling the kit seems like quite a daunting prospect as there’s literally tons of pieces engraved in each board, but, there’s instructions on the back to guide us through the process.
The first step along the way is detaching each piece from the board in which it was laser cut. There are some connecting points securing each piece to the MDF board in order to make sure none of the pieces fall off. They’re not that difficult to get rid off and if you’re having trouble setting a given piece free from its frame just use a hobby knife to cut the connecting point.
Here’s the beginning of that work:
You’ll notice each crevice on the catwalk’s floor has a small piece inside you’ll need to get rid of to get the proper “catwalk look”. The Catwalk Set features a “Pusher Tool” you can use to push the small bits from the catwalk pieces out, but its point is rather frail and the tool won’t last you long. I recommend using the tip of a hobby knife, or even a paper clip, to clear each catwalk piece.
And after some work this is what you’ll have as a reward:
Before assembly can begin I also recommend using a file to get rid of the remnants of the connecting bit you’ll be left with on each piece.
After that step is done, all there’s left to do is putting the pieces together. Unfortunately I did get carried away and didn’t take any step by step pictures of each sub-assembly for the kit. I can however recommend the following:
1 – Dry fit each piece’s connection before applying glue to the parts. The kit’s parts fit very snugly together and sometimes you’ll need to file each connecting part a bit to make them fit together.
2 – I glue everything down, but to get the most out of each kit you might consider only attaching the pieces together. As I mentioned the parts will fit tight together and no glue should be required if you’re careful when assembling the kit. Each Catwalk Set is INCREDIBLY customizable and can be assembled in countless ways, but once you glue the parts together you’re stuck with that configuration.
3 – Only exercise strength enough to secure the pieces together. The Catwalk Set comprises some small pieces so, if you apply too much pressure on a piece when trying to put the kit together you might break some of the components (which is exactly what I did).
After all parts are put together this is one of the configurations you might end with: Two long elevated catwalks, two smaller platforms and four sets of stairs. Like I mentioned before each set is very customizable and if you add parts from multiple sets together the only limit to what you can assemble is your own imagination (I must admit mine failed me miserably as I assembled both sets in the very same way).
Another great thing about the Catwalk Set is that it is perfect for a lot of gaming systems out there. They fit right at home in the grim dark future forty thousand years from now, or in the near future, or it will even look great in modern day wargames. Once more imagination is the only limit to what you can achieve here.
I couldn’t be happier with the final result achieved in them, and I should add the MDF (HDF) pieces had almost no warping for being soaked in water after the painting process to remove the salt. I’ll let the pictures of the final assembled and painted kits speak for themselves now (you can click pictures for bigger versions):
Overall I’m in love with these scenery kits from Micro Art. I’m still surprised by how good these laser cut scenery pieces look when they’re finally done and so by the incredible amount of detail engraved on each piece. The catwalks look like the real thing and add an incredible amount of interest to the gaming table.
I really look forward to working with more Micro Art Studio kits in the future and couldn’t recommend them more.
Over and out.