I picked up these resin scenery pieces from Troll Trader
's "Halflings in Space" Kickstarter. They're an experiment in recycling resin waste from casting and seeing if there's some demand for them. I'm keen to support this sort of sustainability, so I threw them a few quid.
Now, these are really chunky pieces - bigger than I realised they were going to be! My storage is limited so I've sold them to a club mate who needed pieces for his 40K table. But before they wing their way to their new home, I thought other people would be interested in a review.
If you look at the base, you can literally see the proof that they're using up ground up resin waste. While you can see the texture on the underneath, the top of the castings are clean and don't have these lumps. So the technique / concept is definitely a success!
The lumps on the bottom don't seem to be a problem at all. None of the pieces I have are wobbly. They also didn't seem to cause any problem with them moving around or being slippy. I reckon they'd probably work best with a mouse mat or rubber gaming mat, but won't need one.
There were six pieces in the Kickstarter offering, and Troll Trader said that if these are successful, they'll give them their own Kickstarter - so expect that rather than these pieces coming straight to retail. This bunker network is one of the larger pieces, and conveniently demonstrates most of the (minor) issues I've spotted
There's a few spots where bits of mould have gotten caught in the models. That means that later castings may end up losing a little detail where the moulds have been damaged. These sort of things are an issue with the designs themselves, so hopefully they work these issues out as it could affect the ongoing sustainability if the kits tear up the moulds quickly.
The sculpting quality is also really variable on the same pieces? The storage tank has beautiful skulls, access panels and even buttons. They're excellently detailed.
Then you get to the bunker, and the roof is really rough and simple? I'm not sure if it's meant to be a blockier, simple design. The "bricks" are also just really obviously just cuts into a block of resin.
The vent also has a chunky, rough lump of resin underneath it - necessary for casting, but a better thought through design could have avoided this while still keeping to one piece.
I also spotted on the crashed plane piece that it was really slippy / smooth, which is an indication of heavy mould release use. Having had a chat with a couple of people who buy from TT Combat regularly, I'm told that they're often pretty heavy on the mould release, so this isn't unusual. It's just something to be aware of when prepping the models - a light wash won't do it. A good solid soak with washing up liquid and a thorough scrubbing with a brush will be needed.
The disappointing bunker aside, the detail is really good! With some crashed vehicles almost certainly saving on the sculpting budget by re-using their vehicle models as the base of the terrain pieces, they've got some nice details at a reasonable price.
One thing that's not to my taste is the steep slopes on the side of the terrain pieces. Less well balanced models, or ones that don't have a hollow base, will have trouble being placed on them in a precise spot, which will be particularly annoying in games that require precise measurement.
The playability concerns aside, I think these mostly look excellent and sometimes you want looks over them being more interactive for use in game. They'll particularly suit games where precise measurement is less important and you're more wanting to build the feel of the table.
The initial set had two bunkers, two crashed vehicles and two trenches / emplacements. If these were a success for Troll Trader, I expect they'll be coming to Kickstarter in the future, but we've not heard from them yet how they went this time around.
When it comes down to it - would I recommend them? After thinking about this, I definitely would. They are
a specific use case - they're chunky and take up space, and are heavy, and also don't really block line of sight for games where that's important. But they are really pretty and look like they'll paint up really well with quite simple techniques.
So for now I'm going to have to leave you with some uncertainty. These terrain pieces aren't available at retail yet, but if they were a success, will end up being a future Kickstarter by Troll Trader. All in all, I'm glad companies are looking at ways of trying to be more sustainable, and hope we see more of it in the future.