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Monday, April 24, 2006 

Review: Litko Aerosystems bases

I've been wanting to write this review for a while now, but I've been really lazy about taking pictures of the stuff I ordered - so I'll take pictures from the website as they are accurate - and I'll post pictures of the figures I've painted on them later.

10mm Germans on Warmaster bases

Anyway - I've been looking for a basing solution for my figures for a little while now. Currently when I painted 10mm and 15mm figures I've based them on the old warmaster plastic bases from GW - and that suited my needs for a while. Recently I've had the need to base 28mm figures on rectangular stands and I initially used cardboard which I cut to the right size. I had a template that I used, and then used kitchen shears to cut up the pieces - which worked OK, but began to warp from the moisture from the glue and the ambient mositure in the air. Not a great long term solution.

25mm orcs mounted on cardboard

I also needed various sizes as I've been wanting to get into DBA and a few other games so I took a look at what Litko Aerosystems had to offer. They make miniature bases out of lasercut plywood for just about everything you could need - and if they don't have it, you can request custom sizes.

The bases come in different thicknesses as well as different materials. The most common solution seems to the the laser-cut plywood, but they also offer lastercut flexible steel and lasercut flexible magnets. One can also combine the two. I ended up ordering a series of 40mm frontage and variable depth bases for DBA as well as a larger retangular size to base models for the rules my local gaming club uses. I like really thin bases so I ordered the .8mm blases and I got both wood and flexible steel (figuring I can get flexible magnetic sheeting at the craft store pretty easily. My plan was to line the bottom of cigar boxes with the flexible magnets and just plunk the minis in there.

Ordering: The web site navigation is a little bit confusing at first, but isn't horrible by any stretch. One you get used to the site design, it's a snap to get what you want. First you select the style and size you want, then select the count you want for that item. Then you pick the thickness and material you want and add it to the cart. Check-out was a snap as well.

Delivery: Delivery took about a week for the package to arrive, so it wasn't a bad wait at all. Everything was packed all safe and snug inside the box, and when I opened it I was greeted by the great scent of scorched wood (anyone who has done any woodworking can appreciate this - and as weird as it sounds, I highly recommend smelling the pieces when they arrive. I love the smell of laser-cut plywood in the morning. It reminds me of.... wargaming.)

The flexible sheet steel portion of the base is peel and stick - so there is no need to mess about trying to glue them to the plywood base. I was nervous about how tough the pieces would be as well, so I bowed and bent the plywood pieces - and even at .8mm they have a nice felx to them and would take a bit of pressure to crack. You'd really have to work at breaking the bases for your models. The same goes for the flexible steel. Since they are cut using a computer control, they fit perfectly together, so the only error in overlap would be due to my ham-fisting the two pieces together - which is a very simple process. Also - once the two are together, they are still wicked thin at 1.6mm. In the picture the base on the right of the dime is a .8mm by itself and the one on the left is a .8mm joined with a .8mm steel base, and it is still very thin.

Overall: I think the bases are priced quite fairly, and when you factor in the ease of not having to mess around with cutting a material, sanding down wood or metal burrs and having the ability to add steel or a magnetic base as well for easier storage and extra durability - then it's quite a bargain. I'd highly recommend ordering this product for your miniature needs.

On a side note, Litko Aerosystems also makes laser cut buildings, which look quite nice - but I don't have much experience with (currently) so I can't comment on how good they are.

Thanks for the review. Exactly what I needed to read before buying. I'm now going to base 1/72 plastic ancients on Litko .8mm bases.

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