Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Resin bases - a Review: Back2Base-ix

I recently took delivery of an order from Back 2 Base-ix. There are a lot of companies out there right now that make resin bases so the rationale for choosing one over another is very individual. This order was placed as a "group" decision. The team going to AdeptiCon spent about a week looking at what was out there. For better or for worse we made our choice; I thought I would share my review of the bases with you...
From their web site "Based in Adelaide, Australia, Back 2 Base-ix® Wargaming Products serves both the national and international wargaming community with quality cast polyurethane resin castings." The fact that they are based (haha) in Australia would potentially put a number of people off. However I've found this NOT to be an issue.
I placed two orders with them; the first was a "look see", the second (which obviously meant that their product was suitable!) was a larger order. I ordered from the "Ruins" and "Rubble" ranges. Their list of ranges is VERY extensive, with great support in all the standard base sizes. The only areas they are lacking in (for 40K) is bike and "monster" (the CD size) bases.
I had a minor issue with my first shipment; B2Bix uses "reinforced" paper envelopes - the first shipment got ripped open, and my 60mm bases were lost. They kindly offered to replace, but they would not cover the shipping charge! I deferred replacement to my next order.
This is the collection from the two orders:

Left to right: 5x 40mm Rubble, 20x 25mm Rubble, 70x 25mm Ruins, 9x 60mm Ruins/Rubble.
As you may be able to see one of the 60mm Rubble bases was broken.

There is also a large amount of excess resin on the bases (i.e. mold overflow). This can be a major issue with some people as removing this "flash" is not routine! It is a total P.I.T.A., and I'm fortunate enough to have a rotary sander and a vacuum system for dust removal... and dust control, this is essential when dealing with resin as this stuff will cause a lung inflammatory response if inhaled for long periods. ALL the bases needed some sort of clean up - be it the bottom, or the sides. Many companies will have done this for you, or cast with a "cap" over the mold to squeeze out the excess resin (one I like in particular is Epicast, who use a "nogahide" patterned material on the bottom of their bases during casting - this also increases base friction on the table!). The resin itself is good quality - hard, no soft spots (indicative of old resin batches or poor mixing). There seemed to be a lot of air bubbles though. I'm not filling them all, but it is suggestive of a reduced Teflon coverage of the mold, and not casting under pressure.
After cleaning up the resin the bases got a double bath is warm soapy water; this removed the potentially dangerous resin dust, and also cleans off the mold release that could inhibit primer adhesion. After drying the bases were sprayed with grey primer (Rustoleum brand).

I've started to mount the models for this army project, and pictures will follow soon.

So, in summary:
Australian based...
Great selection of products in both round and square.
Shipping is by weight (my 2 shipments totaled ~AUS$30) - packaging needs improvement.
Charges in AUS$!
Payment via PayPal (good!).
Resin quality is good, production quality is fair.
Minimal repetition in designs
Cost is excellent! 25mm bases run at ~40c Australian - this in a ridiculously low charge, and may reflect the "speed" casting, lack of clean up and shipping by weight.

Overall I give Back2Base-ix a B+

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