Classic Review: In Focus: JR Miniatures 2004
Terrain and objects add to the overall effect of battlefield realism, which truly is an essential part of miniature gaming. Playing with a simple play-mat and no objects or terrain is just plain boring, and some pre-made and pre-painted terrain pieces can be a bit pricey. However, there’s an alternative, you could always opt for pre-constructed terrain or terrain that requires minimal assembly and paint it yourself. JR Miniatures is one of the few companies out there that offers outstanding pre-constructed objects, buildings and terrain for miniature gaming. What really sets them apart from the majority of the competition is that almost all of their offerings are extremely affordable.
They offer a variety of different scales of terrain, and taking things a step further, their catalog is also broken down into genres as well. Looking for some pieces for 1:285th Micro-Armor gaming? They got it covered, in the way of European and Middle East offerings both. Want some buildings to add some pizzazz to your 1:300mm Sci-Fi gaming (battletech)? They got it covered. 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 25mm and 28mm scales are also covered. More recently they even added some n-scale buildings for model railroad landscaping, which just so happens to be the same scale as Wizkids’ Mechwarrior as well.
The majority of their products are made from drystone, which they have found to be very strong cement that reproduces the detail quite well. Drystone costs significantly less than resin which is why their prices are so affordable. The only drawback to drystone is that with larger pieces weight becomes an issue, as they can get pretty heavy being that they’re made out of cement. So the pieces are very sturdy, so sturdy that you don’t want to drop any on top of your miniatures by accident. Here’s a little overview of some of the pieces we had the chance to take a look at first-hand…
Stone Cottage with Lift off roof
This is one of their resin pieces. It’s a simple, yet attractive two-piece design. No assembly was required, and it didn’t take more than an hour to prime, paint and finish it. It’s an ideal little piece for most any fantasy-based miniature game, and it really looks the part amongst Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings and Privateer Press’s Warmachine as the pictures that accompany this article detail. As an added bonus they even include some accessories like barrels, crates, a basket and wine jug. This little gem cost just $23!
These are some fantastic little gems too. The Republic Tower has to be one of the most impressive pieces offered in this line. Like most of their pieces, it’s a one-piece design, so priming and painting wasn’t hard at all. What’s more, it’s just $5.50! Second in line in terms of favorite pieces would be the Modular Skyscraper pieces. These can be purchased in different pieces, allowing you to create and build custom skyscrapers. They come as extension, top and base pieces, and the bases are the largest, which are $4.85 for one. The extensions and top pieces come two pieces to a pack and run $4.85 per pack.
Once again, each is a one-piece design, and they’re made to stack on top of each other nicely, giving you the means to make them as tall or short as you like. The Ministry of Information buildings come two to a pack, Communications Satellites comes two to a pack and the Planetary Defense Installations come three to a pack, all of which cost under $5 per pack as well. Lastly the Terra Bridge is a nice little bridge to add to your layout, and once again, it costs just $5.50 for one. They offer a many more pieces than what we covered, in all there’s about thirty six different pieces to choose from in the 1:300th scale Sci-Fi category.
While the 1:300th scale stuff is designed for smaller scale gaming, it actually looks great with games like Reaper’s CAV and Wizkids Mechwarrior too.
These are pieces that by design are made to accent your Wizkids’ Mechwarrior and Reaper’s CAV gaming sessions. They don’t say that, but the scale is perfect for either game, and by far some of the most impressive pieces are that which make up the Industrial Complex set. Actually the pieces sit on bases that are the same size and design as many of Wizkids tournament legal terrain templates, only they certainly look a lot better than paper templates once all painted up and ready for gaming.
The pipes and corner connectors are made from drystone, while the larger pieces are made from resin. The largest piece the Industrial Complex itself costs no more than $12, the Pump Station $7, Refinery Tower $9 and the straight pipes and curved connecting pipes just $5.25 per pack, which include four pieces per pack. The 12mm line is outstanding, what’s more it’s very affordable, and just so happens to look great to boot once finished!
Many of their pieces do require some minor clean up work before priming and painting, as they’re not as clean as say the resin pieces from Armorcast and other high-end resin terrain and object companies, but it’s a small price to pay, considering JR Miniatures products are a quite a bit less in overall price than pieces from the competition, and even pieces from Armorcast need a little clean up before priming.
A little filing here, a tiny gap filled there and all was well with some of the 12mm pieces, and the drystone 1:300th scale pieces just required a little filling around the edges; that aside it’s hard to find anything else to complain about, and at the prices they’re selling this stuff for, it’s well worth it and then some.
If you’re looking for some affordable and impressive looking pieces to add some terrain and environmental flavor to your gaming sessions, you really shouldn’t overlook what JR Miniatures has to offer, because it’s so affordable that there’s really no excuse not to get a few pieces and try it out for yourself. While the pieces are very detailed, it doesn’t take an art degree to make this stuff look good too. A little Krylon Sandable primer, and about 30-minutes and almost anyone miniature enthusiast should be able to make this stuff look gaming standard presentable in no time.
Classic Review: In Focus: JR Miniatures 15mm terrain 2004
Playing miniature games with more than just a play-mat is a must, especially a WWII game like Flames Of War. There’s a lot you can do to spice your gaming up visually, and in my search for ideal terrain, JR Miniatures 15mm like came to mind right away since I have first-hand experience with some of their 25mm products and remembered that they designed their products in many different scales and with many different genres and periods in mind.
Each piece is made of either drystone or resin, comes unfinished and requires painting. What’s more, very few pieces can be found for over $10-$12, and actually most are in the $8-range. In the way of prepping the pieces, there’s definitely some work to be done, but no more than what would be expected when working with any unfinished resin or drystone pieces. Really all that’s needed is a couple of small files, a hobby knife and a $5 can of Krylon Sandable Black Primer to get the job done.
The pieces I selected include the Church Ruins w/Courtyard ($8.25), Villers Bocage Ruins 3-story ($5.50), 2X Stucco Gate and Walls packs ($8.25 each), Walled Villa Ruins ($7.25) and Walled Estate Ruins ($8.25) from their WWII line, and from their 15MM Prusia/Rhineland Architectural Heritage line the Rathaus Base w/timber support posts ($10.00), Rathaus Upper Story ($12.00) and Ruined Eckhaus ($12.00). Once painted and sealed, it was nice to see how well each piece looked all laid out and arranged like a small village.
The walled ruins pieces are really nice; some even allow enough room for a single infantry base to fit within the walls. The Stucco Gate and Walls packs really look the part, complete with little bits of the stucco falling away, revealing brick underneath. They’re essential, and quite inexpensive. The Architectural Heritage pieces are also a step above the rest, as there’s definitely more detailed packed into each of those pieces, all of which are cast in resin. As an added plus, it really doesn’t take a lot of effort to make any of these pieces look really nice for the gaming table either.
In all JR Miniatures offers about ten different lines of 15MM scale terrain, buildings and accessories, best of all, a shopping trip with them may even leave a few bucks left in your pocket to buy a few more miniatures to go along with your new 15MM gaming environment. For well under $100 a Flames of War or any 15MM miniature wargaming enthusiast for that matter, can come away with enough pieces to build a small village, that just so happens to look pretty damn good to boot. Even more exciting is the fact that they’re releasing some amazing new 15MM Stalingrad resin pieces as well, which should be available by the time you read this, further expanding the battlefield set-up possibilities.
Some really amazing tank battles can be had with this stuff too, and the walled pieces really help to conceal tanks nicely, not to mention that a few of the pieces look to be made for just that, as I’ve poked my Tiger through many pieces for cover on more than one occasion. To say the least, the opposition wasn’t too pleased with the outcome. If you’re willing to prep and paint your own terrain, that just so happens to be affordable then it doesn’t get much better than JR Miniatures 15mm WWII and Architectual Heritage lines.