November 18th, 2010
Review - Xmarx & Old Crow Models 6mm Scale Sci-Fi Models
Since it's pretty much BattleTech week here at WarGameGuru, I thought it might be best to also find some products to enhance BattleTech gaming to cover. Xmarx is a small company from here in North America, which I stumbled upon recently. Xmarx specializes in resin terrain/scenery pieces, some of which is designed to not be totally scale specific. They also claim at their website that most of their stuff should work well in 6mm, 15mm and 25mm scales.
Well I don't know about 25mm for some of this stuff, because many of these models are clearly meant to be used in a 6mm scale sci-fi/modern setting, and those are the models I'm covering here today. Here's a little rundown of the models I was sent for review...
First up is the Bank. This is a rather large building, and is multiple stories tall. It comes in two pieces, and by design it's clear this is somewhat modular, because you can buy extensions to make it an even taller structure. Right out of the package it's about six stories tall, that is if I count the floors by the number of rows of windows featured via the exterior.
This is a 3-piece model, as the roof, upper floor and lower floor all come separate in the package, and you need to glue the roof in place, and then if you want glue the upper floor to the lower floor. However by design the upper floor stacks upon lower floor piece nicely, so you don't have to glue it if you didn't want to. It makes for easier storage if you don't as well.
This is by design a 6mm scale model too. As you can see by the photos provided, it's a little taller than some of the tallest Assault Mechs from BattleTech. It's a nicely detailed model too, with very crisp and pronounced details all around, right down to the rooftop texture, vents and AC units on top.
In terms of clean up and assembly, there wasn't a lot of flash, but it will require minor clean up. No imperfections were found, so overall it's a fairly clean model, which didn't require any attention out of the ordinary. The bank sells for $14.99 USD, and extra sections can be purchased for $6.99 USD.
If you're looking for a piece that might be able to perform double, or even triple duty for multiple scales, this one might be it. While it was clearly designed for 6mm scale gaming, BattleTech in particular by what Xmarx says about the piece at their website, the only scale-defining thing on it is the tiny door on the front. They even claim at their website that it could be easily filled off to be suitable for 6mm-25mm scale.
I'd have to agree, this is one of those pieces that could easily perform multiple scale duty. It's a very detailed block of pipes, with some really in-depth venting detail on the one side. Clean up didn't require any monumental effort, as I only found some minor flash here and there along the edges of the base, and that's about it. For the most part it's a rather clean, and nice looking block of pipes depicting a refinery of some sort. At $9.99 USD I think it's one of the best pieces they have to offer. More so since it can be used for multiple scales with little effort.
Low Walls Set
Here's another set that might be useful for not only 6mm scale, but quite possibly 12-mm-15mm too. This is an 8-piece set of walls, and its' a modular design, so you can set them up how ever you see fit. If you wanted to make a completely enclosed walled fortification from it, with what's provided the best you can setup is a small square.
Clean up isn't terribly involved with this set either. It seems all of these pieces have some minor left over bits of flash, or that really thin almost film like flash around the edges of the base on the pieces, but that's about it. I'm yet to find any nasty mold lines, or deformities, which is a big plus. Of all the models I've seen from them, once I saw it up close and personal, this is probably the one set I find lacking in usefulness.
There's just not enough wall pieces to really build anything substantial with one set alone. Multiple sets is likely the best route to take with this set, if you like the design. The pieces are all nicely detailed, so it's not a bad looking set either, but my only other gripe would be is that the gate for the set is a smooth single piece of resin and nothing more.
It doesn't look much like a gate, and it's just too plain. It would have been wiser had they used the same texture as they have on the walls on the gate piece, but they didn't. At $9.99 USD it's not a terribly bad buy, but it's really too small of a set to do much with one set alone. I'd suggest either getting two sets or none at all.
Geo Dome Set
Of all the sets I've seen, this is the one I feel is the best deal. In this set you get 9 pieces, and it's a modular set. So the pieces can be arranged how ever you see fit. There's 1x large dome, 2x smaller domes, 4 x corridors, 1x 3-way junction and 1x 4-way junction. Once again clean up is a cakewalk, only minor film-like flash can be found around the base of each piece, but that's about it. It's clear this is a 6mm scale design, as I can't see this fitting in very well with larger scales.
Assembly can be done a number of different ways, and since this is such a modular kit I wouldn't suggest gluing any of these to each other either, except maybe you could get away with gluing a single corridor to the large dome, since it has one way in and one way out regardless.
After playing around with this set, it too is seems like one that could benefit from having more parts available for it. At $14.99 USD for 9x pieces in all, it's the best value of the Xmarx models I've seen so far. But it would be nice if they offered extra corridors and maybe even some other small and larger domes to add to it separately.
Space Port Control Tower
By design this is a pretty cool looking model. They call it the Space Port Control Tower, and it looks like something that would fit in best with the Geo Dome Set. It's a sci-fi/futuristic air/space traffic control tower-like building, and it's clear this is designed for 6mm scale. This is a 5-piece model and there's no instructions with it, so I was little confused at first as to how it goes together. After checking the pictures at the Xmarx website over a few times, I then managed to get it assembled properly.
It's not a complex model by any stretch of imagination, but at a glance it's not very clear as to how the final piece sits on the very top of the model (which side up). Overall I think it looks great, but for as much resin is there, and for as small as it is, I have a hard time understanding the $9.99 USD price-tag. I could see maybe $6.99 USD max for this thing, but that's just my opinion. To me it just doesn't look like $10 worth of anything, but it is rather nice to look at on the table among Mechs.
Here's an interesting little model. It's clear that they took the design for their Tanker Truck and Recovery Truck and turned it into what may be the coolest of the three models yet. The Supply Truck is an all new 7-piece model, which should be available by the time you read this review. For the most part this is almost identical to the Recovery Truck. The main difference is that the rear deck is slightly different, as it doesn't have the trailer hookup. This also comes with 3x little bundles depicting ammo crates for a Mech. How cool is that?
Aside from a wee bit of film-like flash, a quick once over with a hobby knife cleans this kit up for assembly. A few tiny dots of CA glue later it's assembled and ready for action. I'm not a big fan of too many sci-fi models without guns on them. However this is likely the coolest utility type vehicle I've seen in a long time. The ammo bundles is what I like most about it.
At $6.99 USD this is one of the coolest looking non-combat models I've seen, which makes for a nice conversation piece on most any BattleTech gaming table. They also offer this model in 8mm scale as well.
Old Crow Models
Old Crow Models is a company I heard of before, but one I didn't know a lot about. One thing I do know now, and that's Xmarx also does some casting for Old Crow Models, which is how I ended up covering some of the Old Crow Models in this article along side the Xmarx stuff. Since learning about Old Crow I checked out their website, and it's clear that these guys make some seriously nice models for 6mm-25mm/28mm scale sci-fi gaming. Here's a little rundown of what I was sent for review...
This comes as a 2 piece model. The tower part and lower section of the building come as two separate pieces. The tower sits on top of the building, and what I found useful is that there's a little contoured piece of extra resin as a lip, or guide, showing you just where the tower should sit exactly. This is a really smooth and clean model too.
Very minor flash was found around the edges, and no mold lines or deformities either. I'm really surprised by the pricing too, because this is a fairly tall piece, and these are solid hunks of resin. The Aerofoil Tower sells for just 4.50 GBP, which converted equals $7.25 USD. It looks great with most any 6mm sci-fi models too, especially BattleTech as my photos reveal.
As the name implies, this is simply a garage building. For being just a garage it's detailed really nice, and it's also a solid block of resin. Being this is a garage, I can't find a lot to say about it, other than it's a nice looking little building, which is clearly designed for 6mm scale use.
It also looks great with BattleTech stuff, but I can also see this pulling double duty for a modern-era structure as well, because there's nothing tying this down as being totally sci-fi. At 3.50 GBP, or $5.60 USD it's not terribly expensive either.
Round Tower Modular Pieces
Now this next model is made up from three single pieces from their Round Tower bits. I was sent Round Tower Top w/VTOL Pad, Round Tower Mid Section and Round Tower Base. There's a couple of other pieces available too, like Round Tower Top, and Round Tower Top w/Comm Tower.
What I was sent when put together created a nice three piece structure, with a VTOL pad on the roof. This is a modular design, so this can be as tall or short as you like, as you can add or subtract the Mid Section pieces creating your own unique tower designs.
The Round Tower Base is priced at 2.20 GBP/$3.50 USD, The Round Tower Mid Section is priced at 1.75 GBP/$2.80 USD and the Round Tower w/VTOL Pad is also 2.20 GBP/$3.50 USD. After doing the math it seems that it's a little less expensive than I thought, because all three pieces combined still come in at under $10 USD, and this is a thick and somewhat heavy model once assembled. It also looks great among BattleTech and other 6mm scale sci-fi models.
These are two companies to keep an eye on if you do any 6mm sci-fi gaming, especially BattleTech gaming without hex mapsheets. If you're looking for some amazing stuff to spice up a gaming table for BattleTech or most any other 6mm scale sci-fi gaming system, I can't think too many other companies that have stuff as nice as Xmarx and Old Crow at the moment.
None of this stuff is terribly expensive either, with the exception of maybe the Space Port Control Tower. That's the one piece I just don't see being worth a $10 bill, but visually speaking it is a really impressive looking piece, especially for sci-fi 6mm scale gaming.
There's a bunch of other models that Xmarx has to offer through their website too, so be sure to check them out. One of which is an amazingly huge Mech hangar, but it's also amazingly expensive at around $95 USD. It's one of those items that if money were no object and you're a BattleTech player, it's the one item you'd pickup for pure coolness factor alone.
As for Old Crow, they're from the UK which is why I listed all of the prices in GBP and USD both. They have an even more extensive line of models than Xmarx, and there's so many other models I saw at their website that looked as nice as the ones I reviewed here today, some maybe even better. They also offer separate 6mm, 15mm and 25/28mm scale model lines, and make official Hammer's Slammers stuff too.