Review of the Learn to Paint Kit Layer Up from Reaper Miniatures 0

Following on from their original Learn to Paint Kit - Core Skills comes what I'd say was a natural extension to that set.

The Learn to Paint Kit - Layer Up is a kit to help budding mini painters some more advanced skills to give their miniatures a bit more pazazz! The box comes in the same packaging as the original set and is stored in one of those old school hard plastic clippable lunchboxes which keeps everything neat and tidy.

As the front cover says, this set is an introduction into slightly more advanced painting including blending, glazing and lining and pretty much everything you need to have a go.

So inside we have three Reaper Bones miniatures to have a go at. Generally these will be 77068 Anirion Wood Elf, 77134 Hajad the Pirate and 77167 Ingrid Female Gnone. These three minis give a good spread of cloth painting and skin tones to have a go at so are good choices. On top of the three minis you also get eleven bottles of the excellent Reaper Paints. These are:

  • Marigold Yellow
  • Dark Highlights
  • Heather Blue
  • Dragon Red
  • Bleached Linen
  • Ebony Flesh
  • Scholar Flesh
  • Dragon Bronze
  • Filigree Silver
  • Brilliant Red
  • Woodland Brown

On top of that are two Reaper brushes, a dropper bottle for mixing and most importantly an excellent tutorial A5 booklet discussing all the skills written by Rhonda Bender. In the case is also a foam insert that will hold all the paints and a good few more in place.

So coming onto the instructions guide. This is a 26 page how-to that contains detailed instructions and photos explaining the various techniques. It covers looking after your tools and paint prep, deep detailed instructions on how to highlight layers, glazing and shadowing. Each mini has a couple of pages taking you through how to get similar effects to the photos in the booklet.

Personally I think the instructions in this kit are better than the Core Skills set and I wouldn't have much qualms going straight to this if I was a beginner.

So, if you fancy having a go at moving from flat colours to adding a little more realism to your minis then the Learn to Paint Kit - Layer Up has everything you need to get started in one box.

  • Ian Walsh

Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set Review and Unboxing 0

We’ve just got our hands on the new Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set and we’re pretty damn excited. We were fans of the first edition of Deadzone and were keen to see what came in the box of the new boxset.

So, why did Mantic create a whole new edition? Basically Deadzone 2.0 comes with a brand new set of rules that are more dice based, banishing most of the cards and score tracking of the previous edition, therefore Mantic decided to go the whole hog and not only re-boot the rules but also reconfigure the whole contents of the box.

Don’t fret, although the rules have been modded, Deadzone is still a skirmish game set in a futuristic world and played in a 3D battlescape, with Mantic promising that veteran Deadzone fans and new players alike will enjoy the more fast-paced nature of the new ruleset.

We couldn’t help ourselves so thought we’d do a quick Deadzone 2nd Edition Review and Unboxing of the contents.

Deadzone 2.0 Box

Without further ado, let’s have a look at the packaging. The first edition of Deadzone came in a fairly large rectangular box. The new box is a more compact square with nice artwork on the front showing the Enforcers having a go with the Forge Fathers.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Box Front
The back of the packaging nicely depicts the two factions you get in the Starter Set plus describes the contents of the box.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Box Bacl

Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set Unboxing

So the outside is all good, but we’re mostly interested in what we’ve shelled out for (the contents right!). In the Starter Set you get the following:

  • A hardback rulebook
  • Battlefield Mat
  • Gaming tokens
  • 8-Sided dice
  • Command Dice
  • Battlezones Scenery
  • Accessories and Connectors
  • Enforcers Strike Team
  • Forge Father Strike Team

I’m going to go through each of the bits in the box in more detail so you can see what you’re getting.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Hardback Rulebook

This is a really nice addition to the box. Inside you get a 112 (ish) page hardback Deadzone Rulebook which will take more of a beating than the usual paperback editions included in starter sets.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Rulebook Front

The cover pretty much matches the packaging on the box, with the reverse of the rulebook gives some info on the game.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Rulebook Back

What’s inside the Deadzone 2nd Edition Hardback Rulebook?

The book starts off with a nice foreword from the game designer Jake Thornton who discusses his hope that Deadzone fans enjoy the new smoother and slicker gameplay that still embodies the essence of what made Deadzone a fun game to play.

The book is then nicely split out into sections starting off with the core rules of the game including how to set it all up (choose a mission, select your strike team, setup the battlefield and placing objective items).

The book includes pre-generated strike teams based on the minis that are in the box which I suggest you give a try if this is your first game, as well as details on actions you can take on your turn (move, sprint, shoot, fight etc).

There’s then details of advanced rules and descriptions of special abilities some of your troop may have to make the game more varied and interesting.

One cool thing in the book is that it has details of all the factions, so in the future if you’re interested in playing Veer-myn for example, the Deadzone 2nd Edition book gives you background on that race plus stats on the leaders, specialist troops and grunts in that army.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Rulebook Inside

Lastly, the book covers some campaigns so you can link your games into “a larger narrative”.

Deadzone 2nd Edition - The Miniatures

In the starter set you get two factions to choose from, The Forge Fathers and the Enforcers.

The Forge Fathers

To start you off you get ten miniatures that make up your Forge Fathers Strike Team. You get 10 Steel Warriors that can be put together as Huscarls or Stormrage Veterans. Luckily, the rulebook tells you the difference between these units, so you can decide what units you want in your strike force.

Weapon options are available for you to further customise your forge Father faction.

I’ve mentioned before how much I hated the Restic material of the old Deadzone minis material (some awful resin plastic concoction). The minis in the starter set are made out of plain vanilla hard plastic on sprues.

The Enforcers Strike Team

For your Enforcers Strike Team you get eleven miniatures with plenty of customisation options with the weaponry such as pistols, snipers and incinerators!

Your strike team comes with five Pathfinders who can be modded as Specialists or Seargeants, as well as five Enforcers who can be modded as Assault units, Specialists or Sergeants.

Again, the excellent Deadzone 2.0 rulebook gives details into what each units strengths are, so have a read of that before you hit your miniatures up with super glue!

Finally the Enforcer Strike Team gets 1 D.O.G. drone (a robotic dog type unit).

The Battlefield Mat

Where the hardback rulebook is a great addition to the boxset and really is a nice item, the Battlefield Mat is a slight let down. The design of the Deadzone 2nd Edition mat is exactly the same as the one in the old boxset.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Battle Mat

It’s 2ft x 2ft making a great compact playing area and is splattered with battle scars and remnants of deceased foes.

The difference is the Deadzone 2.0 mat is paper… The old mat was some stretchy mouse mat material that could take a hell of a beating.

I understand why its paper, it keeps the weight and price down of the core-set as well as lets Mantic sell the item separately, but the mat won’t take much of a pounding.

Eventually you’ll want to buy the Battlemat I’ve got no doubt.

Battlefield Scenery in Deadzone 2nd Edition

I enjoyed painting the scenery in Deadzone 1, the building were easy to do even for a novice painter like myself. You get seven sprues of buildings, cannisters, gangways rocks and other bits in the box. I’m sure it’s less than Deadzone 1, but this set is much cheaper.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Scenery

Again this is hard plastic sprues and makes the Battlefield interesting and varied. Look on the internet for some cool ideas on grunging up the scenery, its worth the effort.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Dice

Where would we be without dice… In the box you get a set of white eight siders, not a lot to say there. In addition there’s six command dice with symbols such as shoot, fight and mantic splat (all explained on page 11).

Deadzone 2nd Edition Dice

Lastly… Counters

As with Deadzone 1, you get a stash of in-game tokens and items but there’s less in here. Symbols include ammo and medi-pacs you can collect among other things.
These are made of fairly sturdy cardboard, but if you like a more upmarket feel you can buy replacement tokens.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set Opinion

I think it can be summed up as follows. The book is great, nice and clear and hardback. The miniatures in Deadzone are nice plastic and come with customisation options. It’s good to see the Battlefield scenery but the mat is going to need replacing.

All in all, this is a good value boxset but you’ll need to get a mat if you play this a few times.

Reaper Bones Miniatures - Not so mini Cthulhu 77194 Review 0

I recently started writing a post about how great value Reaper Bones are, in that post I was going to look specifically at a big mini (oxymoron I know) to explain the virtues of how much the difference in cost is between a metal and Reaper Bones plastic miniature can be.

So this post will talk about that a little, but it'll turn into a small review of the Reaper Bones C'thulhu 77194 miniature which is one of the large items we have on the site.

Reaper Bones Cthulhu Close Up

For the larger models, Reaper box them up whereas the slightly cheaper items come in big blister packs. so C'thulhu comes in a nice branded box.

Reaper C'thulu Box Front

The front of the box shows the beast all painted up, while the back shows the bits in the box plus an advert for Reaper's excellent HD paints (I'll discuss these in the future).

Reaper C'thulu Box Back

And they weren't fibbing, Cthulhu actually comes in eight parts, the pot belly, two wings, two limbs, base and tail. This makes our monster to be a very grand mini indeed, being about 9'' to the top of the wings and 9'' wide too.

Reaper C'thulu Parts

Even in plastic, the mini is pretty heavy. What I like about the large minis is they plug together nicely with the guide holes in each piece. This isn't a great photo but shows a "female" hole in one of the pieces.

Reaper C'thulu 77194 part

And in general, even dry fit it held together pretty well with only one of the feet staying tightly in its hole. That said you'd no doubt want to glue it, but a bit of super glue and this mini would be super strongly fit together.

Reaper Bones C'thulu 77194 Front

So here's a front shot of the beast put together, all dry fit. It has some real nice detail on the tentacles with suckers on the underneath.

And another back end shot.

Reaper Bones C'thulu 77194 Back

Is this big ass Cthulhu good value?

Well on the site Reaper Bones Cthulhu goes for around £30 (at time of writing). Prices fluctuate due to exchange rate etc etc so I always find it best to do a US price comparison. The difference in £ and $ would be similar in any case.

So, popping over to america and checking our retail I can tell you that Cthulhu is going to knock you back $39.99. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a metal equivalent of this beast. Reaper do metal miniatures of large dragon's that are also in Bones though, so if I extrapolate the price, in metal Cthulhu would have to be banging out at $120+ and to be honest, he'd weigh a tonne. Not something you'd want to be lugging around to games.

I've always said that Reaper Bones always works the best for ogres and beast. C'thulhu is no exception. A great little mini I'd say.

  • Ian Walsh

Reaper Bones Miniatures - Can't be beaten for value 0

As you can see, in the store we have a boat load of Reaper Bones Miniatures. For those who have been out of the gaming scene for a little while or are new to the hobby Bones brought a whole new dimension to gaming scene.

Miniatures are made from a couple of different materials which are usually metal, where you get great detail on your figures with a really nice material. The downsides are that metal miniatures are fairly expensive so if your building a large army in can be cost prohibitive to do this in metal. Metal miniatures can also be a little fragile.

The other main material for minis is hard plastic which usually come on sprues. This is cheaper than metal so a good alternative. Detailing is usually good.

Along Came Reaper Bones...

With their Kickstarter a couple of years ago, Reaper started knocking out their Reaper Dark Heaven Legends/Warlord/Chronoscope lines in a more bendy/plastic material. This has been  a game changer in the way of cost for miniatures (especially single minis) which maybe cost £6 plus for a single figure, they will only cost around £2 for the equivalent miniature in the material now dubbed as Bonesyium (a white bendy polymer type material).

Benefits of Reaper Bones on your Tabletop

As I said earlier, these Bones figures from Reaper Miniatures are darn cheap. I'll give you an example direct from the Reaper peeps.

Great Value

Ogre Chieftain is a nice looking fella you'd like to paint up. You have two choices, go for the metal version at $11.49. See the picture below of the metal Reaper version. He's a nice sculpt no doubt, great detailing on the club, pelt and beard.

Here's the Reaper Bones equivalent of the Ogre Chieftain.

So a similar mould, detail on pelt and club and to be honest the Reaper photos don't always do the minis justice. So... I've added a painted version from a guy called Andy Walker to show what someone with a lot more talent than me can do to a $2.49 equivalent Bones miniature.

Reaper Bones 77005 - Ogre Chieftain Painted

I'd be happy with that in my games.

So cheap you can mess around

So Mr Ogre is less than 25% of the metal guy. I'll be honest if I was having a go at metal Mr Ogre I'd be less inclined to play around with paint schemes, modify the miniature or have fun. With a $2.49 mini, mistakes don't seem as big an issue.

Bones... Great for beginners?

Well yes I'd say so... In the Reaper Miniatures blurb they say Bones are paintable right out of the box. So with your metal minis we have to glue with super glue, clean, prime etc etc. I'll semi-agree with Reaper on this one, no priming is required and mostly no glueing (depending on the size of the miniature). They do need a good clean and you need to be careful not to water down the paint too much on the first coat as Bones can be repellant to watery paint and bead.

There's plenty of guides on the internet that show how to prep Bones, especially ensuring you wash them and don't water down paint to reduce the hydrophobic (paint repellant) properties of the plastic miniatures

And the Downsides?

I guess some of the downsides come from the fact the material is quite light and bendy (which is perversely some of the positives), Although they are less breakable unlike the metal, some people like the weight they get with metal minis.

On the larger Bones miniatures like the Ogre detailing is really good, I would say for smaller human faces some of the definition around the eyes can become a little softer. If I was a good enough painter to do an exhibition piece and wanted crisp details on a human I'd probably plump for the metal version.

Lastly, the bones material is bendy which means sometimes swords and bases can be bent. This can be fixed with a hot bath to bend the Bones miniature into shape, followed by a cold dunking to set the mini.

Should I look at the Reaper Bones Miniatures line?

Well definitely. There's a lot to like with Reaper Bones, not least the cost and breadth of miniatures available. We have a good range of Reaper Bones in the UK all classified by type to make them easy to find. I urge you to pick up a couple and have a play.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set Coming... 0

I was a big fan of Deadzone and have a box that I've painted quite nicely. I spent a lot of time weathering the scenery to create a urban warzone style that looked pretty good on the included mat.

That said, I thought the minis were goddamn awful. That restic material that Mantic used for its minis took forever to clean and the moulding didn't seem to great to me. I don't think I ever painted one.

With the arrival of Deadzone 2.0 and in particular the Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set (releasing 23rd May) the content and rules have been smartened up somewhat.

Deadzone 2nd Edition Box Contents

What's in the Deadzone 2nd Edition Starter Set Box?

Well first, let me tell you what's gone. A little disappointingly Mantic have replaced the mouse mat style 2' x 2' gaming mat with a paper version. This won't last forever so may need replacing with the Deadzone battle mat that can be bought separately. Leaving it out has made the 2nd Edition Deadzone box slightly cheaper than v2.


Also gone are many of the cards from the original, with Deadzone v2 gameplay having been refined as a more fast paced skirmish dice based game.

In the box you get a hard back rulebook which is really nice and complete with core and special rules, force lists, missions and details of a campaign.

As for the minis, you effectively get two humanoid type armies in the Enforcers and the Forge Fathers.

Deadzone 2.0 Enforcers

There's 21 minis in total covering the two factions. So out go the Plague from the first game but they will be available as new armies too.

Deadzone v2 Forge Fathers

Thankfully, the modular terrain is still in the box which I really liked from the first edition.

So all in all for £49.99 you get:

  • Hardback Rulebook that Contains Rules and Stats for all Factions
  • Command Dice and D8
  • Modular Battlezones Terrain and Gaming Mat
  • New Counters
  • 11 Enforcer Miniatures
  • 10 Forge Fathers Miniatures

I'm looking forward to this one!



Warhammer Age of Sigmar Start Collecting! Boxsets now available! 0

Just to ensure you Warhammer Age of Sigmar fans don't feel left out, Games Workshop have also released a set of six box sets that can be used to bulk up your current army or get you into a brand new race.

The army kits that have gone out in this release are:

  • Start Collecting! Daemons Of Khorne
  • Start Collecting! Daemons Of Nurgle
  • Start Collecting! Greenskinz
  • Start Collecting! Malignants
  • Start Collecting! Seraphon
  • Start Collecting! Slaves To Darkness

With each of the boxes you get between 9, up to 21 minis depending on the race you're looking at.

As I pretty much said in the Warhammer 40k post, If I was looking at a new army to get onto the Tabletop, then I'd certainly look over the contents of each of the Start Collecting! boxes to see if it had the mix of minis I was looking for.

The main reason for this is they do offer real good value for money. As I did in the 40k post, I'm going to break down a boxset to work out the difference in buying each mini seperately compared to purchasing the Start Collecting! Army.

So, lets take Start Collecting! Daemons of Nurgle. This set has 17 minis, including a Herald of Nurgle (£15), a set of three Plague Drones (£35), a set of three Nurglings (£15.50) and a set of ten Plaguebearers of Nurgle (£18). So this gives you a massive saving £33.50 over buying individually. You basically get the Nurglings and Plaguebearers of Nurgle for nowt.

The Seraphon box has the most minis with an Oldblood on Carnosaur (£50), a set of eight Saurus Knights (£20) and a set of twelve Saurus Warriors (£23). So £43 cheaper to buy the boxset.

I don't think you can argue with that! All the Start Collecting! boxset are available over here.