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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Battlefront/GF9 Summer Woods Review

I was able to get my hands on one box each of the new Battlefront / Gale Force 9 Summer Woods Small and Large.  By now you all know I'm a big fan of their Battlefield in a box line, and these are no exception!  Let's take a look.

First up, these are packaged very securely using the standard styrofoam (unlike the new Rural farm houses), and thus these all arrived pristine.  Both the trees and bases are very sturdy, you'd be hard pressed to mess either one up throughout normal gaming.

The trees appear to be a thin wire coated in flock.  They're built very well, and barely shed at all.  I think they chose good alternating colors that look good on the table top (though the trees do look a bit unrealistic).  I also really like the scale of the trees- these are monsters in 15mm and medium for 28s.  Versatile trees for reusability!

My first tiny little gripe is that the small trees look a little funny for the trunk they're on! My second tiny little gripe is that I wish it either came with a 3rd "area" base or that they were just a tiny bit bigger.

They are ready to go right out of the box, but you'd do yourself a disservice not to apply the (included) flocking to make it blend with your table.  As you can see from the photographs they blend rather well with other GF9 terrain (like the swamp), and don't look too bad next to my home made tree bases.  (click here for the tutorial on how I made them!)
Are there better trees out there?  Yes, but for the value and ability to use them right out of the box I am quite happy with these.  Definitely not the best on the market, but probably about the best value.  Having to do no work on terrain is huge for me, but you terrain modelers out there will likely have a completely different opinion on that.

In all, I definitely like them enough to snatch up at least one more box of each.  Expect to see them in many upcoming AARs!
updated 4/29/2012
5/6 bog checks.


Neal Smith said...

I've just never liked the bottle brush kind of trees. From a top down view they look perfect, just like real trees do from altitude, but from a side view, I just don't like them... :)

I think the BFinB series needs to include "one more" thing in all of their sets to make them really worthwhile. One more base of trees. One more desert hazard base, one more field, etc.

DeanM said...

Nice terrain; looks like they'd work for 28mm too. Best, Dean

Rhinexing said...

I guess it's my model railroad roots... but these "trees" look horrible. I've seen some of the crappy Model Power or "Life-Like" brand trees look better than these.

Steven MacLauchlan said...

I think the colors and shapes are fine for wargaming terrain- I mean look at the bright green mat we play on?

I agree they don't look totally realistic, but it's all about the value- coming right out of the box they're inexpensive and ready to go. That goes a long way with me. Of course there's better out there! But do I want to pay for it and/or put in the work?

note: I've updated the review itself to take into account these comments. Thanks!

Steven MacLauchlan said...

Oh and hey- chill out with that tone okay? Let's have a for real discussion here.

Braxen said...

ok, no comment. Please continue

Steven MacLauchlan said...

Im not offended or butt hurt- I am interested in other opinions! In fact- it got me thinking. I guess for me when it comes to wargamig terrain I can be a little blinded to the "fakiness". Coming from a modelers poit of view, I can see why this terrain would be irksome.

I dont even see plateau hills (not one of my hills looks remotely realistic), raised streams, and felt area for woods! I didnt even think about the realism of these trees, which i find funny.

Anyhow, sorry, but attitudes around something so silly is a
Pet peeve. Intended or not starting a conversation with "whats wrong with you" rarely leads to civil discussion. Im cool if youre cool :)

Braxen said...

No offense taken, but sometimes "reviews" that are not really reviews make it more and more difficult to distinguish between quality and a very average product.

BF has released very good stuff and some that had a lot less to be praised about.

The internet is plagued with complacency, feel good and buddy-buddy reviews that don't carry a lot more value besides being a marketing vehicle for manufacturer X, Y or Z. Some of the Amazon reviews are a good example of this trend.

Many people now skip the 4-5 stars reviews and go directly to the 3 and less ones. The criticisms and "off-tune" comments carry much more information for the discerning customer.

It is, in my opinion, a very disappointing product and by the look of it, I would not buy it.

Steven MacLauchlan said...

Fair enough! I know I have a hard time criticizing any of the Battlefield in a box stuff because I truly do like it a lot. I promise there's now buddy-buddy treatment. Just ask my wife how many boxes of that stuff are filling my game room :)

As I said, I didn't even approach it from a realism stance- it didn't even enter my head. So, nothing shady going on- just a difference of opinion!

In fact, I am ordering 2 more boxes (one of each). For me it's all about how gameable they are, and how easy they are. These guys fit the bill perfectly! I'm sure if realism were my #1 goal, I would absolutely pass on them.

To each his own, and thanks for the counterpoint!

WehrWulf said...

Not everything commercially made is going to speak to you. I appreciate the chance to see products like these aside from the pics on the box, and if it's not for me I move on. If you don't like these there are a hundred other choices out there, or if you're that discerning just make your own. Some of my favorite terrain is stuff I've made myself.

locker.wheelie said...

I just bought three boxes. I love the Battlefield in a box line. All of my desert table terrain is that. Not all of it is great, sure, but compared to playing Risk, Axis and Allies and games with counters, this stuff is freaking awesome. And I loved those games. I'd rather focus on painting armies than terrain. There is a market for these items and reviews--it's people like me. I drool over the great homemade tables posted. They are works of art I respect, but not everybody can do it. When I draw a stick man it looks like crap.

xenite said...

I agree that these trees aren't particularly realistic looking, but the one thing about them that I am very interested in is that they are sturdy! Jason and I have some plans to do a tournament, and we have been ramping up our terrain collection for that purpose. Having trees that are robust will help a great deal in archiving that goal.

I like the idea of mixing them with some home-made, or Woodland Seneics trees to create a diverse look to an area of woodland.

It would have been nice to see BF break up the profile of these trees a bit to make them look a bit more natural, but at the end of the day they will do the job.

Mitch said...

I think they are good for wargaming / ready made stuff, and look to be durable. unfortunately I don't think I'll be picking these up! I did like the desert ones alot better!

Broxus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Broxus said...

Sorry, trying to figure out this blog thing

I hate to say this is one of the reviews I can't agree with the guys from WWPD on. Normally I agree with about 99.9% of the stuff they post. These trees honestly look like something out of the Lorax movie or the Wizard of Oz with those weird colors.

Why for the love of God do they simply not make more small and large pine woods. Those things sold like crazy and tons of people still want more.

Though everyone has their own tastes this one product one I will pass on. I think I own everything BF has made terrain wise.

On a side note I really appreciate everything you guys at WWPD do for the FoW community!

The Crafty Gamer said...

well I don't care too much for those tree's as they look odd.

I do on the other hand find that around Christmas time at my local dollar store packs of "Cobblestone Corners Collectibles" that have 2 sized pine tree's for a Buck....

you can get snow or no snow

WehrWulf said...

The pine woods sets were sweet. BF/GF9 couldn't lose if they re-released them. Hoping they release the bridges from the oop B in a B River box set, I missed the boat & had to buy the expansions sans bridges. Their rivers are second to none. Next in my list, cobblestone roads and field/fence sets!

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