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Monday, January 6, 2014

Bolt Action - Review: JR Miniatures 28mm Heavy Weapons Bunker with Roof

I travelled down to Fredericksburg, Virginia a little less than a year ago and found myself at The Game Vault during my travels. Great store. Amazing stock. In my wandering, I stumbled across a 28mm bunker from JR Miniatures.

This little unpainted piece costs $25.25 according to the JR Miniatures website, but Game Vault had one from who knows when in their clearance section. I picked it up for five bucks, and couldn't resist it, really. Sure, it wasn't perfect, as the "28mm Science Fiction" tag on the plastic bag it came in indicated; but the size was right, and I was looking for an excuse to spend some cash at the Game Vault.

That's what she looks like right out of the bag. Of course, I'm not a huge fan of the textured surface. The size was perfect, though, and the price was right. Really, I should thank the 40K gang it was intended for, since they didn't buy it. If not for the clearance price, it might not have caught my eye. Good thing 40Kers don't care about terrain. Their loss, my gain. By the way, if you are also a sci-fi gamer, I have hardly anything negative to say about this piece.

I'm certainly not going to fault JR Miniatures for the dings and scratches you see on this model. Obviously, hanging in the clearance section, this bunker had been tossed around and handled by countless gamers for possibly years. None of this exterior damage concerned me much because, well, it's a bunker. Bunkers are made to take damage and stay standing. No big deal.

I'm getting used to handling big resin buildings at this point, having three others now in the collection, and it is striking how light this kit is. While I won't test it, I can't imagine this bunker will survive a table height fall. No resin building could survive such a fall unscathed, but this thing is so light, you'll move accidentally while you're putting troops inside. This isn't a huge knock on the product, but definitely something you should be aware of.

The weight aside, this thing was a breeze to paint up. While it had sat on the shelf for longer than it takes a baby to be born, I always planned on it being an afternoon project. With that in mind, I primed the whole thing black, looking to keep all my steps down to simple dry brushes and washes.

So, everything started out right. A brushed-on black undercoat, followed by the first grey dry brush. The problem was, the black with a grey dry brush looked almost exactly like the thing did out of the package. That's not why I'd spent time painting it all black and slapping some grey on. A quick wash and a highlight of the corners made it look a little better, but my limited skills were definitely not enough, at this point, to make the piece really pop.

A bit of focused wash in areas where water might pool and drip helped make it come alive a bit more, but the sandbag and beaten earth near the front door really made it turn into a bit more of a living thing. I treated the dirt the same way as any of my bases - with a dark brown first, followed by an earth wash, followed by a light brown dry brush, followed by some flock and tuft work.

The sand bags need a layer of something a bit "sandier" for me to be satisfied but, this was a single afternoon project, so I left it alone. The removable roof is a fine feature, of course, however the roof doesn't fit perfectly on top. It was either made "domed" or became domed over years of hanging on a shelf before making it to the clearance rack. Regardless, this doesn't detract much from the product as a whole, and as the picture above shows, you can fit a lot of troops inside this thing.

As some of the lines would show, this is not a perfect product. I mean, look at the slope on the top of that roofless bunker. However, seeing Germans poking weapons out of the firing slots did give me exactly the look I was searching for. Every terrain collection needs a bunker - they're just so cinematic.

I do not regret purchasing this in the least. I might not cough up the $25.25 JR Miniatures is asking for, but finding one of these on a clearance rack is worth considering at the very least. I hesitate to comment much on the warping and damage I noticed on the product, since it had clearly been sitting inside Game Vault for long enough to make it to the clearance rack. Be warned, though, that since the one I purchased was packaged in a flimsy plastic bag - assuming this practice continues - you might find your product in bad condition.

Thoughts? Have any experience with JR Miniatures' products? Tell us about it on the forum!

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