onsdag 24 april 2013

Leven Miniatures review

I recently won 10 pounds worth of buildings from Leven Miniatures in the Blog With No Name prize draw.

Leven Miniatures, if you didn't know, manufacture resin 1/300 scale buildings. Most are WW2-ish in style and they have plans on producing 10mm buildings as well. 10 pounds may not sound so much, but these buildings are quite cheap.

By random chance my mate Jocke (The Miniatures Man) also won 10 pounds worth of buildings. We decided to join forces in order to save some postage for the nice people at Leven Miniatures and Jocke mailed me his wish list which actually came to £9.50 letting me choose another 50 pence worth! (Yeah, I'm sad and cheap...). Jocke chose a bunch of desert and airfield themed stuff while I concentrated on civilian houses for the Western and Eastern fronts.

So what did I think of the buildings then?

First things first. The buildings are nicely molded from a strong, whiteish and slightly smelly resin with a glossy finish. The details are crisp but hard to photograph because of the material. Shining a light on the buildings washed out a lot of details as light was reflected off the surface, but without a light the pictures would be too dark to make anything out anyway. Most of the buildings are one-piece affairs, but some of the buildings had a couple of separate parts to glue on.

The stone water mill. If you squint you might make out the very fine brick effect.
First I chose the GEN10 -- Stone Water Mill building. I need it for a scenario in the TooFatLardies' campaign book Blenneville or Bust. I had actually been searching for a while without finding a suitable building when I entered this prize draw, so the timing was perfect. It's a two-story building with loading doors and a nice stone effect on the walls. It has a large chimney and one-story extension with a water wheel. The chimney has another kind of brick effect than the rest of the building, a nice touch! There's also a wooden lean to.

Dimensions: length 48mm : depth 42mm : height 35mm
Next I decided on three Normandy town houses, NOR01, NOR02 and NOR03. These are a two-story and three-story houses typical of the small towns and villages in Normandy during WW2. They are of a similar style with some small differences like shop fronts or different doorways on the ground floor. They are also different on the front and back, which allows you to make a street with several houses without any repetition. The walls are smooth and the gable ends featureless as the houses are made to butt up against eachother.

A row of french houses.
The houses vary a bit in size, but their footprint is around 21x30mm although that varies a bit too. They are advertised as 1/300 scale so I was a bit worried that they would look too small for my tastes. I use GHQ figures and vehicles which are 1/285 scale, a difference of around 5%. It may not sound much but it could be noticable if the buildings were a bit underscale too boot. I also have a lot of Timecast buildings, which are said to be 6mm in scale, but are a bit oversize (according to their webpage, Timecast previously stated the scale as varying between 1/250-1/270). Personally I like large buildings as I think scenery usually is way underscale anyway.

Size comparison with a Timecast house.
As you can see the two-story Timecast house is nearly as tall as the three-story Leven house. However, if you look closely the doors of the timecast house is set a couple of millimeters above the ground, so the Leven building could be mounted on a piece of thick card to make things more equal. Nevertheless the Timecast house has slightly larger windows and doors. Details are comparable, although Leven houses all lack downspouts and drainpipes. The Timecast house on the other hand is marred by a lot of small resin blobs which are caused by pittings in the surface of the mold.

A soviet "isba" and a large communal house.
Last I chose two soviet houses; HUT04 and HUT09, described as a Ukranian Timber Hut and Russian Timber House. The smaller hut is in the traditional isba style although made by planking rather than logs. The larger house could perhaps be a town hall or maybe party offices. It has a separate roof over the main entrance and is also made of planks. They both have quite nice textures which should take drybrushing or washes well.

So for £10.50 worth I got a large stone mill, three french town houses and two soviet buildings suitable for Ukraine. Not bad, not bad at all. I will be showing you Jocke's stuff later, and perhaps a painted building or two of mine. I will definitely get more french houses for my villages in the future. And they have a S:t Maire Église church on the workbench...

In summare the buildings are well sculpted, have almost no flash, and give good value for your money. The range is large and growing.

I give the Leven Miniatures 6mm buildings 4 out of 5. Recommended!

9 kommentarer:

  1. Nice review and thanks for the plug.

    If you wash the buildings in warm soapy water it gets rid of the Resin smell and the shine allowing them to take the undercoat (I spray with white primer). Also any small resin blobs ping off with a scalpel.

    Really looking forward to seeing yours all painted up


  2. Very nice! So, when are we playing 6 mil Normandy, then?

  3. Darn it. I should really switch to 6mm scale! :D
    Thanks for the review!

    1. Mojo, the term you are looking for is not "switch to", it is "as well".
      We are already doing NWE and Desert in 6mm and 20mm ad if Laffe and I get oru way we'll be doing at least Desert in 28mm as well.

    2. Thomas is right: with the cost and size of these, you can totally afford to go 6mm in addition to whatever other scale you are playing.

  4. Oh, review mine too!!!
    (And give 'em to me!)

    1. Clever plan, Jocke. Have him order them and review them before delivering them to you. Now if you could only get him to paint them for you too, it would be perfect.

    2. In that case he wouldn't get them this half of the century...

    3. Nope. Painting is for me. But I really like to see them in the flesh... or resin... on a blog near me.


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