REVIEW: Old Crow Models

Grymn and 15mm sci fi player probably know them very well but I figure a lot of other tabletoppers do not, so today´s review will be about Old Crow Models.

Old Crow Models (run by Jez Plumridge) is a manufacturer of  sci fi vehicles and accessories. Mostly known for the Hammer´s Slammers tabletop game miniatures, they are also producing more generic items.

Vehicles come in three different scales: 6mm, 15mm und 25 mm, and although the 15mm segement is probably the best-selling one, I was looking for stuff to use on my Infinity table (i.e. 28mm).

A great idea for starters: modularity

A lot of the bigger vehicles are offered with different types of locomotion: You can chose between Grav, Hover and tracked/wheels.

Additionally, all of the tank models have one or more hardpoints that can be equipped with different weaponry: Tank, Point Defense, Missile und Comcen.

So you could buy the same tank once as a futuristic grav tank with a communcation array and once as a traditional tracked version with missile turrets.

And in case you are looking to upgrade your WH40K tanks: All turrets can also be bought separately.

A note up-front:

All parts came in re-sealable plastic bags and were covered in a good amount of resin dust (can be seen in the pictures, as I photographed them right out of the bag. Before you deal with resin parts, you should always wash them in warm water with a bit of dishwashing detergent. This not only removes the dust but also the products used to keep the mold and resin separated. These are known to cause problems with painting.

Important: Resin dust can damage your lungs and is carcinogenic. If you are filing resin or dealing with a lot of dust, please always use a mask, and don´t forget to vacuum clean. It might seem like a lot of hassle for so little dust, but why take the risk?

What I bought:

1. Gecko Scout

The GECKO scout buggy comes in 8 parts: the compact body and 4 wheels in resin, and a front bumper and two fitting towing eyes in metal. There is a second, pick-up version available for the same price (6 GBP). Note that the wheel are glued into place; there is no axis or mounting holes to enable turning wheels. That said, there is nothing to stop you from drilling holes and pinning the wheels.

Old Crow Models Gecko parts

All parts were free of air bubbles/holes, and the bottom sides were filed. There was almost no flash, so cleaning could be done in less than a minute.

Quickly set up (without the bumper) and put next to a 28mm Infinity miniature for size comparison:

2. Slingshot AFV

The slingshot comes in 8 parts for the actual vehicle: the upper section of the body, the chosen under-section, and 6 wheels. These are the same as for the Gecko.

Slingshot (Old Crow Models) parts

The upper section has some nice detail, and both body parts are free of noticable casting flaws. The underside of both pieces has been filed to enable a gapless fitting. Some of the wheels showed some small resin excess but nothing that could not be solved in a minute´s time. Assembly is pretty self-explanatory.

As you can see, the Slingshot AFV has a small hardpoint in front and a medium large one in the back. The latter can be fitted with a number of rotating turrets (each turret comes with a smaller disc to keep the turret in place in the mounting). The small front hardpoint comes with a hatch but can be fitted with other small turrets from the shop (these do not come with a rotating system, but could of course be pinned or magnetized).

For the large hardpoint I chose a Point Defense System.

Slingshot (Old Crow Models) assembled

3. Additional turrets

To have a little more flexibility I also ordered two other turret sets: a mini-turret set for the small hardpoint, and a communication dish for the back.

Slingshot (Old Crow Models) comm dish

All vehicles can be equipped with a lot of extra accessories found in the shop, e.g. chains, hatches, smoke launchers or towing attachments.

A truly awesome example of a painted vehicle set can be found on Brandlin´s blog, as shown (with kind permission) below:

BRANDLIN's Grymn force (numerous OCM vehicles)

4. Accesories: Barrels and Ammo boxes

To finish my order, I added a pack of Barrels (10 for 3 GBP) and a pack of ammo boxes (same quantity, same price):

Old Crow Models barrels

Old Crow Models ammo crates

The ammunition boxes were the only ones with visible (though still very minor) flash, obviously due to the intricate design with a lot of small angles. Cleaning this was, however, very easy; none of the details were obstructed by the resin flash. The set is comprised of 7 closed and 3 open boxes with cover. All items had filed undersides.

Scale and Design

As you could see on above pictures, the vehicles appear a bit too small for 28mm miniatures. It is not without reason that Old Crow Models are a primary source for Grymn vehicles – the smaller scale fits perfectly with the sci fi dwarfs (see Brandlin´s picture above). If the vehicles are only used for decoration the difference is negligible, however.

The accessories can be used for 28mm without hesitation.

The angular design in some of the vehicles is strongly reminiscent of Battletech and other 80s sci fi, and is surely a matter of personal taste and the preferred setting. It might fit better with low sci fi and post-apoc scenarioes, but that is just my opinion. After all, I bought my vehicles for Infinity!

As a sidenote: Antenocitis Workshop seems to go a similar way with his Bear and Warthog.

A last thing in regards to using the webshop: Orders take up to 3 weeks, as Jez is apparently casting larger parts on demand. He is communicating this on the web site, so I knew what was coming (or how long it would take). Please also note that payment via Paypal is a bit odd but it is explained in all detail HERE.

Conclusion

Old Crow Models are offering a good number of interesting vehicles, in an outstanding casting quality and for a very moderate price. If you can ignore the scale issues between 25mm and 28mm, and if you like the design (or you know how use a file and putty to change it) you will definitely raise the value of your hobby table!

I personally feel that I got more for my money that I expected and I will definitely buy more articles from Jez in the near future.

PRO

  • very good pricing
  • excellent casting quality
  • lots of details

NEUTRAL

  • design sometimes a bit old-school/80s sci fi
  • difference in scale can be seen on vehicles (but was expected from the beginning)

NEGATIVE

  • long order times
  • resin dust

External links:

Old Crow Models

Brandlin´s Grymn- und Twilightblog

Comparison WH40K vehicles – Old Crow vehicles

Another review of Old Crow Models

REVIEW: Ainsty Castings

Ainsty Castings is a new-old manufacturer of resin scenery for 28mm tabletop games, with a wide range of themes/settings.

Up until recently, Ainsty products were sold by Old Crow Models, after Ainsty Casting Company founder Michael Brooks died in 2006. The product line has now been bought by Andy Lyon and his new web shop openened some three weeks ago.

Since Andy could draw from a big pool of existing models, the shop offers a great variety: From fantasy to post-apocalyptic, oil refineries, ruins, cemetery or sci fi corridors – you can find lots of scenery elements as well as complete dungeons.

A note up-front:

All parts came in re-sealable plastic bags and were covered with resin dust (can be seen in the pictures, as I photographed them right out of the bag. Before you deal with resin parts, you should always wash them in warm water with a bit of dishwashing detergent. This not only removes the dust but also the products used to keep the mold and resin separated. These are known to problems with painting.

Important: Resin dust can damage your lungs and is carcinogenic. If you are filing resin or dealing with a lot of dust, you should always wear a mask, and don´t forget to vacuum clean. It might  seem a lot of hassle for so little dust, but why take risks?

What I bought:

1. Large Memorial

The large memorial comes at 3,50 GBP and is made from 3 parts – which can also be used separately, if wanted.

The plinth (middle section) carries on one side an inscription which can be read without any problem. (It heart-warmingly refers to the late Ainsty founder.)

Ainsty Castings Memorial parts

The casting quality is very good. Tiny resin threads at the lower frame of the base and a small air bubble at the bottom of the plinth. Cleaning this should not take more than a minute. Since this actually gives a bit of a weathered effect, I had no problem leaving these as they are, however. All undersides have been filed flat.

Put together (and with a Confrontation miniature and a LOTR miniature for size comparison):

Ainsty Castings memorial built

In this picture you can see the only issue I had with the set: The underside of the obelisque has not been filed to make it point directly upwards, I will need to correct that.

(And yes, I know that the base of Mr. Pumpkin Head is terrible. Thank you very much! 😛 )

2. Chest Tomb

The chest tombs come in a set of 2 for 3 GBP and are cast as monoblocks. The undersides have been filed flat. No casting flaws at all here!

3. Headstone Slabs

The headstone slabs come in 5 randomly chosen designs, again for 3 GBP.  There are at least 7 different designs available (two of the ones I received are not shown on the web site):

Ainsty Castings graveyard slabs

Again, I could find no residue or casting flaws, and all undersides have been filed flat.

4. Upright Headstones

The grave stones come in a set of 8 different designs. All of them bear a legible (!) inscription. Apart from the “unknown soldier”, you will find some real celebrities. A funny Easter Egg!

Once again, no casting issues here and all undersides have been filed. In fact, if you look at the two stones at the right you will see that the casting is so crisp, you can make out their design flaws: The stone slabs are not covered by earth on all sides! 🙂 This is no problem on the table, however, as it can really only be seen on the large picture, and can easily be remedied.

5. Trade Goods mixed

The set of mixed trade goods is comprised of 3 crates of various sizes, an oblong chest, 4 cargo bales,  a carboy (bottle in basket) and three barrels in different designs.

Ainsty Castings crates

Despite the fine details I could not find much resin flash or other flaws. However, the obligatory filing of the bottom side has (logically) cut into some of the details, as you can see on the bottom of the carboy.

Again, this is only noticeable when you look at the large picture, and has no influence on the appearance on the table.

6. Small Row Boat with Mast

The small sailing boat is a real gem. It comes in two parts: the hulk and the mast.

Strangely enough for a sailing boat, a tiller is not part of the set. Tabletoppers who care about ingame reality will therefor have to glue a little stick to the rudder.

The row boat was definitely the most complex resin casting in my order. So it is not surprising that I found a – pretty tiny –  mould line and some flash. It is NOT the one you can easily see on the mast below – that´s supposed to be a rope.

Ainsty Castings river boat parts

At the stem you might recognize something. I am not sure whether this is is supposed to be some rope, algae or just casting flaws. The fact that I am not able to tell, however, means that that you can treat it as you like – or just file it off.

Seen from the stern and with mast erected:

You can see the astonishing details, like the ropes slung around the mast, the cleats and the fine wood grain.

Cleaning the model from flash should take not more than 2-3 minutes.

Conclusion

Ainsty Castings seem to have made an impressive re-entry into the tabletop market. Even if I could only test a fraction of their products, I was impressed by the very good casting quality and the crispness of the details.

All parts required only minimal cleaning. All items needed to be washed before handling however, something that could be done by Ainsty BEFORE shipping it.

Shipping was reasonably fast: My package arrived 5 days after payment.

As Andy has confirmed elsewhere, there are still lots of unpublished items from the old Ainsty range. We can look forward to see more in the near future!

PRO

  • reasonable prices
  • very good casting quality
  • full of details
  • some funny but unobtrusive details

NEGATIVE

  • resin dust

External links:

Ainsty Castings

Old Crow Models