Sharks with frickin’ laser beams…

I recently got into the terrain building business, and by business I mean trying to put together a table for Infinity. I looked over all of the main brands of MDF terrain out right now. I wanted something made in the US (mostly for shipping, but it was a point I wanted), easy to put together, relatively inexpensive (having to fill out a 16 square foot area can get spendy) and well designed.

I’ll be honest, my first thought was for a certain company out of Florida that I’ve used in the past to get scatter and objective terrain pieces, but their price point for what would be my centerpiece, the ITS objective building, was a bit too much to build a table around, at least right this second.

I was perusing the internet and found mention of a site called sharkmountedlasers.com. I took a look and found that the prices were really great. I found a dual purpose ITS objective building (has a roof!) for a very reasonable amount of money and purchased it right there based on its useability.

Once it came in, I let it sit in my assembly queue for a while, somewhat fearful of putting together “fragile MDF”, and time is of the essence with my home life. So, one Friday evening, after everyone went to bed, I grabbed the building and, to my surprise, I had the building put together in about 10 – 15 minutes. I’m not even kidding. It was amazing. I painted it the next day and brought it to my next group gathering. I didn’t use it, which was fine, it was only the one building. But, it really made me want more Sharkslide buildings.

Sometime in mid-September, I ordered two “L-shaped” building kits with upper apartment buildings that stacked on top of them and, once they came in, I had them all together in less than half an hour, total. Roughly 5 to 10 minutes per building. I was amazed.

The buildings feel solid. While I’m not that familiar with MDF terrain as a whole, I’m very impressed with the Sharkslide buildings. They have a floor, which adds to the solid feeling a great deal, the roof fits very snugly and has a nice bit of detail on the various bits (access pads at the doors, “futuristic” hex work on the roof, etc). Great quality control coming from this company.
My only complaint, and I hesitate to even say anything, is the time it takes to get product from when I gave my money. My last order from the company, was sent on September 11. I did not receive my product until the first part of October. I will definitely be ordering more product from this company, but I’ll do so with the knowledge that it might take a little longer than most other companies to get the product I want.

It’s still a great product and I’m looking forward to owning more stuff. I’m very interested in eventually getting some of their terrain tiles, which look amazing.
All in all, I like the Sharkslide terrain a great deal and give it about a 4 out of 5 on quality, 5 out of 5 on design and a 3 out of 5 on customer service. Total score of 4 out of 5. I think that’s fair, as this isn’t a necessity to my life, but it is something I expect sooner than nearly a month later, with little to no explanation.

Believe it or not, I highly recommend this product and will be finishing out my first Infinity table with Sharkslide buildings.

Update: I recently (early November of 2014) ordered from them and the turn-around time was MUCH improved. I’m hopeful that I just caught them at a bad time on my second order, or something. In all honesty, it may have been around GenCon, which would explain why it was so long in delivery. I guess I just wished they would’ve said that when I asked them via the only contact method I had. Still highly recommended for quality and ease of assembly.

All the thumbs up. (Or most of them)

So, objectively speaking…

See what I did there? Well, of course you didn’t. I haven’t even… So, yeah, this is about various objectives for the ITS system things. I’m on a bit of a budget, so I’ve tried to get stuff when I could. I picked up the Customeeple ITS set, but it seemed (to me) to be a bit light, so I picked up a Warsenal Comm Array, Tracking Beacon (6 pack) and Access Terminal (6 pack).

I’ll try to break them down, but really they were all fairly straight forward. I will not be showcasing any sort of painting talent in this (or probably any) post, just for clarity. There are dudes with Airbrushes who do much better jobs with their scenery, bases, figures and probably their lives in general, but that may have gone a bit further than perhaps, you, the reader, wanted to. So, I’ll move on awkwardly…

 

First up, the Comm Array:

photo 2 (1)

There’s a good bit going on here. But, it’s a bunch of interlocking pieces of mdf and some pretty good pieces of acrylic. I figure it’ll be good for Beacon Race and Campaign Paradiso (among other missions). I’ll use less grey next time as only one of the pieces of orange acrylic are actually glued in. Over spray for the win! It’s not very “spendy” for one piece, it makes a great center piece for any table top mission. Looks super cool too! I’m considering getting 3 or 4 more, eventually.

Next up, the Tracking Beacons:

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These look great (when done correctly), but were a bit fiddly as they’re done with very thin acrylic pieces. Amazing work done by Warsenal on these, I just felt like my sausage fingers were crushing the tiny delicate pieces of plastic. Couple that with the fact that there is an incorrect way to put these together (look closely at beacons B through E. That’s right I only got 2 put together “correctly”), makes for a very disappointing modeling experience for this new-person-who-should-have-paid-more-attention. sigh

To be fair though, my results are my own and not the fault of Warsenal. I just got going fast and wasn’t paying attention to how things were fitting together. It wasn’t until I started attaching the blue acrylic pieces that I realized my error. Which was well after painting them and well after any real way to fix them. As the price for 6 is relatively low, it won’t take me much convincing to buy 6 more and do them all correctly. Though these are definitely doable as antennae and beacon pieces.

My favorite objective pieces are next, the Access Terminals:

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These are really cool to put together, look really “structure-y” and they painted up nicely. A word of warning when you go to put these together, Since you’ll paint the majority of it before attaching the acrylic piece, make sure you sand the back of the terminal cover (the little “cage-looking” thing on top of the acrylic), otherwise, you may run into what I did on my first one. It’s a very snug fit, so modelers do your modelling. No, I have no idea what that means, but I’m keeping it, because it’s silly. Basically, it’s just going to be a tight fit, I broke the first one and had to do some crazy stuff with “stupid glue” and my snips, to get it to look like the other 5 terminals. Again, my fault, there’s a lip on the back that I didn’t sand down (see earlier statements about sanding down the back), and so I got impatient and snap went the plastic pieces. Life goes on.

 

The ITS pack from Customeeple was next, it was very straightforward, but very odd for me. While overall Warsenal has very sturdy, very interlocking pieces, Customeeple’s pieces tended to be built upon a structure by gluing pieces to a main strut and then gluing that to the top of another piece and so on. Led to some fairly frustrating times trying to get things to dry straight.

photo 1 (1)

The  taller things in the back of the picture are, what Customeeple call Antennae and the thing in the front is a Console. The console’s base was 3 interlocking pieces of mdf and two pieces of acrylic. If there is an easier multi-piece model to build, I haven’t found it yet. The antenna was a bit different and was more of the “build up and stack” method of model building. Not very stable, but looked great when finished (again, correctly). These don’t look bad, but I think shouldn’t have been my first real foray into objective building. All 6 pieces come with 40mm bases that once attached to their piece make them nigh impossible to tip over without malicious intent. The white effect on the console and “screens” on the antennae was achieved by using a white crayon on the surface. Old school gamer skills! I remember when we had to do that to all of our dice too (while walking uphill both ways, in the snow no less!).

The kit also includes 6 boxes which can be used for at least two ITS scenarios, that I know of. But, they’re branded with an in-game corporation, which is cool. I just painted them a base green and then used a bit of aging and chipping techniques to try to make them look used.

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There are a few things that, if I were more experienced, I’d have done a bit differently. But, all in all, I’m fairly proud of this serviceable set of ITS and objective terrain. I left it grey for three reasons, one I’m a lazy bum who really just wants to get back to gaming, two I think if I have some time I can throw some paint dabs on there to make them look better and more like well used higher tech pieces of equipment and 3 I think grey works as a neutral “that’s a thing to roll dice at, not conduct a firefight around”… But that visual cue really only works when the other terrain is painted more “realistically”.

 

Jake out.