Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Total Battle Miniatures' Narrow River System Review for 6mm

Ok, one more terrain component ready for my collection in time for our Antietam action next weekend. I've lamented a lack of a proper river system on my table since the 90's and now I finally decided the time is ripe to just buy one.

I ended up ordering the narrow river system from Total Battle Miniatures as it looked fine and the price was right. After ordering, the company contacted me and told me they now do a brown version as well as the default black one. I thought it surely would look more realistic and said ok. Having straight black for a river was the only thing I hesitated on this product and thought I'd paint over the black.

The mental image I had in my head of a brown river was something like this:

Which I pretty successfully modeled in my training terrain piece here:

That's what streams and lakes look like here in Finland. Well, when I opened the package I found these:

The color on these pieces is spot on for a rapid stream or river in flood or with soil mixed in the water. Like here:

So, I may not have gotten exactly what I thought I would, but the color is still very good for portraying the kind of river it wants to. BTW, I lifted the pictures of the real rivers from a blog here. Check it out, there's good stuff about modeling rivers there. Anyway, back to the set. The material is made of flexible resin and is very flexible and rubbery like so:

The material seems strong and durable, and I think you have to punish them hard to break or tear them. The sections are 4 centimeters wide, and the water portion is 25 millimeters wide. Perfect for games like Fire & Fury, that is. The water portion of the pieces is glossy and you're not actually supposed to paint them. The gloss has been achieved in the molding without any varnish or the like. It's quite good considering there's no "water products" involved.

I did some experimenting on painting the sections by working on the backside of a section. No paint nor ink would stick on the glossy part, but after roughing it up a bit with sand paper, I could get paint to stick. I painted the section brown with your standard Citadel paints and then tried two water products. Vallejo's Still Water and Woodland Scenics' Water Effects.

Still Water cracks when bent, so it was a bad call. Water Effects however bends quite nicely and I didn't do any damage while bending and twisting the section for a while. In the end I decided to go with the original colour, but I think you can get a nice result with Water Effects, if you don't subject the pieces to too much mechanical strain.

I washed the pieces in soap water, painted the banks and added some flock and shrubs:

The end result is very good for a flexible, modular set, and I'm sure it'll do a fine job at slowing down troops on my field, even if the water is a bit muddy.

An isolated farm overlooks a stream in the north-American wilderness.



  1. That looks fantastic - well done!
    I'll keep this in mind as I start my new collection of 6mm terrain

  2. Especially like that last picture. Utterly superb!