Or it's all Phil's fault! Phil over at The Wargaming Site gave a heads up about Leven Miniatures, providers of cheap 6mm buildings. Having recently scanned the Internet for just such items and coming up short I was quick to type in a short reply before heading over to the site via the link Phil had provided.
It did not take long before I had picked out a nice mix of buildings that I would like to take a good look at. To order you have to send an e-mail with the codes of the items you want rather than a basket on site. This is rather old hat style but given that I believe this is a part time business (I could be wrong in this!) and how the business operates it's not really a bad thing. If you are buying a large variety of buildings it could be a bit of a pain and given how lazy we are getting adding up what you are planning on spending could be seen as a negative. It could also stop you passing your budget which could be seen as a positive or a negative. Soon and with little pain I had produced my list and on totting up had spent a whopping £14.50 or to put it another way I had averaged £1.45 per building! Phil was not kidding when he said they were cheap! I have to admit the fact they were so cheap kind of makes you wonder what would drop through the letterbox. Mick (the owner) then works out the cost of sending and e-mails you back. Well he does a little more than that as I got a confirmation e-mail letting me know he would sort out the postage the following day. This was Friday evening by he way. Saturday morning rolls round and Lee gets in touch. "Have you seen these buildings by Leven" apparently he reads more than my blog the scank. Yes I reply, I've ordered some. Soon enough Lee supplies a list of what he wants, I pass it onto Mike who adds it to my order with an e-mail stating he has to cast some of Lee's order (typical of Lee that, LOL). I paid for the lot Sunday morning and on Tuesday they get delivered. Service is impossible to fault on this experience.
OK but what about the buildings. Well first impression was that they are on the small side, they fit in very well with the Scotia Miniatures from about 20 years ago (anyone remember their resin tanks in 6mm?) I still stand by this view, though I am not saying the size is wrong just in comparison to Timecast and Total Battle Miniatures they are smaller.
|Painted Timecast against Leven Models|
Please note the picture above is not like against like. The two buildings up front are Stone Oast Houses, which by nature are smaller than a house. I felt they could also possibly be made into peasant like buildings at a push for Russia. The buildings I have at present are more town like that village. The Oast Houses are £1 each. I will be putting in a second order at some point for the eastern housing that Leven provide. The church to the rear is a Russian village church, the spire is not attached.
Close up detail of the church shows it to have some nice character and will allow some nice weathering. Again a nice price point at £1.50
What I really was excited about was the watermill. I already have the Baccus/Timecast one but I have a possible scenario that needed two and really did not want to but the same building again. Leven have two watermills on offer, one stone and the other wooden. Add to this a Granary that also has a waterwheel and you should be sorted. These two (I have the stone one) look like they will sit together well. In this case the scale looks to be the same. I liked the detail on the Baccus mill so I was pleased to see the same level of detail on this one. I really am looking forward to painting this one up. As a comparison Timecast are £4 for their mill, Leven are £2.
Three of the larger buildings between £1.50 and £2 each. Again a nice amount of detail on these buildings and plenty of character. Well worth the price and a small town becomes possible without straining the scenery budget.
This is the granary with the separate water wheel. Typical of resin it has an odd blob or bubble but I stress the odd. I would go as far as to say the average timecast building has more trouble with this than the Leven buildings have.
I really like this one with the stairs down to the road and the whole look of the building. It will be a joy to paint up and the detail makes this both easy and fun.
Another interesting building. Most of the buildings are modelled from pictures so are based on the real thing and Mick also states he trys to make buildings that no one else has done which helps to flesh out our building selection.
The English church is a real nice looking church and will fit in really nice in many a wargame based in England. Again though it would not sit well with the Baccus buildings, made worse by the plinths they sit on as they will really dominate the church. I will be mounting the church on a plinth of it's own anyway so I can construct a graveyard etc.
So am I pleased with my purchase? Defiantly, the size issue is very much minor and can be worked round with little trouble. Again I want to stress that I am not saying these are small, it's quite possible the other 6mm buildings are on the large side. What I will state though is that these buildings are excellent value for money and are worth far more than a casual look if you are a 6mm gamer. Leven plan to release a 10mm range and a 3mm range! Meanwhile they have more releases planned in 6mm. I just bought a mixed bag for three different periods limiting what I can show you here. The range also includes a lot of WWII and modern buildings as well as Airfield buildings and even a cinema. If you have not yet nipped over to the Leven site I recommend you do right now, go on you know you want to.
Last word will be from my wallet, I will buy more of these buildings and of course when I paint some up I will be blogging the results.