Something exciting came for me in the mail today; a Wraithstone Defence Line from Micro Art Studios!
If you haven't heard of them before Micro Art Studios started as a painting and converting service but over time has grown to produce terrain, movement trays, scenic bases, and a wide variety of accessories for figure conversions and gaming. They also produce some miniatures, including the official Disc World 30mm minitures (which I highly suggest you check out if you are a fan of the novels). I'd never purchased any Micro Art products before so I was excited to see if they lived up to the promise of their surprisingly slick website.
This kit is freaking gorgeous. If you're a fan of the Eldar look you will literally salivate over this kit. The blue acrylic panels are just stunning and are laser cut with extreme precision. The resin cast central pillars and stands are extremely well sculpted, matching the aesthetics of the existing GW Eldar line perfectly. Lastly the detailing itself is fantastic, with crisp clean lines and smooth even planes.
My only complaint is that the acrylic panels only come in blue, which means that if blue doesn't match your paint scheme, well, you're kinda hooped.
The resin used is strong and durable, a very high quality resin. I'm not even a little worried about it breaking under normal, or even rough, use. Same with the acrylic panels. There are mold-lines, of course, but they are negligible and easy to sand off. Some of the easiest to deal with I've ever seen.
Like most resin products you should give it a quick scrub with soapy water to remove any release agent before painting but that's hardly a knock against it.
This ones a little harder to grade. The Wraithstone Defence Line is negligibly different in size from the Aegis, about a millimeter wider, a bit more noticeably shorter, but otherwise completely interchangeable with the GW kit.
Where it starts to fall apart a little is at the joins. You see the kit doesn't come with enough end pieces to cap both sides of each acrylic panel with a pillar. This means that, unless you want to assemble it as one big long line, some sections will just end abruptly. Which sort of ruins the amazing theme of energy barriers that the kit has going for it. If this isn't something that bothers you then I'd give it the higher rank of 8/10, but for me, since I bought it completely for the aesthetic value, it annoys the crud out of me.
Tied into this the lack of two end pieces also makes the sections a lot easier to knock over during play, especially if your table has sculpted in hills or is otherwise not completely level.
At 27 Euro (roughly $37 USD, or $41 CAD + shipping) the price is surprisingly close to the actual GW kit. Even if, after shipping gets included, it ends up being $10 or $20 higher than the GW kit I think its completely worth it for a custom fortification like this, themed to your army.
Overal: 8/10. (Not An Average)
While the lack of extra pillars annoys me a lot (so much) I do have to admit that all in all the kit is pretty fantastic, and if you are even a little bit thinking of purchasing it I do, in fact, recommend it.
If you dont play Eldar they also make Necron, Tyranid, and Tau themed defense lines. I'm a fan of the Tau and Tyranid ones, although I, personally, think the Necron one misses the mark a bit, looking like a throwback to the blocky old-school Monolith style instead of the sleeker and more slim look of the Newcrons.
Edit: Forgot to allow comments, comments open now. 10:57, 20/04/14.