Multiverse Gaming's MDF Terrain (mostly scatter) - review

AxeSlash

Ganger
Jun 3, 2017
60
58
33
Birmingham, UK
So I recently spaffed a load of cash on some stuff from Multiverse Gaming in Poland. As I build it I'll be posting reviews of the various bits here.

I'd been keeping an eye on Andrzej's progress through his Facebook page, and had been eyeing up his terrain for a while, but until Black Friday the carriage from Poland just made a little bit less attractive. The BF discount code basically offset the carriage charge enough for me to push the button. Wish I had the cash spare to get some of his Vault Builder stuff.

To start with, the SIT Containers (Gothic Pattern B):

http://www.multiversegamingterrain.com/sit-containers-gothic-pattern-b-x2-p-236.html

The kit comes with the option to make either a single 300mm long container, or two 150mm containers (I went with the latter, 300mm felt a bit long for Necromunda - the containers are a bit bigger than they look in the photos)

The MDF is 3mm throughout, and there are also some greyboard detailing bits.

Straight away this stuff pops out of the sprue pretty easily. A few tabs needed knifing out, but not very many, most of it almost fell out of the sprue as I lifted it up (this is a good thing). I knifed the greyboard detailing parts out for fear of ripping them. I used a craft knife with a square blade for this so I could just push the knife directly downwards onto the tabs without risking damaging the parts themselves. The MDF is soft enough that the knife went through really easily.

I Dremelated the tufty tab remnants off the parts pretty quickly as I do with all MDF these days, but you could use a knife or sandpaper if you want, it just takes a bit longer.

It must be noted that there was a bit more sap (or whatever the sticky liquid stuff in MDF is) on the parts than I've noticed on most other MDF kits, so I made an effort to make sure that the 'sappy' side was on the inside of the container so I had less cleaning up to do before painting. As it happens that works out well - lasers don't cut MDF straight down, if you look closely there's an ever so slight angle to it. So putting the sappy side on the inside means that things that locate into each other (like these do) locate a bit more easily.

With most of the (huge amounts) of MDF terrain I've bought over the years, I've had problems with tolerances being too tight. Not so here, most of the stuff is loose enough that even after a few coats of paint it should fit together fine, but not so loose that it's a pain to put together. There were a couple of parts that I felt could have been slightly tighter though, where I had to manually eye up how straight they were. No biggie.

One minor note of irritation was that Step 10 in the instructions (downloadable PDF from the link above) is physically impossible. I ended up chamfering off a couple of corners with a knife to make the "top bar" fit. No big deal, it took about 2 seconds notice the problem and two seconds to fix. Does make me wonder whether I'm in for lots of that sort of thing with the rest of the terrain though, seeing as the instructions obviously haven't been tested too well.

The rest of it went together fairly easily as planned, BUT it's worth thinking about locating the parts as you glue them: the doors and roof of each container are removable, and the containers are designed to locate into each other when you stack them; all of this is great, but does mean that it's worth checking which bits locate into which, and letting the glue dry while they are located into their mating parts so that you don't end up with too tight a fit later on.

Initially, the "pillar connection cap" parts seem a bit extraneous, like these could have been used as the location parts for the container above, instead of the actual location parts...until you realise that the containers are designed so that they can locate into all of Multiverse's other terrain from the same range, which is a nice touch. You can actually build structures out of containers if you want, like a shipping depot or something. I wish I'd bought more of them now!

And one more minor niggle: there are four spaces for detailing (2 at each end), but only two consoles and one ladder, which means there's one area with no detailing. It would have been nice to have another ladder, so I could have had a ladder at each end of the container. I'll probably make my own and stick it on.

Once built, the containers do look damn good for an MDF kit, as you can see in the photos on their site; some nice designwork going on here. I wish the doors had a way of attaching them in the 'open' position though - the photo on their site that shows one with an open door is just laid there - it's not attached, it's loose. I'm sure that an actual hinge system could have been implemented, but again I'm nitpicking. I could probably cook something up myself with a pin vice and some wire or something.

I ended up chamfering a few of the locating parts with some sandpaper a little just to prevent the corners getting damaged by me mashing them together during game setup. Probably took me a minute or two to do them all with a small bit of 1200 grit sandpaper. They locate really nicely now. The removable parts (lid and doors) are a nice touch - MDF containers from some other manufacturers don't have removable parts, so you can't e.g. have a miniature walk through (or shoot through) the container, but these do. On that subject, I'm not sure if the container is tall enough to fit a mini brandishing a chainsword high in the air yet, but it's certainly big enough for most.

The removable bits also mean it's going to be much easier to paint the inside of the container...although it does mean, that I have to paint the inside of the goddamn container :D

All in all, some of the best MDF scatter terrain I own so far (and I have stuff from TT, WGT, Wargame Model Mods, Blotz, and a few others). I love how it looks, it has a proper Imperial vibe (nice almost-Mechanicus logo on the doors, gothic arches on the sides), and the roof is gagging for me to use the aquila stencil from Wargame Model Mods on it. Planning to zenithal prime it, ink glaze it, drybrush it, and then sponge on some weathering to finish.

Photos of mine to follow, but they'll probably look almost identical to the ones on MG's site anyway.

More reviews as and when I get around to building them:
  • SIT Containers (Gothic Pattern A)
  • Aircon Ducts
  • Billboards
  • Communication Terminals
  • Hydraulic Press (can't wait to put this one together, the pics look great)
  • Modular Barriers

Yeah, I have an MDF problem. I should probably get help and cut down or something. I can't help myself.
 
Looking forward to the reviews. I have a slight dislike of MDF kits because they always come out looking like, well, MDF kits. Nothing wrong with them if you like the aesthetic but I'm keen to see how these come out. The design looks like it will disguise the construction material well.
 
Looking forward to the reviews. I have a slight dislike of MDF kits because they always come out looking like, well, MDF kits. Nothing wrong with them if you like the aesthetic but I'm keen to see how these come out. The design looks like it will disguise the construction material well.

In real terms, it feels like MDF kits are still in their infancy, and are improving all the time. If you compare the early TT kits to the recent ones there's a huge difference. Greyboard detailing is one thing that makes it look a lot less like MDF, for a start. Adding some texture afterwards helps as well.

That said, MDF just doesn't work for some types of terrain...horses for courses. It is, however, usually considerably cheaper than the equivalent quantity of e.g. GW terrain.
 
Once multi-axis laser cutters are more available it is going to change the game. Even 45 degree would open up a world of shapes. But things are pretty good now compared to some of the early offerings. It's almost like rediscovering a lost art, the process is strikingly similar to puzzle box construction.
 
Oh, I totally agree they are way better than they used to be.

I think a combination kit of MDF structure and a single sprue of plastic details to be added similar to the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue would be a great way to get good, strong and cheap terrain.

Not sure if you've seen the foamed PVC stuff from Plastcraft Games. It was pretty good stuff since you can scribe the wood panels, battle damage or even additional panel lines and rivets in place. I think it's a shame they have gone to printed colour pieces as I think being able to customise the terrain really helped.

Multi-axis cutters would be amazing. Even actually using CNC rather than laser cutters to get depth cuts without going right through the material would be great. I guess the expense of the much longer cut time for little gain is the issue for commercial viability there.
 
There are relatively inexpensive 3 axis mills. Look at Kromlech's new stuff, they're using it to just about the limit of the tech. It's going to take another price cut in CNC to push things to the next level on that particular front. But technology keeping the pace it is, I would expect to see some pretty amazing stuff in the coming year.
 
OK so I built the Hydraulic Press ( https://www.multiversegamingterrain.com/hydraulic-press-p-199.html ) last night. It looks great, BUT there were some issues:

1. Incomplete instructions. You can figure the remainder out if you know your way around MDF kits, but it's still irritating.
2. One of the parts (the top of the console) was too long. Like, literally 3mm too long. I had to trim it down and reshape it to fit...how did that get past quality control? Surely they built the damn thing at some point and realised there was a mistake?
3. The conveyer belt at the bottom is not attached to the main structure in any way, AND the box that it sits on is 3mm too low, so the conveyer sits at an angle, and being quite light is gonna be prone to getting knocked during a game if you don't base the whole thing, lift it up with a 3mm shim and glue the whole lot down. Not a major issue, but still annoying.
4. Balustrades on the top platform are very loose. Might be OK after some paint, or if you glue them on (I don't usually because I like flexibility with walkways etc)
5. The long greyboard parts of the console on the top (the screens and keyboards) could do with a bit more support, they're a bit bendy
6. The way that the ladder is attached to the main structure feels a bit flimsy, and there's a tab at the top that doesn't appear to mate with anything properly
7. Although the entire top platform uses the 'removable' connection system, it would almost certainly tip off if you put a couple of metal minis on one side. Mine is gonna get glued on. which is a shame because it won't pack down as flat (storage space is an issue for me), but hey ho, whatever.
8. Technically speaking in Necromunda, a fighter wouldn't be able to move from one side of the console to the other - the gap is probably 0.5", so a mini's base wouldn't clear it. Probably not the end of the world, but a technicality that anal players won't like.

As a side note, there are a lot of places on this that are gonna be a bugger to paint. Wish I'd primed the parts before gluing...
 
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