Greetings Readers! Psyberwolfe here with another product review. Today we’re going to look at 3 of Gale Force 9’s Battlefield Essentials products. Today we’ll be looking at the Desert Escarpments, Desert Extra Large Hill, and the Desert Palm Trees. Let’s dive right in.
Gale Force 9 is doing something that I find very interesting with their terrain sets. They have now classified the generic terrain that is useable in any game system as Battlefield Essentials. I really like this idea because what this does is that it makes it easy for beginning wargamers and clubs to know what terrain to get first. The other thing I like about their Battlefield Essentials is that the terrain is suitable for 15-32mm figures, and I’ll show that as we go along. The other nice thing with these sets is they come with sachets of two different types of flock to add life to these terrain sets.
The Desert Escarpments are a really interesting piece of terrain. The set comes with two pieces, a left and a right side. The bottom of the escarpment is covered in felt which prevents the piece from sliding too much on the game table. They can be used to create river valleys, wadis, ravines, ridgelines, and other barrier terrain. The sloped side is textured enough that figures won’t be slipping as much as they do on other hills. The height on them is enough to provide cover to Rhinos or Warjacks, and will completely hide anything in 15mm.
Because this terrain was delivered to me on one of our record breaking hot days here in Texas one of the escarpments had some heat damage which caused the felt to peel away from the bottom. This damage increased my appreciation for the terrain. For starters it is a resin shell filled with expanding foam, which makes the terrain light weight. I think this is also what saved the piece from being completely ruined. Thankfully I was able to use my razor saw and shave the warped expanding foam flush with the bottom of the resin shell and re-glued the felt to the bottom with “Aileen’s Wacky Glue.” The real cautionary note here is if you live in a hot climate it might not be wise to store this in your car or in a place that isn’t climate controlled.
The Extra Large hill is my favorite of these three pieces. Just like the escarpments it is a resin shell filled with expanding foam with a felt bottom. The painting quality is top notch. Most of it is completely playable, with one side that is almost cliff like. That variation makes this piece interesting to me because you can employ different terrain rules on one piece of terrain. What really surprised me was the height on this hill was enough to block ground level line of site to a Rhino, which isn’t helpful to taller vehicles like Land Raiders, but it is a decent height.
The Desert Palm Trees are wonderful. They are like the previous conifer tree set. It comes with two bases used to mark the boundary of the “forest” and 6 tree stands. The bases are made from the same flexible material that is used for the rivers they make. The tree stands are made of solid resin and have a nice heft to them that makes the stand nearly impossible to knock over. The only negative for me was the holes in the tree stands were not deep enough so the palm trees didn’t sit flush with their stand. This was quickly remedied with a 5/16” (~8mm) drill bit. Notwithstanding that negative I think these are a great addition to their “Battlefield in a Box” sets.
Overall I give these a 9/10. I think these are outstanding examples of terrain ready to play right out of the box. The included flock is a great value added feature to each set because it removes the guess work out of what flock to use. What I really like is this stuff is price competitive with what other companies are offering and it is ready to use out of the box. This upcoming month we’ll see these hills also available in a granite color, so don’t think you’ll be limited to desert terrain.
That wraps up this review. Tell us about the GF9 terrain you’ve bought and your thoughts on it.