Monday, 12 December 2016

Mantic Battlezones - A Guide

Actually, this should be Battlezones by Mantic, a life, the universe and everything guide, but there wasn't room in the title space. So, to start, this is my personal opinion, if you don't like it, write your own! I bought Mantic's Industrial and Urban sectors (so far I've only been allowed to open the industrial sector though!) and the first thing I did when I opened the box was search for a guide as to what is what and what the possibilities were with the set. I then panicked as there is no guide and very little in the box makes any sense at first glance.

I closed the box and put it to the rear of my self, then resorted to Google. Every post I found said the same thing, namely, why isn't there any sort of guide provided with Battlezones? On their site, Mantic states that one is on the way, but as that was written in 2012, I wouldn't hold your breath! Fortunately Mr Anthony Bragg, check him out on Google+, has been a huge help and put me onto The Terrain Tutor on You Tube. Mr T's videos are brilliant and he covers almost everything you will ever need to know about terrain, but he doesn't tell you what is what with Battlezones. Hence this guide.

I've tried to do a bit of a comparison to give you some idea of what Battlezones is like in the wargaming field. The boss of Mantic compares it to Lego in their videos, but personally I would compare it to Games Workshop.

Lego was brilliant when I was even younger than I am now:) It is versatile to the point that if you don't like what you build you can take it apart and start again and back in the day, it offered value for money. However, it is hardly suitable for use in the majority of wargames.

I love GW, to my mind it is the bench mark that all other wargame's businesses have to follow and as an extra bonus, it is English and therefore deserving of our support. Their terrain, like their figures, is of brilliant quality and fits perfectly with the background of their scifi games. Another personal plus is that what you see on the box is what you get. But, to add a more personal touch to the terrain, you need to be experienced and able to add intricate bases to make your customisations look good.

Despite Mantic's claims to the contrary, you cannot reuse the pieces in their sets like you can with Lego. The connectors simply are not strong enough and you do not get enough of them. Neither is the quality of the pieces up to that of Games Workshop, although that is largely down to the fact that whoever takes them off their frames obviously doesn't love what they are doing.

Where Battlezones comes into its own is its versatility. You could buy ten of the same kit and not build the same building twice. It is brilliant. Better still, it is perfectly suited to wargaming as long as you have your background story right. What do I mean? If you are fighting your battles on a planet with millions of years of history, you are probably better off buying Games Workshop terrain. But if your battles are set in an environment like the TV show Defiance, Battlezones is just what you need. It looks functional, rather than artistic, perfectly suited to colonists who want easy to assemble buildings that will provide them with shelter, safety and protection. It also fits in perfectly with what I had in mind when I wrote my wargames rules.

So, onto my review of the Battlezones industrial sector. Yes, I can hear your sighs of 'At last.'

What You Get:

90º and straight connectors

Walls and extras

Roofs and extras

Extras 1

Extras 2

Urban sprues

You will need; cutters; long-nosed pliers; a file; Stanley knife and lots of super glue. You will also need something to use as a base for your buildings as they are too flimsy for gaming use otherwise. I used some cork place mats.

You do not get enough connectors and the 90º ones are enough to make a sane person wish to commit seppuko. My first effort, I ended up with more pieces super glued to my fingers than to each other. For my second attempt, I either left them out, or cut one of the pegs down to a triangle, then super glued them. They are a particular pain when trying to fix roofs to walls as

A – they leave the roof section sitting proud of the wall

B – you are likely to wreck the wall and everything else attached to it when you try to push the roof onto the connector.

The 'risers' are brilliant though and are an excellent way of joining walls together. But whatever connectors you use, you are better off gluing everything to give it some stability.

The connectors work by pushing/forcing their pegs into the holes in the walls, etc. It is a good idea to use long-nosed pliers to squeeze them into place after putting glue on the pegs. BUT ensure that you have planned what you want to build first, as you will only get one attempt.

My first attempt after judicial use of filler. By this stage I was not a happy chappie and wished I had gone for GW terrain instead.

Luckily my second attempt turned out better because I had come to terms with the limitations on the connectors. If you want to use the conveyor belts though, I suggest you cut the supports in half as otherwise the conveyors are virtually at the top of the doorways.

If you want to do corners with the railings or walkways, you are going to have to do some cutting, as they won't sit together properly otherwise. Not a big deal, but worth bearing in mind.

I haven't finished painting my buildings yet, but I will post a picture of the finished factory once I have. If you want to see some decent paint jobs, see Anthony Bragg on Google+.

Unfortunately I don't have a spray gun any more, nor anywhere to spray without my wife divorcing me, so my efforts are totally with a brush and I think spraying would look a lot better.

I hope you have found this useful and I wish you all happy wargaming.




  1. Interesting insight into your beginnings of mantic terrain building and thank you for the shout out for mel and I......I really like the look of the lowered conveyor belt and may try that myself next time just for variation.I will add that the more you build and learn the limitations of certain pieces and techniques of the connectors, the more construction of buildings becomes easier and therefore increasingly satisfying.As shown by your second attempts.

    1. Thank you Anthony, I've got some more to add to the post as I've just used the urban buildings which are, in my opinion, much better. But whatever I do will never be as god as yours:(

  2. Considering you where worried about all the parts and no instructions you've done a grand job.

  3. Thank you Russ. You are such an awesome friend:)