Thursday, June 9, 2011

[Lantz's Corner] Black Cat Studios' Scientist Self-Experiment and Tracked Robots Review

Whew, that's quite the title. Welcome back to my corner of review bonanzas. This time around I have Black Cat Bases on my plate. I found this webstore from TableTop Fix, a blog I suggest all who are reading this right now follow. Black Cat Bases offers a pretty extreme range of miniatures for Fantasy, Sci-Fi and modern-day, most of which aren't offered anywhere else. You'll literally spend hours rummaging through their product line. After doing this myself, I made my selections, purchased them and went through the motions of getting my little pewter dudes to my home. Let's see how it all went down.

Black Cat Bases' webstore is quite vast and suffers from a common problem a lot of webstores do when they have large amounts of varying product; ease of navigation. Someone new to the webstore isn't going to know what Moonflight Miniatures or Darkest African Fantasies are, and the latter might suggest they've stumbled upon an age 18 and older website. Let's say, for instance I'm browsing various webstores for sci-fi miniatures. Webstores such as Troll Forged Miniatures has easily identifiable categories so I can search out what I'm looking for quickly and easily. While Troll Forged has a much smaller selection, this is kind of the point. A lot of these webstores start out small with an organization that works and can't, don't or won't adapt to their growing popularity. Black Cat Bases is huge, as I've mentioned, and that fact is very clear when looking at their category list.
So, back to my original hypothetical, I'm a sci-fi lurking customer and I stumble upon Black Cat Bases Ltd. To see all of what their sci-fi line has to offer, one of two things is going to happen. Either I'm going to click through every... single... category they have to insure I don't miss something or I'm going to give up 36 clicks in and not waste my time. Scenario one, the customer is frustrated. Scenario two, the store has potentially lost business. Other than this flaw, the webstore is pretty clean and each item is supplied with one or more pictures and most of the time good descriptions of the product including measurements.

My selections were some Scientist Self-Experiments and some Tracked Robots. The details on the pictures weren't bad at all and I hoped this would carry over to in-hand. If you'll notice, these things are quite cheap in comparison to some of the competition out there. Also, once again I have to say I'm blown away by the customer service some of these lesser-known companies provide; Black Cat Bases Ltd. is no exception. I had contacted customer service for some minor questions I had on their products to which they responded within 24 hours, were very polite and extremely descriptive in answering my questions.

After ordering it took about seven business days for me to receive my package, which is pretty fantastic for overseas. Opening my shipment, packing peanuts were not aplenty, but truly just doesn't matter as each item is in its own plastic container with soft-foam inside. This kind of attention to detail on shipping is something I truly appreciate. I can only imagine how much a company would save by tossing their product in plastic baggies in comparison to these containers, but having this specialized containing setup shows the company cares not only for their product, but making sure their customers are happy with receiving undamaged product.

Getting into the products themselves I was surprised to find the detail was actually a step above what the webstore shows off. While these products aren't the finest detailed pewter I've seen, they're certainly not poor product. The only issue I found was a few of the Robots "heads" were slightly lopsided at the bottom, but other than this there is once again zero flash cleanup. It still amazes me that companies either have little-to-no cleanup or a large amount; never in-between.

Cheap prices
Vast selection
Great shipping protect/individually cased product
Good customer service
Quick shipping

Website navigation/categories

Black Cat Bases Ltd. is a superb shopping experience. If you can take the time to look through all of their product line, you'll be pleased with the rest of your experience. With a few tweaks to their webstore, Black Cat could be out on top of the competition. They cover almost every range of 28mm miniatures imaginable which pushes their customer base up wide open. If you're looking for something unique, look to Black Cat Bases Ltd.

~Lantz aka Sinaura

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