Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wargames Bakery: Flexible Wargame Pattern Stencils Reviewed!

Today we will take a quick look at the Wargames Bakery flexible wargame pattern stencils which are currently funded through their own kickstarter campaign for only £5.00 a stencil. I was already intrigued by these stencils and was then contacted by Sally and Dave of Wargames Bakery with the request of doing a review, I immediately agreed as I was eager to test these useful stencils out!

The product qualities

As part of the review I have received two different multi scale pattern stencils as you can see in the added picture. Each of these stencils contains the chosen pattern in several scales as you can see I have received the circle and clubs patterns. Note that the stencils shown in the picture were already used and there for show some paint marks.

These stencils are made in a blue custom made silicone rubber which was chosen for its good qualities necessary for the creation of these flexible but yet durable stencils. I assume that the stencil patterns were laser cut as I found some residue on the back of the stencils and also smelled the same distinct odour as when opening an order of laser cut wooden bases.

As you can see in the picture below these silicone stencils are very thin and flexible. These important qualities allow you to simply curve the stencils around curved objects to add your desired markings. Although 1mm thin these stencils are created to be extremely durable and reusable as you can easily wash off the paint using some hot water and soap!

Testing the stencils

The patterns of the Wargames Bakery stencils can be applied by using a brush, airbrush, spray can or sponging technique. As I don't own an airbrush and the current weather doesn't allow me to use spray cans I have opted to test the stencils using a simple brush and sponge technique. 

First of all we try the sponge technique using a small bit of foam that comes in miniature blisters. To apply the pattern lay down the stencil on the desired surface and load your sponge with the desired amount of acrylic paint. I found it easier to achieve a nice effect using a good amount of paint instead of using a drybrush amount of paint. During this step you only need to make sure that the stencil remains in the same position to avoid smears.

After you have achieved the desired look, you simply remove the flexible stencil and witness the pattern neatly transferred onto the surface. As you can see in the picture below I have succesfully managed to apply the desired pattern. I would personally use these kind of stencils for creating road markings or markings on scenery such as the rather useful radioactive sign pattern that's already available.

The second method is the brush technique for which I used a small drybrush brush see the attached picture. This technique is similar to the previous technique but allows you to create neater patterns especially round the edges. I have added some comparison pictures of the same pattern I have applied with the sponge and brush technique.

The pattern below was achieved using the brush technique and you can clearly see the neater edges compared with the white pattern in the second picture.

 Cleaning the stencils

As previously mentionned these stencils are created to be reuable and durable so after a painting session you can easily clean them using some water and soap. I have added some pictures of the stencils after use and after I have cleaned them in hot soapy water. During the cleaning process I noticed that the GW paints especially black were tougher to clean than the used craft paints but after some scrubbing I managed to remove all the paint.

Before the cleaning and after the cleaning as you can see most of the paint has been removed in a short clean up of a couple of minutes. Making them ready for future extensive use.

Experimenting with the patterns

As I had some spare time and paint left, I began with some quick experiments on the rest of the prepared surface. As you can see in the pictures below you can layer the patterns very easily when the first layer has dried. Note that these were quick experiments and also first attempts but with some practice you should be able to achieve even better and neater result depending on your needs.


In the above picture you can see my first attempt at layering the pattern with some mixed results as I first tried the sponge technique and should have used the brush technique for a good result. You can see the black circle on the white circle where I tried to touch up the black shape but looking at the attempt I would consider the touch-up as a failure.

In this picture I can clearly show you the difference in neatness between the sponge and bursh technique. The black Sten marking in the bottom right has been achieved using the brush technique while the sponge technique achieved the more sloppy Sten in the top right corner. I have also tried a free hand exclamation mark on the white circle to show the possibilities when mixing some free hand paint work with the stencils.

The conclusion

If you're looking for an easy way to add markings to either your models or scenery and you don't posses the necessary skill or patience for painting free hand markings. Then I can certainly recommend you these cheap and above all useful and durable stencil patterns. 

You can now pledge for these quality stencils for only £5.00 a stencil - as they will be priced at £6 afterwards you would be wise to get them now on the Wargames Bakery kickstarter page or buy these stencils through their shop when they become available. If you're looking for more information about these stencils and all the patterns available make sure to visit the kickstarter campaign as everything is shown there along with useful tips and pictures.

Dozens of other reviews can easily be found here and make sure to follow this blog as more reviews, tutorials and wargame news appears every day!

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