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Fantascene Hobbit Holes

hobbit holeRecently, I received an email from a company in England asking for a link exchange. Ever the curious soul, I checked it out. I was greeted with a very good looking "hobbit hole". I'm a HUGE LoTR fan and have way more models than my wife thinks any normal (or abnormal) person should have. I checked out the site: Fantascene and emailed the owner (Geoff) back.

Link exchanges are easy enough and our site allows registered users to submit links o­n their own but I thought that this needed special treatment. In corresponding with Geoff we struck up a rapport, I created a banner ad (you did know we create graphics for people didn't you?) and gave him a rotating banner ad. Geoff shipped me off a Hobbit Hole and a sample of their resin terrain for review. I'm saving the resin stuff for a separate article.

Over the web, it was very hard to judge scale and quality. Shipping from England took a week and arrived intact. Whenever I get a package of any sort, all 3 of my kids have to crowd in and get their faces in the way of the box cutter (Sigh). I dug the Hole out of the packing material and held it up. The oldest wanted to keep it for herself (a big LoTR and Harry Potter fan) and the 10 y.o. Declared that it was "really pretty". The 5 y.o. Wanted to play with it right then and there.

fantascene banner

My first impression as I lifted it was that it was a lot heavier than I expected. It had a good solid feel to it. It felt very playable. It looked as impressive as it felt. The detailing, painting and overall design didn't disappoint in anyway that I could see. I had to see how it scaled to the GW style LoTR minis as I know that scale can be rather… ummm… creative?!?

Digging out Aragorn and some Ring Wraiths I positioned them around and o­n the Hole. The sizing is just about perfect and the figures do not look out of place in any way. A couple of these with some added terrain features like trees, etc. and you'd have an awesome gaming table.

Aragorn fighting off some salesmen

I asked Geoff about his processes.

The Witch King goes Trick or Treating

The Hobbit Holes are cast with a 2 part, dense urethane. The mold is made from a silicone mold supported by a fiberglass shell. The fiberglass is needed so that the expanding urethane doesn't expand the mold out of shape. It is based o­n a smooth board with holes in it. The holes allow air and excess urethane to escape. The molds are cast upside down and the urethane expands to fill the mold and pick up the detailing.

Most manufactures would use a low density urethane (biscuit foam). Fantascene uses J7059 urethane which is far more dense than most and picks up a lot more detail. Durability is a huge factor but it comes at a price. It's far more expensive so not suited for mass production. I think that, when looking at the finished product, it's a fair trade and guarantees that it'll be a more unique piece of terrain than a factory produced bit.

Remember, these are finished pieces. The cast urethane is primed, sprayed black and then painted with acrylics. The grass is static grass and the bushes are flocked. The fancy o­nes have trees and flowers glued to the foam.

In my view, the Hobbit Holes are required terrain bits for LoTR fans. Especially if you're going to be Scouring The Shire. How do they compare to the GW ones made in the LoTR Expansion? More to scale I think. The round doors o­n the GW Holes are man sized so look too big in comparison.

The Pros:

Quality design and workmanship.
Good feel and weight.
Finished Product, no painting or assembly

The Cons:

Paint is a little glossy for my taste but a quick spray of Dull Coat fixes that.
Front porch is a little cramped for the more "heroic" poses of GW minis. Some of the bushes encroach on the flat space and 1" mini bases don't sit flat in those places. Minor issues no matter how you slice it.

Hobbit HoleHobit HoleHobbit Hole
More pics are in the Hobbit Hole Gallery

Check out Fantascene and tell Geoff I sent you. 🙂


Posted in Product Announcements.

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