Sunday, 19 March 2017

Quick Review - Wilko Washers

Recently, I found out that Wilko sell metal washers that could be suitable for basing models. So I naturally I had to check them out.

Wilko is a English shop that sells all manner of everything, having filled in the void left behind after Woolworths went the way of the dodo. Some of the larger stores now have a pick-n-mix for DIY parts, which includes various kinds of washers (including 20mm M10, 25mm M6, 30mm M6 and M8). All of which might appeal to wargamers as alternatives to bases for miniatures.

Washers as bases are nothing new, but what makes Wilko particularly appealing is that you pay a fixed rate for a resealable bag (£1.99 for small or £2.99 for large) and as much as you can stuff into it. This, as it turns out, is a lot.

I started with only the 25mm washers and managed to fit 424 into a single large bag, making them worth 0.7p each. Which utterly thrashes the next most economical option of two pence pieces, that cost an unsurprising 2p each. Laser-cut MDF, plastic and resin bases simple can't compete with that price.

The cost alone makes these a serious option for any gamer, however we aren't in this hobby for its price and other considerations need to be taken into account. How do they compare size-wise with other options? well, lets take a look.

Here is a 25mm washer compared to its two main rivals, the two pence piece and a 25mm plastic base from Renedra. At first glance there is little difference. Even under a closer inspection there is not much between them.

When laid directly on top, the washer is noticeably smaller than the two pence piece as it lacks the rim, and although it is smaller than the Renedra base, the difference is less than a millimetre.

So what about height difference?

Again, the two pence piece is thicker and has an outer wall formed by its rim, but when compared to the Renedra base there is little to tell them apart.

It's worth noting at this point that although these washers are inexpensive they are not 'cheap'. They are clearly well punched and of consistent thickness. I've bought cheap washers form cheap hardware store before and there is a high percentage of washers that cannot be used because they have been mispunched (or crushed by another washer as it was being punched). Whereas in nearly 1000 washers that I've  got from Wilkos so far, only a single one was unusable, and because I could choose my own, I simply didn't add it to my bag.

The price alone makes these bases worth buying, as long as you can get them in bulk (best phone the store ahead of visiting). The consistency and similarity in proportions to other bases, simply mean that if you were to tell me you were going with another option I would be forced to give you a look of bemused derision.

On top of that, having based up a few minis now, I really like the extra weight they give to models. They feel bottom heavy, which is both satisfying in the hand and practical as they are much less likely to be knocked or fall over. Plus they can be used with magnets for secure storage and transport (something even two pence pieces can't offer consistently).


5 out of 5 skulls

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