Warmill Portable Utility Pod review and build

This week I received my first Warmill product through the post! The Portable Utility Pod. I've seen this kit floating around the web for quite some time, but until recently I've been put off MDF terrain. I can't exactly say why, but I was always put off it for some reason, maybe it's my love for plasticard? maybe it's just because I'm an idiot, because MDF terrain is awesome, and this kit is no exception to that. Recently though (at the warlord games show  2013 in fact) I saw a plethora of MDF terrain manufacturers, one of these being warmill. I instantly fell in love with the SIR crates (which I STILL haven't managed to get any of yet!!), along with some of the other pieces they were showing off on the day. I had promised myself though, that the first piece I would get would be the Portable Utility Pod, so, with money burning a hole in my pocket I caved and gave it a shot. And I can tell you, I have NOT regretted this purchase (and why would I, IT'S LOVELY TERRAIN FOR MY TOY SOLIDERS! *cough* *ahem*). I decided to take a few photos on my phone as I was putting the kit together. It's not a big kit, when complete it stands around 3" tall, 4" wide and in total is 8" long. So it doesn't take long to put together. I unwrapped, cleaned up and glued this together in a couple of hours, as well as pausing to take photos in the midst of the build. It's not too complex to put together, but I wouldn't recommend it for younger, more inexperienced modellers without a bit of help. But I talk about why that is further down. So here it is, the Warmill Portable Utility Pod!
Portable Utility pod - packaging

Portable Utility pod - Packaging

Portable Utility pod - pack 2

Portable Utility pod - pack 2

The packaging of the P.U.P is pretty neat, It's about the same size as a DVD case or small book you might get from somewhere like amazon. With stickers on the back and front. Simple but nicely done. Love the description on the back too, I love the idea about even terrain pieces having fluff. Shows a great deal of care and attention into the product. A lot of wargames products these days, unless they're from the major players in the industry don't care about their packaging at all. 90% of minis and terrain come in varying sizes of plastic bags. As a designer I get a bit offended by this. I'd happily see this product sitting on a shelf in a hobby store though. And it would catch your attention.
Portable Utility pod -  contents 1

Portable Utility pod - contents 1

The box wasn't enough packaging! The model is wrapped in bubble wrap, and comes with a double sided instruction leaflet. Usually these leaflets go straight in the bin.. This one stuck around as it got a little complex later on! These guys really have went to town on the packaging for this kit, making sure that when it gets to you, it's going to be in great condition. Can't ask for more than that! This kit also fits through your letterbox too. I only ordered this one, so when I got home from work it was sitting on my doormat waiting for me. Nothing worse than getting home to that dreaded "we tried to deliver a parcel" notice which means a trip to the sorting office at some ungodly hour!!
Portable Utility pod - instructions side 1

Portable Utility pod - instructions side 1

Portable Utility Pod - instructions side 2

Portable Utility Pod - instructions side 2

The double sided instruction sheet is really nicely laid out. I put the model together and hardly needed to read the descriptions, the diagrams were sufficient to build the kit. Which again, is rare in the wargames industry. Something that I think could be improved on on the instructions though, The parts all appear to be blank, where some of them are actually etched with detail, it confused me in the beginning because I thought I should be seeing the "back" sides of the pieces, until I realised they just hadn't put the detail on the diagrams. It's not a big thing, but I think if the panel details were added to the instructions it would clear up that little bit of confusion. I did think though that it was a really nice touch to put on a note about how to detach  the parts from each other, and the offer to replace broken parts if you send a photo. Many places wouldn't offer that. So hats off to Warmill for that. You might think it looks like an easy kit though in general, and to be fair, it isn't hard, so why would I even NEED the instructions? well. Take a look at the next few photos and you might see why. there are a LOT of pieces, not only that, but a lot of them are very odd shapes to contend with that aren't always obvious if they are scrap or a part!
Portable Utility Pod - all parts

Portable Utility Pod - all parts

The kit comes on four sheets of MDF, there is very little waste on any of the sheets at all. here's a close up of all the sheets.
Portable Utility Pod - parts 1

Portable Utility Pod - parts 1

Portable Utility Pod - parts 2

Portable Utility Pod - parts 2

Portable Utility Pod - parts 3

Portable Utility Pod - parts 3

Portable Utility Pod - parts 4

Portable Utility Pod - parts 4

 
Portable Utility Pod - parts cut out

Portable Utility Pod - parts cut out

As you can see in the photo above, I've pulled out all the pieces that look like actual parts. DON'T throw ANYTHING away though at this stage. Some parts are obvious to what they are, where they go etc. others aren't!
Portable Utility Pod - which is which?

Portable Utility Pod - which is which?

One of these parts is waste. One is an actual part.. can you tell which is which? No? Neither could I until I got to the bit they were needed! (its the top one that's an actual part!) In truth, most of the parts are quite straight forward to work out what they are, but, it's very easy to misplace one and put it in the discards pile! So be careful and keep your discards close by while you dry fit/dive in and glue just to be sure.
Portable Utility Pod - stage 2 build

Portable Utility Pod - stage 2 build

According to the diagrams on the assembly sheet, this is stage 2, the first being to take the base, and attach it to the two "C" shapes, and also put in the 4 pieces that sit at a 45 degree angle. Stage two is the middle pieces. Take note! I made a mistake here! one I didn't notice until it was too late!! The floor piece and the roof piece are very similar. I made the WRONG assumption that the etched detail should go on the roof. This isn't the case. In the next photo you can clearly see my error if you look at how many holes are in the floor section. See the ones really close to the edge? Those are for parts on teh roof to sit into, but I've glued this  into the floor section. The pieces are the same size, so it doesn't make too much difference, but be warned!
Portable Utility Pod - top view stage 2

Portable Utility Pod - top view stage 2

Portable Utility Pod - front view stage 2

Front view

The pieces fit together very well, the precision of this kit is rather impressive. A lot of MDF kits can be either really tight, or very loose, but this one goes together very well indeed.
Portable Utility Pod -  Stage 3

Stage 3

The next stage requires 3 parts, the fist of the (i dunno what to call it? floor/roof detail sections?), and two supporting beams. It's easy to see which way round it goes in, just refer to the diagrams supplied, or take a look at the photo above for reference.
Portable Utility Pod - front door assembly

front door assembly

The next stage is the front and back doors for the Portable Utility Pod. I built these seperately and then glued them in, but you could build them up on the main body of the kit piece by piece, either way will work. The parts fit together so well that it wont really matter which way you do it.
Portable Utility Pod - back door assembly

back door assembly

The detail is really nice on the back, although, I was hoping there would be options to put a door on the back too, but nevermind.
Portable Utility Pod - doors ready to be fitted

doors ready to be fitted

The back and the front sections complete, ready to be slotted into place.
Portable Utility Pod - Doors attached

Doors attached

The back and front sections just slotted easily into place with no issues at all. Another testament to the precision of this kit.
Portable Utility Pod - top view again

top view again

Progress shot.
Portable Utility Pod - front before door attached

Front before door attached

From the front.
Portable Utility Pod - door attached

Door attached

Putting the door in place was pretty easy too, I love how it's sunk back into the body of the kit, with big chunky hinges, really adds to the effect that this a heavy duty piece of kit.
Portable Utility Pod - feet attached

feet attached

I've attached the feet to this kit. I've only (currently) got one of these kits, so it'll just sit where it is. There is the option to stack these, and if you do, you'll only want to attach the feet onto the bottom one!
Portable Utility Pod -  mistakes do happen

uh oh! I made a boo boo!

This is when I noticed my mistake! I came to put the roof on, (which is done in exactly the same way as the bottom part I showed earlier), however there are four support struts that go along the roof. These SHOULD have sat into the eight holes in the other section. because I'd come this far, I decided to do a little modification, and cut off the pegs with a sharp knife. Some neat pva along the edges, a little luck and it all turned out ok.
Portable Utility Pod - fixed

Fixed

After I "fixed" my error.
Portable Utility Pod - nearly done

nearly done

Top view.
Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

The steps are the last piece to finish off the piece. Personally, I think the top step is a little too long. The same size of the bottom step would have made it look better, but, probably wouldn't take a standard 25-30mm base standing on it very well. So I don't really mind too much.
Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

Portable Utility Pod - finished

So that's the build! Now All I have to do is ruin it by painting it paint it up and it'll be ready for some Sci fi gaming very soon! Overall I REALLY like this kit. It has a lot of character, added too even more by the fact it even comes with it's own fluff! I can equally see this piece on a 40k table as I can on an infinity table, as well as a Judge dredd table (where mine will end up more often than not) and even a firefly table (if anyone ever produces some rules for my beloved show!!) The build quality is superb. The parts fit together perfectly, the final kit looks beautiful when it's put together, and it fits in nicely with a whole load of other kits too. I can't wait to pick up some more warmill stuff. I'll most definitely be getting some of their SIR Crates soon enough, and eventually hope to get their ELMOR road system. Which would look superb with my other MDF sci fi terrain! You can buy the warmill Portable Utility Pod direct from warmill find it here: Warmill Portable Utility Pod, or get it from one of their prefered retailers (there's a list of them on their site. Thanks for reading this post. If you've liked it PLEASE leave a comment below, share on facebook/twitter etc. It REALLY helps my blog if you do. If you write your own blog, say hello, and I'll put you on my blog roll on the right there. Thanks for reading. Chris.

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About The Author

Chris has been a Wargamer since he was 12 years old, progressing through 40k, WFB now playing a diverse range of games from 15mm WW2, to space combat games, and even the odd game of judge dredd.

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