Wizard Kraft makes what are, for my tastes, simple the best rivers for wargames ever made. I bought my first set at Historicon, circa 2001, and added to it several times when their product appeared there in subsequent years. Then the product became hard to find, but a couple of years back it resurfaced, and I bought up almost all of it that they in stock on their on line store. The fact that it was a side business rather than a full time enterprise continued to make it difficult to obtain. The owner and fabricator, William Werts, has launched a Kickstarter to take Wizard Kraft from a hobby to a real business, and in so doing, improve production time and add a host of new products. This is fantastic news, and I would urge you to consider supporting this kickstarter. It is the FIRST one that I have ever backed, and at the $150 level.
Unfortunately, to date the funding of the project is off to a slow start. While I think the guy makes an outstanding product (still more about that later), I don't think he has much of a clue about marketing his business... not that that's any strength of mine, either, I might add. So this post is an effort to boost the project, both out of my own selfish desire to see more Wizard Kraft product for my own use, and my desire for many of you not to miss out on the chance to get some for yourself as well. I have no connection to the business nor Mr. Werts whatsoever, aside from that of a very happy, long term customer. I would decline any compensation for my support if it were offered.
Here is my entire collection of Wizard Kraft terrain (rivers) laid out - about 18 feet of 2" rivers, and about 6 feet of 4" Rivers. Note the ford pieces, Y junctions, curves, and end pieces. Note also the variations in the "straight" and curved pieces. Some of my 28 mm figures are included for scale. The felt is bumpy because I have some of it folded under in prep for a game next week, and set this up rather quickly. Update: I checked the widths, and although the entire River pieces are about 2" and 4" wide altogether, the actual Water width is 1" for the bulk of the pieces shown above, and 2" for the wider ones. Thus in Wizard Kraft terms, these are mostly 1" rivers. with some 2" rivers.
Another view of the collection. These rivers are the default version, Deep Blue with Temperate flock (mixed green, very close to the color of green Geohex flock, if not identical). The rivers will be available in widths of 1/2", 1" 2", 4" and 8" (!). The straight sections will generally be 12" in length, but 4 and 8" sections will be available as well. But wait, there's more, as they say in the ad-biz. "You will be able to select the type of flocking on the shore area from Temperate (mixed green) or Arid (mixed earth). The water can also be selected as Deep Blue, Muddy, Dry Bed, Dry Bed w/pools or Dry Bed merge to Deep Blue or Muddy."
The individual pieces are made of a thin, moderately flexible plastic, that is dark brown and slightly shiny on the unfinished side. The edges are flocked in an exceptionally durable manner. Despite many of these pieces being 15 years old, and having been baked in the 100+ degree heat in my car for days at at time at successive Historicons, (and freezing temperatures at other events), AND rough handling being shoved into my storage boxes after games, there has been NO cracking or peeling whatsoever, and not a bit of the flock has rubbed off anywhere! The brown tan mix of the transition from grass to water is made of an almost cork like material with substantial texture. Not a bit of that has come off, either! The "water" as you can see has color variations from dark to medium blue, with a bit of a dry brush like detailing in off white for surface effects. Although you really can't see it in the pictures. the "water" surface has an almost cobblestone like pattern in the plastic, which makes it more water like as well.
Although I don't own any, evidently dirt road sets already exists as well. You can see some of them in this post by fellow blogger and Wizard Kraft aficionado, Jake. The plan is to add cobblestone roads, swamps, beaches, fields, and more to the range. In the updates section, Bill comments "Backers from across the pond in the UK have decided to get in on this project. Thanks for support[ing] me. And to note, no shipping will be charged on any backer rewards." Now, in all honesty, I am not quite sure if that means no shipping on the entire amount of product from your KS pledge, so if you have questions about that, "ask Bill".
From the Kickstarter page:
Early Bird Specials:
First 30 backers of $25.00 or more will also receive a swamp (6" to 8" diameter)
First 20 backers of $75.00 or more will receive a 12" long ford straight plus the above early bird item.
First 10 backers of $150.00 or more will receive a left and right merge for the size of river they choose for their backer reward and the above early bird items.
First 5 backers of $250.00 or more will receive a swamp river set (river ending in swamp and river passing through swamp) and the above early bird items.
As of this writing, ALL of these "early bird" rewards are still available, although many are close to being closed.
There are literally 100's of pictures on my blog showing these rivers in use if you need to see more of them in different settings. I once again give this product my highest possible recommendation, and have already voted with my credit card, LOL! If you are all interested in great rivers and some other exciting sounding products, consider backing Bill in this Kickstarter! I expect it will be years before you see me back another Kickstarter of any kind, but this one involves an already proven, outstanding product. As they say in Klingon. Qapla'!, gentlemen!