I originally began with only one of Litko’s 3-Hex Industrial Tower System (ITS). The basic hexagonal design was refreshing. Unlike other CNC terrain manufacturers, parts are sent in individualized plastic bags with labels, already punched out.
Getting the Pringles can in through the laser-cut central holes was a bit of an effort and a very tight squeeze. I thought I might break something, but it ended up working. I saw enough potential to order three Base Plates and another 3-Hex tower. Using the ITS for games of Necromunda is a no-brainer, as well as for games of Infinity, Dust Tactics, Combat Zone, and Void. Of course, the ITS towers can also be used in larger games like Warhammer 40k, Dark Age , or AT-43. It is also industrial enough to fit into modern wargames, though I have never seen a stucture quite like it.
Assembly is a snap, quite literally. I haven’t glued any part of the ITS. To my eye though, a Pringles can is too short an object to be convincing as a smokestack or exhaust. I added two widths of PVC piping to create, I hope, a more convincing exhaust. There is more on the innards of my metal smokestack in the Youtube video.
Another thing I like about Litko’s wooden products is that they give you the parts that were laser removed. In the case of the tower system, it’s the 2.75 inch diameter plugs that were cut from the centers. The same is also true for their movement trays: you receive the base-sized wooden cut-outs. I love versatility and variability in my terrain, so being able to add the plugs back to the hexes for a larger playing area is excellent.
Floors are separated by 3 inches, perfect for Warhammer 40k. If you have the Pringles can in the center of the 3-Hex, you only have about 34mm clearance, so models on 30mm Dark Age bases (including Warmachine bases) are fine. Otherwise larger miniatures on 40mm bases like Terminators and Meganobz are too large. You could always arrange with your opponent whether they can walk around the smokestack or not.
Getting the Most From the Industrial Tower System
One way you could possibly use your product is having a rust-stained, dirty filthy hex tower. If you want a clean version of the same tower, just flip it upside down. The rusty dirty tower will then be on the bottom, out of eyesight while the clean parts are face up on your gaming table. Another variation of this would be to have industrial toxic sludge made with Water Effects tinged with paint on one side of the platforms, while the others were “clean”. You can get a lot of extra mileage out of “the Flip”.
I also like that a larger tower can be constructed in a second or two from two smaller ones simply by stacking them. The thickness of the wood is only about 1.75mm and not that noticeable if you decide to stack yours.
If you are using the Short Wall Sections, it is possible to have reversible pieces with decoration on one side and the other left plain. This is much more viable if you have the Pringles can inserted to block the internal view.
Leaving off two supports creates a different feel to the tower. I can’t vouch for its stability after doing so, but it’s another direction you could take your build in.
A Few Drawbacks
As seen in the Youtube video, the tower sections cannot be joined up next to one another while still preserving the ability to install the short wall pieces. The supports can be turned inwards and then the hexes can butt up against one another, but then the wall sections do not fit in. They can imperfectly adjoin each other though and just be off by a centimeter or two. I don’t know that many buyers might want to adjoin them like I do, but it’s possible. I really envision six or seven hex stacks adjoining each other to create one mega hex.
The other related drawback that I can see is the design of the wall pieces themselves along with their pricing. To pay $9.75 for 10 pieces of thin wood is a bit much, especially when they don’t fit in precisely. Instead, the tabs used to hold them in place remain a bit conspicuous and there are gaps. When inserted, there is a 3 millimeter bit of vertical support sticking out past the wall sections.
Having placed two orders with Litko now, I must say that they have the slowest shipping times of any manufacturer I have yet encountered, Terranscapes excluded. An order placed on Jan. 1 wasn’t shipped until Jan. 24, while my first order was placed Dec. 12 and shipped on Dec. 28. In every other respect including their email list, website design, and wide selection of products, Litko seems like a burgeoning small business, but when the order is actually placed, I get the feeling that it is a one man operation.
As I’ve already said, I’m very pleased with how my 2 3-Hex towers have come along. The design problems are minor and I recognize their existence now and look forward to working within their parameters. I will be adding a few more 3-Hex towers and trying out some of the other wall sections and the railings, so check back for those in a few months.