Hangar 18 Miniatures Photo Backdrop Review

I just recently picked up my first photo backdrop to use in my light box. On the recommendation of Greggles, I went ahead and purchased one from Hangar 18 Miniatures. I had also read a very thorough review by another blogger that sold me on it.

Website

The Hangar 18 Miniatures site is easy enough to use. They have a very large selection of backdrops to choose from. If you can’t find a backdrop you like there then odds are you won’t find one anywhere.

Hangar 18 also offers three different sizes ranging from perfect for a single miniature, to damn near big enough for an army.

The checkout process was quick and painless, just how I like it. Really, the entire process was flawless.

Price

I feel the prices for the photo backdrops are very reasonable. I picked up the A2 size, which is 16″ x 23″, for $24.99. That size easily let me get shots of my Chaos Knight, and should be perfect for doing squads as well.

I felt $25 for a backdrop that should last years, and covers everything I need, was really good.

Shipping & Packaging

The cost of shipping for the backdrop was only $4.60. I don’t think I’ve paid so little for shipping on anything in a good many years. Prices may of course vary. I’m in the US, and so is the company.

The only problem I had was that it took Hangar 18 four days from time of purchase to ship my backdrop. Same day shipping is pretty common at this point, which I don’t expect from every place, but four days is a bit long for my taste.

During those four days I checked the status of the order to find it never changed. I expected to see a status of “preparing for shipment”, “order being fulfilled”, something to acknowledge it was processing. Nothing.

Once the backdrop was finally shipped, which I got an email notice about, it arrived in four days time. I just did USPS shipping, so four days is fair.

Here’s what arrived.

Shipping Tube

As you can see, the backdrop is secured in the cardboard tube, which is pretty sturdy. The backdrop was in perfect shape when I took it out. It was even rolled in a paper to prevent it from rubbing against itself and wearing the printed side.

Care Sheet

I thought it was great that a care sheet was included to let me know how to properly use the backdrop to avoid damage, and how to fix damage that may occur.

 

The Backdrop

Material

My first impression was surprise at how thin the backdrop is. I’m not sure what I was expecting to be honest, this being my first backdrop and all, but this thing is paper-thin.

Hangar 18 Miniatures Photo Backdrop

 

The care sheet about fixing bends made perfect sense once I saw it.

Despite the backdrop being paper-thin, the material seems strong, so it’s not like it’s going to tear by handling it, or get a crease. I was careful handling it just to be safe.

The backdrop might be thin, but now that I have it set up in my light box it’s unlikely to come out of it unless I buy another to use. So, I don’t see this as much of an issue.

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To set up the backdrop I just used clothespins to hold it in place. I clipped it to my previous backdrop, which was just a big piece of white poster board. The poster board has been held firmly in place for over a year with just paint tape, so I figured why rock the boat?

Hanging the Backdrop

The recommendations that came on the care sheet suggested binder clips, paint tape or velcro on the back to hold it in place. I did have binder clips, but I figured the wooden clothespins were less likely to damage the print than metal binder clips.

Photos

The big thing though is how does the backdrop look when in use?  Well, I’ll show a few shots here, but you can find a slew of them I took on this post.

Once I saw the shots I was in love. Prior to this backdrop I was shooting on white. I use my iPhone for my pictures, and a white backdrop with bright lights plays hell with my camera. As you can see, the backdrop is very flat. So, my phone wasn’t struggling to deal with light bouncing around. I was able to focus on the model, and get some of the best shots I’ve taken of a miniature. With some more practice on this backdrop, I can only see my picture quality improving.

Overall

For a $30 purchase (including shipping), I’m extremely happy with the photo backdrop. I do wish it weren’t so thin, but like I said – it’s set up now, so I won’t be handling it much at all any more. The quality of the pictures though is what matters at the end of the day, and I have no complaints about that.

Despite being very thin, the backdrop photographs great, and for such an affordable price, I would recommend these backdrops to anyone.

  • Moce review and thanks for sharing and writing it up.

    • I’m someone who always looks for reviews. So, I like to give back when I can.

  • Very nice. The price feels steep, but if you never have to replace it (like a tool) it becomes more palatable. If I ever get a permanent spot for photos, I’ll keep this in mind.

    • You think it’s steep? I think I paid around $12 for the LED lights I use for the light box, so $25 doesn’t seem all that bad to me.

      The smallest size (A3) is 11″ x 17″, and it’s only $15. That’s plenty big for standard models. Of course I needed something Knight sized, so I went larger.

      • You have to remember my gaming budget these days is nearly zilch. $25 for a large printed sheet of paper is a lot for my particular budget.

        • You should have started a wargaming farm. You know, grow miniatures, paints, hobby supplies, etc. That’s a real thing, right?

          • Lol. Just wait until you see my corn cob Reaver Titan!

  • Nice review, I’ve thought about ordering a bunch of them but the international shipping is a bit too high, which I fully understand why. I can’t find anything like this in Europe unfortunately. I also expected them to be thicker.

    • Yeah, international shipping is tough. You feel like you have to order more of them to justify the cost.

      Speaking of, they do sell sets of 6 at a discounted rate. I have no idea if it’s in your budget, but 6 of the smallest size (11″ x 17″) is $75 USD. Normally 6 of those would cost $90, so you save $15. That savings could go towards the expensive shipping.

      • That sounds doable, I’ll take a look at it at least, thanks.

  • Nice review. Looked at these before and they do look nice, but shipping to the uk is pretty pricey, which is enough to put me off :(

    • Thanks.

      You’re in the wrong side of the Atlantic ;)

  • I suspect the thin material is in part so they can be used with lightboxes like mine, where the built-in clips can’t really handle anything more substantial.

    I’m currently happy enough with the plain backdrops I’ve got, but when I do feel like spending more money on my setup, some of it’s probably going to these guys. Thanks for the writeup, and it really does take your pics up another notch.

    • I’m sure you’re right. They also let you shine a light through the back. It just creates a bright area on the backdrop, so you can do focal points and stuff.

      It is amazing how much the background/backdrop can really change how your models are perceived.

  • I spent $2 on a piece of sky blue (so I’m told) A4 paper. Which served its purpose. You get what you pay for. Based on what your’ review, methinks it’s time for an upgrade!

    • Definitely worth looking into. Do you do much mini photography? Trying to recall the last time I saw something…

      • You will notice that I haven’t dignified that little witticism with a response.
        Boogey face.

        • I actually wasn’t being sarcastic. I was trying to recall if you did a lot of photos. Seriously, no sarcasm. You’ve been busy with the mag, not so much the blog, so I couldn’t recall your blogging format previously.

          Now, if you want me to be witty, I can do that ;)

          • Fair dues. I withdraw the boogey face.
            It has definitely been a while since I picked up a paint brush in anger and most of the photos that I have taken in the past are against the aforementioned blue paper.

            • It’s a worthwhile upgrade. Sadly, you’ll probably pay a premium to ship to Australia.

  • Turkadactyl

    Nice review. I ordered the blossom tufts from hangar 18. They shipped the merchandise immediately and shipping to Canada was reasonable priced. I give Hangar 18 two thumbs up!

    • Thanks.

      You know, I haven’t even looked at their store beyond the backdrops. I probably should.

  • Nice review Thor, I’ve seen the artful backgrounds being used a lot more and they do look fantastic. I think I do need to find new ones for the Foldio as the black one I normally use has a felt-like texture that picks up fuzzies. Are the Hanger 18 ones smooth or also felt-like?

    • It’s a nylon material, so it’s a smooth surface. Easy enough to blow off the stray fuzzies and basing material that lands on it.

      • Nice! Now just to pick some that work for my collection… :-)

        • There’s so many that narrowing down which to get is the problem ;)

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