It’s not long after most people start wargaming that they start looking at the surface they are fighting over and think bigger. For those of us not wanting to scratch build, the rise of laser cutters and cheap MDF has lead to an explosion of manufacturers making some high quality buildings. This makes it very easy to build up a good looking board quickly.
As someone whose wargaming lies mainly in the arid regions of the world, Adobe buildings are the order of the day. Constructed with a combination of mud and wood these structures are found all over the world from the Middle East to Mexico. While building up my board, I’ve bought buildings from three companies and will now compare the experiences of building them.
Knights of Dice
Knights of Dice does a range called Tabula Rasa, designed to provide the basic shell of buildings onto which details can be added. As well as desert buildings, they also do gothic ruins and medieval villages.
Having built two of them, I can say that I’m really happy with the level of design for the price. They do the job of being a starting point, with some details (multiple rooms). The interiors are split into large rooms ready for detailing. One of my buildings is multi-storey – this is achieved by an interior shell that can be removed to allow access to the ground floor. My only dislike is that the staircases by default have very small steps that do not allow slotting bases in for models climbing the stairs. This can be fixed easily by altering a few of the steps. They also come with no doors or window decorations, obviously designed to be added as part of the detailing process. Note, I’ve already started on the detailing with some aircon units and tv dishes from Empress.
Building them was also super easy. They arrive on frames and be easily pushed out by hand, requiring no cutting. In addition they fit together with no modification or trimming needed, although as always a dry fit is recommended.
For anyone in the UK, Shiny Games in Nottingham are the current stockists and are fantastic people to deal with. My order arrived super quickly and with lots of communication.
If you are looking for lots of buildings for cheap, JBEdwards on ebay are the cheapest on the list. For £9 you get three buildings, each of a different layout.
The buildings all have the same basic style of construction, with two walls attached to the same L shaped bracket. These brackets can then be joined together to form the shell. The buildings do include doors and roof hatches – the doors also have tabs so they can be drilled into place.
The pieces arrive off sprue and in piles for each building held together with rubber band. A dry run is required, and the reason I only have two buildings assembled is a testament to this. The third building is still waiting for a replacement part due to one edge being longer than the other. Apparently it’s been designed this way but it looks rather off. In addition some bits must be gently massaged into place.
For all the annoyances, the buildings are cheap. There are also a wide variety of types (above and beyond adobe available). If you are not sure about getting MDF, this is a good place to start.
If JBEdwards are the cheaper end of the scale, Sarissa is the king of MDF heap. I grabbed a decent size order (both from the South of the Border range I’m covering in this post and from the Industrial range) and they arrived very well packed with lots of protection. I grabbed three – a one storey house, a two storey house and a one storey cantina to be the local cafe.
Much like Knights of Dice, the MDF pieces arrive on a ‘sprue’. They seemed to hold to the container requiring a bit more of a push. However, the details and design in each kit is awesome. All kits come with instructions to help with assembly and the etchings on the facing sides are all incredibly crisp. Little touches (such as the roofs having cut outs for easy removal) show how much work was involved.
Once assembled, the buildings are incredibly playable. Event the smallest adobe building has multiple rooms, with planks on the floor, exterior doors held in place and shutters for the windows.
The buildings are more on the pricey side but really do look the part. Having built some of the industrial sets (coming soon) and placed on the board, even in bare MDF the Sarissa buildings looks the part
Overall, the three manufacturers do three different jobs – Knights of Dice for those wanting starting points, JB Edwards for those wanting to build on a budget and Sarissa for those wanting to get high quality buildings on the board as fast as possible.
I still need to paint these buildings which I will talk about in the future. Also once I’ve finished construction on the big part of my purchases, I’ll take another look at the Sarissa products.