You can play miniature games anywhere that you can find a flat space that won’t be disrupted by other humans, pets or the wind or rain, you can stack up piles of books or magazines to make hills, raid ornament stands to make rock features and scatter other unused miniature vehicles around to give the scene flavour, my favourite borrowed scenery piece would either be the small cow skull or the tiny beer keg that was lying around at a mates house. Scenery was never a market that was heavily contested in the miniature games space. In the Golden Age of Games Workshop I refer to in other posts most of the scenery produced was either homemade or relatively small plastic kits of a ruined building. Large plastic kits were impossible for GW to make at this time as they didn’t have a large scale plastic mould. Hills were produced by vacuum formed plastic covered with green static grass flock and buildings would be following instruction on how to make them out of card or by using cardboard inserts in White Dwarf.
The situation wasn’t ideal, some companies tried to exploit it by offering large resin buildings which while looking very nice were both expensive heavy and fragile, Games Workshop produced large pieces of all plastic scenery when they brought their new larger moulds which were very nice looking but then inexplicably discontinued the sets and instead replaced them with the perfectly functional but boring 40k city kits and giant bunkers with mounted guns on for your sci-fi needs and insanely overblown high fantasy magic filled sculptures for the Storm of Magic supplement that looked like they came out of a Salvador Dali painting during his “death metal” phase.
Lets not mention the expensive plastic Chaos Fortress kit presumably created by someone who didn’t realise that the following year of Chaos releases were for Khorne, the faction that had no missile troops at all and were more likely to storm other peoples forts than hide behind one themselves.
Recently another way of creating scenery has come about, namely using laser-cut MDF kits that are pre-painted and can be assembled without the need for most tools or glue while remaining light and cheap. As with any new invention that says its going to do everything you’ve been looking for cheaper and better than you’ve ever hoped was possible I viewed it with scepticism and so decided that rigorous testing was in order. I brought the baggage card and the stagecoach kits as they looked small enough to be written off in the case that I wreaked them during testing and large and complicated enough to show off the level of detail possible using his approach.
Punching the baggage cart out was easy enough, there was heavy smell of burnt wood which is fair enough due to the lasers burning the wood soÂ I washed the kit with soapy water first and left it to dry, there was no issues with the paint peeling off or it warping and it withstood it like a champ. Its worth noting that there is nothing in these kits apart from MDF and instructions, so no transfers or brass etch material, everything that you see is all MDF.
The parts are all pretty much snap fit and don’t require much cleaning apart from a slight ridge where they connected to the original sheet of MDF, you could put them together and leave the but it is far to complicated to restore back into its sheet so I used PVA glue to hold the bits together which seemed to work fine without damaging the paint scheme. The laser cutting process can cut fine details into the wood with ease, so the spokes in a wheel were tapered, rivets were dug out and the gab between sheets of wood was all correctly modelled, the only problem was that the wheels were only modelled in one side so it you took a fine eye to the insides of them you would spot the difference.
The model is all pre painted with an airbrush that gives it small areas of darker colour to try and produce a patchy wood effect, the burnt edges where the laser has cut a hole had added to it so it could easily be left as it is but I was already determined to see how it would hold up to proper painting. It took the spray undercoat from army painter and the next ink was without a problem at all. I tried drybrushing layers of with Mournfang Brown, Deathclaw Brown and Karak Stone but it didn’t show up that well so I decided to paint thin lines of Deathclaw Brown down the planks to mirror the grains in actual wood which had an immediate effect. I weathered the wheels and underside with a ripped piece of foam with Rhinox Hide and was pleased at the result.
If I had to give any criticism it would be that the finish has a slight texture to it but for wood of the stone buildings that’s not a problem, if it’s an issue you can take it off with sandpaper.
If you want to buy this kit it’s here and yes, it’s only £4, it’s not going to win you any painting awards unless you cover up the joins on the MDF but it’s cheap, light and can be painted up without any hassle to improve your gaming space. However you can take these techniques and apply them to anything 4 Ground produces for some good looking results.