Like most people who wargame WWII the one thing I always wanted was an inner city layout to refight battles like Berlin, Budapest, Stalingrad (although due to the architecture and scale of destruction this probably requires a different set of terrain), Aachen and so on. Some six or seven years ago, I started on the first buildings using foam core, but to be honest, I have not gotten further than two partially completed buildings. There is an abundance of MDF products on the market these days, but there either are no inner city buildings or those that you can find seem to be geared towards 15mm. So I was quiet happy, when I found a Kickstarter that did fit my needs last year. What I did not realize back then was that this was actually run by Commision Figurines, who had already made a name for themselves in the smaller scales. With the Kickstarter funding, Walt (the owner) could finally get himself the larger laser to expand into 28mm. He ran into some problems at that point, when he had to find, that the new laser used a different file settings, so instead of just resizing his 15mm files to 20mm and 28mm he actually had to redraw all the files one by one, which took its time. Which in turn meant that since I had pledged for everything except the Stalingrad Mill (which I do by now regret not pledeing for as well), I had to wait through virtually all the process while those on 15mm or with fewer items got their models earlier. But to be clear, I did not mind since a) I did not want to start work before this summer anyway and b) I have hardly ever met someone as straightforward about these problems as Walt. I think we exchanged more than 50 messages over the months and he never gave me the feeling of being left behind. So in that sense I would always buy from him again!
But now on to the models. While I have bought a whole bunch of buildings, I first wanted to do two test pieces. This has various reasons. For one, most of the WWII inner city buildings I see on tables are always grey. Nazi Germany (and the rest of fascist Europe) sure was a bleak and sad place at best. But that does not mean that everything was just grey. I was born in Germany in the late 70´s and some buildings had not been repainted since the war. While many had gone grey by then, one could clearly see that they once been painted in pastel colors, as well as the odd blue, green or red. Same goes if you look at the contemporary colour photographs. So I want my buildings to be in pastels or off whites as well, but I also had to see how this looked.
The other thing is, I usually find most terrain quite bleak, not like anyone had lived there before everything got shot up. So I wanted mine to look more lived in with wallpaper, tiles and furniture. But again, I had to see if this could actually be done. And here are the results:
The roads will not remain like this. These boards were created all those years ago for my DIY beginning of this project and will probably not even work now. So I will either start from scratch or get myself the roads Walt sells for his buildings if they fit the width I want. But all this will be decided by my gut feeling and a MK I eyeball when more buildings are finished.
I wanted to give them a real contemporary feeling, so this building received a contemporary slogan. The same will happen to a lot of the other buildings along with posters, air raid markers, military signs and so on.
Here is a view of the inside, showing the wallpaper and tiles (all simple print outs glued to the walls). The brown planking on the walls was done to mask the seams between the wallpaper for the separate levels. I painted these in a dark brown. While it might seem unrealistic, I grew up in a house that was built before the war and in it, as well as in two others I helped renovate, a lot of the wood for the roof and flooring was painted in a dark brown. All the paint I have seen was pretty robust, so I assume this was to protect the wood from moisture and termites and I have kept to that colour as a result.
The rubble is made from scratch using pink foam (to get the hight), paving sand and wooden ledges. The bricks are from a Linka mould broken up and glued onto the pink foam before the sand. I know there is less rubble than there should be, but I once did a model with more realistic amounts of rubble and it became a real trick to do it in a way that minis could still be placed inside, so I kept things more moderate here.
The furniture is all cheap plastic dollhouse furniture that I repainted. I already repainted the all the furniture I have (some 70 odd pieces). I am not sure if I will actually have enough, so I used very little now. I think it looks to scarce, so I will probably have to buy more!
I deliberately did no rubble on the pavements. I later want to add things like lampposts and roadblocks. Before I do not know what the final set-up will look like, I will not glue any rubble on, that will later block the space for those pieces. Once I get a feeling for how all the pieces will interact, I will either glue on some rubble or do modular rubble pieces that can simply be placed on the terrain.
There is more to come on this so stay tuned, although the rest of this month will probably be taken up by miniatures.