Terrain, terrain and more terrain

23 Apr

First of all apologies for not posting anything over the past three weeks (shock horror… so long!). As seems to be the norm for me this year, live has been extremely hectic. I did get things done from time to time, but did not find the time to take photos or much less post them.

Until last week. But then again time was running out due to me and the better half driving to the other side of Germany for a job interview (well that was only me) and then taking a few days off to get to know the region in case the interview leads to something. So I uploaded the pictures to this blog with the idea to post stuff while we were away. That is until we arrived at the self catering place we had booked only to find that it had no internet as advertised. So no posting. Well that is until the last night when I urgently needed an Internet connection and remembered, that I could use my iPhone as a modem (doh!). It could have been so easy!

Some of you may remember, that one of my big goals for this year is terrain building. With the weather getting better, it is now time to tackle that. So what do we have?

Nodding Donkey Oil-Well

This model is from Fenris Games in the UK and made from laser cut wood. The looks of the model alone are great and it allows you to build it in any position during the pumping cycle. So far so good. The big problem is that it is not cut from MDF like most kits these days but some kind of sheet wood with strong fibres. So you have strong wood grain on the model itself. I went and sanded the parts as much as I dared (for fear of losing the etched details). But a lot of the graining still remained. So I decided to depict it as heavily used equipment. This meant a yellow base, fading, lots of chipping and rusting. Makes it look were hodge podge and effectively masks the wood grain(at least a bit).

Nodding Donkey oil well

Nodding Donkey oil well

Concrete road barriers

The next items are from Frenris Games as well, this time their resin range. Nothing to complain there. Great casting quality, excess resin was minimal and easy to remove and great value for money. I wanted to keep them generic, so no markings or anything else on them. I airbrushed them in USN Ghost Grey and sprayed a homemade wash of Vallejo Panzergrey Primer and Grey primer over it to make them look well used and exposed to a lot of pollution and that was it.

Concrete road barriers

Concrete road barriers

Concrete road barriers

Concrete road barriers

There are actually about twice as many pieces, but well… they are not the most interesting subjects to photograph, so these shall suffice!

4Ground World War II buildings, repaints

When 4Ground released their pre-painted buildings about three years ago, I was high as a kite and bought some of their WWII buildings. Do not get me wrong, they are great, but there are some things that are not perfect. Inevitably some parts connect in a way that the burned edges of some parts (key) can be seen where they connect to the painted sides of others (slot). This leaves some ugly dark brown squares on otherwise light colored areas. Some details like the stonework on the building corners are just etched in and not painted. And parts were cut from the wrong sheet of wood (colour wise) which leads to stone chimneys the colour of plaster or window sills the colour of the front door. And then there are those spots where the scorch marks left by the laser, just look wrong. Eventually all this needs to be painted over. I assembled these buildings the previous two summers and actually fielded them in three games (where you may have seen them already), but was never too happy. So I repainted, or rather overpainted them now.

Repainted 4Ground houses

Repainted 4Ground houses

Unfortunately I had no colour to match the green painted buildings, so removing the scorch marks on their plaster will have to wait, till I can get the appropriate colour from 4Ground.

Repainted 4Ground houses

Repainted 4Ground houses

I have to say, after it is all said and done, I am not completely sold on these pre-painted laser cut buildings. You pay a premium since they are repainted, which is technically fine, if it actually saved you time, but I felt it does not. Since the inside walls are a different colour they are separate pieces that are glued against the outside walls. Every piece of exposed brickwork has to be glued into both the inside and outside walls and so on. Essentially I found that assembling a “good condition” building takes about twice as long as it takes for an unpainted one and the ruined ones take even longer. And then you have to spend some time to paint them over to hide the imperfections. In this case with these 8 houses this amounted to about a weekend. So I personally felt that it took about as long to get these to a state where I am content with them, as it would have taken me had I gone for unpainted ones. But then you have already paid your premium and have buildings that will look virtually the same as thousands of others used around the world. So I guess this will have been my last batch. Later this year I will be getting some pre-painted MDF buildings from another company that are cut using a different method. I am really looking forward to see how those work out.


Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Terrain building


9 responses to “Terrain, terrain and more terrain

  1. peter

    April 23, 2015 at 10:31

    Looks all excellent!


  2. donogh

    April 23, 2015 at 13:01

    May have to pick up a couple of those oil wells too. Glad I’m forewarned about the wood grain though

    • Burkhard

      April 24, 2015 at 08:12

      Even with the grain, it is one bleeping nice kit and I will probably get me one or two more in due time! 😉

  3. Nysse

    April 23, 2015 at 20:18

    Great looking stuff! Wouldn’t have noticed the woodgrain thing on the oil well unless you noticed. Still a great looking kit. Maybe some diluted PVA layer could smooth it out nicely if you ever end up doing more terrain from them.

    • Burkhard

      April 24, 2015 at 08:15

      Thanks Samuli, I guess I covered it up well then!

      Not sure if the diluted PVA would have helped (I thought about that too) as I think it would have covered up most of the details. I have some of their power pylons which seem to be cut from the same type of wood. IIRC they do not have etched in details, so that might work… although I had planned to paint those before punching them out. Decisions, decisions!

  4. von Peter himself

    April 25, 2015 at 09:57

    What is a man without decent terrain Burkhard. Great additions to your collections.

    Although I don’t speak from a position of actually owning any but I am not totally sold on the plywood/wood flat pack terrain. The burnt edging, the seemingly inevitable corner interlocking and the occasional(?) empty windows leave me a little uninspired. These things can all be overcome but I am happiest with good old resin terrain pieces. Not that the resins in use today seem to have much in common with the old heavy and brittle resins. Perhaps if I actually tried some wooden terrian!! 8O)

    I won’t say never however.

    von Peter himself

    • Burkhard

      April 27, 2015 at 17:16

      Thanks vP!

      Well it is not easy with the laser cut MDF terrain. I think the more modern or even SciFi you go, the better it fits (if you can do away with the laser stains). The buildings look very regular and uniform. No bulges in the walls, no sagging roofs and so on. I guess many people expect that and that is what turns many off.

      On the other hand, I want be able to place miniatures in all my buildings (after all I play a lot of skirmish for WWII and later) and that is one field where those resin buildings with removable roofs have not yet convinced me. So it either scratch building or MDF… and I guess I am getting too old for the former! 😉

  5. Curt

    May 25, 2015 at 00:31

    Love the oil well! Fantastic.


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