More Tabula Rasa

After the fun of building the last three desert buildings from this range we just had to get some more so another order to Shiny Games and back came the 8 inch Compound, the Desert Residence 3 and the Desert Storage Building.

I started with the desert storage building, mainly because I liked the look of it. As with the previous blog there are no instructions (a theme with all mdf kits I am finding now) but the accompanying picture of the building is taken from several views so what goes where does start to become obvious and once you start dry building the walls against available slots on the base everything does indeed ‘slot’ into place. The only tricky bit was the outside stairs which were a set of flat mdf squares all a little bit bigger than each other which when glued one on top of the other and put between the side walls create the steps; the only problem occurs if you’ve punched them out of their matrix and piled them up randomly because then you have to sift through them carefully to make sure then go up in decreasing size – I admit there was a bit of swearing here.

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The other more obvious issue is that the individual steps are way too small for 28mm figures – the figures won’t balance and it does look like they need to be ballerina’s to go up those steps. This is minor stuff really, we’ve played using the steps recently and  just noted where the guys would be when on the stairs but worth knowing if this might be an issue for you.

The rest of the building was pretty easy, everything slotted in perfectly and every wall lined up giving a building that can be used in multiple scenarios – Libya for our game, Iraq, Syria, Mexico, not so sure about Afghanistan?

As you can see there is plenty of space under those arches for, contraband, a command & control point, medical post, meeting point etc, but it is for people not vehicles so don’t think you can park your car there!

Next was the residence.

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A bigger version of the buildings constructed previously so more bits to line up, but as before dry building to make sure what slotted where and then building one room first and then another it went together very well, just took longer. Again as in the last build all you need is some wood glue, the pieces punch out cleanly with no annoying little bits of ‘sprue’ to shave off with a knife.

Once it’s together it looks pretty imposing, a more substantial family home with three rooms to fight your way around. As with the previous build these are all single story buildings which means no stairs (this becomes important later) so we’ve just used punched out spare squares from the window apertures as trap doors onto the roof and from a gaming point of view adjudicated that there is a ladder underneath.

Finally the 8 inch compound; by its very title this is a big building and I did anticipate problems because of that but in fact it was the easiest.

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Essentially it’s a big open box with a lid on top with the equivalent of a small building on top of that so doing the bottom bit was easy, four walls slotted in, wood glue, done!

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Any one looking closely will see that the picture shows arched door ways and the item has squared – not a problem to us but again note if this might be an issue to you. The upper building was just like doing the original builds in the previous post and again no problems.

Once assembled to the roof it just sits into the big box very nicely. Did I mention you have to glue the ‘rafters’ to the inside of the buildings to support the roofs? If not, they’re just strips of mdf that clip neatly into slots on the side walls – I’ve wood glued ours just to be sure but they are a pretty tight fit anyway and once you’ve tetrioned the outside walls the point where they clip in is covered.

Pretty imposing eh? Good for a boss residence, last stand for western forces against jihadists, Mexican army outpost? One thing did become annoyingly obvious once the painting and tetrion work started though, this is a two story house and there is no way up!

Also when you look at it again it’s an awful lot of empty space that needs to be filled – we played with it in its finished state and we did have the unseemly spectacle of arguing where the way down was and also once inside there is no cover so guys at any doorway had a clear shot across what now felt like a car park!

We couldn’t have this so thinking on the idea of a boss compound I thought back to a visit to the Alhambra palace a few years back and how the outside is on the inside – fountains and all that, so a visit to the Blotz site (thank you Bob for your suggestion) found a variety of stairs that seemed to maybe work, a fountain and of course some more buildings (curses!) all duly ordered and picked up at Colours from the very nice proprietors. A blog on constructing the Blotz buildings will follow.

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Of the stairways a stone spiral affair from their dungeon range seemed to fit the bill nicely plus a trap door set so it accessed the roof area and what turned out to be quite an imposing fountain seemed to fit my Alhambra idea. The kits went together very nicely and I tried to get a coloured tiles effect on the fountain while keeping the stairs in a  stone colour – an addition of a dark wash to give a faded elegance look and suddenly it wasn’t a shooting gallery anymore and you could get to the roof!

These are glued permanently in place, I just couldn’t be doing with the stairs and the fountain moving every time someone nudged the building whether it needs anything else only time and game playing will tell.

Once again thanks for reading and enjoying your gaming.

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