Sicario Part V: The Buildings

Having dilly dallied about who to choose for the buildings I took the plunge and ordered a shit load off TT Combat which when they arrived did make me think “what the hell have I done!”

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The plan was to smash my way through them and be done by the end of 2019, well 2019 is about done and I’m only half way through so that was a fail!

First up was the Mini Mart – start small I thought.

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This was a completely straight forward build, four walls onto the base then a flat boxed roof with sloped tiled roof front and back – a little over the top but does look nice completed. The kit came complete with a couple of shelving units to make up, a service counter and plenty of signage to go on the roof – I guess the idea is to change the function from game to game.

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Once done I thought the shelving was a bit skinny so I bought some extra from Sarissa later on to make it look like somewhere you would actually shop in and also give extra cover for any in store shoot out.

Done. Painting to follow.

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Next up was the Coffee House, a kind of hipster hangout I thought, maybe if I can sort out some civilians they can spill out of here when the shooting starts?IMG_20190902_124017

A bigger square box this time but with some good detail on the interior, a service counter, small back kitchen kind of area with a convenient back door, tables, cups and a coffee machine! To be honest I was and remain unconvinced by the cups and coffee machine, I think they are good examples of the drawback of MDF suppliers trying to be all things to all men (and women) – the cups and coffee machine would work much better cast.

As always I dry built as much as I could but that still makes the lining up of four walls a challenge as you try to interlock the walls into each other and slot them into the floor. I think the above main photo shows my idea of guys coming in through the back door to take out someone in the cafe or maybe running into the cafe from the street and using the service counter as cover. The big plus for the building is the roof which is inset rather than sitting flat on top of the walls thus giving a nice shooting parapet (with or without signage) and has a conveniently modelled trap door with ladder below.

Next was the ‘Dinogas’ Filling Station – I bloody hate the name!

This was a bit more of an effort; the building itself is a rectangle pretty simple in construction with an affixed canopy to cover the petrol dispensers. The petrol dispensers are a fiddle to build and because you have several pieces to put together you do end up with a lot of joint lines, I guess under the canopy they can’t be seen so much. The canopy fits into slots in the petrol station front wall which are under the roof so you have to remember not to put the roof on first otherwise you can’t slot in the canopy. After a number of trials I found it best to assemble the canopy and petrol dispensers into one permanent piece and then slot into the building with the roof off and then roof on, which fits our philosophy of always being able to access the buildings and will also make storage easier.

Strangely there was no service counter for the building which was a bit remiss I thought so I’m going to have to build one later I guess, also no shelving but the extras from Sarissa will also fill out this building.

Next was the Fast Food Store, a two storey building meant to be a low rent Subway.

Although on the face of it this just looks like a great big box with lots of windows it was actually a bit of a pig. Essentially it is created such that the ceiling of the ground floor forms the floor of the 1st floor; this floor has its own roof which essentially sits on top, much like most TTC buildings, giving the idea that maybe it’s not really meant to come off – you have to get your fingernail into one of the the recesses. Also, although it has this whole upper floor with all those windows there is no way up, either inside or outside, so a bit of a conundrum.

Given that our going in point is to able to access all rooms and all floors I didn’t glue in the ceiling to the ground floor but I did have to elongate the slots for the ceiling lugs so that it was easy to flip out. You can of course just push your finger through the ground floor windows and tap the ceiling up but as I was going to ‘glaze’ the windows that obviously wouldn’t work! The down side of this was that the upper floor was now a box without a top or bottom making it somewhat unstable (which confirmed to me this wasn’t the design intent) so I was stuck. After a bit of thinking I came up with buttressing the corners to give the upper floor some stability, so off to Hobbycraft  and back with some dowelling which I duly cut to length so it wouldn’t interfere with the roof and stuck one to each corner. Not elegant but it worked.

With this done the building worked for our purposes in terms of access to the figures but their still remained getting to the upper floor and what it actually was.

A call out to Twitter-land initiated a number of responses – thank you one and all and I ended up buying a selection of stairs and doorways from SarissaIron Gate Miniatures and Warbases  of whom Iron Gate were most helpful. In then end it was the Sarissa stairs that fitted best with an Iron Gate door and I still have plenty of  spares for other buildings.

The big open plan upstairs also needed some work so I decided to split it with some thin MDF walls and put some doors in which made it much more like a rented apartment. All of this was new to me so I was quite pleased with myself but I’ve deleted the photo’s so can’t show off!.

Next was the Distribution Office, part of a larger warehouse set that TTC do but I just wanted a single industrial use building that I could use as maybe a gang storehouse to be raided or another general purpose building to go with the Garage building I’ve got and not built yet.

For such a simple looking building this was a bit of a pig. It’s a two story building but only the ground floor is useful as the top half is empty space (just like most warehouses I guess) but this does make the lining up a bit more of a challenge and it comes with a working roller shutter door (well a sliding piece of MDF) but everything has to line up just right for this to work – I did a lot of swearing and filing to make this work.

As you can see the crossbeams make getting your hand in to move miniatures a bit of a pain and all the grey card for the panelling? what a pain. Although the finished article looks ok I’m not sure it was worth the time and effort.

Next was another suburban house. Now I had done one of these a while back as a bit of an experiment with the TTC stuff and then put it to one side as unusable on the layout. Then when Dave and I discussed the layout again we (well actually Dave) came up with a bit of a brain wave which allowed us greater flexibility and so suburban houses were back in which was great because TTC have about six to choose from!

I mainly chose this one because of the car port (which is detachable) for a bosses car or similar. Now in truth if your suburban house was like this you’d be a bit pissed off because stylish as it looks from the outside, inside it’s just one big open plan space – no bedrooms, no lounge, no kitchen, which for the sake of a few pieces of MDF I think TTC could have lent themselves to.

The walls,  front porch and car port build well, I made the rooky error of building the porch in place before painting which made painting this bit later a real pain in the arse. The real task with these buildings is the roofs which are grey card that have to be bent to shape to create the slope. I completely screwed up the simplest bit, the porch and ranted on Twitter until someone kindly pointed out I’d got it on the wrong pay round! Once done and painted the roofs really set the building off but it does require patience which I am generally low on.

Buoyed by my success with creating rooms for the Fast Food Store I attempted the same with this and the other house a bit later using foam board which is easier to work with but gives artificially thicker walls, maybe next time I’ll be a bit braver.

Next was the massively bad decision of the Police Station which is going to become our bank and home to a number of scenarios we hope.

This is a big building, comprising two floors and a lot of outside trimming. Like the Fast Food Store I don’t think it was really intended for the 1st floor to come out and although there is a hole in the floor which you assume is meant to represent where the stairs are there are no stairs. In addition, although it looks very grand on the outside (too much for a police station but great for a bank) it’s completely plain on the inside and has no trimming, so although the Fast Food Store had a counter at least this has nothing, but it does have two industrial style doors at the rear side walls – why?

Assembling the upper and lower halves is quite straight forward and I was able to make the whole of the 1st floor detachable with a bit of filing and the balcony piece on the upper floor is a nice touch but try as I might I couldn’t make stairs work for the hole in the floor so what we are going to do (2020 I think) is get a piece of balsa/mdf to the size of the slot and fill it from ground to ceiling and paint it as an elevator; it’s going to be tricky, especially when it comes to lifting the floor over it but we think we can do it – we’ll let you know! Also, once assembled, you realise that even as a police station this building has absolutely nothing, no inner offices, no cells, no desk for the duty sergeant – every police procedural series or film has this (“I’ll be back”), no nothing which I did think was a bit poor. For our use we’re going to install some desks for the upper floor and a tellers counter on the ground floor but that can all come later.

The roof had a lot of pieces just for a roof and the more pieces you have the more chance of error especially when lining up with the walls,

but it was the outside ornamentation that was a challenge. Each piece is lining up over two levels and is permanently in place but you can only glue it to the ground floor if you want to take out the 1st floor and when you do that you have to make sure you don’t snap anything – we better play plenty of games in this!

It certainly looks grand finished so at this point I decided to call it a day because I was starting to get pissed off and needed to do something different like paint them all! Reflecting on the job so far there was the inevitable lesson about being too ambitious with a solo project (and there are the same number of buildings to do again come early 2020) but also not doing loads of the same thing week after week so with the next batch I’m going to build one, paint one, build one, etc. Regarding the buildings themselves they are undoubtedly good looking buildings for the price and when you’re doing a lot that matters the down side if you are building for a specific project is the quirky DC/post apocalyptic humour that TTC use which means there is still a lot of disguising to do after they’ve been painted, and speaking of painting….

Nearly there.

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