I’ll admit this project took way longer than I anticipated and my enthusiasm waned as I got down the pile and had four buildings left. All that kept me going was the embarrassment of not finishing having posted so many photo’s and the fact that we had signed up to do the game at Hammerhead 2020 (even though we didn’t know we were in until a week before!).
So first up was the last suburban house which meant that the three we would now have would form the beginning of the middle class district on our layout moving away from the ‘downtown’ area of cheap eateries and amusements.
Like most of the TTCombat buildings the process is pretty straight forward and these days I feel confident enough to only use the instructions as a reference – that’ll teach me to be cocky as I completely screwed up the secondary roofs that go over the garage and the front room! My excuse is that the instructions weren’t that clear but as you can see the picture on the front of the pack is pretty bloody obvious, so by the time I had cut the grey board TTC use for tiled roofs it was too late and I now had a problem on my hands.
The layout is pretty basic, as with most TTC buildings, but I now had a sloped roof that would cover basically up to the front door leaving a hole over the front window area and half of the garage, so in the time honoured fashion of the 80’s I decided to go flat roof extension style and cut the grey board into two flat sections and then obscured the obvious mistake with a loose tiles effect. I think it worked?
With that minor crisis averted the house was essentially done but as with all the TTC buildings you are left with a sense of incompleteness. This is by no means a complaint, the kits are well priced so expecting fine detailing is unrealistic but throughout the process I have increasingly found there is a need to finesse the finished article, which is quite an ask for someone who’s modelling skills are somewhat basic! None the less I bought some thin mdf sheets from my local Hobbycraft and fashioned some extra rooms from the L shaped space, even managed an en suite bathroom 🙂
On the past builds, once I’ve done them I’ve put them to one side and then come back later to paint several in one go, this time I opted to paint as I built, mainly to give myself a sense of completeness and also not feel like I was doing the building twice over.
Next up was the music shop, a big square building that came with a some merchandise racks, a couple of tables and a pair of guitars!
Frankly this building is too grandiose for a humble music shop, the ornate front and solid brick look favour an up market store, a civic building of some kind, even a local police station; maybe that’s different project for a different time. Be that as it may the first and more tricky part of the build was the recessed entrance and big picture windows, this wasn’t the easiest of assemblies to line up and keep in place while you glued it and mine was a little off.
Once that was done the big slab sides were simple and the roof dropped in pretty neat. Well I say that but no roof in all the buildings I have done have just “dropped in”. Dry built they all line up pretty good but once the sides are glued to the base any slight discrepancy means they don’t drop in and you are inevitably going to be opening up the slots or filing down the tabs, or both and if you paint the buildings as I do then even the faintest of coats will effect the line up. Again I don’t say this as a complaint, the parts are cut to a CAD model and that model will line up but as a dead fit, there is no tolerance so be aware.
The trapdoor at the rear end of the roof is a bit of a misnomer as there is no way to get to it especially as the building is so high. Again with my amateur DIY head on I think a second floor could be built into the frame or maybe a mezzanine floor at the rear end so the trap door would then serve a purpose – also you could shoot down from it into the store, as it was I found a ladder from my ‘bits box’ and stuck that to the wall so at least there was some kind of logic allowing access to the roof.
You’ll see I also opted to stick the guitars to the walls – very hipster! After that it was the follow on paint job and good to go.
Next up was the comic book store, another big empty building but with a proper upper storey which in true TTC style had no way of being accessed – more of this later. Also a rather bizarre circle of markings for the roof section the purpose of which I have no idea.
The frontage is very similar to the music shop and builds pretty much the same and then it’s on with the walls.
Next was the usual shenanigans with the upper storey because like in the other buildings that have an upper floor I want the roof to come off to access the upper floor and then that whole floor to come off so I can access the ground floor, which is not really how they are designed. So like in the other buildings I buttressed the corners of the upper floor for stability with spare bits of the mdf sprue – always keep these, useful for loads of scratch build projects.
That done the next task was getting in! Having been down this road already in previous builds this time it was the turn of Irongate Scenery to ride to the rescue with a set of stairs and a doorway, looks pretty good I reckon.
All that remained then was dividing up the room, this time using foam board to create a bedsit style arrangement, then painting; during the painting process I decided to base the stairs as they weren’t too stable on their own. .
The final flourish was some political posters (postage stamps from my childhood collection which are not worth the price of a stamp!).
The last building, or actually buildings, was the garage repair business; two tall very urban looking buildings with working sliding doors – my heart sank because the last time I did one of these assemblies it was a bit of a nightmare.
Big square blocks, you’d think no problem? Oh how wrong I was.
There are a lot of bits and a lot of doors and frames for doors and on this particular occasion I didn’t just reference the instructions I used them and they weren’t that good. I also pre painted the doors and inside walls of the buildings because I knew how lining these up can be a bit of a task and you don’t want glue or paint going on afterwards to prevent the doors from sliding. Complete fail. None of the doors work so although it actually looks quite good you can’t use the doors and I tried my damnedest 😦
The final coat of paint went on in a bit of a rush because by then the notification that we were going to Hammerhead had come and I had slacked off thinking we weren’t going! Luckily Dave stepped in to do some of the other tasks like painting the last of the vehicles so we would be ready, phew:)
Of course alongside all of this was the cutting of clear plastic to use as window glass for all the buildings and sticking in – a good reason to keep blister packs! The painting of various outside clutter – swings, see-saws, post boxes etc and inside clutter – baths, cookers, sofas etc; all unnecessary and generally not noticed by most players but for me it gives a sense of the place actually being lived in although I wont deny to it being a pain in the arse.
So that was it done – well almost, there will always be the little bit of fine tuning to do but no more buildings! Did I learn anything? Well yes; big projects are not one person tasks, I am better at building mdf kits than I thought I would be and I think I could start converting some in the future, always dry build first, paint as you go and have a plan.
The end game for the project was putting on a participation game at Hammerhead and we achieved that (just!). The buildings were all done and worked on the street layout we did over a year ago, we had enough figures and vehicles for up to half a dozen players and the adaptations we did to Fistful of Lead worked really well so a good day was had by all.
Finally, to the dad and his son who came back for a second game, thank you, your enthusiasm and enjoyment made it all worth while 🙂