I think that given enough time, every wargamer jumps into a period or game system because this or that miniature range is just “so good”! I’ve been there a couple of times myself. But… how many of you have started a new project because of terrain, or to be more specific, paper buildings?!
Allright, perhaps ‘starting a new project’ is a bit of an overstatement, so far we’re talking about a single finished item and as we all know, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. But let’s start from the beginning. I am a regular visitor at Wargames Vault. I’m sure most wargamers are familiar with it and if you’re not, have a look. Just don’t blame me for the money you’ll spend there afterward! A lot of useful stuff can be found there – rulesets, magazines, counter and paper terrain. In that last department, a man with name Dave Graffam has published a whole shedload of very, very impressive buildings. The only problem is that they are intended for fantasy or middle ages. OK, if you squint, they’ll probably can be used for renaissance too. In any case, not really my cup of tea. But nonetheless, something about them caught my eye and when they were on sale couple of months ago , I could not resist the temptation. I grabbed a bunch of them ‘just because’ with no real expectation of doing anything with them in forseeable future.
Couple of weeks ago I found myself feelig quite pleased over the fact that I have finished my Saxon warband for Dux Britaniarum. At the same time, I was for the moment quite fed up with painting minis. I needed to change gears. I then remembered that bunch of PDF-s on my harddrive and decided to take a closer look at them. Well, let me tell you – Dave Graffam has gained an instant fan-boy about a minute after I opened first file. A lot of work has been put into these buildings and the components look beatiful already on the screen. But what really impressed me was the fact that many of PDF-s have so called layers – this allows you to change textures, add and remove details and decide where the door and windows are placed.
I decided to give one of the more complex buildings a try and printed out components for Willow Brook Inn – sixteen sheets of paper, two of them are for the base, four for very basic “cubes” intended to act as supporting components hidden inside the structure and adding sturdiness to the whole thing. Once all the sheets were printed, I mounted the base on 5mm foamcore sheet. Remaining sheets were mounted with help of spray glue in rattle can on 300 grams black cardboard. It’s not necessary, but for me normal 80 gram is just too flimsy for this type of projects.
Once everything was dry and set, the next step consisted of a looot of cutting and glueing. After all, it’s a paper building. The whole thing took me about nine hours to finish with no problems encountered along the way. I strongly advise anyone meaning to give these buildings a shot to follow the instructions and advice of the creator, which can be found in a manual included with this building. I am not complete newbie when it comes to paper buildnings, but some of Mr. Graffam’s advice was both new and quite useful for me while working with this project.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. The first thing that strikes one once the the buildning is completed is its size – it is a substantial construction with large footprint on gaming table! And there is a lot of potential for improvements if one wishes to spend some TLC on it – beams could be replaced with balsa strips, the roof could be textured or covered with your favourite material for thatched roof, window shutters could be added, doors replaced… But even ‘straight out of the box’, this is a very beautiful terrain piece.
Paradoxically enough, the fact that I really enjoyed putting this thing together has created a bit of a problem for me. The simple fact is that I don’t have any use for it or for the remainder of this product range! That I had to use minis of gladiators for size comparison is perhaps the best proof of that fact. But I would love to build some more of them, maybe even create a complete town setting with them. And so, just like any ‘proper’ wargamer would, I’ve now started to look for rulesets and miniatures that could allow me to use it (and its ‘siblings’) in a game. If you have any helpful suggestions, let me know in the comments!
Lol… New miniature ranges have triggered this reaction with me often enough, but paper buildings? Now, that’s a first!