I'm one of those wargamers who really don't like working with terrain. I love painting minis, but terrain has always been the 'necessary evil' part of this hobby. It is therefore a bit ironic that at the moment there are no minis on my work table. Instead I'm knee-deep in two terrain projects for Vietnam and have revived what I'd like to call a 'sleeper' project that is also terrain-centric (more about it later this month!).
Anyway... the first of those Vietnam projects is obviously the jungle terrain bit. It chugs along at rather slow pace and I must say that the old platitude 'practice makes perfect' isn't entirely off the mark. The other terrain segment for Vietnam consists of huts - after all, no table will be complete without some hutches to defend, storm or burn.
When it comes to Vietnam buildings, there is some choice on the market, but I didn't find the selection overwhelming. JR Miniatures has some pretty cool-looking, but rather expensive huts on stilts. Flashpoint Miniatures sells a set of rather miserably looking straw huts. Also, Battlefront sold a set of two very basic, prepainted huts during their brief engagement in Vietnam, but they seem pretty hard to find now that the company lost interest in that particular conflict. And finally, there is stuff from good old trusty Timecast Models, my go-to place as soon as I need anything that includes words 'resin' and 'building'.
Now, the peculiar thing with Timecast for me is that they always seem to have enough stuff in their range to make a good start, but not enough to provide real variety. Their 15mm Vietnam buildings range is great and to my knowledge the most extensive in this scale on the market - hutches, shacks and town/colonial buildings. Still, there is just a couple of each type of building, leaving you craving for more!
All right, that's enough of introduction to the fascinating topic of resin buildings in 15 mm for Vietnam conflict; let's move on to what I've actually finished so far. The logical starting point were the hutches... of course. Timecast sells two sets of two buildings of that type - straw hutches and clay hutches. All buildings are of similar size and layout and are made of brownish resin-like stuff with some heft - they will certainly stay in place once you put them on the table. Unfortunately, the material also seems prone to chipping while in transit. Also, they're one piece models - there is room for miniatures inside, but the roofs are not removable.
My paint job is pretty basic; not a fan of terrain making, remember? First off I washed the kits in warm, soapy water and let them dry overnight. Next, I primed them with cheap primer for plastics from one of local DIY shops, which turned out to be pretty bad idea - the paint run and pooled, making general mess. After another emergency scrubbing session in cold water (apparently, warm water makes acrylic paints harden), I gave priming another shot, this time with Vallejo's grey acrylic primer. The result was much more satisfactory.
All straw sections (two hutches and the roofs on the other two) were based with GW Steel Legion Drab and then drybrushed in two steps with GW Tallarn Sand and Karak Stone. A short side note - GW:s current paint system strikes me as ridiculously overworked and unnecessarily complicated, but I'm pleased with the paints from 'base' and 'layer' ranges. Good coverage, flat finish, hopefully they won't dry out 15 minutes after I popped opened the jar lids.
I deliberated a bit over the choice of color for the mud huts. From pictures available on the net one draws must draw the conclusion that they were mostly either brown (natural color) or white-washed. In the end I choose to base the walls in light grey and then give them a heavy drybrush Vallejo Off White. Once that was done, I took care of bare wood parts (always a bit of a problem for me) and that was it. They seem to look the part and personally I'm quite pleased with them.