WIP: Weird West-ern Terr-ain for Really, Very Dusty Sorts of Skirmish Games

As the Middling is still amidst the great migration of early 2015, the orgy of terrain assembly and priming continues. Until a proper painting set-up is arrived at for the returning to the painting of miniatures, the order of the day is making use of time and industriousness to assemble models (most especially terrain) and all with the aim to have them all the closer to the critical stage that will be painting (or more truthfully, gathering dust in the long paint queue). Having worked on a Victorian city, a medieaval Japanese village, even some 54mm inquisitor terrain, it seemed another locale was in order…

After very much enjoying Legends of the Old West, and with an affinity decades past for Deadlands (and a more recent affinity for Firefly), the seed of desire to build a set of wild west terrain and buildings was planted. A farmhouse, barn, and cabin are already done (pictures forthcoming), so working on the downtown proper was the logical next step.  Ideally, these buildings will find use in western skirmish games (even some zombie survival , In Her Majesty’s Name, gaslight era Strange Aeons or other cthulhu adventuresand the eventual goal (mixed with some sci-fi terrain) is to do some skirmish gaming (perhaps in Pulp Alley) set in Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity ‘verse.


These buildings were my first MDF buildings acquired, and they left much wanting (an honest note: an earlier MDF wall was assembled and painted previously). In general, and in this hobbyists humble opinion, MDF buildings don’t make the cut, they seem inauthentic, flat and look, well, like miniature representations of buildings made of MDF, rather than a miniature representation of a normal building. I get that some manufacturers are better than others, and pre-paints are time savers (especially for those without the resources of time and commitment to create and paint their own), however in general the trend towards MDF pre-cuts has left me cold. In comparison, the Plastcraft buildings, because of their ability to convert and texturize, as well as to create rounded or organic shapes are (thus-far) superior.

They were cheap, however and in a bundle of four buildings plus a weirdly-scaled gallows. All four buildings have been assembled and greatly embellished with plasticcard,  spare plastcraft bits, and wood tea stirrers from the local coffee bar. The walls were turned inside out, so the burned-in patterns in the MDF provide some texture and appearance to the interiors. The unrealistic symmetry of the designs doesn’t cut it for exteriors, but adds a little something for interiors that will not be utilized in games nearly as much.

First, below we have the most important locale in a western berg – the saloon (with doors and all).


The front sidewalk has been created out of irregular shaped Plastcraft cast-off’planks cut to size and textured with a dental tool.


The interior flooring has been created with intentionally poorly laid coffee stirrers, and then texturized with a quick woodgrain, by rapid scoring with an x-acto blade.


Next we have a bank given the same treatment but with a brick plasticard. From a number of resource photos, often the only buildings of brick in western mining or cow towns were banks. Logical enough. IMG_3426

Thinking that the bank would be newer and maintain itself better, the sidewalk and interior floor planking would be better maintained and more symmetrical. Capitalists like to keep their temples clean and orderly!


The interior of the building needed a bit of work, to allow for more interesting teller windows, and something to break up the flatness of the interior wall.


Notice how only unbroken planks of wood line the flooring.


Next, below, is the general store, here given a similar treatment of clapboard siding of plasticard, window frames, and a well-used and breaking down rear cargo loading bay.


The cargo deck is in bad shape, but helps distinguish the building from the others – they are after-all the same squares of MDF without adornment. Figuring that the general store would put the dock to frequent use, its not on the main thoroughfare, its in a bit of disrepair.

IMG_3432 IMG_3433

Last, we have the Sheriff’s…


…complete with brick jail-cell extension! In research, several of the old buildings had these sort of extruding planks of wood, so it was a simple matter of cutting plasticard to length and yee-ha…a different texture and appearance than the others! IMG_3435

The backwall of the jail and the cel-house-shed were covered in brick plasticard. The roof of the shed was given a plasticard shingle set.


A similarly well-used back deck rests at the back of the sheriff’s, and below we can see the bars and wood-texturing of the cel. I envision a dingy bed of hay (and greenstuff) will eventually reside here.


In this last photo, we can see the bars to the cel and the early stages of flooring, before the tea stirrer stick stockpile shortage surfaced (alliterationS…) The floor has since been completed and textured with x-acto scoring.


There is still much assembly to be done on the Western setting including a good 7 or 8 Plastcraft Western buildings which will require a great amount of wood grain, texture, roofing and conversion – so those will have to wait a bit.

An observant reader might wonder – where da roofs at? Also, what about the standard western marquee and signage? Well, you see these buildings came with basically non-existent roofing, which the marquees attached directly too. So, building roofs comes next, when proper materials can be secured, cut to shape, tiled or shingled, and made to give these buildings the proper aesthetic.

The hobbyist’s labor is unending…


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