Gaming Browsing Habits

Last Year

This is true probably for the last year or so. Almost every day I check Terranscapes and then the Terranscapes Youtube channel. Every few days I check Hirst Arts to see if Bruce has posted any new products or tutorials and then visit the pictures forum to see what people are making. Every week I check Custom Kingdoms to see what new products might exist. I also visit thewarstore and Miniature Market weekly to see what is on sale or what new products have come out. Every 2-3 weeks I visit Forgeworld to see what new and exciting products they have or just to get some eye candy. Every couple of months I take a look at Dark Age Games new releases, stop by GW to see if they have any new terrain (I get their frequent emails about new armies or events), check ArmyPainter’s website, browse Auggie’s Games, and also Mantic Games. About every six months I check out the Privateer Press terrain forum.

That is it. Everything else is dependent upon my interest at the time. I sometimes look at Youtube subscription mails to see if a video headline grabs my interest. If I want to see Egyptian terrain, I’ll stop in at Crocodile Games’ forum. For a while I checked out hcrealms when playing HeroClix a lot. How are people converting cool Orks? Let me see this Mad Doc thread. How do people paint their Necron Wraiths? Ok, what does this site show?

Older History

Back when my gaming club had its own bulletin board/forums, I was on it hourly. This was not a group of strangers and was an easy means of staying in contact until the next gaming or BS session. I also used to check brushthralls and terrainthralls for new updates pretty regularly, about once a week. Black Gobbo used to draw me to GW’s website; now I visit sporadically and gulp down a small section. When I was playing a lot more collectible miniatures games, I also would visit Strike Zone Online every few days.

Miniature Building Authority Buildings

Miniature Building Authority. It’s right there in its name. MBA is certainly positioned as the authority on miniature buildings. I drool over their website and Youtube videos of their terrain at trade shows. The company makes me want to play whatever pulp miniatures game is out there just so I have a reason to buy their “High Adventure” line of buildings. It’s the same for their Middle Eastern style buildings. That and a lot of first person shooters. “Tango down.”

Moving away from questionable lines of thought and sticking to what I do know, I own the Witt House and the Corner House with Turret. They come packaged in their own special styrofoam shells. Both are raised on rectangular bases 5mm from the bottom. This fits with how many gamers model their buildings, but I prefer a flat approach. The footprint on the Turret House is 4 1/8th inches squared. The Witt House is actually 4 5/8th inches by slightly over 4 3/8ths. These buildings really are 25mm scale. If you’re very particular about your scales, it may disturb you to place a Warmachine or WHFB model near them. The base of my Corner House was painted green and I easily went over it with some grey craft paints. You can see the damage or pink gunk my turret came with in the video.

The main advantages of Miniature Building Authority buildings are the open window areas, multiple stories of use, and how the city ones can be lined up next to each other. Unlike most other manufacturers you can actually stick your finger through the “windows” of the MBA buildings. This is great for determining whether a model can really see the assassin waiting on the other side of that wall. I bet there is someone out there who either wants to model closed windows or already has on his MBA buildings, but for me, the true LoS is a great feature. While I will contrast the various fantasy building manufacturers here (wait with bated breath!), Crystal Caste’s buildings aren’t ready-equipped with inserts to make them into true two story structures. MBA buildings are. Miniatures down below? Check. Miniatures on the second floor? Check. Lastly I like how you can create a more European or medieval look with these buildings. Any city that was not bombed out in Europe has buildings that adjoin, whole rows of them. Standalone cottages, houses, towers, and the like simply cannot compare.

If you know MBA, you should already know the downside: the price. $60 for a prepainted house. Yes, it opens, but it’s black on the inside. The exterior paint job is alright, nothing to rave excitedly about. The green base has already been touched upon. The garishly painted (bordering on neon) chimney pot on my Turret House poses a dilemna. How should I repaint it?

Overall Miniature Building Authority buildings do set a certain standard in the prepainted terrain market. I think they are the company to beat with plenty of competitors eager to do so. I would like to eventually get the Ladd House and even the Tudor Tavern. But at $119.95 for the tavern, that might be pretty far away.

Custom Kingdoms Buildings

I first became aware of Custom Kingdoms existence when Sean from Bluetable Painting posted this series of battles on Youtube beginning with this video. If Bluetable ordered them, the company must be quite legit, I reasoned (and I think many subscribers have too). The turnaround on ordering was quick; within a week I had several gorgeous painted buildings to use for gaming. The buildings are facades and hollow on the inside. They come painted to a pretty high standard as you can judge for yourself from their pictures, mine, or my YouTube video on them.

Their cottages are certainly quaint, measuring xbyx, or 1×1 Custom Kingdoms panels. Dana McDonald has made molds that fit a standard size and then casts the components in resin, assembles them, and then paints them. But back to the cottages. I have three different varieties for, well, variety. All of them are taller than most other manufacturers’ cottages or similar structures. As with the rest of the buildings, you can choose from green, red, or blue tiled roofs.

Where Custom Kingdoms really shines though is with their Tudor line of buildings. I particularly love my Tudor 04 design with its overhang and my Tudor 05. The Tudor 03 is useful for putting a few select troops on in battle. This is where Custom Kingdoms’s prices start to take off though. The Tudor 10 is a 2×1 footprint, but has two floors, a balcony, and a $75 price tag. It’s a pretty little balcony and that is 12 panels, but it will have to go on my wishlist for now.

Also on my wishlist and something that I’m much more likely to be getting soon is CK’s Windmill. By adding the blades to what is essentially a Tudor house, CK has intelligently created a new product and a new reason to fork over some money to them.

An aside: there is a lot an enterprising individual could learn from Custom Kingdoms. As already mentioned, with the Windmill, he took an existing product, added a new component, and has now put something new on the market. Maybe I need to spend more time browsing around, but I’m not familiar with another windmill on the market. The second thing is Custom Kingdoms whole lineup of Steam Punk products. I am not a huge fan of the genre, or even a fan. I doubt I will be buying any of his steam punk themed products, but he has really found a nice niche with that line of buildings. The last little lesson to be gleaned right now is maybe reiterating the effects of your product in the hands (and on the gaming board) of an influential person, aka Sean from Bluetable. Sean corroborated the value that I think we can all see visually in Custom Kingdoms’s products.

Pegasus Hobbies Large Cottage and Small Cottage

Among their many other prepainted offerings, Pegasus Hobbies enriches the gaming community with their Large and Small Cottages. The buildings are nearly identical except for the extended depth of the Large Cottage (about an inch deeper). The paint scheme is fairly dark with matte black windows. Both cottages feature an animal skin drying. The larger building’s animal is black and the small one’s is brown, if that matters to you. They are hollow on the inside.

The cottages are competitively priced on the low end of the scale. If you need a farm, hamlet, or village to defend or sack in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Hordes, Warmachine, or any historical or fantasy game, these are perfect. I think they look only slightly out of place in a fantasy city. It is imaginable that they could exist in a poorer part of town where their thatched roofs would just be an accepted fire hazard.

If you are going to get two or more, I suggest getting one of each variety. Since they’re so similar, at least from a bird’s eye view you will have some slight increase in the visual appeal. If you have more than three of these, I think they will start to look odd when grouped together and at that point I would repaint one or two to make them stand out. By odd, I mean they might look like medieval tract houses instead of cobbled together from whatever stones were on hand.

Amera Plastic Mouldings Modular Buildings

Amera Plastic Mouldings is a British company whose vaccum-moulded plastic terrain I have seen before on the walls of a local gaming store. I have not been too impressed with most of what I have seen from them, but the online pictures of these modular buildings caught my eye.

The Bad

The plastic is as smooth as sheet styrene. The Modular Building with Door’s door is not distinguished well from the surrounding wall. For me the smoothness was a potential problem for painting. This is exactly what GW Rough Coat was inteded for (it has been discontinued), but I used Spray Adhesive instead combined with dental plaster to create texture that I could use for drybrushing. The walls are also so thin that I would not cut them to make a ruined building.

The Good

I have not seen many sci-fi structures with this sort of design on the market. The sides of the finished building measure 9 inches by 11 inches. That is a lot of space on the table. Whole skirmishes can be fought on the roof. Make taller buildings by stacking more of the variant without the doors. Easy enough. Yes, GW’s Cities of Death sets can be had for almost the same price and offer a huge variety of configurations. These Amera buildings will add a bit of variety to your cityscape. Perhaps more importantly, there are a number of sci-fi or modern games where Cities of Death buildings would just look too distinctly Warhammer 40K to use them. The Amera buildings are generic enough for most systems.

As I mention in the video, I have plans to expand upon these two buildings. I may want to buy another floor or two in the future, but for now I can add foamcore inserts to divide up the buildings inside, blocking line of site. I am also curious to try adding little window panes of laminating sheets and see how that looks. I want to cut out an access area on the roof, which would then then need a closed door. Some ventilation in the form of an air intake/fan, roof top pipes, or a little stairwell shack might add visual interest as well as further cover for any rooftop models.

Pegasus Hobbies Technobridge

The Pegasus Hobbies Technobridge is an elegantly designed snap-together plastic kit usable in both modern and futuristic wargames. The packaging boasts that it is over a foot long and they are being quite literal: at its longest it is 12 and 1/8thh inches. The internal width is just under 6.5 inches. Yes, a Baneblade can use it to cross a river or canal, and of course your troops can as well. They could get a cover save from the sides from the 1 inch tall railings. It comes almost ready to use out of the box, snapping together, and cast in a dark grey plastic. I am in the middle of painting mine, but even unpainted it looks pretty good.

If you purchase two of the Technobridges, the central bridge sections could extend the length of the bridge. You would need to use your judgement for how many sections could realistically span the crossing. Each central portion (not the ramp) is 3 inches of more bridge, so you could move up to an 18 inch bridge with another box, leaving two leftover ramp portions. I think it’d still be reasonable if the bridge were 6 or 9 inches longer, but extending it further without modeling further supports might strain the suspension of disbelief. Making the bridge wider would require a good deal of work.

Warmachine players may even be able to make use of it, but traditional swords and sorcery fantasy games or pre-1800s historical gamers will not find much use in it.