At first glance, Crystal Caste is only a dice manufacturer. But as one of their brochures and thoroughly scouring their website reveals, they are out to help gamers with as many useful products as possible. The prepainted Farmhouse Buildings fit that bill incredibly well. All of the series are felt-lined on the bottom to protect your playing surface, have brownish orange tiled roofs, and come in specially contoured styrofoam packaging. They are made in China. The Barn and Stable are also asymmetrical with separate little side areas jutting off and out, which adds visual interest.
Easily the most useful (and greatest value) piece is the Cottage. It has an opening front door and a backdoor. It is 5.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches deep. It is roughly 6.5 inches tall including the removable roof. The second floor extends out a quarter of an inch over the front of the cottage. Inside there is a small lip from where the second floor juts out the quarter of an inch. You would need to glue something on the opposite interior wall to create a shelf to add your own second story floor insert.
The next most useful piece I would suggest picking up is the “Stable”. It has two separate detachable roofs, one over the little annex area which has double swinging doors that can fit three Games Workshop cavalry models inside. Two doors on the front lead to the interior of the stable with exterior steps leading to the second floor, again with a functioning door. Its width is just at 12 inches, with about 4 inches of depth, though the roofs extend further. It is about 6-6.25 inches tall, so shorter than the cottage.
I added the Barn to my collection and in the second Youtube video you can see what a beast this piece is. Coupled with some of the other buildings or by itself this is an objective worth fighting over. Unlike the Cottage and Stable, the Barn has no red brick pattern. Instead, it matches the second stories of the other pieces with the wood and yellowish stucco or plaster. It has one huge roof that removes, then a tiny external storage shed attached at the back with removable roof as well. Large barn doors let livestock and fleeing peasants out and villainous raiders in. It does have two doors in the rear for a quick escape. The Farmhouse Barn is just over 11 inches wide. The main portion is 5 and one eighth inches wide, though the front doors add about an inch in the front, while the rear storage adds just under two inches.
There is actually a fourth piece which I have stayed away from: The Farmhouse “gate house and wall” (40003). While it matches the rest in appearance, the stucco or plaster over the bricks is a little too suggestive of Spanish conquests for my tastes. It also would look awkward standing alone, I think. Another Youtube user has the entire set in his collection of miniature terrain.
Obviously these would be great for any fantasy game, but the burned-out tiles on top stand out as evoking Mordheim to me. They are not ruins and very much intact, but they do have some battle or environmental damage. When I think “fantasy” and “red brickwork” I do also think of Privateer Press’s Iron Kingdom. These are the only bricked prepainted buildings in my collection, though Warmachine bases are too large to fit up the Stable’s walkway.