Prepainted AT-43 Bunker

Back in 2007 when AT-43 was an up-and-coming game system with many new releases and still sold at full retail, Rackham released a plastic prepainted AT-43 Bunker. Fortunately I snatched one up from a friendly local game store, because an AT-43 Bunker is now incredibly hard to find. Mixed up in the legacy of the bunker and its accessory walls is perhaps a clue to the demise of Rackham as a company. When a product is incredibly popular and sells out, God forbid you should produce more. Perhaps even raise the price because demand is so high? Sacrebleu, non! So along with the AT-43 plastic shipping containers that so many 28-30mm war gamers covet, Rackham has provided another wondrous plastic relic for shoppers to quest after.

Prepainted AT-43 Bunker with Karman Apes Attacking and Red Blok Defenders

The AT-43 Bunker Was Ahead of Its Time for Value and Makes a Great Objective to Fight Over

The AT-43 Plastic Bunker Itself

What a steal! While I slightly remember a price closer to $29.95, the toydirectory.com lists an MSRP of only $25 in 2007 for a prepainted building with a removable roof and fully painted interior. The mottled grey bunker stands about 6 centimeters (2.75 inches) tall with its gunnery slits starting at 3 centimeters up from the outside base. The interior floor is only a millimeter or two thick, so it does not dramatically affect line of sight to and from models on either side. Because it is trapezoidal in design, the bunker has an odd footprint, but it is roughly 14cm x 16cm. The bunker’s double-edged sword is its integrated wall sections for attaching AT-43 walls. They’re perfect for gamers who already have AT-43 walls and wish to use them, but a little unsightly should you wish to use the bunker sans walls.

AT-43 miniatures posed next to prepainted grey bunker which has a nub where the wall attaches

Without Walls the AT-43 Bunker May Be Unsightly to Some Due to the Nublike Wall Connector

Interior Dimensions and Removable Door

Closeup of prepainted AT-43 bunker with 22 Warhammer 40K figures crammed into it

22 Warhammer 40K Figures Take Shelter in the Spacious Bunker

Because the bunker’s walls are so realistically thick (9mm), the rusted metal interior floor space is a bit smaller, but still fully painted and textured. The floor is divided into 3.5 centimeter squares, while the walls are the same mottled grey, dark concrete color as the exteriors. Standing room is spacious with the bunker able to hold an astonishing 22 figures on round 25mm bases! As for AT-43 models themselves, the bunker can take 14 infantry figures on the 30mm bases and 7 of the larger 40mm bases used by Karmans and Kolossus units (or 8, if you don’t mind a tiny amount of base-overlapping).

Close up view of AT-43 Bunker's Rusted Steel Interior

An Interior View of the AT-43 Bunker Without Too Many Miniatures Blocking the View: Roomy

While the door doesn’t retract into the roof or slide into a wall, it can be removed, which is a great touch, though it does require lifting the roof off. It has the same design front and back. Most gamers will probably keep the door off for convenience, but its inclusion is useful for any game that simulates breaching charges or the need to hack into the door’s control panel, which features a green button on its black console. Another green button and a red one below the console might represent whether the door’s locking mechanism is engaged, though with this little detail the painting is a tad overenthusiastic as the orangish red has splashed over onto the door’s steel brackets on my bunker.

Rust wash is visible on steel bunker door as well as paint splash below control panel

Painting is Just a Little Sloppy on the Bunker’s Control Panel, But Detailed Wash on Rivets

The Bunker Roof

Models wishing to take position on the roof will lack protective cover on the roughly 4″ x 5″ relatively flat surface. Enterprising players could solve this with the addition of some sand bag sections. The roof is broken up by what would appear to be three round drain or ventilation covers in the corners as well as a central metal panel with textured bolts affixing it to the top of the bunker. The panel is further detailed by three concentric circles which diminish the building’s otherwise grim demeanor with their curves, instead softening the piece. While the purpose of the concentric rings is puzzling, they have received a nice rust wash along the bottoms which is a magnificent level of detail on a prepainted piece of terrain. The three round drains or vents are similarly lightly rusted and seem to be removable. This poses the same hazard as many of the AT-43 vehicles though, in that while a Strider may have a hatch that can be opened or removed, doing so will often break the brittle piece of plastic.

Concentric circles are visible along with drain or ventilation spouts on top of AT-43 Bunker

The Bunker As Seen from Above With Concentric Circles and Rust Wash

Accessories and Final Thoughts

The AT-43 Bunker also came with two High Defensive walls. Twice as tall as the normal walls, they measure in at 5 centimeters tall and were not included in any of the other later AT-43 sets. On each side of the bottom of the tall barriers black and yellow warning stripes have been painted. These high barriers block Line of Sight to infantry as well as Kolossus models and Karmans. Meanwhile Striders in AT-43 or most vehicles in Warhammer 40K will be able to claim partial cover if hiding behind the walls. The high walls are a nice touch and a welcome addition to the set, but entirely unnecessary for the original $25 price tag.

Plastic AT-43 bunker reveals figures inside while others are hidden behind tall wall sections

At 5 cm. Tall, the Tall Walls Conceal Infantry and Provide Vehicles Protection and Cover

Indeed, very few products offer as much value as the AT-43 Bunker, so if you find one for sale, you should probably add it to your collection. That or contact Craven Games, because I would love to get a second and a third myself.

Gale Force 9 at Gen Con 2012

Gale Force 9 was exhibiting and selling its flagship line of basing products and gaming accessories at Gen Con, but also showed off several newer ventures, particularly its WotC-licensed Dungeons and Dragons terrain and a board game of Spartacus, based on the popular Starz cable series.

Dungeons and Dragons Caverns of the Underdark and Other GF9 Terrain

One of the most eye-catching tables at Gen Con was definitely Jason Buyaki’s Underdark Cavern board, built with the assistance of sculptress Lizzie Willick. Though Gale Force 9’s website states a month-long construction time for the table, when I spoke with him, Buyaki pegged his and Willick’s time on the board at two weeks. The table also had two denizens on it, a Beholder Eye Tyrant and and a Purple Worm, both of which will be released as part of Gale Force 9’s Dungeons & Dragons Collector’s Series line of premium unpainted resin products. The board separates into two pieces three quarters of the way up from the bottom and will be traveling to Essen later this year to help promote Dungeons & Dragons and Gale Force 9 in Europe.

Miniature underground cavern for the Underdark in 28mm at the Gale Force 9 Booth at Gen Con

The Caverns of the Underdark 3D Set on a GF9 Vinyl Mat

While the impressive Underdark Cavern was not for sale at Gen Con, the Caverns of the Underdark 3D Adventure Sets were. Each 8-piece resin stalagmite set comes fully prepainted and is a licensed product from Wizards of the Coast to Gale Force 9. As Jason Buyaki pointed out himself, the stalagmites are also usable for pulp action games or for science fiction cave settings, in addition to concealing the movement of drow, duergar, and driders through your Dungeons & Dragons games. Gale Force 9 also has a variety of crystals that make for colorful additions to a gamer’s dungeon or cavern, as well as a new vinyl playing mat specifically licensed for Dungeons & Dragons use, featuring a 1-inch grid.

Terrain mastermind Jason Buyaki in Spartacus T-shirt Stands Before Huge Cavernous Dungeon at Gen Con

Terrain Mastermind Jason Buyaki Standing Beside One of His Greatest Gaming Boards

Lizzie Willick has also designed a series of re-imagined hills for the Battlefield in a Box line of prepainted terrain. Willick has answered the question “How do you make a hill that’s not a hill?” with five intriguing collapsed urban structures: the Fallen Angel, the Buried Monument, the Collapsed Corner, the Ruined Fountain, and the Blasted Garden. They will look good in most futuristic urban cityscapes and match Gale Force 9’s existing Gothic range, while helping to block line of sight and offering concealment and cover to nearby troops.

Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery

Unpainted plastic generic gladiator pieces on arena game board for Spartacus board game at Gen Con

Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery at Gen Con 2012

Gale Force 9 CEO John Kovaleski explained GF9’s other exciting venture, the Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery board game. GF9 demoed the game throughout Gen Con at four tables. Players use generic gladiator playing pieces, but can play with named characters from the show such as Spartacus himself, Asher, or Animaeus. The game is also rated 17+, so fans of some of the more vulgar and evocative expressions that really characterize the show have some of them to look forward to. Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery will be available in stores in late September or early October with an expansion to follow. From my video with Kovaleski it also seems quite likely that there may be further games in the Spartacus setting released by GF9.

Miniature Building Authority Tudor Inn and New Double Townhouse

The two newest Miniature Building Authority buildings that I have added to my collection are the Tudor Inn and the New Double Townhouse. Like all Miniature Building Authority European series buildings they are pre-painted on the outside, feature removable roofs, have open window areas for true Line of Sight, and feature wooden inserts for wargaming action on multiple stories.

The Miniature Building Authority Tudor Inn

Red tiled roofs on miniature houses in a city market scene from Miniature Building AuthorityThe Tudor Inn has a hefty list price of $119.95. For that you get a three story inn with a double-wide front entrance and a rear scullery exit. The Tudor Inn’s paint scheme is quite stark and austere, only black and white on the sides, with the characteristic MBA red-tiled roofs. The inn would benefit from some drybrushing and/or a wash to help give it some variety. Structurally it is a fairly nice specimen, as it should be for $119.95. The inn has a slight tilt in its second and third floors, but the slant only affects the portion overhanging the street so it will not pose any problem for butting the inn up against other buildings.

The Tudor Inn has a rough footprint of 6.5 inches by 7.5 inches, reaching 8 inches to its third story roof with the chimney pot adding about 2 more inches, for a total height of just under 10 inches. I have complained about the red chimney pots on all of the other MBA buildings, but the Tudor Inn thankfully has grey ones.

The Miniature Building Authority New Double Townhouse

Two miniature buildings as one from Miniature Building Authority with its double townhouseCarrying the idea of adjoining buildings to the next level, Miniature Building Authority has released the New Double Townhouse, which combines two buildings into one resin piece. The two story half has black tiles on its roof and a green door, while its attached companion has red tiles and is only one story, with steps leading up to its door. The New Double Townhouse also offers some nice surprises. The first is that the smaller building has a cut-away floor leading to a recessed cellar or area beneath the floorboards, which is a little under three quarters of an inch deep. I was able to put a Games Workshop Rat Swarm in there, one of the low Pegasus Hobbies crates, and a Hirst Arts crate, as seen in the Youtube video below. There was room for more surprises though. You could have a skeleton down below, a dungeon entrance, sacks of grain or gold, or even dwarves and halflings lying in wait The second, related surprise is the small archway leading out of this recessed area, connecting to the street outside. There is also a wooden barrel with a black pipe to drain off rain water.

The New Double Townhouse is approximately 4 inches deep and 8 inches long, standing about 6.5 inches tall. Overall the sculpted details on its stonework, as well as its paint job point to a promising trend in the newer MBA buildings. It has a list price of $74.95 from Miniature Building Authority.

Pegasus Hobbies Large Village House 5071

Approaching Chaos Warriors threaten the prepainted Pegasus Hobbies Tudor-style houseLike its taller cousin, the Mcrae’s Large Two Story House, the Large Village House (#5071) from Pegasus Hobbies comes fully pre-painted on both its exterior and interior, but also is sadly out of production. The Large Village House originally retailed for $30, but I found mine on eBay for $25. Even had it cost $40 now, it would be worth every penny and easily has the most value for its price of any prepainted miniature building.

The house measures 8″ by 6″ at its base and stands just under 6.5 inches tall to the top of its chimney. Like the Mcrae’s House, the chimney is the least attractive element consisting of sharp craggy “rocks”. The front and back walls measure 2.5 inches up to the roof’s eves. Aside from the chimeny, everything is painted to a uniformly high standard. All that the Large Village House lacks is some furniture and occupants for an adventuring party to rescue or terrorize. Its other obvious use would be in wargaming where you can comfortably move the battle indoors as it easily allows Large Warjacks to fit within, though how they would be allowed inside based on the size of the two doors or their Large bases is something to discuss with your opponent. It may be a slight stretch, but it could also serve as a European house in a 25mm WWII wargame too.

The 8 inch by 6 inch large prepainted miniature house from Pegasus Hobbies has a Tudor feel to it

The Large Village House Has 2 Entrances Allowing for Quick Escapes… or a Flanking Manouver

I would love to have at least one more of these and even if it means competing against me on eBay, I would suggest that any fantasy or historicals wargamer snatch the Large Village House up if he or she should see one. Have a look inside at the house’s interior on my Youtube video for it below.

Crystal Caste Fantasy Medieval Inn

The front of the prepainted fantasy inn for 25mm scale miniaturesMuch like the Crystal Caste Farmhouse Series, the Crystal Caste Medieval/Fantasy Inn #40001 comes prepainted on the outside, has hinged opening and closing doors, removable roofs, and is felt lined on the bottom so as to not scratch your gaming surface. Unlike the Farmhouse series though, not all of the inn’s doors are openable. The green doors on the second story are facades and do not open.

The inn is richly detailed on its exterior with its own small well supplying it with water. The inn has seen its share of use and abuse over the years with a battered roof repaired with spare shingles, boards, and thatching. Around the exterior are more rocks and bits of debris. The inn is well painted except for the side of one of the gates, which was bare of paint on my model. The interior is also not detailed and is a flat matte black.

A view from above of the weathered and worn miniature fantasy inn.The fantasy inn is perfect for gamers who play RPGs or war games using 20-25 mm bases, particularly for skirmish games where figures can make full use of the exterior walkway. The walkways though don’t allow figures on 30mm bases to be placed on on them except at the corners, so using the Crystal Caste Inn for Hordes, Warmachine, or Malifaux would be quite restricted, much less the plastic line of Confrontation.

The Fantasy/Medieval Inn retails for $98 with is footprint measuring roughly 9.5 inches x 7 inches. The wooden walkway’s supports do extend the size it takes up on the table to an area of 9.5 inches x 10.5 inches. The walkways are about 2.5 inches from the table. Vertically it reaches a little under 6.5 inches to the chimneys and the vertex of the roof. Even from the same manufacturer, I think most gamers would be better off getting a Farmhouse Cottage and Farmhouse Stable for $85, but that is ignoring the design of the inn.

The only real flaws I have found in the Inn are the non-opening doors on the second floor, the lack of paint on the side of one gate, and its price, but its price and quality is comparable to other prepainted terrain manufacturers, if not superior. Another “flaw” that may irk some GMs is how tempted players will be to play with it during an adventuring session if used for an RPG. The inn is also towards the end of its production run, but you can still get yours from Crystal Caste.

Miniature Building Authority Small Stucco Townhouse with Dormer and Stone Farm House

The second additions to my Miniature Building Authority collection were the Stone Farm House and the Small Stucco Townhouse with Dormer. Both have the red chimney pots and the green bases that I am not so fond of, as do all of the MBA buildings in the Eurovillage series. Of course, this is more than compensated by the fact that they also come prepainted, have open windows for true line of sight, removable roofs, and and have floor inserts for multiple floors.

The Small Stucco Townhouse with Dormer

The light grey Small Stucco Townhouse with Dormer in the great outdoors.
With the word small in its name, I wasn’t expecting too much, but was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. It seems to have a newer fresher design than a few of the older buildings. The blue door doesn’t look out of place and there’s room in the top for a 3×3 unit on 20mm bases. You could squish more miniatures in certainly.

As I note upon getting my first good look at it in the Youtube video, the paint colors on my Small Stucco Townhouse didn’t match the packaging. Mine is light grey, but the packaging shows a yellow building. The image on miniaturebuildingauthority.com of the building is a mix of the two, appearing a warm light light brown to me, close to Buff or Naples Yellow. When contacted about the building’s true color and the label’s image, Kirk from Miniature Building Authority had this to say: “We are working to get the artwork closer, but at this time it is what it is. So, we apologize if the box art is not the color you want, but we are working to improve this process.”

Stone Farm House

I don’t care for the Stone Farm House’s pale blue shutters and doors, but that’s not the reason I got it. It’s positively huge, especially compared to other MBA buildings. It measures in at 7 inches by 6.25 inches, and is just under 8.5 inches tall, not including its double chimneys. The second floor easily has room for a 8×6 unit of figures on 20mm bases to lie in ambush for an unsuspecting unit passing nearby.

The Stone Farm House though also has a few deficiencies:
Closeup of MBA Stone Farm House showing odd stone pattern and doors .5 inch above ground.

  1. Raised Entrances: The green bases that I don’t care for are usually about 5 millimeters tall. In the case of the Stone Farm House though, there’s about an additional 5 millimeters of a stone ledge that both of its doors rest upon. This creates over half an inch of difference in height to the ground from the door. I will probably add a narrow Hirst Arts floor tile to restore a bit of realism.
  2. Odd Stone Pattern: The pattern on the sides of the building is very odd. To me, they look like crescent fingernail shapes. What sort of stone this represents is beyond me. It’s definitely textured though, but the Stone Farm House doesn’t withstand much close scrutiny.
  3. It’s not Straight:I actually hadn’t noticed its odd pattern or the raised entrances until preparing to review the building, but the fact that mine is a bit crooked, bowing out to the side? That quickly disappointed me. I can still push other MBA buildings up against it, but one side is straighter than the other. This is shown in the Youtube video above.

Final Thoughts

The Miniature Building Authority Stone Farm House and Stucco Town House with Dormer together outdoors.Despite the color issue, the Small Stucco Townhouse with Dormer is a solid offering from Miniature Building Authority and one of their most affordable. While many of their buildings are perfect for fantasy or medieval city settings, despite its name the Townhouse could easily be an outlying building in a village or farm.

The Stone Farm House has been superseded by MBA’s more recent offerings. It does boast an unusually large size, especially for an Miniature Building Authority building, but its flaws in either design or execution set the product back.