Regular readers will know how feel about scenery. It’s one of the most important, but often most under invested in, parts of the hobby. Until a couple of years ago the scenery I had in my terrain boxes was 20 years old until I got fed up playing games of 40k across crap boards and spent a healthy lump of money on lots of plastic kits from the Games Workshop.
Ever since then I’ve always had my eye out for good scenery kits to make my ever diversifying games exciting to play. Regular readers will also know that me and The Chaps are bit mental for Mordheim and my search inevitably leads me towards finding buildings that can sex up our games. Especially as the cardboard buildings are 13 years old now and starting to show their age.
So it was with much excitement that I came across 4Ground.
4Ground, for the uninitiated, produce laser-cut MDF scenery kits for 28 & 15 mm sets for Ancients, Dark Ages, Renaissance, Old West, Colonial, Victorian/Steampunk and World War 2. But with the rather lovely twist that they’re all pre-painted.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Damaged Detached Building. And I’m gonna get this out in the open right up front. It smells amazing. I don’t know what it is about freshly lasered MDF but it’s a brilliant brilliant smell.
You get quite a bit for your twenty-five notes as not only is the building pre-painted to a pretty good standard the level of detail is bonkers. Individual tiles, window frames, floorboards, ladders, doors, even bullet holes and rafters. Sodding rafters! The guys at 4Ground are completely and utterly mental. And I love them for it. That kind of attention to detail only comes from a group of people who really love what they do. Yes there’s lots of scenery out there with some incredible detail but to go to that much trouble with MDF kits is ace.
It’s also modular which means that if the level of openess isn’t enough for you then you can split the levels out. Which is way cool. However it’s been intelligently designed so the option of lifting off a level doesn’t compromise the structural integrity of the rest of the building. Which means it’s not going to collapse in on the other models you’ve got running around inside. So, bonus.
Now all this paints a very rosy picture, and never let it be said that The Shell Case is all one-sided because you still have to build the thing. This isn’t a complaint, just an observation. And actually, compared to some MDF kits I’ve built, the instructions are pretty good. The etching is also precision enough that the pieces to pop out with relative ease. However, it’s still wood and it’ll still break if you don’t treat it nicely, which is always a bit of a point of contention with me when you consider the cost. Plus, because the detail is so good, you have to be extremely careful punching out some bits or run the risk of breaking it.
To be fair, it’s not a tremendous negative. If anything it’s highlighting the skill and the craftsmanship involved. But it also highlights that you want to give yourself plenty of time to build it as rushing and kits like this really don’t go hand in hand. Especially as PVA is involved and you may have to walk away for a couple of hours and leave parts to set. Which I’m shit at. I want everything in a plate, or on a stick and possibly made of gold, now god dammit now…
But moving on…
In all seriousness, 4Ground has produced a spanking good kit. Love the fact that it has stairs, and double dept walls and window frames and snapped floor boards, burnt rafters and broken tiles. It feels real and that means it’ll look absolutely pimp on the gaming board, which is all you can really ask for of a piece of terrain.
The added bonus to this particular kit is that it’s not overly World at War – bullet holes aside, which means it can easily fit in to a fantasy skirmish game. Or any skirmish game set in the 1940’s back which gives it tremendous versatility and increases the return on investment markedly.
If what you want is a quick and basic kit then this probably isn’t for. Nor will much of the other items 4Ground sells. But if you want buildings that look the part and present a pleasant challenge to build then you need look no further.