I guess I have to finally admit that I’m not really a wargamer, but a terrain enthusiast! The most enjoyment I get out of my hobby isn’t playing wargames, nor painting figures. It is making scenery. Not big messy projects like terrain boards, but small features to decorate the table, especially buildings. I’m no scratch-builder, either. I prefer taking an existing kit and embellishing it.
And so it is with the project that has been entertaining me for the last few nights – building another model house to add to my burgeoning shogunate Japanese village. This MDF kit is from a British manufacturer I hadn’t tried before – Blotz (as in Buildings, Landscapes and Other ThingZ).
Making this Japanese house kit felt quite familiar, as it uses many similar concepts to 4Ground’s kits, whose buildings form the major part of my Japanese terrain. For example, the walls from both companies are formed of a frame with inserted panels and separate inner walls.
However, unlike 4Ground, the Blotz kit isn’t pre-coloured, so it requires some painting. I found this easier to do before breaking the pieces out of their sheets. The only parts that required some care were the interior walls, where you have to paint straight lines between the white and natural wood parts.
A particularly nice feature of this kit is that there is only one place where you can see any of the interlocking joins or tabs that so often mar otherwise attractive MDF models. And even this one visible join is on the inside, and so can’t be easily seen, especially when disguised with a little bit of paint.
The sliding doors work (though they are a bit tight). I glued some tracing paper onto the back of the frames. This looks really good from the outside, and adequate enough for the few times you’ll ever see the inside of the house.
Another feature that often gives away such kits is the use of teddy-bear fur for thatch. However, I find that if you slosh the finished thatch roof with heavy washes of watered down dark-coloured paints, then dry-brush it with lighter colours such as yellow and white, the fur ends up looking more like thatch … well, at least not so much like it came from a skinned teddy bear!
So there we have it, yet another Japanese house for my samurai games – if I ever get round to actually playing one!