My WW2 Dutch army isn’t quite finished, as I await the release of the May ’40 Miniatures Landsverk armoured car and a couple of artillery pieces. So in the meantime I’ve been working on some terrain for them to fight over. This small Dutch village is the result.
My budget for terrain is somewhat limited, so I needed to find a reasonably priced solution. And the card models by Dutch wargamer Gerrit Postma (also known as ‘Gungnir’) certainly meet that criteria – $6.00 for a six downloadable buildings from Wargame Downloads. I had to spend another $15 to get them printed on light card, but even at $21 for six houses, that’s still a steal!
My other criteria was that the models had to look … well … Dutch. Anyone who has travelled to the Netherlands knows the neat and tidy look of the Dutch countryside, which carries through to their traditional architecture. Gungnir’s models achieve this look very well.
You could simply print, cut out and assemble these kits as is. The above picture from Gungnir’s website shows how attractive they look straight from the kit. But I decided to do some extra detailing.
Firstly, before printing the models I used my graphics programme to replace Gungnir’s drawn windows with ones copied and pasted out of suitable front-on photographs of real houses. This made the windows really come to life, with intricate frames, lace curtains and even pot-plants in some of them – typically Dutch!
I also added some additional time-appropriate sign-writing to the shop and to the bar windows, also located by searching images on the internet.
For my first attempt at printing, I used my home copier to print onto standard A4 paper, which I then glued onto card backing. But the resulting lamination had a lot of air-bubbles. So I went to a printing company instead, and asked them to print the designs direct onto light card.
A bonus of using a commercial printer was that their industrial-grade copier provided crisp resolution that I could never achieve on my home printer. Well worth the extra $15!
I got two copies printed of each design. I cut both out, but then on one of them, I also cut out all the windows, doors and other openings. I then sandwiched the top layer with the cut-out holes onto the other layer, giving the windows and doors a slightly inset look.
After that, assembly was pretty straightforward. I glued as much as I could whilst the pieces were still flat. The roofs were the trickiest part, as with so many angles the paper can develop a mind of its own! I found the solution was to glue one side of the guttering to one wall, and wait for it to dry completely. Then I could glue down the rest of the roof later without it trying to flick itself out of place.
To give the models a bit more strength, and to stop them blowing away in the lightest breeze, I cut a thick piece of heavy card to the base-size of each house, and then glued it inside the bottom of the walls.
So far I’ve assembled four of the six buildings (and one of them I’ve done twice, the first being a test run).
- a barn-roofed Dutch house
- a row of two workers’ cottages
- a hip-roofed corner shop
- a small pub (the “3 Hoef Ijses”, which means “3 Horseshoes”)
I still have the small and large farms to go. And, most exciting, I’ve just learned that Gungnir does some other Dutch buildings as well, such as a villa and several factories!
The scale of the buildings I bought was 1:72, which some would argue is a little on the small side for 28mm. However, I am quite happy with the two scales together. But if you do want something a bit bigger, Gungnir also produces pre-printed card kits in 1:56 for 28mm figures. Or you could simply enlarge the prints onto A3 paper!
Overall, these are very nice kits indeed. They are cheap, beautifully designed, and fit together well. And with only a minimum of detailing, you can easily personalise the kits to match your imagination of what a Dutch village should look like.
I guess the only downside for wargaming is that they don’t have removable roofs – but neither do many other kits these days. There are ways you can work round this when playing a game.