Saturday 4 December 2021

A Smaller Project

This was a smaller project, which I did for David Imrie in about 2010, posed here with his excellent Claymore Castings figures. (It's his photographs here too.)The idea was to take some of the Hudson and Allen mediaeval buildings and "tart them up" into village units by painting, adding scenic bases, trees and so on.

The H&A buildings are great to work with. They are produced by a process that's unusual in our hobby, being cast in expending polyurethane foam. Once mixed with its catalyst, this stuff expands fiercely, pressing itself against a strong, fully enclosed mould, producing sharp surface detail. The result is light, hardwearing, reasonably priced and easy to paint. This is the optimum way to produce ready-made buildings for our hobby, in my opinion, much better than resin castings (too heavy and fragile) or laser-cut MDF (totally lacking in surface texture). Unfortunately the method has a higher set-up cost than either alternative and very few people know how to make the moulds. The range doesn't currently have a seller in the UK. In the US I gather the main supplier is the oddly named "Vatican Enterprises".

Anyway, the H&A range is "generic mediaeval" rather than being specific to a particular area. But I can forgive that. I'm a picky man on such matters, but they are so nicely modelled that I forgive them. Normal painting techniques work well on these and I added some details, not all of which are visible in the pictures: I'm sure there was a line of washing and an enclosed gate? I added moss to some roofs, via PVA and very short static grass, drybrushed a bit. The trick with moss on buildings is not to overdo the amount and avoid garish colour contrasts.

By the way, there is rogue building in the bottom image, a very nice little chapel made and painted by Simon Chick. I only supplied advice for that one. It's based on an OO gauge model railway kit by Noch. Simon has mastered the art of picking these up cheap and doing the work which makes them compatible with 28mm gaming. In turn, I had learned that from the late Peter Gilder, a pioneer not least in  wargames scenery.


  1. Very nicely tarted up John and very useful too, as small villages resembling these types of architecture probably still exist is some very rural areas of Europe and certainly would have been around in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

  2. Great work once again John. It's a shame they don't have a UK stockist as I think they would become popular, for the reasons stated. MDF buildings and scenery have become almost ubiquitous at shows now that it's rare to see resin scenery. Gamers seem to like the idea of putting their figures inside but I rarely see this done. The kits are also pretty cheap and have lots of options for adding detail is you're so inclined. It's something I might do one day just for fun.

  3. Thanks, rross and Steve. H&A buildings used to be carried at shows by Old Glory UK. They don't list them on their website now, but it might be worth dropping them an email. Don't get me started on MDF kits!! Actually I do have a few of the things myself, duly tarted up, for WWII skirmish games, so eventually I will photograph them and comment on how they can be improved.

  4. These look great and I agree with your comments - I have (reluctantly) bough a bunch of MDF buildings to make terrain for a WWII game next year - it's not really cheap enough to justify the amount of extra work required to make it look good - but I fear if I build from scratch entirely the project won't get done at all. So we'll see how I go - and I look forward to seeing your efforts to make MDF into something worthwhile.