Tuesday 5 April 2022

Chateau MDF

Another laser-cut MDF kit. tarted up for skirmish gaming. This chateau is by Sarissa precision, still available and modestly priced. It's a model you see in a lot of skirmish games, and rightly so. Nit-picking types like me would say that in size terms this isn't really big enough for a chateau, more what the French call a "maison bourgeoise", but never mind. As well as WWII skirmish, I thought this structure wouldn't be out of place in a 1920's Chicago gangster game. I see it with a sign proclaiming the "Hotel de Luxe" or something equally cheesy!

One of the nicest features of this kit as it comes is the window and door surrounds, the kind of thing that laser-cut MDF does best. I did improve most of the other features, adding characteristic tall chimneys, stonework corners ("quoins") and better wall and roof textures.

Here's the rear view of the establishment. The rendered walls were done in the same way as on the house posted recently, ie carefully textured household filler.

Frome the side, the chimneys are very prominent, as they always are on a chateau. The car is a slightly bigger scale than the building or the figure; it's about 1/43 scale, from someone like Solido. I had bought it cheap along with some French 1/48 military models from Gaso.line. It looks the part as one of the many thousands of civilian cars requisitioned to mobilise the French army in 1940. The badge on the door is that of a Moroccan Tirailleur regiment. Three such units made up the  hard-as-nails Division Maroccaine, just about the toughest formation in this unjustly maligned army. If you can see it at all, the badge comprises a mosque and palm trees over the Etoile Cherifienne, symbolising the Sultanate of Morocco.

Here you can see how the typically French mansard roof is constructed. The near-vertical outer section is usually covered with slates, but that wouldn't work on the almost flat top section, so metal sheet takes its place: lead, zinc or bronze were the most common materials. The technique of laying this metal sheet holds good for church and other roofs. You have broad sheets overlapping horizontally, then vertical joins with the edges of two sheets folded together. I made the finials from brass rod pushed through a series of small beads from the craft shop. 

Finally, the two buildings posed together, but I've run out of things to tell you. 

The next couple of posts will show some 1940 equipment that I built from scratch, both French and German.


  1. A very nice looking model, as usual enhanced by your additional beautification! I don't think it's nit picking to question the description.....perhaps in a different setting, two thirds if the way back in a walled, formal garden, it might pass as a minor chateau, but on its own, it just looks like a big townhouse!

  2. You've done a cracking job on that John. I had to put together something similar for a friend a few years ago as he struggled with all the bits etc. I was impressed by the level of detail in the windows etc, but as you've done here, it needed texture and some extra effort to really lift it.

  3. Very nice indeed, your work shows the level that can easily be reached if a bit of care is put into these kits--very nice indeed and whilst not as good as a full scratchbuild I am guessing a lot quicker and easier. I agree it seems like a large townhouse but a chateau is probably not really possible to depict on the table in 28mm scale!

    Looking forward to the next lot of WWII stuff.

  4. Lovely bit of mdf upgrading,we have to make all kinds of compromises with scale but I think this works rather well!
    Best Iain

  5. Thanks for your comments everyone.