Tuesday 29 October 2013

4Ground fences update

Earlier today I posted about the pack of fences I bought from 4Ground being advertised as providing over 42" of fencing and actually being only 38 inches long. 

I mentioned that I'd emailed them about this and would do an update when I get a reply. Well I've just got the following reply from them:

"Your right that is actually a mistake on the product header, it should say that there is only 38” of fencing. We will get that sorted for the next print run, as a way of saying sorry and thank you for bringing this to our attention we will send you out another pack of fencing with gates. If you could provide us with your address we will get it sent out to you."

It goes without saying that I'm more than satisfied with their response. Good customer service from a company that makes good products, what more could you want.

Quick Review: 4Ground 28mm MDF fencing

I was looking for some fences for my terrain board when I came across these from 4Ground. I like 4Ground stuff and I have one of their 15mm Churches and a row of their houses and although the fences are for 28mm they should work just as well for 20mm. They cost me £10 + p&p for 42" of fencing (more on this later) which I thought was a decent deal.

On opening the pack you find 3 sheets of pre-cut MDF comprising base plates, fence posts and the fences plus an instruction sheet.

The instructions are pretty straightforward as long as you make sure you pick the right parts and only detach what you need for each stage. Definitely do not remove them all in one go as it will be difficult to pick the correct parts. They also give you some ideas for customising your fences as you can see in the bottom row of pictures shown below.

You start by gluing the fence posts into the base plate and then adding the cross rails. You then glue the fence to the cross rails and you're done. Some of the fences have pop out sections to represent damage to add a bit of flavour to the fencing. The sections with the gates are a bit more fiddly but follow the same principle. The finished fences are shown below. You get 12 pieces of fencing of varying lengths, two of which have gates. They also do a pack without gates for the same price.

In the photo below I've added a Valiant 1/72 German to give you an idea of the scale of the fencing.

They went together easily and took me about 70 minutes to complete. You could probably do them much quicker but I was in no hurry. I'm happy with how they turned out and I'm looking for some 1/72 scale posters to stick on the fencing to add a little colour.
However there is one problem with them. I mentioned at the start of this post that they're advertised as providing over 42" of fencing. This is also stated on the pack itself. However on measuring my finished set they add up to only 38 inches. I checked to make sure I hadn't lost anything, which I hadn't, so either there was something missing from my pack, which seems unlikely as there were no gaps on the MDF sheets, or they've wrongly labeled the product. I've emailed them about this and will do an update when I get a reply.

Friday 25 October 2013

Laying out the marshaling yard for my 1/72 WW2 terrain board

As most of the stuff I need for the railway marshaling yard part of my WW2 board has now arrived I thought it was time to lay it all out and see how it looks. I intend to base everything on a hardboard sheet with the 'rough' side up which I will paint grey and weather to represent the rail yard itself. I will then permanently attach the track to the hardboard but I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to base the buildings or just place them on the board as they are now.

What's on the board now has cost me £76.84 but I still have some buildings and fences to add which will make the total for the 4' x 2' board £116.34. However I may be able to recoup some of the cost by selling some spare track from the job lot I bought on eBay. Even so I will have just about funded both boards anyway with the proceeds from selling off a bunch of GW stuff on eBay!

The shot below shows the layout I'll probably go with (model railway enthusiasts will probably be aghast with the errors I've made). I will be adding a station and a goods shed so may move things around to fit. Of course I can move the rolling stock wherever I like to get some variety in the layout for each game. I also have a couple of sheets of vacuum formed shell holes so I'll be sprinkling a few of those around to add flavour. This will also let me use a couple of the damaged rolling stock wagons with the shell holes as bombed out wrecks.

A station will be added to the foreground and a goods shed in the back right corner.

Side view

Rear view
In the photo below I've added an EWM 20mm Vickers Mk VI tank and a few Valiant 1/72 British Tommies to give you some idea of the scale.

Finally a few low level shots to give you a flavour of how things will look.


The buildings still to arrive are the Metcalfe Goods Shed and the Parcels Office & Waiting Rooms, both shown below.

My next task is to lay out the roads for the city half of my board, add the buildings I already have and then decide on what else I need to add. I already have an idea of how I want things to look, I'll just have to see if it works out in practice.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Progress on my WW2 terrain board continues

My terrain board is going to be 4' by 4' with one 4 x 2 section being a railway marshalling yard and the other being a part bombed out city. My latest task has been assembling another cardstock building for the marshalling yard. This time it's a Coaling Stage from Metcalfe which cost me £7.25.

As usual the pack consists of sheets of pre-punched thick card plus instructions and accessories.

The instructions are easy to follow you just have to read them carefully and you'll be fine. The first task is to assemble the main walls and their inner supports as shown below.

Next you glue in the first floor and then the inner rear wall which locks things in place.

Add some interior details, the lower level coal heap and then the roof and its done.

This is a very simple building to construct and took very little time to build. However things weren't quite finished. There was the 'simple' matter of adding the external staircase. This was a nightmare to do. You have a series of cardboard tabs you have to glue together that build up into the treads for the staircase. These are then glued to to side wall being guided by a 'fomer'. Well I followed the instructions but my staircase ended up being too short. Luckily you get extra steps in case you lose any and adding these just about fixed things. But I had glue everywhere, things didn't line up properly and until the glue set it was far from rigid and needed careful bracing to stop things moving around. This simple addition took about twice as long as making the rest of the building!

The wonky staircase

Anyway here's a couple of shots of the finished model, the second one has some Valiant 1/72 Germans to give you an idea of the size of the building.

With it's height this looks like it will make a nice spot for snipers or maybe an HMG team. I just need to weather the building and paint the exposed edges of the card to improve it's looks. Despite the fiddly staircase I'm very happy with the finished model.

Some people have asked me what glue I'm using to assemble the kits so I've added a photo of the glue below. It's made by Scotch and is called 'Scapbookers Glue'. It's nice because it dries hard as iron and has two applicators, a thin nozzle and a pad for large areas.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Another card building for my WW2 city board

Although I haven't posted for a couple of weeks I have been busy working on my terrain. So here's a look at another card building I've made for my board. This is one is the 'Market House' from Superquick and cost £6.70 inc p&p.

The contents of the kit.

As with the Metcalfe kit I did previously the kit comes as sheets of pre-punched card which are glued together. The card isn't as thick as with Metcalfe buildings and the instructions, although adequate, are not as good as those you get from Metcalfe. So on to the build.

The walls and arches ready for assembly

The first job is to cut out the acetate windows and fix the to the walls. On the Metcalfe kits there's lots of spare acetate to apply glue to, making it easy to attach the windows. Here there's very little acetate 'spare' which makes gluing very difficult. In the end I used a small amount of glue on one edge to hold them in place and then ran Sellotape over the window to hold it in place.

The next job was to assemble the arches. You have to bend and glue the arch structure which is then glued to the outside walls. This was very fiddly and as you will see in later pictures it was difficult to get things to stay lined up while the glue set. Although the windows & arches were not insurmountable problems I can't help feeling that the design has been done down to a price and that it would have been done better if it was a Metcalfe kit.

The assembled arches

The front view

The next step was to add the floor to the upper level. The floor piece is too small for the opening but as it's designed to be covered by a fixed roof for a railway layout I suppose it doesn't matter. But as I am leaving the roof separate to allow figures to be placed inside it does bother me.

The ill fitting first floor

I glued the model to the supplied base and then moved on to the roof. The roof was easy to assemble but the clock tower was fiddly and I'm not totally happy with it. At this stage the model is more or less finished except for some optional details. I decided to block up the arches at the rear of the building and I added a plaque on the middle one to add some flavour. With that the model was finished

The rear of the building showing the blocked in arches and plaque
Side view
The front of the finished building.

Overall I'm happy with how it turned out. It's a decent size with the building itself being 5" x 4". It was more of a pain than the Metcalfe kits to build plus the card has a satin sheen to it, that I'm not keen on, rather than the flat matt finish of the Metcalfe ones. I may try a spray of matt varnish to tone it down. On the plus side the bricks and roof already have a weathered effect which looks quite nice. I may buy other models from Superquick but only if Metcalfe don't have what I need in their range.

Friday 11 October 2013

First try at weathering my card buildings

I'm fairly happy with the completed my card stock buildings for my WW2 city board except for one thing, they look too clean. So I dug around a few model railway sites and picked up a few tips on weathering. I was a bit nervous at first as I didn't want to ruin the buildings but then I thought what the heck just give it a go.

Before weathering
I tried out a few techniques on some scrap card and I was fairly happy with the results so I moved on to weathering the roof of the sand house. I decided to do the run off stain from vent stack first. I was using a brown wash with a dry brushing technique so very little of the wash actually was applied but I could build it up as needed. The results are shown below.

I felt that the stain was too dark so I used a wider brush on the other side of the roof to get a more diffuse stain. I much preferred how that turned out. The result is shown below.

I also did a random dry brush of vertical strokes over the rest of the roof to give the whole thing a more weathered look. The aerial view below shows the finished result.

At this point I'd accepted that I was going to make some mistakes and just went for it. Although the dark stain lines were too prominent they didn't look so bad from a distance on the table. So I used my light dry brushing of the wash to simulate stains from window sills, the general darker stains that you find at the base of the walls and doors on older buildings and a general dry brush of the walls to break up the clean look.
The stains at the bottom of the doors

The walls after being toned down.
Being fairly pleased with the sand house I moved on to the water tower. The first thing I did was make a rust coloured wash to use on the water tank. Pictures I'd seen showed lots of vertical rust streaks so that's what I tried to emulate. The results are shown below.


The stains aren't so obvious in normal light and I'm happy with how they look on the table. I also used the dark brown wash to tone down the walls and add stains under the windows. I wasn't so happy with that turned out but its ok.

Although they're not perfect I'm happier with the weathered versions than the originals as they look more 'real'. What's more I feel much more confident about weathering the rest of the buildings when they arrive. As with most things the more you do the better you'll get, hopefully!

Thursday 10 October 2013

Second card building for my WW2 city board

The card building set I bought contained two buildings a water tower and a sand house. I posted about the construction of the water tower earlier now here's the sand house.

The pieces for the house come pre-cut on one sheet of thick card. Again if you read through the instructions a few times and identify the parts on the sheet you should have no problems.

The instruction sheet has clear diagrams to help explain how things go together and I had no problems assembling the model. I didn't find any part too fiddly to assemble which was one of the things I was worried about. Again the construction of the building makes it very sturdy with card walls 2-3mm in thickness. The design of the model gives it a nice 3D effect with the doors and windows being recessed.

The final model looks great if a little 'clean'. I'm going to try weathering the buildings using some techniques I've found on model railway sites. From the looks of what they have achieved you can get great results if you know what you're doing. (Whether I know what I'm doing is yet to be determined!) Also, somewhat surprisingly, what I built looks exactly like what it was supposed to which says a lot for the quality of the kit and its instructions.

The above photo shows the finished buildings with some Valiant 1/72 Tommies. The Valiant figures are over-sized for 20mm coming in at about 25mm tall but as can be seen the buildings look nicely to scale for 20mm.

I enjoyed building these as they were a lot simpler than I had expected and look great. I'm going to buy more kits from the range for my marshalling yard board. The ones I'm thinking about are shown below.

A coal stage, looks like a nice spot for snipers (£8.75)

Goods shed, (£13.99)

Signal box (£9.00)

Got to have a station (£16.99)
The total cost of these buildings will be £56.98, including what I paid for the water tower & sand house, which I think is pretty good. If I wanted something similar in resin it would probably cost me well over £100 and I'd still have to paint them.

Monday 7 October 2013

Building the card terrain for my WW2 city board

My first piece of 1/72 scale model railway card terrain has arrived so it's time to make a start on assembling it. The pack was the Water Tower and Sand House from Metcalfe. I have no idea what the buildings are used for by railways I just bought them because they looked the simplest to assemble, plus you get two buildings for £9.25.

How the buildings arrived

Opening up the packet I found some thick card sheets with the pieces punched out ready to use. (You have to cut through the card in a couple of places to free them completely.) There's also an acetate sheet for the windows and another to represent the water in the tower. Lastly there are the instruction sheets which have clear diagrams to help with the assembly. The first thing I have to say is READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. There are a few places where you can get confused if you haven't read things carefully.

The contents of the pack

I decided to start with the water tower as it looked the easiest of the two. I punched out the pieces and cut up the acetate sheet to get the windows. I thought about leaving the 'glass' out as the board is supposed to be a bombed out city but decided to leave it in for now. I can always cut bits of it out to resemble broken windows if I want to later.

There are inner and outer walls for the building which give it a nice 3D look. You glue the windows to the back inner wall and then glue the inner walls to the outer.

One of the nice things about the kit is the thought that's gone into making it. For example the card punched out of the outer walls is used to reinforce the interior of the building and to keep it square. They obviously thought about this as the card fits perfectly with no cutting to size.

As you can see from the above photo the walls of the building are quite thick with the two layers of card. This makes the whole thing very robust, nothing at all like paper craft terrain. You could put a house brick on top of it and it wouldn't even buckle.

There's lots of nice little touches like mouldings around the top of the building which give the whole thing a lift. Once the building was finished I moved on to the water tank. The process is much the same but with a few more fiddly bits but nothing complex you just have to carefully read the instructions and you'll be fine.

The finished model looks pretty good. It needs a base to really set it off but I'll do that later. I'll have a go at the sand house tomorrow and see how that goes.

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