I'm a great fan of vac-formed plastic for terrain. It's light and cheap and easy to work. Some people may find the lack of detail to be an issue, but it doesn't bother me. I have fond memories as a child of buying many of the old Bellona pieces, though sadly they are long gone and there doesn't seem to be much archive data about them on the internet.
|The parcel from Amera, with a 12" (30cm) ruler for reference and some of the packaging material removed to create a better view.|
The Castle Keep (F214)
Rather than describe all the pieces in the box, I'll show how I handled just one from start to finish. This is mainly because it's the model that I've finished; the others have all been started but progress on them hasn't been as swift. Hopefully this will also give you the idea that these pieces are really quick and easy to prepare.
Once trimmed, I coated the non-masonry parts of the model with tacky glue and then sprinkled this with grit (in clusters), followed by sand.
Finally, flock and clump foliage was glued to the model fairly liberally. In doing this, I tried to follow the following principles:
- don't flock over the "standing spots" where miniatures might be placed.
- vegetation often looks better in clumps, rather than spread evenly over the whole area.
- foliage is very good for covering up imperfections - either where the painting isn't very neat or where the underlying model isn't as good as it might be. I placed a lot of clumps around the edge of the base, especially in the slightly unnatural "gulley" where the hill starts to rise from the flat base.
Big isn't difficult! This model took no more than an hour or two of effort (though considerably longer than that in drying time). It was also cheap; the castle keep cost no more than 2 or 3 28mm metal miniatures from the likes of Hasslefree. or maybe 10 plastic figures. It's not a perfect representation of any real-life building, but it is designed for gaming and will work very well in that role.
Hmm, I wonder if I should have added a flagpole right in the centre?
Simon Quinton has asked how big the stairs are on this model, so I've added another picture to the article. The lowest flat part of the staircase is the smallest, but even that has the width for a 30mm base (just). A small part of the 30mm base overhangs the step below, though I think it wouldn't be enough to destabilise a model. The 30mm base fits easily on any of the other platforms and on many parts of the path leading up to the keep as well.
The 25mm base has no trouble at all in fitting on any of the steps or other flat spots.
To see this castle in use, have a look at this battle report: Robin Hood's Escape.