There are some very impressive MDF kits available for gamers these days. Not only are the various vendors producing the obvious models of buildings, but increasingly they are also making vehicles, crates, pylons and other "scatter" elements.
TTCombat is one such manufacturer; they have a huge range of model kits that I might describe as "gamer friendly" or perhaps "cheap and cheerful". Their buildings often have useful interior fittings, yet they are clearly designed for use in wargames as they are not totally faithful to real world sizes and layouts.
For example, the TTCombat "Sovereign" cinema has just 20 seats and no toilets or projection booth. However, it does have plenty of open spaces where one could place figures during a game. Not many movie theatres in the real world would fit this profile - and yet it's a lovely model that could play a central role in many tables set in urban USA or UK over the last 100 years or so. Anyway, I digress...
So, I bought a very simple TTCombat kit to start with: the billboard set. This contains 2 identical billboard models for the princely sum of £3.95, postage free. Yes, that's right; these models are cheaper than a takeaway meal for one!
|Early stages of construction. I found it easiest to start by fitting the legs to the underside of the platform|
There were no instructions in the billboard kit and I didn't bother to look online to see if there are any available for download. These are reasonably simple models and I put them together very easily with intuition alone. Just remember that most of the parts plug into the long, rectangular "platform" piece.
On the whole, the pieces of the model went together very well indeed:
- The fit was typically firm enough to hold in position, but not so tight that the pieces couldn't be separated again after dry-fitting.
- I did use some filler on the upper side of the platform to hide the leg joints, though you could manage without this.
- The overhanging lights didn't match their sockets quite as I expected; it seemed as if the sockets weren't quite deep enough.
These were incredibly easy to paint, at least in part because I wanted to see how they would turn out with minimal effort:
- Undercoat in grey primer.
- Paint white around the edge of the poster "frame".
- Use a black wash all over.
- Paint the undersides of the lights in pale yellow (though it's actually quite hard to see this detail, so it could be omitted).
- Print a suitable advert onto paper (12cm x 6cm) and glue it to the billboard.
- Seal. I used a spray varnish, so this only took a few seconds.
These billboards are so cheap that your time and effort to build and store them are probably more significant than the material cost. How do they do that? For me, the low price actually had the unexpected effect of making me want to finish the billboards as simply as possible, on the principle that they weren't "worth" putting in a lot of work. Don't be taken in by this; just because they are cheap and easy does not mean that these models are worthless!
Cost: 5/5. I don't see how these could be much cheaper unless TTCombat gave them away.
Construction: 4/5. No instructions, but parts fitted together well.
Usefulness: 4/5. A good scenic element, though the billboards are a bit top-heavy and might need to be based.
Overall: 5/5. Inexpensive, useful, easy to build, excellent value for both time and money.
Lovely work. A lot of the TT stuff is batman miniature game inspired so there exteriors tend to be more important than there interiors. Usually the billboards I've seen go on top of buildings.ReplyDelete
I have to agree they are cheap and cheerful but with a bit of extra work like you have done result in quite brilliant additions to the tabletop.
Ah, but my point was that the TTCombat buildings *do* have interiors (simple and functional), whereas most MDF kits don't.Delete
Ah see most the ones I have come across are just shells so we have obviously seen different kits.Delete
A good review. I can see a few items being ordered....ReplyDelete
I'm not completely convinced by the TTCombat vehicles and artillery, but their other stuff looks excellent for gamers.Delete
They certainly look the part and for that price you really can't go wrong - great review too.ReplyDelete
I found myself putting item after item into the shopping cart, on the grounds that each of their smaller kits cost only a few pounds. Of course, I eventually realised that a large enough quantity of such models do add up to some real money and so I decided (reluctantly) to postpone most such purchases for another day :-) ...Delete
I've bought a few scenery items from them and have been very impressed with the quality, the prices and the speed of their delivery. I don't have their billboards... yet!ReplyDelete
I can't help comparing these with the WorldWorks (card) billboards, which I'm pretty sure you've built too. The MDF ones were much quicker and easier to build and will be more durable too. Since my time has so many demands on it, this speed of construction overwhelms the cost saving for card models.Delete
Of course, these newer models are somewhat heavier than card and if transporting games was important then extensive use of MDF might be an issue.
I just recieved the railgun and standard truck kits. I found all the same elements to your review. Good price, good productReplyDelete
Oddly, I hadn't heard of TTCombat until fairly recently. Since then, I've seen many mentions and I don't think I've heard anything other than wholehearted praise.Delete
Great build C6!ReplyDelete
I to got alot of TT Combat stuff and its always a great buy!
Just looking at their catalogue gives me so many ideas - I have dreams of huge setups! I will certainly be purchasing more from them in due course.Delete
These are very serviceable - "They do what they say on the tin" and you can't complain about the price either.ReplyDelete
They're very good "gamers" models, by which I mean that they are cheap and easy to assemble, though at the expense of some realism. I don't think that many railway modellers will be buying TTCombat kits, but I certainly will!Delete
I have a rapidly growing collection of TTCombat stuff and have been largely happy with what i have bought, and the prices are excellent IMHO.ReplyDelete
This seems to be the common reaction, although I think I detect a slightly qualified endorsement in your case?Delete
I am shifting my terrain purchases more and more to MDF, as, as you write, the quality/standards of the available models are increasing at a fantastic pace. I also have my sights on TTCombat (I have seen some of their stuff in the flesh at a small private gamers' gathering, notably the cargo ship and the construction site office), and I surely like both their prices and their range!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this 'tutorial', it only strengthens my resolve to get some modern terrain in MDF somewhen soonish (just have to do some more jungle terrain for IHMN, and possibly Congo, first).
Ah, there is so much stuff I like in MDF (and that's just the TTCombat catalogue :-) )! I'll certainly be buying more in the future.Delete
The cargo ship would be fantastic, though I'd need an entire dockside scene (cranes, warehouses, containers...) as well. Although this does sound nice, it might not be my first priority :-( .