Witness To Destruction: Italeri Berlin House | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Friday, 01 February 2008
This well-made building works fine with a variety of figure sizes, but sadly it couldn’t save my butt in PBI

Italeri has a line of plastic terrain models designed for use with 20mm WWII figures. When John, a member of the local FLGS, mentioned his collection to me, it got me curious, and I went looking at the line.

The WebMistress and I don’t often game with 20mm or plastics these days. Occasionally we’ll play some Operation Overlord in 20mm, but otherwise, our plastic hordes remain in their boxes. But once we got a look at John’s finished Berlin House model, we saw a lot of potential for more than just 20mm gaming. So, in true Wargames @ Nordalia.com fashion, I picked one up along with the extra floor so that I could stretch it up higher. 

The box for the additional floor, showing the entire building.

Every wargamer needs terrain, but most of us aren’t nuts about putting it together. We’d rather fool around with our toy soldiers and generally make buildings and farms and such only to provide more interesting playgrounds for our little lead figures. 

That’s why I got real interested when John showed me one of his Berlin Houses. When you’re talking terrain, versatility is key, and these houses are sized so that they actually work just fine for a range of scales. Don’t believe us? We’ll prove it.

The building, assembled and washed but not yet primed.


First off, this isn’t a “buy it and drop it on the table” piece of scenery. This is a model. It’s got all the sprue and nit-picking cutting of any other model. That’s fine with me; we were modelers in all of those years we couldn’t afford to build our armies out of mountains of lead. It might not be fine with you though, so consider yourself warned.

Assembly is pretty simple: a floor, four outer walls, four inner walls and a couple pieces of trim for each floor. There are also stairs, and when John showed us his model, he pointed out that they weren’t included by the club member that assembled his house. When mine came, I determined that I was going to put them in. But after examining the model, I changed my mind—while the stairs help center the pieces on each other, they also complicate taking floors off and will prevent you from setting a removed floor flat on the tabletop while working with figures inside. You may decide to put the stairs in, it’s only two extra pieces per floor, but likely you’ll come to the same conclusion I did. 

The extra floor.


This model is well done—easy enough to put together, solidly overlapped, and very easy to paint. Because it is part of the series designed to support Operation Overlord, the 20mm wargame, that’s not really a surprise. Wargamers prize sturdiness over detail every time, but this piece does a good job balancing the two. And hey, the best part is that you won’t find yourself digging globs of resin out of the corners.

My paint job is rather simple, two dry-brushed coats on each area … nothing ingenuitive, and yet it came out just fine for our tables. But don’t take my word for it, here are some pictures.

The assembled building with the extra floor installed.


Just to show you all how the house looks with a variety of scaled figures, I set it up and snapped some pictures at each of several different scales. The WebMistress and I also used it for a game. Her Airborne company stomped my poor Germans, bazookas took out two of my three PzIVH’s before her Shermans even entered the table … I’ll include pictures of that also so you can share my misery.

Fist up, 20mm. After all, this is the scale the model was designed for, so it makes sense to start here. 

The building with DML and Italeri plastics.


Closeup with Italeri and DML 20mm plastics

Closeup of the main entryway.

Commander on the roof, watching German deployment.


As you would expect, it looks just smashing with 20mm plastic figures. No surprise there, but you might be surprised by what’s to come. Next, we’ll peek at it with 25/28mm figures. I just grabbed a box we’re using to keep samples of each vendor we’ve tried and a box of unattached vehicles, so consider this mixed bunch to be late war.

Building with an assortment of 25/28mm Germans.

Closeup with BTD halftrack and Stronghold MG team.


The roof with a Foundry rifleman.

And finally, I dropped it on the table with 15mm figures. Again, I think it will work just fine. 

Building front with BF, QRF and PP figures.


Closeup with QRF and BF figures.

The roof with BF troopers.


For our purposes, this bad boy will work very well for all three scales. While you may feel differently, I think even the doorway and windows look okay with all three.

As mentioned, we did use it for a game of 15mm Poor Bloody Infantry the other day, and I took pictures at the end of each turn. The scenario was an American attack on the very outer edge of a German city, but sadly for the Germans, the Americans came from the exact opposite of the expected direction. The fighting was fierce and quick, and when it was all done, more Germans were alive than Americans, but all of the Americans’ objectives were taken. The Italeri building was the center of a swirling mass of combat. 

The building looks fine.



UK: AAA Models.

UK Price: £ 17.99 (house) £ 8.50 (additional floor)

US: Michigan Toy Soldier Company

US Price: $ 44.99 (house) $ 21.99 (additional floor)

Both US and UK prices are not the best deal you can find if you shop around, they are MSRP. We suggest you shop around.


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