Nazis in the Nave: PaperTerrain’s 28mm Chapel | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The PaperTerrain Model.

When we heard that PaperTerrain was publishing a replica of the St. Mere Eglise chapel in 10/12, 15, 20, and 28mm, we put in our order immediately, and prepared to shuffle schedules to fit it in as soon as reasonably possible. The cool thing about this chapel from our perspective is that it is just as applicable to other genres, even though it is sold for WWII.

We set out to build it with a little bit of everything. We worked out ways to brace the different parts, we sought advice from Scott at PaperTerrain, and we picked up a ton of materials to build with, then Don went to work with scissors, glue, and a ton of other items to put one of these together. All of our fantasy gaming is in 28mm, so that’s what we ordered, and what was delivered.

First off, this is no simple project. There are many pages of printout, optional instructions (some of which aren’t so optional, as we’ll see below), and a variety of supporting and basing materials required.


With armor – models are 148th Tamiya vehicles


For this chapel, I purchased six feet of 1/4 inch square balsa wood, six feet by six inches of 1/16th inch balsa wood, a sheet of 2x2.5 foamcore (for basing), and a bottle of Eileen’s Tacky Glue. That sounds like a lot, but you’re building a lot of temple. And as it turns out, I really only needed three linear feet of the balsa wood.


The actual building is only a little more complex than the normal PaperTerrain model in the same scale, it is just so large that you have to build it in stages. The instructions – 16 pages of them – cover this very well, and walk you through building and adding each section. The one catch here is the optional bits – go to the end of the instructions and read the optional parts thoroughly. We strongly recommend that you reinforce every wall, either following the directions provided by PaperTerrain, or the options we include below. This model is so large that long, unreinforced walls are going to be bendy and warped, no matter how careful you are.


Angled view of the PaperTerrain model


Before we get too far in, we’ll mention the potentially bad PR that Scott ran into when the written directions (though not the diagrams) told you to attach certain parts backward. We notified PaperTerrain immediately, and Scott was very quick to just replace our entire package. While we stood to lose a lot of work – all that we had done to that point – you still cannot kick at that resolution to the problem. How many vendors send out replacements on notification that there’s a problem? That turned a potential PR problem into a major PR coup, in our opinion. In the event, I was able to cut off the two long wings and swap them to resolve the problem on the original model.


With VFM and Foundry figures.


When I’m working on a review for you all, I like to try different things – as long as I’m not destroying the piece anyway… We do pay for most of these and use all of them in our games after all. For this review, I decided to try several different bracing options to give you a visual depiction of how bracing looks and what impact it will have on your gaming. After looking closely at using foamcore for bracing (one of PaperTerrain’s suggestions), I opted not to in this case. The reasoning behind that decision is that the glaring white would be more obvious than a wood look, so all bracing was done with various styles of balsa.


The methods we tried are:

-         Fully supported: the entire wall was covered on the inside with balsa wood.

-         Partially supported: strips of balsa were laid above and below the windows

-         Beam supported: 1/4 inch balsa – the same required for the roof and upper floor supports – was added at the top of the wall, running the length in a single strip.

-         Unsupported: the floor was counted on to provide all of the support needed.


The different support styles we utilized.


Any game that utilizes the 28mm version of this building will definitely focus on the building itself – our model measures out at over two feet long without the base, which kind of guarantees it will attract your little lead men if your table is 4x6 or smaller.


The roofs of this building range from small – about 4x4 inches at the base – to huge. We took Scott’s advice in the PaperTerrain instructions, and reinforced all of the roofs with balsa. We’re pleased with the results of this reinforcement, and will likely use the same method with our unassembled 28mm PaperTerrain EuroVillage buildings (only one of that kit is unassembled at this time). The other buildings in the EuroVillage set are reinforced with foamcore, and we just like the thin and slightly flexible balsa wood.


A view of the inside of the temple.


There are five internal subdivisions of this building – the center tower, north, south, east, and west wings. The central tower has a floor on it for ringing the bell, all of the rest is single level.


Most PaperTerrain buildings come with both inside and outside walls that you either glue together or glue to either side of whatever reinforcement you’re using. This building does not, and the reason is obvious. There are a lot of sheets of cardstock already delivered with this set, and basically doubling the number required to send separate internal walls would increase the price significantly. Since this 28mm version costs $50 USD without the internal walls, it seems that providing them would be prohibitive.


The chapel at St. Mere Eglise is surrounded by a large-cobbled stone courtyard – that we have reproduced here with graphics we generated in The Gimp. PaperTerrain doesn’t provide the outside base of any building, but it would be nice in this case since the temple being depicted had a specific style of ground around it. Until Scott decides to put together an optional kit with things like internal walls and this surrounding stone, we offer the template for the courtyard in GIF format. Just print it out and glue it around the building. It takes some work to get it to line up correctly if you apply it after the building, so I would recommend that you glue squares of this stonework down to your base before gluing the chapel into place.


From the side with the VFM and Foundry figures.


The west wing of the temple is huge, capable of holding two 1:48th tanks comfortably – though the picture is for sizing purposes only, since there isn’t a door large enough to fit a tank through anywhere in the building.


The east wing is more complex but still rather large. In our case, this is where we chose to forego reinforcement of the walls to show you what the effects might be. As you can see, they’re less than stellar. We recommend using 1/4 inch balsa to reinforce along the top of the walls to get the same type of straight, even walls that you see in the west wing pictures.


If you take some time and use some caution, this model comes out absolutely beautiful. The minor issues Scott had with directions in the first few copies that went out have been resolved, and if you like to use large buildings – particularly chapels – in your gaming, this is definitely worth your while. You certainly won’t find another temple of this size on the market for anywhere near this price.


My unfiltered opinion? This thing rocks. The only problem we have at this point is storage of something so large, but it certainly looks great in both World War II and Fantasy wargaming.



Direct from PaperTerrain 

Pricing: $50.00 for 25/28mm, $15.00 for 6mm, other scales (10/15/20) in between. All in USD.


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