A Potpourri of Terrain Bits | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Thursday, 19 July 2007

When we're not painting things up to review here at Wargames @ Nordalia, we're painting things up for our own games. Recently we mentioned a few terrain pieces we were working on for our gaming table, and asked on the forums if there was an interest in them. There was, so here we offer you a short review of terrain bits from several vendors.

We've got some JR Miniatures trenches and pillboxes, some Gaming Models Japanese bunkers, and a Hovels Northern European Farm Set that we painted up for our tables; we're going to throw up some pictures here and give you our quick impressions.

On the Farmstead

First up is the Hovels Northern European Farm Set (NEV-1), which consists of four stone farm walls, four stone farm-wall corner pieces, a farm-wall gate, a carriage house, a barn and a house. Also included are a well, a cross and a water pump with reservoir.

There is some variation in the quality of these pieces, so we'll cover them one at a time.

The farm-wall pieces�all of them�are excellent, and well detailed. They're a pleasure to paint, and as you can see, create an authentic look when finished. We could almost smell the manure in the morning.

The farm itself is not as well done; a few portions of the buildings were downright gunky. Some of this is in areas you would expect, like the inside corner of the building where the door is, but some is right out on the roof. While paint will do a lot, some of the inside angles are just so full of junk that we painted them as rubble.

The bits are very nice, and definitely add to the set. We like them at least as much as the buildings, but we've got lots of 15mm buildings and not so many little bits.

NEV-1 $42.75 (9 pieces)


Normandy-style German pillboxes come next, with two sets from JR Miniatures: #4455 Heavy Machine Gun Bunker and #4459 Concrete Pill Box, two each.

The HMG bunker is nice, and we found the flat gray that it comes in to be suitable for us, so we just dry-brushed rust and metal on the iron girder on the top of the bunker and called it done. You may want something more, but for us, this worked.

The concrete pillboxes are not quite as nice. They look good and fit well with the HMG bunker, but they're solid, so you can't put figures into them. Not unusual for this scale, so probably not an issue for you�it certainly isn't for us.

Finally, we have some JR Miniatures trenches, #3609, Trench Starter Set.

These are sold as finished, but the ones we had were so lightly colored that we cleaned them, primed them and painted them up. Once done, the set looked very good, and we're pleased with the result.

Even close up they look pretty nice.

Prior to our purchase of this set, we had not used latex defenses, preferring to either build our own or use markers to denote trenches and the like. In the future, we'll likely buy more of this set�it's just easier, and they look very good painted up.

#3609 - $28.00
#4455 - $13.00
#4459 - $ 7.00

And Bunkers!

Pacific-style Japanese bunkers by Gaming Models.

These bunkers were in the Gaming Models Overview article, but we wanted to include a snapshot of them both painted and with figures to show scaling. We painted half the models with black tops for Iwo Jima, and half with white tops for, well, everywhere else.

We love the look of these bunkers, they're beautiful � but there is a problem. The two open bunkers can't hold a standard-size base of figures. At best, they'd hold an FoW command stand�barely. In fact, all of them appear to be sized somewhere closer to 10mm than 15. Now, off-size terrain is certainly nothing new, and some customers will be pleased about this fact. But we like to be able to put our toy soldiers into their cool little forts.

Overall, these will make your terrain look great, but you'll have to mark what units are in which bunker because you can't even get a representative stand into the two that are open topped, and only the two log bunkers even let you lift the tops off.

The size issue is most glaring with the two pillboxes that appear to be designed after an actual bunker found on Guadalcanal.

Again, they're pretty, and will make your island terrain look good when the Marines hit the beach, but the Japanese player will find him or herself writing down the locations of a lot of troops.

Still, at $35.00 for the whole set (yeah, all the bunkers pictured here), they're worth some note taking.

Japanese sand and log bunker set 1 (12 bunkers) $35.00

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