Wednesday, 11 January 2017

New modular scenery from French Model Workshop

The other day I was reading Morikun's blog and I fell upon a very interesting post about new scenery kits to come.
I have to say it immediately pressed my buttons, I'm still looking for scenery solutions that are modular and easy enough to use and French Model Workshop seem to have come up with some really fancy stuff. 
Now since the company is a young french (cocorico I know !) company run by enthusiasts, I contacted them to offer a shout out for their coming Kickstarter at the end of January. They kindly offered to send me a base kit to review which I was more than happy to do.
Only a couple of days after that, I found a padded enveloppe with some material to play with.

The kit I received is a single level building made in lasercut mdf. The base building is split on 4 sheets with very clear instructions.

All the parts are numbered (not always the case unfortunately) and are really easy to get of their sheet.

Now like with all lasercut materials (mdf or cardboard), I like to first wipe the sheets with a wet tissue just to remove the greasy dust released by the cutting process. It makes your hands really dirty if you don't and I suppose it can only benefit to the painting afterwards.

With all the parts for the first sub assemblies punched out of the sheet I applied some PVA glue with a brush (superglue would do but I kinda like the repositionable side of PVA if you see what I mean...)

Few minutes afterward, I already had the base of a good looking buiding. I have to say all the parts fit right with each other with almost no gap between parts and a clever assembly system.

Pro tip : When you want to remove long thin pieces from the sprues, despite the fact they're well cut, you might have trouble getting them out of the sheet, gently push them with the handle of  brush to avoid bending them or damaging them.

Dad tip : If your adorable 6 years old Daughter ends her afternoon nap early, offer her to do the same kind of activity as you and give her a "punch and build" cardboard plane. (you're welcome)

A little time (and a few hundred times hearing "let it go") after that, here I was !

Now here's the cool thing about this, see, the walls are removable and you can change them how you please, they just slide in the frame as you can see below. This means you can combine these kits to make a multi storey building or you can add them side by side to make a wider one (couldn't show you but you surely have the means to imagine how).

The trapdoor on the roof is also removable (or you can decide not to punch it out and leave it sealed) and the roof is easily removable (oh so useful for those who like to have some action inside the buildings as well :

Doors can be hold shut or open (same here, you can just leave it in place if you wish) :

And same goes for windows. This is a very good point since you can either decide to leave them, or remove and paint them seperately to put them back afterwards OR replace them with some of the plexyglass windows that will soon be available...

The ladder also has this very clever lift shaped platform that allows you to let your model rest exactly where it stopped while climbing. It might not be impressive on a single level building like this but on a higher one it immediately shows how useful it can be.

One thing I really appreciate about this is that it's also been designed in a way that all the options and accessories fit inside the building, leaving only a squarish shape to store.

Parenting and snow outside haven't let me prime this building yet but I'm eager to get cracking on it. In all honesty, I have been astonished by how well designed it is and having read it's been through a lot of trial and error with the help of players and gaming clubs, you can definitely tell a lot of thought and care has gone into the design.

If weather allows, I'd like to have this one painted this week end to test it with miniatures !

Oh and I also have some fancy stuff on the painting range as we speak... ^^


  1. Very cool, I've been looking at these modular buildings as well. I'm wanting to have a tall building facade to set up at the end of the Graveskul table to make it look like the town is much bigger. I've been looking at sci fi ones, and old west ones, I will give these a look. And appreciate the parenting tip Fam. ;)

    1. Well those have a slightly cyberpunk tone I really fancy. Some of the decorative stuff can also totally be removed.

  2. Looks very nicely designed for sure.

    Mdf kits have come such a long way.

    1. True, I'm impressed by the very clever ideas people come up with nowadays. ^^

  3. Looks great! Some clever features built into that - looking forward to seeing it with some paint on :-)

    1. I'm eager to give it a go, it shouldn't take long honestly. ^^

  4. Has there been something lost in translation there JB? I'm not familiar with doors being able to hold shit :D :D :D awesome typo mate :D

    The level of detail on MDF buildings is quite impressive isn't it! Have you seen that star wars freighter that's kicking around the net ATM? It's an Aussie made thing, so it's gotta be good right :p bloody expensive though! But damn it looks ace!

    Cheers :)

    1. You're not the only one who noticed that unfortunate typo... at least some people read what I write !
      The peregrine freighter is indeed ultra cool and I think I've read somewhere a version without alll the interior was planned which would reduce the cost and might make it affordable for us mere mortals.

  5. Just like you, modular and easy to store scenery is the graal I seek for my gaming table. I've read Morikun's feeling about it and your review only conforts what I thgought : these cleverly designed buildings might be perfect for my plans Thanks also for the tips ;)

    1. I've only built it but the care in design is obvious when you assemble things, it's meant to leave as few joints visible and make it as strong as possible. all that with the right space for removable panels. Looking forward to painting it really.

  6. I'm really looking forward to seeing how you paint this up, JB. For some reason, I find assembling these mdf buildings very relaxing. I'm also consistently impressed by their quality (I built a bunch of 4Ground buildings for my old west town, and found them to be excellent).
    Anyway, your pro tips are very helpful - thanks.

    1. I'm right in the middle of painting it and it's quite fun really. It's going ti be suitably cyberpunkish I hope.


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