Friday, April 8, 2016

German Infantry and The Chicago Way Prep

52 German metal infantry figures 100% completed; painted, varnished, based. I almost wouldn't believe it myself if I didn't have them sitting in front of me right now! Really pleased with how they turned out, despite them being just a bit too dark in tone, in my opinion anyway. But then again, it's dirty up on the front lines, right?

To have the infantry part of the army completely finished I have to put the finishing touches on 7 artillery figures, their two guns, and then I ordered a new mmg team (as I wanted a more traditional looking team as opposed to the one where I have the gun being held up on the shoulder of an infantryman) and a FOO team - which are primed and based. So just 13 more figures. My favorite number, not a problem!

This week I also started to finish up some of my buildings from a pretty large 4Ground backlog to begin some prep work for GEG's 'The Chicago Way'. These buildings are from their 'White Chapel To Baker Street' line and some of the very first buildings 4Ground ever put out - more on that later.

First up was completing a run of terrace buildings. I have two mid-terraces and then two end-terraces to make a nice little block. Being part of 4Grounds first run of buildings these guys definitely had some mistakes in the instructions. For those of you who have never built a 4Ground kit, their instructions are photos only, no written instructions whatsoever! So you're literally scanning the photo, twisting and turning the pieces you're building to match the photo, looking at notches and holes, so you get it right. Well, sometimes the photos aren't right and sometimes the parts aren't labeled right to match the photo, which in turn cause problems.

Overall the buildings went together pretty quickly, though mislabels on the instructions had me mess up walls on one of the floors. This was because I'm pretty sure photos for the mid-terrace buildings were used in the instructions for the end-terrace buildings. Even though they are essentially the same, the exterior walls are different in where the notches are located.

This caused my interior walls to not fit properly. I had my right and left walls swapped. It was too late to try to fix because I always use super glue to build these. And really it doesn't effect the building in the least, and all I need to do is fill in a few notches with some scrap wood and I'll be good, but it is a bit annoying. Especially when I had the photo matched correctly when building and gluing.

All four completed and ready to go. I think with a little work on the exterior I can easily pass these off as row houses on a Chicago street, and I'm sure they will get some work in Pulp Alley as well.

But then I thought, "Let's change up the heights on two of them to really give it a new look". Switching just the one floor on one of the mid-terrace buildings makes a huge difference in my opinion. The major problem is with the mid-terrace buildings you don't have any type of exterior detail on the walls.

So you've got this plain MDF showing that really takes away from the look of the buildings. The solution? I scanned a piece of the exterior wall, made copies of it, cut it out and then glued them onto the bare MDF. Easy peasy and makes the buildings complete! A little bit disappointed the scans turned out much darker than the original pieces, but perhaps some pigments or a wash can get everything closer to the same tone. Anyway, much better than exposed MDF.

Next up was tackling the Warehouse from the same White Chapel line. This one has been sitting in a box for probably two years. What's nice about this kit (and the Police Station from the same line) is that you can buy add-on floors to make the warehouse even bigger. I found two of add-on kits on sale around the same time as the main kit, so I knew when the time came I'd be able to make a pretty impressive looking building. Finally, the time has come!

I decided to complete the add-on floors first, as I felt I'd be able to complete these rather quickly.

Well, right off the bat, the very first piece (the staircase) I went to build was both labeled completely wrong (first photo) and was missing a piece! Again, nothing that I couldn't figure out and I just cut a scrap piece of wood to complete the stairs, but frustrating none the less. But nothing compared to the next hic-up.

The biggest issue with this particular kit was the side doors used to bring boxes and products into the warehouse. One set of doors was not fully laser cut (the one on the right in the photo below). Because of that only 3 of the 4 panels on the door popped out when I began work on this part. I didn't even realize it at first! So I had to go back to the sprue and try to cut out that fourth panel with an Exacto knife. You can see in the photo that fourth panel on the left of the door that I had to glue back on. That also meant I didn't have a notch for the door handle. I debated whether or not to just place some boards over the doors to create a sort of "Not In Use" kind of thing - and I may still end up doing that, we'll see. Though I did cut a door handle in half and glued it on, so at least the exterior side of the door has a handle. All worked out in the end, and actually the doors I pieced together stay closed better than the other set.

The next major hurdle I had was with the interior brick arch in the office area. See the photo below. There was absolutely no way that that piece was going to go into its place without some sort of cutting and adjustment as the instructions showed. I decided to cut the end off on the right side and see if I could bend it in the rest of the way. Well, as you can see from the photo, the only way it went all the way in was by bending it to the point that it almost broke. Again, pretty frustrating, but I have to remember that these were 4Grounds first kits. I'm not exactly sure what the plan will be so this doesn't happen on the next add-on build, as it's really how the piece is cut that is the problem.

Here are some photos of the final product.

I really think I'll need to try to do something with the windows. Maybe some fogged clear plastic or something similar, we'll see. If I do decide to go that route I'll have to make sure that that doesn't cause the interior of the windows to look awkward. I also have a plan to try to hid the problem in the office on that arch, but I've got to use spray paint and I can't get outside as it's been in the low 30's the last few days and we've got snow on the ground again, grrrrrrrrr.

Hopefully the next update will have a completed warehouse!

As always, thanks for looking!



  1. Those buildings look like they'll be impressive on the table: hope it makes up for the frustrations involved in putting them together!

    1. Thanks! I will give 4ground a pass on these buildings as I know that these were some of the very first they ever put out - I was actually looking at some other blogs last night that completed the warehouse and they had the exact same issues that I did, so I feel a bit better about it.
      Can't wait to do some upgrades and really take the buildings to the next level!