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The adventure begins...

The other day I built a wall. I've not built many walls, and the last time I built one, it fell over and squashed a selection of flowers in my garden. But building this one was a lot more successful - mainly because it wasn't a gigantic, real-bricks-and-badly-mixed-cement kind of wall, but was instead a small MDF wall designed for my wargaming table.

In fact, it was a whole selection of walls, which fit neatly together using magnets. I'd bought the 'Town Walls' set from MAD Gaming Terrain. I was so impressed with the ease-of-build and the neat way they work that I called up Andy, the creator, and had a chat with him about the other items in the range.

And that's why I'm here, on the official MAD Gaming Terrain website, talking about one of the other products in their tabletop wargaming terrain range - the original standard Hab Block.

I'm a keen Warhammer 40,000 player, and I also play a little bit of Kill Team. I've got some official Games Workshop terrain already, and a few bits and pieces that I've made myself, but I'm hoping that the MDF terrain from MAD will really make my tabletop wargames come alive.

MAD's range of terrain is already extensive, and is being added to all the time, and it all fits together really neatly using the magnet system and the network of holes. I was impressed by the clever way the walls worked together, and I like the way that they integrate really well with the Hab Blocks too.

Building the blocks was straight forward, although there were one or two minor wrinkles. The sprues are well designed, and the laser cuts are accurate. Generally you can pop the bits out of the sprue with no difficulty, although I did have to use a knife once or twice to tidy things up. The packaging says you won't need a blade, but I'd recommend having one to hand anyway: otherwise, you'll have the odd 'tuft' of MDF fibres on your terrain.

The main difficulty I had was with the facia sections which run around the top and bottom of the building. The instructions are clear, but not perfect - basically, there's a small tab which goes into each corner, and each of the four tabs can only go in one place. Each corner is marked with little boxes, and you match the number of boxes on the corner with the number of boxes on the tabs. The difficulty I had was that the facia panels could be aligned in various different ways, and still fit the corner tabs. I didn't realise at first that you have to make sure that the cut side of the MDF is facing outwards on all sides - if you don't get this right, the doors won't line up later on. I had to take the first one apart - fortunately the PVA glue hadn't completely dried - and start again when I realised. Not the end of the world, but annoying. Just in case my wonderful words aren't clear, here's a picture to show how it works:

Getting the corners right is important.

Apart from this minor difficulty (which, I realise, might be down to my own stupidity), the kit went together easily. I started out by spraying everything on both sides with Army Painter grey paint, which the wood took well, and this means the buildings look really good already, even with no extra work. They will, I suspect, look even better when I've done a bit of detailing work on them. And, speaking of detail, there's a whole bunch of extra bits included in the kit with which you can really make these buildings your own. You'll see in the gallery at the top of this page that I've built one as 'standard', with no extra details, while the other one has all sorts of stuff added to it. These extras fit into the holes really easily, and there's a lot of flexibility to make the hab blocks look like they've been modified by their owners.

In my imagination, each of these blocks is the home of a future family, and while they're clearly futuristic prefabs, they are (just like today's prefabs) home to someone - and that someone will make them as unique as they can. They look really good together - and I can't wait to add more. I'm also really impressed by the way that the magnets line up with each other on the buildings, and with the magnets on the walls too. I really recommend using magnets if you're going to build anything from MAD Gaming Terrain, and if you do use the magnet system, make sure you get the polarities right! Basically, each magnetised point on the terrain has two round holes next to each other - you need to put a magnet in each, facing in different directions (and each time you add magnets to a new piece of terrain, make sure they're lined up the same as your original ones).

You'll see in the gallery above that the walls easily fit with the hab blocks, and it's very simple to quickly build up a little complex. There's good line-of-sight blocking potential, and you could make the roof of each building into cover, too (of course, if you're not playing 40K you might have a different approach). It's also fantastic that the doors are removable, and the interior of the buildings is easily accessible too - just lift the roof off and you can have miniatures inside.

In case it's not clear, I'm already a fan of this terrain, and I'm looking forward to adding more to the collection. I'll blog more about the items as I get them, and I'll also soon be playing some games with this too - I'll let you know how it goes.

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