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A modular terrain town...

...well, a small section of one, anyway!

You'll know that I've been working on building hab blocks from the Mad Gaming Terrain catalogue, and this week I've added two more to my small but growing collection - a double width block, and a double height one.

Both these new buildings were easy to make - especially as I've already put a couple of the standard hab blocks together. They work in much the same way - you build the fascia around the bottom and top first, then the sides with a floor. Then you pop out doors and windows, and glue the building to its base. The roof isn't glued - this means it can easily be removed for access to the interior. If you paint the sprue first, it makes the models look pretty good from the get-go, although I will be doing a better job on the paintwork at some point soon! I've been using Army Painter grey primer, but the wood does seem to soak it up quite quickly - you might need to allow more paint than you think if you're going to take the same approach.

As you can see from the small gallery of images above, there are multiple ways that you can put these buildings together. Because everything is magnetized, and because the holes and magnets all line up, it's extremely quick to configure in different ways. I'm looking forward to adding more, so that I can create an entire 6 x 4 board of this terrain - a futuristic town for my 40K armies to battle through. The terrain offers excellent line of sight blocking potential, and if you couple it with the wall kits (as I've done) there are interesting ways in which you can restrict movement too - creating funnels and chokepoints, which will add to the strategy and fun of the game. There's also the potential for a lot of height layers, too, which will make sniping a lot of fun.

I think this terrain is also going to be perfect for Kill Team, and other small skirmish games. Again, you'll see on the photos above that I've put my collection onto a Kill Team board, and it fills it quite convincingly. Again, there's excellent LOS blocking, interesting funnelling, and the potential for roof-top and interior battles. This is all from a couple of wall kits, two standard hab blocks, and a couple of double sized blocks.

At some point soon I'll play a game of Kill Team on this board, and let you know how it goes - although I'm not a competitive player (or an expert), so don't expect to learn much from my strategies!

In terms of building this terrain, it definitely gets easier once you've done one or two - they seem to go together in much the same way every time. Building a basic hab block doesn't take too long, but adding the detailing (which, for me, is the fun part) can take ages - I spent about two and a half hours adding details to the double-height block, for example. It looks pretty good, though, I think!

A couple of niggly things with the detailing: first, the double-width kit doesn't have as many extra bits and pieces as some of the other kits. This is due to the physical size of the panels on the MDF boards - there's not so much space for extras. The double-height kit doesn't have this problem, as you get an extra MDF sheet in the pack. Another niggle is due to the width of the walls and floors, and how this affects double sized hab blocks. Everything lines up as you expect, except for a bit in the middle (a vertical strip on the double width kit, and a horizontal one on the double height). This strip is where the walls or floor / ceiling would be if you put two normal units together. It's not a problem, except that some bits and pieces don't fit as easily as you might expect when you are near the centre point of the building. The final niggle is to do with the modularity of the system itself. If you want everything to fit perfectly with everything else, you need to ensure that none of the details stick out beyond the depth of the fascias (about 3mm). This is fine, and there are plenty of ways to do this, but if you want some of the cooler looks, you might want to use some of the bigger extra bits, which stick out. As long as you're aware of this, you can plan around it, but I suspect it would be easy to spend ages building something only to find out it doesn't fit together in quite the way you thought it might.

These are very minor issues though. I think the terrain looks amazing, and I'm looking forward to playing on it (and adding more) soon. I'm really impressed by the way everything fits together (for example, the wall kit locks in with everything else), and by how much versatility this gives you, even if you only have a few bits.

Next time, I'll be taking a look at a couple more hab blocks - a half-sized one, and a standard one with the door positions reversed (so you can create interior doorways on a building with more than one room).

Let me know what you think of the blog so far, and if there's anything you'd like to see.

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