A while ago, the club bought four of the 28mm pre-painted MDF buildings from 4Ground. We all liked the look of them, the fact that you cam take them apart floor by floor for easy use, that they are so light but strong, that they don't need painting.......They do need putting together though and a silly bugger to volunteer to do that turned out to be me.
Any road up, I spent some time working on them and thought I would share some thoughts. Firstly, they do look good once complete. The pic below shows them in mid game (WW1 action using Bolt Action rules) and whilst they could do with a fence or two to mark out gardens and stuff they work well. However, note the oddly placed chimneys, the fact that the first chimney is the wrong shape compared to the others. These are slight clues to the mental trauma that constructing these buildings can inflict.
The main issue is the rather unhelpful instruction sheet. Often, very often, the step-by-step picture guide supplied with the buildings is not your friend. It is not that unusual to find the picture you need next is instead a copy of a picture from further down the line; in one Case that pic was used three times! I spent quite a while looking at what I had made and trying to see where I had gone so badly wrong, until I discovered the whole 'wrong picture' thing. You see, the buildings are equally quite clever and complicated. There are separate pieces for inner and outer faces of most walls and, depending upon which building you are working on, single thickness walls for some areas too. You need to continuously orient yourself and the building when working on internal walls before you end up with an impossible mess. It can be all too easy to get the left hand wall confused with the right and then only discover that error when the important internal walls refuse to fit properly. By that time, of course, the glue is very unforgiving and the correction process is akin to open heart surgery...albeit without the saucy looking nurse and overly dramatic music. I would also suggest that the builder of such buildings would do well to have apile of clothes pegs at hand. These are very important for holding together the two piece wall sections whilst they dry. The use of ruber bands is shown in the guide pictures for some jobs but the pegs turned out to be a real asset, the more the better, in fact.
Other things, such as the stair-cases, have the most vague pictures and even vaguer instructions based on a single line of text between rows of pictures for other stages. The chimneys are a mini Chinese puzzle in themselves with no apparent logic until you sort of fall over the answer in a Krypton Factor-esque personal challenge. Oh, and it is rather easy to get the doors upside down, break off some of the more fiddly bits like door handles and inner wall lugs etc. But then, look at what you can end up with after all that effort....
....cool eh?! Even with the annoying errors that you can end up with, the buildings look great and are very detailed. The first building took me ages to complete, mainly as I had to spend so much time taking things apart again or decipher the cryptic clues. But, after that experience, you will have become quite adept by the next one and that is much easier. Remember, though, that each of the buildings is slightly different and you still need to keep an eye on your progress. Take a look at a few of the inside shots of the finished pieces.
In all I have to say that I do highly recommend these 4Ground buildings, they are worth the effort and represent good value for money. The row of houses we have here can be added to by buying more of the centre buildings, of which their are two types mainly based around colour (I think). I am certainly very happy to take a look at the other modern (20th Century) buildings they do now I have seen these and expand our useful collection....especially now that I have completed my apprenticeship!