Saturday, 14 June 2014

More WW2 building kits - teaser

While I'm still constructing my first Bolt Action practise forces I am also trying to add a building or two to my stash each month so that when my opposing 'armies' are complete I have a little 'battlefield' for them to fight on. Last month I featured a very nice little ruined cottage made by Star Fort...

And, because I was so impressed with it, I ended up buying the undamaged cottage as well! So that was a good start to a little French/Belgian village.

Anyway, a month later I decided to add another house to my stable (er, you know what I mean) but much to my horror when I followed the link I had back to Star Fort's eBay shop everything was gone! I didn't know whether that meant that they only had a limited run of items or whether they had - for some reason - decided making these buildings was not a good idea after all!

So, reluctantly, I looked elsewhere. Trouble was that I had to find something that would now match the laser-cut MDF buildings I already had. Not easy in 20mm - there are some very expensive ones by 4Ground (out of my price range) but I eventually found an unpainted MDF model by Wargames Tournaments...

Charmingly described as being the 'Cafe Gondree' I found this model on eBay for £14.99 (plus postage). While it was unpainted I like the staggered terrace design of the building so ordered it with ideas of doing some exterior decoration! It's not a bad match for the Star Fort models I reckon.

It comes flat-packed and you have to pop the parts out of their enclosing MDF sheet and it does come with a photocopied sheet of instructions. A quick flick through these immediately alerted me to the fact that this building was not as well designed as Star Fort's as you cannot access the ground floor of the building once it is constructed (important for wargamers).

I suppose I could do some modifications to make the bottom floor accessible by making the first floor removeable (somehow). We shall see.

Then a funny thing happened..!
Just as I was grumbling about having to 'make do' with the Wargames Tournament model I got a surprise email from Colin from Star Fort Miniatures! Colin was the very nice guy who had corresponded with me when I purchased their ruined cottage model and had told me how they hoped to be extending their range of buildings (which was why I was so surprised when their eBay store emptied).

He had got in touch to tell me that they had in fact just finished a new design and to ask me whether I would want one as a 'review example'. Er...YES!

Star Fort had asked me - and other customers - what sort of buildings they should add to their range. I had replied that I thought either a windmill (sniper perch), cafe or some commercial buildings like shops - as it turned out the new building they had produced was - would you believe - a cafe. (What are the chances, I ask you?)

The model duly arrived and I am just giving it a quick once over (and test build) before doing an in-depth review. So here's a wee - quick and dirty - teaser to whet your appetite. I'm excited, I hope you will be too...

An initial test assembly - minus all the fine detail - but even at this stage
you can see that this is a very handsome building - somewhat in the
Flemish/Dutch/French style. Nice!
To be honest Star Fort's cafe looks more like a cafe than Wargames Tournament's effort. Far more 'Allo 'Allo in my opinion. Here's an unboxing movie so you can get an idea of what you will get in the pack (apologies about my shaky camera work)...

I'll have the full review ready mid-week. I'm pretty sure you will be looking forward to seeing more of this delightful looking little model as I am. (How many of you are thinking that the facade needs 'Café René' painting on it?)


  1. Very impressive buildings from Star Fort.

    Sounds like a company that is interested in the hobby, rather than being interested in the hobbies money.

    Nice one.

    1. Hi Paul. Yes, Star Fort are trying very hard to give gamers a piece of equipment - not so much a historically accurate display replica - for wargamers. This model will be £16, which I know is a lot of money, but it is a very specialist piece of kit that can be completely disassembled to allow for convenient transport. The Wargames Tournaments model was £14 BUT does not so easily allow access as Star Fort's cafe. But I will save any more comments until my review on Wednesday.