Monday, August 22, 2011

28mm Modular Gothic Series Ruin by GameCraft Miniatures

Hi, folks. I just finished a 28mm Modular Gothic Ruin by GameCraft Miniatures.  I used the Building Frame 1 set which features two ruined 3-story walls, made from foamcore, and with doorways and windows, all pre-cut out by laser. I also got two of the resin Doors and Windows sets. Each Doors & Windows set "contains 6 window frames, one closed door frame and one open door frame with a separate door".  There are some nice videos available through the GameCraft site detailing construction of the kits to help with your first build.

What interested me most about this product was the resin doors and windows, and the potential time saving in construction from not having to hand cut all of the doorways and window openings into the foamcore. That plus all of the resin door and window pieces are precision made to fit into the pre-cut holes in the foamcore. Having just spent a lot of time cutting windows and doorways into a bunch of foamcore buildings for Mordheim, I was more than a little excited about the thought of rapid construction with precision-cut components. Turns out I was mostly right.

Resin components - Doors and Windows: 10 out of 10 stars
Great stuff! Beautifully modeled, ornate and detailed with skulls and intricate scroll work in the window frames, these are an incredible value. The resin is thick, strong and had very little flash, which cleaned up easily. Both of the open doorway pieces were a little warped on arrival, but straightened out readily when placed in boiling water for a minute or two. These resin pieces are probably the best terrain bargain I've ever found. For $6 you get 6 window frames, one closed door frame and one open door frame with a separate door. And these aren't tiny doors and windows.  Each window frame measures 1.7 inches (43mm) wide by 2.7 inches (68.5mm) tall and are about 5mm thick.  The doors are larger. Doorways are 1.7 inches (43mm) wide but are a towering 3.05 inches (77.5mm) wide.

Pic below shows the 3 door pieces in the set with a GW 28 mini for scale.
 Below pic shows a couple of the 6 windows in the set. Note the intricate scrollwork at top and bottom of the window frames. 

Next up are the foamcore wall pieces.
Pre-cut Foamcore with doorways and windows already cut out: 8 out of 10 stars.
Made from a nice, sturdy 5mm white foamcore, both pieces are 10.35 inches (263mm) tall and 6.7 (170mm) wide. These really didn't meet my expectations for saving time in construction.  Though all of the cuts were precise, the foamcore had receded from the paper edges of all of the cuts at least 2-3 mm, leaving only the edges of the hard outer paper of the foamcore to make contact with the resin windows and doorways, as well as the corner joins for the walls. I thought that small amount of contact between components would make for a very weak model if used like that. Now I should say at this point that Mr. Rockwell, the owner of GameCraft Miniatures did make a point of warning buyers that the laser does cause the foamcore to recede from the paper edge, but I was surprised by the depth of melting that resulted when I saw the product in real life.

Pic below shows one of the edges where the foam has receded from the paper. In a couple of thinner spots the foam had burned through leaving a small hole but that was easy to fix. And, unfortunately, the foam recedes from every single laser cut, and it does so irregularly to differing depths.

 Pic below shows some more of the receding foam problem and my first interim fix - matchsticks cut to size to fit into the hole. Unfortunately, because the foam recedes irregularly at varying depths, matchsticks just didn't work very well. On the left of the frame you can see the cut-outs for the corner joins. Lots of missing foam. The fix for this problem is to fill all of the gaps in the foam with Spackle  (pollyfilla? for our friends across the pond).


Unfortunately, the spackle fix takes quite a while, and has to be repeated because the Spackle shrinks when dry, and then all of the precision window and doorway cut-outs have to be carefully sanded and resanded and each window and doorway piece adjusted. Not too bad but tedious, and any time saving is totally lost. And because so much of the foam is lost in the corner joins, it was very hard for me to get the corner to look okay with Spackle alone. However, I used the old tried and true method of hiding the join under a piece of cardstock cut to resemble cornerstones. Problem solved.

After that it was ready for basing. I based it on a piece of vinyl floor tile, added a ground floor from Hirst Arts floor tiles, and upper floors from foamcore covered with craft sticks. Painted up and ready to go.
In the pic below, the door inset has been left out. Minis are variuos manufacturer's. I think the detail on the resin really stands out.
 Pic below shows inside of the building. The resin inserts are plain on the inside surface.
 The other side.
 Pic below shows a close-up of the doorway with a door piece inserted.
 A view of the fancy-shmancy Hirst Arts floor tiles. I figured the beautiful windows and doors deserved a more ornate floor. The door in the door has been reversed. It's backside is plain. However, the door pieces are thin and could conceivably be mounted back to back.

Well, that's all of the pics for now. Overall, I am very pleased with this product. I absolutely love the resin widows and door pieces. They are just outstanding and an excellent value. I would love to see more of these, and in different sizes and shapes. Perhaps the window frames and doorways could also be produced in a half-thickness, like the doors are, so you could have a decorative interior surface as well. I was a little disappointed with the laser-cut foamcore. It took a lot of effort and time for me to plaster all of the cut edges. However, the shape of the frame was nice, and I did get a nice result in the end. Considering that I only spent $18 plus shipping on this project, got great customer service and had access to online tutorials regarding the product, I'd have to give the GameCraft Miniatures 28mm Modular Gothic series a 9 1/2 out of 10. And I got a piece I can use for fantasy or sci-fi gaming.

Thanks for looking. I hope this has been helpful, and I hope you'll give excellent product a try.



The Angry Lurker said...

Nice stuff, good review, looks good to me and paints up real well.

Zombie Ad said...

Fantastic project and a great use of the Hirst Arts blocks for the paving too.

Ray Rousell said...

Fantastic work!! Well done that man!!!

Luckyjoe said...

Thank guys. This is a nic product

Vampifan said...

The finished, painted product looks excellent. Good honest review as well.

Luckyjoe said...

Hi, Vampifan. Thanks. I get a lot of inspiration from reading the blogs I follow and my review is modeled loosely on some of them, yours especially. :)

Jason said...

Thanks for the update! Followed!

Allen at GameCraft said...

I'm late getting to this party but I just wanted to tell you that you did a great job on this building. I love see what people do with my stuff. Thanks for posting this.