The HACME of Normandy Buildings
Some years ago I had some really excellent 28mm scale buildings made for me which were designed to serve as first or second world war scenery depending on the game to be played. Of course over time I lost the details of the chap who undertook the commission for me, a fact I was bemoaning on the Lardy Yahoo Group. It was then pointed out to me that “other manufacturers are available” and that Rapier Miniatures had just started producing commissioned buildings for all sorts of periods under the name of HACME. So, I gave them a try.
My first purchase was a French Estaminet and linked cottage and external pissoir. These arrived promptly and could be seen at Salute where they were generally admired. So pleased was I with the result that I ordered two more buildings. Both semi-detached, the first being two shops, the other a pair of cottages.
I should stress here that I specifically wanted plain vanilla in the build. I like to finish off and paint my buildings myself simply so that they fit in perfectly with the rest of my collection. So HACME very kindly put these together with a light white undercoat to act as a key for my work to adhere to.
The two buildings in their “naked” state are here:
And very nice they are too. The roof is detachable and the first floor can be removed so that I can out troops on both the ground floor and first floor. That’s 1st and 2nd floors for our pardners across the pond. I specifically wanted access to the buildings as I HATE to see figures lined up next to a building to signify they are inside, so for me this type of construction is PERFECT!
The next thing I will always do with buildings like these is to paint them with a weak PVA and filler mix. This gets a more rustic look and it also strengthens the structure so if Fat Nick sits on it we have half a chance of it not being utterly destroyed! The filler I am using here is Polyfiller, I use any old stuff I have in the shed, frankly I can never tell the difference. I mist about 1 part polyfiller with two parts PVA glue (get it cheap at builders merchants) and one part water. I then slap this all over with a large brush and let it dry.
Once that is dry I use a black undercoat from a car parts place round the corner. Big cans of paint at a very cheap price. Most certainly do not waste good quality Humbrol of similar on this type of job!
Once that is dry I really use a heavy dry brushing technique to do the main masonry. So here I wanted a creamy Normandy stone, so I used Burnt Umber and Khahi mixed as the base colour before dry brushing on Khaki, Khaki and Stone Grey mix. Stone Grey and then finally a very light coat of white. Dead simple.
After that I add some detail such as the shop signs, shutters, doors etc. A simple three colour system for all these (dark, lighter, highlight) and we’re nearly complete.
Then just the final detailing to do. I really love the look of the French gable end adverts (as anyone who has seen the cover of IABSM will know). I look at the internet to get ideas, but this time I went political with a “Big Brother” style Marshal Petain painted on and a few period posters and road signs added.
And that’s it. A couple of hours work and the really nice HACME buildings fit straight in with my growing Normandy collection. I am really looking to get the look of St Mere Eglise or Carentan and I think we are getting there.
So, that’s a big thumbs up from HACME at Rapier Miniatures. You can find them at http://www.rapierminiatures.co.uk/page/Range/HACME.html and see some of the buildings they have done.