More on MDF
The French maison bourgeoise is a thing of beauty which, to me, epitomises the sparkle of the Second Empire. Most English-French dictionaries describe them as “imposing town houses” or similar, but that fails to truly sum up what are in fact the small aspirational semi-chateaux of the nouveau riche who profited from the “Carnival Empire”. It is well worth searching with the term on-line to see what French estate agents have to offer. These provided me with the best painting guide I could have hoped for. Above is a fine example.
Work on this model was, essentially, to be a plain and simple paint job. However, before I began I did do a bit of prep which, to my mind, makes the model come to life. Firstly I washed the whole building in a watered down PVA mix. This binds the whole thing together to make a more solid structure, but it also protects any weak spots on the model such as, in this case, the beautiful but slightly delicate cardboard shutters and ornate carvings above the first floor windows (that’s 2nd floor for any cowboys reading). I then carefully added some tile grout to the PVA and water mix and applied this to hide some of the most obvious joins which one gets with MDF buildings. This served to add some texture to the walls as well and, once dry, I used a sharp point to re-etch some of the brick and blockwork detail. Anyway, here’s how it turned out.
I’m rather chuffed with it, especially as I got it finished before breakfast.
A couple of points. One gentleman contacted me yesterday to ask why I was so critical of MDF buildings. I am not. That said, I do feel that with any model it is possible to take the original off the peg model and adjust it to provide something which has a more tailor-made feel. In the case of the radar station that adjustments were significant; with the maison bourgeoise they were very minor. However, in both cases it resulted in a model which I am more happy with.
The addition of the Warbases tiled roof in this case really does make a visual difference and it also strengthens the model no end. The tile grout, applied in a minimalist manner, adds a nice textured finish to the model. The one aspect of MDF buildings (per se) which I am not a fan of is the fact that European buildings in stone and brick do have a very strong and rough texture which perfectly flat MDF does not. By making a small adjustment I am creating a look which better conforms to what I want. This is not a criticism of the original models, but merely an adaptation to suit my own very personal requirements. In fact, I can most strongly and heartily recommend both of these models, they are absolutely first class, whether you use them straight out of the pack or, as I have, add a few embellishments.