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More on MDF

Maison bourThe 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.
2014-08-31 10.16.122014-08-31 10.16.192014-08-31 10.16.262014-08-31 10.16.47I’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.

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9 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    Thanks Rich for all your building reports – I’m building various bits of terrain including some MDF buildings and it’s always useful to see what others have done and ‘steal’ ideas.

  2. Elias Champayne says:

    What the Hell kind of pussy lives in a house like that! You gotta love those there Frenchies.

  3. Don Avis says:

    Awesome Rich – this has convinced me to part with the “readies” and try to complete a “poor mans” copy of your model!

    I fully expect saris to sell out of these quickly just as Leon has on the factory buildings! You should start asking for commission!!!!


  4. Pat Smith says:

    Sold, sold and sold. This, the radar station and Brewery are now all on my to buy list, you have the Midas touch Richard.

    Agree totally with MDF buildings, they just need that little bit extra to finish them off. Other than that they save you hours and hours of work, where you would have to scratch build to get to that kind of level.

  5. James Manto says:

    Looks cozy. Do they do bed and breakfast?

  6. Ron Carnegie says:

    The finished model is beautiful. I need to get one of these before they sell out!!

  7. Kitnoob says:

    Thats smashing. I’ve just started to get into MDF buildings (for my Bolt Action project) but I do feel they are a bit ‘vanilla’ sometimes so this is a very welcome bit of inspiration. Thanks.

  8. Splendid work, mon ami.

  9. Ludger Fischer says:

    Fine work.

    If this is my HQ in a threatened area and/or under threat by Allied JaBos ( ground attack ) I give an order for a sandbagged firing position on that flat topped roof.

    Maybe you can build one that would fit – and used all on its own so to economise to effort.

    Even a single HMG on an AA mounting – enabling it to fire down! – would be a terror up there!



    Right now serving in Tunisia in a CoC campaing – 😉

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