We’ve been busy here on Lard Island, primarily finalising the layout for young Chris Stoesen’s Eastern Front Great War supplement for Mud & Blood, but in snatched moments of free time I’ve also been prepping for the first “Pint Sized Campaign” supplement for Chain of Command I’m writing called “29, Let’s Go!”. It’s a quote many fans of WWII will recognise as it relates to the 29th Infantry Division who landed on D-Day and fought their way into the heart of the Reich. The campaign I have been working on focusses on their opening up the road from Omaha Beach to Carentan in the days immediately after D-Day and covering a geographical patch I know very well from countless visits to Normandy and the Isigny area in particular.
Part of the fun has been putting together my US forces, but my thoughts have also turned to Normandy terrain and getting some nice buildings together to represent that very beautiful part of the world. After my recent positive East Prussian experiences with MDF buildings (see my brewery project in an earlier set of posts) I took the plunge with a company I’d not used before, Sarissa Precision, a Derbyshire based company whose web site tells me their models are “Part of the game, not of the table”. Whatever that might mean.
The model I chose is marketed as a chateau. I’d really suggest it is a maison bourgeoise, but my missus thought it was a Mairie when I showed her, so really it’ll do for any substantial building in France. The model is supplied unpainted in 2mm MDF with some cardboard parts. I shan’t bore you with pictures of a fat bloke sticking the model together, but suffice to say that the kit is assembled in four sections, as we can see here.
Fairly obviously, we have the ground floor. first floor, attic and then a roof platform to top it all off. The front and rear steps are somewhat fiddly to put together, the rest is very simple. I would recommend having some decent elastic bands to hand to hold the various sections in place while they dry as the chances of the model going a bit wonky without them is pretty high, and if that happens the various floors wont fit at all well.
I should point out that the roof was, as with the East Prussian brewery in fact, the weakest part of the model. Somehow MDF roofs really don’t work for me, so here I have tiled this one with the superb laser cut roof tiles from Warbases. I used two designs to add some variety, with a seam of different tiles running around the roof at one point, something I think adds some additional interest. I also used paper as lead flashing on the ridges and above the dormer windows. I feel very strongly that adding the new tiles and the flashing goes a long way to strengthening the basic model and making it more robust due to the healthy application of a dollop of PVA glue to hold it all in place.
In the above pictures I’ve put a couple of Artizan figures and a staff car so you can get a feel for scale. Below you can see how the stairs at the front and back compare.
I have to say that for twenty-five quid, which is what I paid for this model on E-Bay, this is a cracking addition. It is a really imposing structure which could be a Dutch hotel near Arnhem (for readers of the latest Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine), a large Mairie or Hotel de Ville in Normandy or anything in between. I must commend Sarrissa for their eye for detail, my only concern is how long the beautiful but delicate balustrade on the steps, front and rear, is going to last with the usual bashing that wargames buildings get in my house, other than that it is a superb model at a very fair price.
I suppose one of my earliest wargaming memories was the desire to run a campaign, the idea inspired by the fact that the very first wargaming book I ever discovered was Wargames Campaigns by Don Featherstone when I was 11 years old. As I type this, I can still picture the book and recall its