After we had a look at the Ronin rules and available miniatures I thought it was time to have a look at some terrain! And if today the talk is about terrain it’s hard to get around MDF/HDF.
When I got into wargaming feudal Japan curiosity got the best of me and I ordered 4Ground’s Peasant Farmer’s Cottage.
As far as MDF (I guess technically it’s HDF, but MDF seems to be the accepted term when it comes to wargaming terrain so I will go with that.) terrain goes, 4Ground really seek to justify their relatively high prices by providing the parts ‘pre-painted’.
I put these inverted commas because I do not think that this is pre-painted. The parts are coloured and the colour is in the right place, but the way the sheets are coloured before they are put to the laser leads to deeper recesses being blank wood (for a lack of a better term) and especially the white parts had very prominent burn marks around the cut-outs for the windows.
I had to repaint all the white parts.
So whilst there is a certain amount of colour on these bits and they are in the right place, this to me does not qualify as pre-painted. Luckily enough, 4Ground started selling ‘unpainted’ versions of some of their kits too, which is a cool thing.
All that being said, apart from repainting the white walls, I left the rest as it was delivered because for now it was good enough for gaming. At some point I really need to redo the wooden roof parts too though I think and maybe give the roof a little different colour.
As for the quality of the parts – it’s tip top. There is barely any cleaning required, the fit is excellent. This is by no means a simple “slap together and be done” kit. It requires a few hours of work and in between steps you will need to wait a bit for PVA glue to cure.
The roof is removable and there is some very nicely done interior (again, in theory it needs some more work to actually look really nice). Each of the long sides has one door, a regular one on the one side, two sliding doors on the other.
In the set you will find a small sheet of thin and translucent paper to put between the two parts of the inner sliding door which is an excellent little detail. All three doors can be opened and closed.
Just be careful when putting in the regular door: the hinges snap a little easily.
The teddy fur for the thatched roof is included in the set as well. Just mix some PVA glue and water, put it into the teddy fur (after gluing it to the roof and after that has dried I suggest) and then use a rough, old comb to shape the hair into a believable looking thatched roof.
Here you can see the house on a wargaming table, surrounded by more houses from the same line as well as 4Ground’s MDF fences. The do look rather nice all together, don’t they?
All in all, this is a really good kit. It’s not simple, it’s not cheap by a long shot, but it does work really well for a feudal Japanese village.
My personal opinion on MDF terrain is that it certainly has its place in wargaming, but it is incredibly overused these days. More often than not, MDF just is not the best material for depicting buildings, especially so at 28mm scale. Usually it requires you to add at least some texture to the walls.
Pure MDF only really works for some sci-fi/modern stuff, feudal Japanese buildings and a few select other things. So in this case I’m okay with the medium and it looks very nice. Again, not cheap, but you do get quality stuff. And it’s not too easy to get enough period-specific terrain for feudal Japanese gaming.
I hope that you found the review helpful and interesting. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them either in the comments section, here on the forums or contact me directly via the Battle Brush Studios Facebook page or Battle Brush Studios’ website.