Impressions: Scatter Terrain Part 2

In my previous Scatter Terrain post, I looked at everything resin. Now however, we move onto the world of MDF. Some of these may hit the boundary of what you class as scatter terrain but are included anyway.

Knights of Dice Cell Towers

Made of lots of little parts, these towers once built are perfect for making a building into a command post or data centre. Instructions are provided on the Knights of Dice store.

Knights of Dice Crates

Some of the cleverest design for building crates, these are made of flat sided 3D shapes with an detail layer sat on top. Perfect for filling warehouses or loading onto vehicles. Instructions can be found on their site.

Knights of Dice Pallets

Found everywhere, these are my favourite pallets. As well as the cool loader, the five pallets just look perfect and can be assembled super quickly. The instructions for both the pallets and the loader can be found on their website.

Sarissa Precision Market Stall

Easily assembled, this pack contains three stalls and six tables. The stalls are simple to build and can be easily tweaked by adding a cover to the top rail. However, the stars of the show are the tiny tables. They can be glued down but a better idea is to leave them free to move, perfect for your troops to flip when the bullets start flying.

TTCombat Site Fencing

Perfect for setting up obstacles and marking out the exterior of a facility, this site fencing is really great. The packet contains a load of sections (10 in total) and plenty of parts to link them together. The total length is quite long making the set a great deal.

TTCombat Intermodal Containers

You always need more containers. These are assembled from seven pieces and include opening doors. Each pack contains three making them a fantastic deal.

TTCombat Security Office

When building your industrial site, you’ll need somewhere for your guard to sit out of the rain and to check car entering the site. The office has one interior room and also includes two stop barriers. Simple to build and great looking on the board.

 

TTCombat Builders Office

Somewhere else for the guards to hide from the rain, this little office is simple but effective. I really like it as kit. In addition, you can place it inside a large warehouse to add some more detail.


As you might expect, my scatter terrain collection will continue to grow. Expect more parts coming soon!

Impressions: TTCombat Distribution Depot Set

Okay, this is a big one.

Normally when looking at buildings for wargaming, the focus is on making the outside look great. The inside becomes a second thought. However, TTCombat’s latest release is a visual treat both inside and out. It’s also ridiculously huge.

The Distribution depot is designed to be a centrepiece of a game, allowing gamers to play both inside and out, fighting through the cargo bays and across gantries. As an airsofter, it already feels like some of the urban sites I’ve played through. It’s on the more premium side of TTCombat’s releases and it’s obvious a lot of design went into it

Before I get into the impressions, you may have noticed (if you follow my Facebook page) I had an issue with the baseboard for the depot. However, within a day of telling the folks at TTCombat I had new one in my hands. Interestingly, the broken original arrived as a single piece while the replacement was in two pieces like the baseboard for the extension. I’m not sure how this happened and it’s quite possible I got something that missed QC. However, big positive on customer support.

Additionally, I haven’t got round to adding all of the cardboard detailing panels to hide the joins so excuse them missing from the photos below.

Common Parts

So the first thing I advice before building the depot is to read through all the instructions for the various bits you may have picked up. There are quite a few ways to assemble them, depending on if you want the office connected to the rest of the depot or separate, or if you want to use one or more extension kits.

As with all MDF kits – YOU NEED TO DRY FIT EVERYTHING. This is the biggest and most complex MDF kit I’ve seen (ignoring the truly gigantic galaxy building) and so there are lots of places where it can go horribly wrong. I really recommend not rushing it and taking your time as you assemble it.

Across all the buildings, the construction is primarily MDF with cardboard detailing panels. The most common use for the cardboard is covering up the various places where the MDF slots together and bridging the gaps in the roof. I think this is a very clever use of the materials but as a final step it is a little bit laborious as you slowly but surely add the straight pieces after having just assembled an entire thing. Both the MDF and Cardboard are quite securely on their sprues, require them to be cut away rather than simply “popped out”.

The Depot

The depot is the key to the entire setup – there is no reason to purchase the other two kits without first getting this one. By default the depot has two cargo bays and a double entry door at the front. There are also two other exit doors, one at the rear and one in an end wall. The internal area is about 40cm x 20cm.

As you can see while building, the basic structure is a two piece baseboard, two single part end pieces, and two long pieces made of triangular roof pieces added to wall pieces. These form the key structure with each clipping into the other and providing a good framework. From here, you start adding additional elements, fitting the sliding shutters (moveable in their rail container), adding the front loading steps before adding the shade over the bays. This shade shows off using cardboard to cover joins as well as the numbers that mark out which bay is which.

Inside, most of the floor space is left open but there is a gantry level. It sits quite high off the floor level, easily letting you fill the ground floor with containers and more. The gantry is assembled from MDF base pieces with a layer of cardboard on top. Both pieces are expertly cut out, making it easy to fit them together and allow additional elements such as ladders to be put into place. Around the gantry are is a railing, that holds the gantry’s surface up.  The gantry also include another ladder heading to the roof.

As you would expect, the roof is removable to let you access the interior. The roof has some nice details such as fluorescent lights and open panels. More importantly for something you’ll be moving on and off, they feel really solid. I don’t feel concerned about putting them down while playing.

For all the great parts of this kit, there are one or two little issues. I think the instructions are useful but there are lots of places where it took a while to work out exactly what is going on. There are also some strange issues with parts. I seemed to be missing parts of the stairs; instead having shorter stair props, I instead had duplicates of the stair with banister. This was easily fixed, requiring a quick snip to prevent them covering up the front entrances but was a little unexpected. In addition, there is a set of four holes in the backboard which look like somewhere you would normally attach the banisters to but are not used. Finally, as with other TTCombat kits there were one or two places I had to trim a part or two, most notably on the banisters where they connect to the front wall. Another reason to test with dry fits.

But wait there is more! The depot also comes with some additional bits to help fill the large interior.

I really like the fork lift included in the set. It’s just about the right height for my 28mm figures and is packed full of character. There is a slight downside in that they only really work well carrying the TTCombat pallets – anything heavier on the forklift just tips over. Even so, just look at it!

The depot also includes three shelving sets. These are really cool and help to fill the interior without blocking all the lines of sight. The gap between the shelving is perfect sized for the various crates you may buy, including a large pack offered by TTCombat.

I’m less excited about pallets. After having assembled the entirely MDF Knights of Dice ones, these are just disappointing. Rather than made out of just wood, they are instead combinations of MDF “legs” and a cardboard top. Having made a few of them, I have little faith in them maintaining their structure as they seem to flex a lot..

More exciting is the ramp that lets you wheel things up to the level of the front doors. MDF side pieces hold up a cardboard surface. It looks very cool. The only downside? It would have been nice to have a second one to allow for one to be placed on either side so vehicles could drive in and out of the depot or have them lined up at both bays.

The Extension Kit

Okay so the depot is big. But what if you need it to be EVEN bigger?

Fundamentally, the extension kit is another set of front and back walls with a slightly different layout and a method of attaching to the original building. The kit does require you to use the end wall from the Depot meaning you can’t easily switch between a single depot building and one that is extended. The new layout moves the gantry into going only along the back wall and increases the number of bays from two to three. Everything else, from initial frame to assembling the roof is made using the same techniques as the main building.

As with the depot, the extension kit also includes three shelving units, a ramp and a pile of pallets. These are the same as the main depot so check above for my impressions.

Finally, after looking over the plans (and realising how far the detailing numbers go), it looks like you could easily extend the depot to have even more bays simply by adding another extension kit in between the original depot and the kit you have assembled with the end wall. It’s a cool idea, but seeing as the depot + extension is almost 3ft in length, you will need a giant board.

The Office

Going from the huge buildings in the rest of the series, the office is a bit of a step down. Designed to give you somewhere for the security guards to hang out, the office is two storeys high but only has a ground floor. The building also has a normal door and a vertical moving slide door. The roof is also removable. On the other hand, the office does not include any interior furniture.

It’s a cool little building and I think any depot park without would be a bit lacking. It’s also a nice change of pace to build after the complexity of the rest of the depot.

If you assemble it without the back wall, and don’t install the light above the entrance to the depot, you can clip the office to the main depot. This lets you easily create a reception area (perfect if you’re trying to make a Royal Mail depot).

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’m very impressed with the range. Once fully assembled, it a true centrepiece, drawing the eye to it. With the roof on, it towers over the rest of the board. Remove the roof and you suddenly have a large interior space that can easily be filled with scatter terrain to form a complete battlezone.

It also seems a decent price. For all three kits, you’re looking at around £80. If you compare it to Sarissa’s factory (around £50), that £30 difference gets you a huge increase in playable area and a pile of scatter terrain. Of course, you could just combine them to build up an industrial park, all ready for your troops to fight through.

For as much as I like it, it would be cool to be able to have a bit more depth to it, letting you have a much larger warehouse to fight through. You could try to custom build it by sawing a hole through the back walls and adding an additional depot but it would require a fair amount of bodging to get it fully working.

If you’re wanting something to make you board stand out or have a certain desire to fight through parked HGVs and shelves full of crates, then this kit is for you. Of course, it does now mean I’m terrified to see what TTCombat is going to bring to Salute next year.


I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed building it. Next weekend, keep your eyes open for a battle report showing some dodgy business going down at the depot…

STOP THE PRESS: Just as this goes to be posted, TTCombat have released a range of new sets to complement the depot, such as additional machinery and shelving units. Expect an impressions in the future!

Impressions: TTCombat HGV Truck

(Hey everyone, as a special treat thanks to me hitting over 2500 views this month, I thought I would bring a post back from the future and put it out on this Bank Holiday Monday)

There is something about a toy lorry that takes you back to being a kid. Of course, as a wargamer, you then want to skirmish around them and use them as terrain. You could go and get a diecast truck from the toy shop but there is an alternative if you want to get them even cheaper. TTCombat does several vehicles (including armoured trucks and a taco van) and all for a good price. I picked up two of these HGVs ready for the tabletop and was very excited to get started on them.

Construction

The HGV comes on two sheets of laser cut MDF, as well as an instruction sheet and a front page showing a completed model. Removing the pieces is easy – the laser cutting in the MDF is spot on, leaving only two corner bits still attached. A quick twist and the pieces separate needing only a minor bit of pruning to get them in shape.

The main body of the truck is a long thin baseboard and the shorter squatter upper level that forms the bottom of the cargo bay. From here, the upper panels are attached to form the box structure. The only niggle with this is that the upper part of the wheels protrude into the cargo section, leaving them exposed if you choose to open the back doors. I’d recommend either leaving the doors sealed closed or be willing to break the MDF out and tweak the inside.

Speaking of the wheels, each wheel unit is made up of an axle with two connecting tabs (for the body) and two rods, two plain wheel plates that attach to the rods and two detailed wheel plates that fit onto of the plain ones. I am not 100% sure about the assembly on the wheel – should the inner and outer be lined up or alternating? There seems to be a mixture on the site between the vehicles so I would guess it’s down to personal preference (I went with matching).

Once the rear box is done, the front section is then added. I did a quick trim down to the bottom tab on the front panel as it didn’t seem to fit 100% but in the end it was all alright. The lid for the cab is removable so you could leave it unglued to allow placement of crew figures. There is a tiny gap where the upper and lower windscreen meet but it’s barely visible.

 

Modification

So as you can see in at this point the crew compartment is visible and accessible. However, as the rest of the vehicles in my collection have painted over windows and the cab is a massive space lacking in detail, I decided to fill in the gaps using off cuts from my spare pile of MDF. This was super easy, thanks to plenty of space on the inside. Just make sure you pop the slots out for the mirrors before you glue the interior panels in place.

Final Result

Add on a few detail pieces (headlights, mirrors and the grill) and the kit is done. Now for the pictures you all wanted!

The rear shows the detailing for the lights. This is actually slightly cut out of the MDF, so it should still be visible once the basecoat is applied. There is also details on the rear door and the number plate.

At the front you can see the details on the grill, more cut in details on the lights and the wipers in place. Comparison time. Here it is next to the Foxhound (now undercoated) and standard reference figure from Empress. It’s a big old vehicle, slightly oversized for 28mm so it fits with 35mm games but should still be fine as a terrain piece.

The container is slightly smaller than the truck’s cargo bay. You could use the truck as a starting point for a container carrier but you would need to build a bed that sits over the top of the wheels.

Final Thoughts

The truck kit costs £5.95 from TTCombat and I think it’s worth every penny. There are a few places where some tweaks had to be made but the end result is a really solid HGV that is great to play around. It’s a good starting point if you’re wanting to make some more decorative like an Afghan Jingle truck requiring less of the prep work that a diecast replica would need. Overall, I’m very happy with my purchase.

Now, if only I had some sort of depot for them to park up in and load cargo from…

Impressions: Scatter Terrain Part 1

Strictly speaking, terrain isn’t technically needed for a wargame – a few pieces of cardboard with labels on can play the role of buildings and walls. However, terrain makes games much more interesting, giving you something to actually fight over rather. While big buildings and rolling hills help shape the gameplay and draw the eye, smaller items and scatter terrain brings the game to life. Its makes urban streets feel like somewhere people live, adds detail to otherwise empty plains and provide vital cover in skirmish games.

There are two sets of impressions coming for scatter and smaller terrain items. This first article will cover plastic and resin items while the second will look at everything made from MDF.

Spectre Trash Piles

This set from Spectre was the first bits of terrain I picked up and they are pretty fantastic. The pack includes three cardboard boxes, three small rubbish bags and a large bag pile. All the terrain pieces have flat bottoms while the large pile also has flat back, perfect for fitting next to a building in a crowded alley. Both parts are great for adding some decoration to a street scene or terrifying your opponents by using them as possible IED sites.

Spectre Oil Drums

All games that involve shooting need barrels (especially red ones) and these are great. Each pack includes 10 barrels. They have a nice level of detail and paint up nicely. The only major issues is you can see some casting lines and a few of the barrels have some missing rims after some use.

Spectre Barricades – Alfa

Designed by The Lazy Forger, these barricades are amazing and an easy way to meet the chest high wall requirements of any mission. The pack includes six full size barricades and one partial barricade. Each one is unique and full of detail, really giving a war-torn feel to a board. The barricades are flat edged so really fit best forming straight lines.

Spectre Barricades – Bravo

Another Lazy Forger designed product, these vertical barricades provide full height cover. The pack includes six walls and once each is unique. They are also filled with evocative detail, such as the exposed re-bar inside the concrete and the masses of bullet holes. The walls have a concave edge on one side and a convex edge on the other, letting them fit together and hiding most of the join.

To add, both of these products make me really excited for what The Lazy Forger is doing next – Brick Walls! These are instantly useful and will make both building modification and board setup even easier.

Spectre Ammo Boxes

Not yet on general release, these hard cases were available at Salute 2017 and will presumably coming soon. There are a few casting lines that need trimming down but the level of detail on them is ridiculous for such a small item. These will look great when building a military outpost or wanting some objectives for teams to fight over.

TTCombat Portable Toilet Set

Most of the time your figures are answering the call of duty but sometimes they might need to answer the call of nature. These resin portaloos (coming in a pack of four) are simple and do the job, making temporary military installations or building sites slightly more realistic and also adding some full height cover. They are one piece of resin and feel really solid. Luckily they also don’t include the smell.

 

TTCombat Bank Accessories

Money, it makes the world go round. This pack is designed to add-on to an MDF building, letting you fill it with loot. The vault door and safes are really cool but the gold bars in various combinations are spot on for objective markers. If you’re wanting something more mobile the cash sacks are just the right size for using as markers, letting you know which of your troops have grabbed the swag.

TTCombat Bank Accessories 2

The second part of bank accessories are more security focused. It includes two burglar alarms, two piece security cameras (allowing for some careful placing and angling) and pieces required for a security console (such as a keyboard and a screen). Unlike the Bank Accessories 1, this one is very much focused on upgrading other pieces of terrain. However, it is very effective at this job and gives you a lot of bang for your buck.


The resin stuff is great for objects on the smaller side, but once you start using cheap laser cut MDF and scatter terrain can start doing some really cool stuff for the slightly bigger things. Come back in two weeks for part two where I’ll cover MDF constructs including shipping containers, pallets and more!

Impressions: Sarissa Precision Industrial

Sarissa Precision are pretty high on my list of favourite terrain companies thanks to their wonderfully detailed buildings. Among my favourites in the range are two buildings from their Industrial range, the factory and the office. I first saw these thanks to Spectre’s playtest report and was immediately interested in them.

Like all Sarissa buildings, both arrive on A4 sheets of laser cut mdf. In addition, they also have some cardboard detailing panels that sit inside the MDF. Unusually for an MDF building, the kit actually includes instructions which is massively appreciated to make sure no mistakes happen during assembly. For both kits, the MDF parts were cleanly cut and came away from the sprue really easily. The cardboard is a useful addition and easy to place but I’m less happy with the doors, especially the larger warehouse ones. The hinge is quite thin and just asking to eventually fall away if constantly moved. I will probably end up glueing or taping them.

Both kits include gantry items which can be combined together. As you can see above, this lets you bridge between the two buildings or just make a bridge. The gantries are simple to construct and look very effective on the tabletop.

In terms of scale, the Sarissa kits fit perfectly with the 28mm figures I have. The gantries are perfectly sized for 26mm bases (and would probably fit the 30mm bases used by Batman and other games) and the warehouse door easily fit most of the vehicles I have.

Factory – Office/Warehouse

(Please note, the metal air conditioning is not part of the kit but was added to make removing the roof easier)

This building is two stories and designed to be the perfect side building alongside larger factory units. The ground floor is slightly taller than usual and  has two large warehouse doors and a side entrance. Above it, the top floor has a side door for use with a gantry . The top floor also has a slot through the floor but I’m not sure it’s suitable for a staircase – it’s also too short for the height of the building and would block entryways in either alignment. However, a ladder or pulley system could be fitted depending on the building’s purpose.

The roof and top floor are removable with the roof resting on the top of the cardboard detail layers. Inside the building, the top floor rests in two slots in the cardboard and is surprisingly sturdy if a little fiddly to place correctly.

On both floors, the detail cardboard has lots of windows meaning the building has plenty of fire points. The outside also has a chimney or water pipe. unfortunately I managed to mess up construction of this and so on mine it’s slightly misshapen.

 

Overall, I really like this building. It works both with other industrial buildings or settled amongst more civilian dwellings for a little variation. The two floors also make it interesting to play through. As the description on the website, it could be warehouse with a storage area upstairs or an office depending on how you want to decorate the interior. This is a building I’d be interested in picking up a second.

Factory – Large

If you’re looking for a centrepiece to your wargaming board, the Sarissa factory is perfect. About 1ft square and two stories high, the factory just toes the line between “terrain feature” and “play area”. The interior is dominated by the open warehouse floor but there is also a smaller room under chimney (perfect for sneaking in through) and a second floor balcony so you can take the high ground and get a good view over anything inside. The balcony can be accessed by both a gantry on the outside and also from a ladder from within. The balcony is not removable.

The two end pieces are mirrored and both include two warehouse doors and a standard door.

A cool feature of the factory is the interior crane. This is composed of three parts – a frame, central gantry and the crane unit itself. I do not recommend gluing the frame in place if you intend to actually play through the interior as it sticks out and can prevent gamer hands from being able to place figures. Similarly, the gantry and unit can also be left unglued thanks to how well they grip the tracks which means the crane can be repositioned depending on the scenario. I’m a big fan of it. Especially if you get someone up on top of the crane, just asking to fall to the ground once he is taken out.

Finally, here are all the bits that make up the warehouse. The roof is easy to take on and off (resting on the struts you can see in the interior photo) and also feels very solid once constructed. The gaps in the roof could be filled with plastic for glazing if you want to add that extra detail.

 

Conclusion

So, overall how do I like the buildings? They are fantastic kits to build, easy to knock up over an evening. Once constructed they just look great, giving even the barest of boards a cool edge. I have my reservations about the cardboard doors but having played a few games using them, they are very gameable items of terrain letting you sweep and clear without having to carefully balance figures on strange angles.

There is however one thing to think about and that is the price. The factory is £50 and the office is £20. You get a lot of stuff for that cost but it is definitely on the higher end of MDF pricing for this size.

Overall though, a big thumbs up from me! Now I just need to go paint them…