Right now my 20mm WW2 & Modern era buildings are rather bare on the ground – I have a couple of very nice larger 15mm TimeCast buildings (a Belgian Townhouse and a Petrol Station), and a 20mm bombed out German HQ Building from ESLO. Otherwise I have some plastic kits awaiting completion (Airfix Jungle Outpost & the 2 Italeri Farmhouse & Manor kits) and a 20mm resin Jungle Building from Frontline. So my existing Western Europe and new Eastern Europe theatre troops desperately need buildings for their games – not to mention long-term Mediterranean/North African and more Pacific/Burma stuff! Consequently I have been purchasing several new Western & Eastern European buildings from about 5 different manufacturers (i.e. Lancer, Area 9, Hovels, TST, Sentry) – and where possible have chosen to purchase them pre-painted to save time, and get some terrain (especially Eastern Front) usable as promptly as possible. The first of these to arrive are from Lancer Miniatures in the UK, which arrived promptly in NZ just 1 week after ordering.
As a result my rapidly expanding new 20mm WW2 Eastern Front forces (e.g. see Samokhodnaya Ustanovka Arrive!) I was primarily looking for Eastern Front items initially – and Lancer Miniatures have some interesting items. I ordered 5 East Front Items from them as the first stage of building up a collection suitable for Russian villages or a small town:
LM11 – Russian House with Battle Damage: Unlike all the other Lancer Miniatures models this is a traditional one-piece casting (the others all feature lift off roofs and internal space, etc) and is a fairly nice model – the pictures here depict it exactly as it appears on arrival from Lancer Miniatures in it’s painted state, the painted version costing £9.38 versus £6.25 unpainted. I plan to do some minor additional work on it including a standardised style of base, and a wash of the roof and some additional dry-brush weathering to highlight the detail a bit more, and some other minor detailing of window frames and such. But as you can see it’s fairly nicely done ready to use immediately and the extra cost for pre-painted is quite reasonable (i.e. +50%); and you get a fairly good quality wargaming standard paint job and a building ready to go ‘on-table’ immediately. Note the pictures here don’t quite do the models justice – I took them in a rush with a mix of halogen and flash bulb lighting so they are a bit over exposed (and oversize) .
LM15 – Russian House with Weapons Pit & Minor Battle Damage: This building is a little larger than the one above (LM11) and features a lift off roof with interior space for troop placement, etc. It also has what is effectively a weapons pit or improvised sangar in front of the house with assorted items making up the barrier – it’s also almost perfect for a 40mm square figure base (the size of my crossfire bases) to sit in, needing just a small amount of filing or sanding at one spot of the inside for the figure base to fit snugly. Again the pictures here depict it exactly as it appears on arrival from Lancer Miniatures in it’s painted state costing £18.75 (again the painting cost +50% of the base cost £12.50, which is quite reasonable for a wargaming standard appearance in my opinion). Again I plan to do some minor additional work on it including basing, and a wash of the roof and dry-brush weathering, and other minor detailing. One thing I need to figure out is if the style of roofing on these first two buildings is some form of wooden sheeting or is covered with a metallic layer of something like copper or lead, so I can do an appropriate coloured wash and dry brush to lift out the detail a bit more – and I’ve seen photos suggesting both on the web? You can see this also has some minor damage modelled to the roof (that may or may not be ‘battle damage’).
LM36 – Russian Cottage with Thatched Roof: Similar in size and design to the LM15 “L-shaped” house above it also features a lift off roof with interior space for troop placement. The design is slightly different with the house have the ‘L’ piece to the rear instead of the front (see LM15 above), and a small front yard with wall, or fence, running the full width of the building. Again pictures depict it exactly as it appears on arrival costing £18.75 (again the painting cost is +50% of the base cost £12.50). The roof is thatched and again the building features some minor damage and/or a slightly run-down look.
LM21 – Russian Othodox Church: A fairly reasonable sized building that features a lift off bell tower & dome section, a separate roof for the main building, and a separate spire (the Cross) for the tower. Again pictures depict it exactly as it appears on arrival costing £37.50 (again the painting cost is +50% of the base cost £25.00) – I’ll be basing it and giving this a bit of a white touch up to make it less grey – it probably could have had a bit more white paint used to start with, along with a roof wash and some minor weathering & detailing… One odd little quirk is the tower section doesn’t sit quite true – but that’s because one corner’s section of the 4 supports it sits on is lower than the other 3 (a fault with the mould obviously) – but it’s easy fixed by gluing in a small cardboard spacer or such in that corner to fill in the gap. Note the Spire is removable from the bell tower roof dome – so can be stored safely free from risk of breakage.
LM49 – Russian (& Eastern European) Rural Railway Station: In some ways this is the best model of the lot – certainly my favourite – featuring a Waiting Room come Station Building, a Goods Shed, a Water Tank, and the Platform, the Goods Shed has a rear Loading Dock (for trucks & wagons), and assorted smaller detail is moulded into the base. The pictures depict it exactly as it appears on arrival having cost £37.50 (again the painting cost is +50% of the base cost £25.00) – The Water Tank doesn’t feature a roof on the upper section – and Kieven from Lancer Miniatures said they were unsure whether it should or shouldn’t have one so one is not part of the model – I will need to research this eventually and if it should have one a suitable piece of plasticard should suffice readily.
On the whole a great selection of buildings – and although I plan to base them and touch up a little they are basically ready to put on the table now. The painting is a very good wargaming standard in general and reasonably priced so well worth considering. On a final note Kieven & Julie at Lancer Miniatures appear very good to deal with – one word of warning, shipping from UK to NZ (or elsewhere like the USA) was expensive, so not for the faint hearted! I’ve been talking to Kieven about whether there are other options to make it more economical – but for UK gamers it’s a no-brainer, as Lancer Miniatures currently offer free shipping for you at the time of writing.
You can also see more pics of these buildings with my SU’s in Samokhodnaya Ustanovka Arrive! Meanwhile I look forward to the rest of my orders arriving from the other manufacturers… The big thing for me is to get an assortment of Eastern European Buildings from different manufacturers to get some good variety that will hopefully capture the feel and the appearance of the Eastern Front in World War II.
Update: See also More 20mm Eastern Front Buildings arrive.