Friday 13 December 2013

Does 1:76 Terrain work with 28mm minis? (Pegasus Hobbies Farmhouse) + MDF Buildings - Worth their Weight in Gold?

1:76 Terrain for 28mm
Pegasus Hobbies have some cheap $10 snap-together farmhouses - a miracle in a time where everything with the word "terrain" in it doubles the price (and postage.)

I was actually pretty impressed by this kit and will be ordering more.  It snaps together really easily and holds together so well I wouldn't bother to glue it, in order to have the option to store it flat if needed. Though the roof was a little loose until I figured out how to clip it in snugly. 

It says "1:76" on the box (i.e. 20mm for us gamers) but does it work for 28mm?

This Infinity Mormaer does the "doors and windows" test.  A little small, but close enough for government work.

From a "gamers angle" any scale issues are even less noticeable. 

From the inside, the windows are actually at a good height.

This 1:48 Cromwell, whilst big, isn't too outsized.  However it does grate on me slightly more than the infantry model. A  1:56 scale vehicle would doubtless "fit" better.

Verdict: Success!

Whilst I'd be hesitant to use small 1:76 buildings (such as woodsheds or even smaller cottages), and they would be best in a vehicle-free game (I'm thinking my upcoming French & Indian Wars project), these farmhouses definitely support 28mm.  I'll be buying more.

A flatter base like a washer or those flat Renedra ones would "fit" even better than the slotta ones shown which artificially "raise" the model about 20cm or so in "scale" terms. 

MDF a.k.a. "Cardboard Crack"
What is with the price of laser-cut MDF terrain these days? It's more expensive than resin terrain now.  A huge sheet of MDF is only a few dollars at the local hardware store, so raw materials can't be the issue. Perhaps the laser-cutter machines are powered by pure unobtainium? 

Sarissa Precision is one of the more reasonable companies.  But I bet I could make this $35 building from a $2.50 MDF sheet. That's a hell of a markup.

Heaven forbid they spray paint it first.  Yes, it may look completely artificial and they only use the most basic of colours, but the paint they use apparently contains gold leaf. Or perhaps cocaine.  
This 4Ground building has been spraypainted lovingly covered in pure unobtainium.  That's right - $155 for what is effectively glorified cardboard.  I need to get a Kickstarter going to buy me a laser cutter.  It seems like a licence to print money!

So despite the recent popularity of MDF terrain (and as someone who owns a complete Old West town worth of it), I''d like to "bust" a few myths...
Myth #1: MDF is cheap
Myth #2: MDF terrain is easy to store flat (it is surprisingly annoying to assemble and disassemble)


  1. While not trying to justify the price they are charging us for these laser cut kits most of the price is directly related to the laser itself. It can take up to 8 hours of laser time to slice out a sheet of parts. How big that sheet of parts is varies widely depending on the laser that was purchased.

  2. I know a guy that makes mdf buildings ( an spanish wargames shop). He says that the problem with laser cut is the time the piece is on the machine... a lot of time.

  3. What you say makes sense, as the cheapest MDF terrain I could find (by a huge margin) was Warbases modular range which sell (admittedly rather small) buildings for as low as $3!

    However they have very little detail so they can probably "knock them out" 3-4x faster than a more "standard" Sarissa building which costs 3-4x as much.

    That said, I doubt they have to actively supervise the laser machine. I have a friend who owns a laser cutter (for trophy/engraving business) - I'll have to send him a CAD drawing and see what is involved...