Monday, September 5, 2016

Spanish Civil War Headquarters (and the last of the Cottages)

For the past few weeks I've been slowly plodding through a group of Spanish cottages that I picked up from Grand Manner. I paired the first two buildings along with some Napoleonic figures, but I thought for this last one I'd place it in a Spanish Civil War setting.

Depicted here is a Nationalist command group who've set up their headquarters up in a little casa close to the front. 

The 28mm figures are from the Empress Miniatures range. I got these from Atlantico Hobbies when we were in Madrid this past spring (great store btw) - and I thought it an apropos purchase in light of the setting. (Thanks again for the day out Alf!)

These figures are listed as Republicans, but since the officer uniforms between the two sides were fairly similar in cut I thought I'd take the liberty of swapping their allegiance. 

I've seen many great vignettes of these figures skillfully arrayed on a single base, but I thought I'd be a bit of a philistine and split them up, allowing the figures to be used separately and also to reduce their footprint so they can easily fit within more confined settings. 

The sculpting on this set is remarkable. For example, the little details crisply cast onto the table - the plate of food, knife, wine bottle and the eyeglasses on the map - all really help to set the scene. 

For the map I've painted a rather impressionistic rendition of the 'Battle of Ciudad Universitaria' which took place during the first months of the war in Madrid.

Period map of the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria.

A modern rendition.

The cottage itself, like its two brothers, is a lovely bit of kit. Highly textured, charming and suitably rustic.


The recent popularity in MDF kits is amazing - their quality is excellent and their ease of shipping and assembly is certainly a boon. Nonetheless, there is something about the surface detail which high quality resin models can convey that is very hard to match with MDF. I often find MDF buildings to be too crisp, too geometric, almost too perfect. Certainly this is great for modern or sci-fi buildings, but I find MDF has a difficult time conveying the natural, yet charming imperfections we see in older structures. For example, this cottage has bowed walls, uneven lintels and less than perfect joins, yet the model has a feeling of lived-in authenticity that I don't often see in many MDF models. Maybe its because that MDF is constrained by using perfectly flat planes as its design elements, I'm not sure. I realize that much of this can be softened with judicious sanding, grinding and liberal use of filler, but that seems to defeat the inherent ease and speed of their assembly. This all being said I'll still remain a fan of MDF, as their many benefits outweigh these criticisms, but after working on this series of charming cottages from Grand Manner I clearly see resin terrain has a continuing place in the hobby.

Next up: A bit of Post-Apoc nastiness.