Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review - Battle Flag - 28mm Western Buildings - The General Store

This was a surprise package today as I wasn't expecting anything from Battle Flag to arrive yet. It was a pleasant surprise though. I'm going to be getting Wild West buildings from Battle Flag, Sarissa Precision and Gamecraft Miniatures. Battle Flag has obviously arrived, Sarissa is in transit somewhere and I'm still deciding what would be worthwhile to order from Gamecraft.

Since one of these companies is likely to get the bulk of my building orders after all is said and done I wanted to really sit down and document what's in the box and how well it went together. Since they were the first on the doorstep I'll take a look at Battle Flag's General Store.

Let's start off with the packaging.

Nothing terribly exciting but nicely presented and I do like to be able to see all the parts. Of course the fun part is getting to spread the parts across your workbench. (Note these did not come with painted 15mm British Napoleonices, those guys just showed up complaining about having unfinished bases).

Now its off to the races. Following the instruction manual (well mostly). The roof is the first component that gets put together. You will notice that I do like my clamps and I highly recommend that you use clamps to assemble the building. I also use Titebond which is a carpenter's glue rather than regular PVA or white glue. My first mistake occurred in building the roof, I thought I read the directions thoroughly but I still managed to do this wrong. You can see what I did wrong at the end.

 Now, they do recommend that you paint your building first, but I'm ignoring that advice because of a couple of things that I want to do. Overall I would agree though painting some of these parts first while they are flat and easy to manage is probably the way to go. The next step involved putting together the front. This is a classic false front building. I made a mistake here as well, and I'm going to sort of hold the instructions accountable at this point, although I still should have figured it out on my own. The front goes together pretty easy. Its a little tricky at the end when you are putting the top piece of the facade together as there is no way to clamp it and you just hope to have your glue dry quickly. I suppose super glue might work here, but you better get the placement right the first time! My mistake clearly shows in the picture too, which means I had a hard time correcting it. When you glue MDF together and clamp it, getting it apart in one piece is almost impossible and I had to construct a replacement for one end of the facade because of it. So dry fit a couple of times and make sure you understand how something is suppose to go together before you apply the glue!
From here I moved onto the sides and rear, adding the door and window frames. I actually got this part of it right the first time. Lining the pieces up can be a bit tricky so just take your time and make sure everything remains neat and square.

Now it was time to work on the base. This building has a raised boardwalk (and hence a raised interior floor as well). I really like this feature and its one of the reasons I was attracted to the Battle Flag kits.
Overall not to difficult to put together. This time I double checked to make sure I had the right parts in the right place!

With that done it was time to move on towards the final assembly, bringing all those walls with inter-locking ends together. The instructions do recommend you dry fit this a couple of times to get a feel for the order you put the pieces together on the base. Basically start with one wall and work in one direction, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever gets you done. I also glued the boardwalk in place and clamped that down to dry. Those are steel weights on the back. They are great for adding weight where I need it and they are dead square so I can use them to glue up walls and keep the corners of the building square. Today they just had to sit there.

Now it was time to put in the interior raised floor. There are some little pieces you add along the walls to raise up the floor. I got this in right the first time as well. I then applied glue to the bottom edge of the floor that would rest on these braces. Do not put glue along the edges! It seems like a good idea until you realize that with the tight fit you are going to scrape all the glue off along your walls and leave a mess to clean up. So only glue on the bottom. I of course add weight to hold it down since I couldn't clamp it.

I followed this up by adding the steps which pretty much completed the model at this point.

The building is complete now and its at this point that I realized I messed up the roof. Pay careful attention to your instructions. Here is a hint, the roof only goes on one way!

And now for a little size comparison. I found some Black Scorpion cowboys in the draw (who would have thought!) so I stuck them on their bases and took some candid shots. I think if they weren't on bases they would look just about right. They feel a little tall in these pictures though.

From here I'll move on to the finish work. This building as built and if you just paint it straight up is going to look pretty darn new. Well, that's not happening in my Wild West! Tomorrow it has a date with a razor saw.

Now we get to my opinion (for what its worth, and I already have wooden nickles).

Instructions - They aren't awful but they are generic and are designed to cover a couple of different buildings. Although I know it costs more I would have preferred instructions geared specifically to this building. Some finishing instructions would be good too. Since I was able to follow them and get the thing built and looking good - 3 out of 5

Components - Quality wise the components are top notch!. Everything fit together pretty much exactly the way you would expect from a quality laser kit. 5 out of  5

I would recommend this little kit to anyone in need of wild west buildings for their games. It goes together fast (don't forget the clamps!) and really only gave me a bit of trouble. The instructions could be better. I'm disappointed that there is no interior detail on the walls (the floor is nice), especially since there is a back door and its not represented on the inside. I do realize that lasers only cut from one side and its probably not worth the trouble to flip it over and engrave the other side. Battle Flag has to make money at this after all. I would have also liked to see some interior walls though and there weren't any. If I can take the roof off during a game I expect to see a little bit more on the inside. I did ask Battle Front about this and they said that they would have some interior kits available beginning in November. I'm looking forward to that.

 I have two more buildings from Battle Flag to build and I'm looking forward to getting to work on them..


  1. Thanks for that, I do need some soon.

    1. Are the rejects going to get some Wild Wild West games in?

  2. Replies
    1. I'm pretty happy with this kit, despite by building mistakes.

  3. Very nice work Kris, looks a little fiddly but boy they look great when made up.

    1. This one was a bit fiddly with the extra decoration on the top of the facade but overall they go together really quick. Some of the other ones in the line are much simpler. Of course none of the ones I bought are simpler!

  4. I have three Battle Flag buildings, the Saloon which went together very well, the Bank where I made the same mistake with the frontage as you did but realised very quickly and managed to correct it with very little damage and the Gunsmiths which will get built next week. A very good set of buildings in my opinion.

    1. Definitely a good set of buildings. I really like the Battle Flag buildings and I wish they would continue to expand the range.