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)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review - Knuckleduster - 28mm Western Building - Barbershop

It was an odd coincidence. A couple of weeks ago I was looking at the Knuckleduster site for some 1812 miniatures (gun crews for those ships that will be here soon I hope) and I was thinking that this is a company that needs a line of Old West buildings. Then "Bang" a week later they announce a line of Old West buildings! These are being manufactured by TriCity Laser Inc.for Knuckleduster. So I jumped on the site and ordered TCL Town Deal #1. This consists of a two-story building, a saloon, a barbershop and a slanted roof kit for the Barbershop. I ordered two Pitched Roof kits one for the saloon and one for the 2 story building. I just don't like buildings with flat roofs. The vast majority of the buildings in the old west have at least slanted roofs and a lot of pitched roofs especially in areas with snow falls. Adobe buildings were typically the only ones with "flat" roofs. Oh and the Tombstone and Coffins set, that was just to cool to pass up.

Generically Kunckleduster talks about their kits having detailed interiors. That's not quite the case so be sure to read the description of each building, that's where it will tell you if there is interior detail or not. But, I was pretty stoked that these buildings are actually made of wood, 1/8" plywood to be exact! That means that my razor saw technique for creating deep grain is going to work just fine. I'm pretty excited now. Oh and the service was great. Made my order on a Sunday and I think I had it by Wednesday, huge thumbs up on that.

I opted to start with the simplest kit just to get a feel for what's going on with these, so out came the Barbershop. The kit came bagged up with a header indicating a length of 5.25" a width of 4.75" and a Height of 3.5", laser cut and engraved out of 1/8" plywood. Don't discard the header though! The assembly instructions are on the back! They are in fact incredibly simple: " Separate all the parts. Snape the sides to the Front and Back and use wood glue to bond, square building with the base, glue on windows and front porch parts. Do not Glue on Roof or Signs." I pulled out the old Titebond (carpenter's yellow glue) and went to work.

So yes, this is a simple kit and really doesn't need any instructions, however, I think a single sheet with a couple of pictures is still in order. However, assembly is much like the Battle Front and Aetherwork buildings so I didn't have any problems and I pretty much followed my own assembly order. First I scribed the outside wood planks with my razor saw, then attached the window and door frames, using plenty of clamps! By accident I discovered that you really do need to attach the front and back framing pieces first because of the way the walls will fit together. Its a rather clever way to hide the joint and you can see it in the construction pictures. After that it was on to attaching the walls to the base and this one is pretty much finished.

From there I tackled the slant roof. I went ahead and attached the sides to the regular flat roof that came with the barbershop. I'm still not sure if that is right or not because of , but the notch on the flat roof secures it more securely to the building. There is engraved plank detail on the roof, which is a nice touch and the first time I have seen a serious amount of laser engraved detail on a roof.

I think the one thing that I was disappointed with is that the floor on the inside of the building was not engraved, its just the bare plywood. It really wouldn't have taken much to add a floor on the inside. Its the first kit that I have put together that didn't have an engraved floor.

Instructions, such as they are on the back of the header card, gets a 1 out of 5.

Components, I love the components! Plywood is great! I'll still give this a 5 for 5 as far as the components are concerned, however, I was a bit disappointed that the engraved detail didn't go a little farther.

Overall, this is a solid kit, its going to look great on the gaming table and its definitely more than capable of standing up to the punishment that can be given out on the table. So on to the pictures!

 Here are the contents!
Some wall assembly, don't forget the clamps!
The front and back frame pieces need to be glued to the front and back before you assemble the walls. The frame forms the notch that the side walls are going to fit into.

Adding the walls to the base

And the finished product with a few Black Scorpion Miniatures for scale. These buildings are going to look a little small with the Black Scorpion Miniatures. Black Scorpion's Tombstone line is definitely a bit on the tall side though.

And here up against the Battle Flag Saloon. Pretty good match, they will look fine together after some paint work and weathering. The Knuckleduster door is definitely smaller than the Battle Front door.
And here we see the Knuckleduster building next to my only Aetherwork building. Window and door wise the Knuckleduster kit is noticeably smaller than Aetherwork. Aetherwork kits are definitely a bit on the tall side though. Unless you are looking close you really aren't going to notice the difference.

I think the Knuckleduster kits are going to look just fine on the streets of Calamity. I have two more from Knuckleduster kits to go. So hopefully some more progress this week.


  1. Replies
    1. There are nice buildings. I'm glad to see them add the buildings to their line.

  2. They really do look cool buildings, can't wait for a few pics of the town when its complete.

    1. They are doing some buildings that are a bit different from everyone else. The town is definitely growing. To many buildings now to fit into one shot. I'll have to take everything down to the club one night and lay it out on one of the tables there. I need to start thinking about colors right now.

  3. I need some of these but my patience unlike yours is awful!

  4. Any thoughts on staining / painting / weathering approach you'll take?


    1. I have been wavering back and forth a bit on that. I'm not sure I can stain the MDF buildings the same way as wood. So the Knuckleduster may get the sweet and sour method while the others will get painted, probably a silvery gray, then a bit of rubber cement and then the final color painted on over that. Use an eraser to remove the glue and pretty much instant weathering. Western buildings were typically only painted on the front and sometimes not even the front was painted. I'll have enough to do some variations of all those combinations. The airbrush will be getting quite the workout when I have all of the buildings.

  5. All of the buildings seem nice but fragile for storage and transport. Do you have ideas for how you're going to do that? I know I get frustrated when my terrain suffers because of travel damage.

    1. Actually, all of the buildings, at least so far, are pretty sturdy. There aren't a lot of details that stick out. The only bits I'm worried about are the hitching posts on the fronts. Everything else should be fine. I'll be using plastic tubs for transport so that and a little foam should keep everything in pristine condition.