Thursday, March 10, 2011

Amera 15mm Plastic Buildings

The continued quest for good “sci-fi” buildings is a never-ending one. Like many 15mm sci-fi gamers, I have boxes of clear plastic electronic packaging in interesting shapes, packed away in boxes, awaiting conversion. This is often time consuming, so when a manufacturer offers a pre-made kit, I'm quick to investigate.

M205 Small Houses
These Amera 15mm North African buildings  (#M206 Medium House and M205 Small House) were purchased on a lark to see if they could be converted to serve as a futuristic Vilani mining settlement. Mine were ordered through my Friendly Local Gaming Store. Dressing them up with the Ground Zero Games doors and windows from Jon’s “Building Fittings” line produced a result with which I am well pleased. These buildings are lighter than resin and stronger than paper. Once finished, they are heavy enough not to be blown about by random puffs of air.

M206 Medium House
Attaching the building fittings was simply done using epoxy, with some white glue to fill any gaps.  I had some gaps form around the doors, as I was simply gluing the GZG doors over the ones cast onto the model.  There was less of this problem with the windows.

I recommend filling the polystyrene shells with fine/light household insulation foam to prevent bending/bowing/warping.  Priming the interior is necessary to insure the foam doesn’t melt the polystyrene.  I used Testors gray primer as a base prime, inside and out, followed by Citadel white, inside and out.  The Citadel was necessary to provide something for my water-thinned acrylic paint to grip to.

Before filling with foam, I recommend testing the foam on some of the off-cut bits that come with the buildings.  The home insulating kit in the hand-held can from my local Do-It-Yourself franchise worked well for me.  Foam tends to expand outward as it dries, so I left the models base-up for the foam to set.  In the process, some of the curing foam did rise above the lip of the base; this was removed with a hobby knife and a spoon.

Once the fittings were in place, after priming, I spray painted the outsides of the houses with Testors Sand Yellow.  Oops!…so much for using the Citadel primer. The acrylic paints had some trouble covering the Testors, though nothing an extra coat or two couldn’t cure.

Size Comparison
After painting various door and window colours, the models were dry brushed with Hobbycraft Light Chocolate. This gave a yummy cocoa colour result - rather a pale Martian dust - to the model; which I quite like.

The end result was a Middle-Eastern Pre-Fabricated Futuristic look, rather like one would expect from a Vilani Mining franchise. Ethnic AND Utilitarian.  These are the sort of dichotomies which give depth to the scenario and which make sci-fi gaming so enjoyable. Ω

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