Sunday, July 31, 2022

Micro Art Studio: Prepainted Multicolor HDF WWII Normandy Town Buildings Reviewed!

Today we will take a closer look at the brand new Micro Art Studio prepainted multicolor HDF World War Two Normandy Town range featuring multiple townhouses, restaurant, workshops, sheds, walls and a large church. Specially designed for the popular Warlord Games Bolt Action wargame, these are an excellent choice for your tabletop battlefield!

Accessories, miniatures, playmats, terrain, acrylic tokens – Micro Art Studio has it all. Micro Art Studio, offers a variety of well-made accessories and acrylic tokens for games like Warhammer, Infinity, X-Wing, Star Wars Legion, Bolt Action or Wolsung. They are also a producer of resin bases for various tabletop gaming systems. Their company goal is to provide you with wargaming scenery. Their terrain pieces are made by gamers and have hours of testing and designing behind them. You can explore their full catalogue of wargame and other products here

The World War Two Normandy Town Range

This brand new prepainted multicolor scenery range contains no less than 11 typical french scenery sets including three unique townhouses, cafe, restaurant, small sheds, large sheds, garage with petrol pumps, church and two wall sets. All of these buildings are historical accurate and are inspired by pictures of existing historical buildings. The amount of sets is excellent and allows you to easily build full towns and cities in no time even when you're a less skilled hobbyist or novice wargamer as these come fully painted in multicolor and ready for the tabletop!

All of these cool buildings are supplied in neat flat packs consisting out of quality HDF (high-density fiberboard) panels of 3mm and/or 1,5mm thickness & will need assembly like most normal lasercut wooden wargame scenery sets from other manufacturers. The great thing however about these new buildings is that they come fully prepainted in multicolor for both the interior and exterior so you can assemble these and use them straight away on the tabletop battlefield. The quality of the paintjob is very good and features everything from brickwork, corrugated steel roofs, tiled roofs, wallpaper & even some nice advertisements on the sides of the buildings and billboards.

These 28mm buildings are real marvels of design as they are fully stackable so you can remove and add floors in the townhouses as well as in the restaurant and cafe. As mentionned earlier these buildings have been specially designed for the popular World War Two Bolt Action wargame rules by Warlord Games (Check Warlord Games here) and are accurate for this tabletop wargaming ruleset although these can easily be used for all available wargaming rulesets on the market. Some buildings are also supplied with a ruined base offering the occupying infantry hard cover and also offering another separate piece of useful scenery included with the main building. The buildings also fit whole Bolt Action infantry squads inside making it easier to follow the rules for these situations.

Assembling the World War Two Normandy Town

For this particular review, I will assemble four of these interesting scenery sets including the typical French cafe, small sheds with dovecote, large tin shed & the amazing garage with petrol pumps set. So as you can see in the pictures each set is supplied in multiple panels of quality HDF and as these buildings are prepainted with the UV-printed technique one side is covered with a layer of protective paper. Each of the kits is supplied with a thorough and well-illustrated assembly guide which comes in very useful. For the assembly below I have chosen the large tin shed as the assembly for all the sets is more or less similar. The assembly time of these model kits is similar to other sets but you of course save much time and hassle as you won't need to decorate and paint these afterwards. Note that these were pre-production versions so the package may vary from the commercial version & the newer versions will be much less prone to paint chipping.

The first step is to remove the protective paper layer as you can see in the pictures I found it easier to first loosen the corners to avoid the paint chipping although it can't be avoided totally. Actually the hardest part of assembling these scenery sets is to remove the protective paper layer as if done too fast or not gently enough you can easily chip the paintjob. Note that even when you are super careful some tiny paint chips may occur  but if that happens, you can use a color marker or hobby paint to mask them. (you can see some of the chipping in the pictures below)

The second step is to check the included illustrated assembly guide and remove the kit pieces required for the next construction step. To do so you can cut the small connectors that keep the pieces in place on the wooden panels with a sharp hobby knife but in some cases you can simply push them out if you're careful. After you have removed all the pieces you can now clean them by removing the connectors with a sharp hobby knife and file. I found it much easier to remove the pieces per step so you can focus on one step at a time without added clutter.

The third step is to dryfit all the cut pieces to make sure that they fit, cleaned all remaining connectors and you have removed the right pieces. In this stage it's also worth to double check if the pieces are placed correctly as sometimes only one side is prepainted and you need to be sure that the paintjob is on the exterior or most visible side of the building. I have made some mistakes at this stage, luckily in places that aren't so visible (attic beam of the cafe for example). When you're happy with the fit of the pieces you can now continue to the  following step.

The fourth step is to glue the pieces together with PVA glue and keep the pieces in place with elastics or clamps while the model dries. Although PVA glue is recommended I also used some superglue to speed up the construction but note that this will be unforgiving if you make mistakes. So I would certainly recommend using PVA glue giving you plenty of time to rectify possible assembly mistakes. Note that some sets also come with transparant plastic windows for the buildings however I found it a bit difficult to get a good result so skipped these for now.

The fifth step is to mask the paint chipping with markers or paint as they are quite visible with the white undercoat. You can touch up the paint chips or cover them in the weathering stage if you decide to weather the scenery. I have done the latter as I like them weathered as you can see in the pictures although this really depends on how you like your scenery. I was quite happy with the simple weathering especially on the windows and walls which was done with Vallejo Leather Brown painted in the corners where filth and water would collect.

The Assembled World War Two Normandy Town

In the following pictures you can see all the four sets assembled and with the simple weathering applied. Shown is the iconic french cafe, the lovely small sheds with dovecote, the characterful garage with petrol pumps and the very useful and generic large shed. As you can see these buildings have plenty of character and the larger sets come with some extra bits such as petrol pumps and billboards. Another thing I found out is that you can easily make some more scatter scenery by carefully cutting up the leftover panels to recreate loose corrugated steel panels, bits of wood and so on to clutter the buildings a bit more and add even more realism to these great-looking buildings. You can see some of these in the pictures below but more can be made out of the leftover HDF sheets.

The Conclusion

To conclude this review, I can say that I really like these new buildings from Micro Art Studio. These prepainted multicolor scenery pieces are really lovely and the paintjob looks great! So if you don't have the time, lack the skills or just don't like painting scenery these buildings are ideal. You just need to assemble them and they are ready for the tabletop battlefield in no time. The assembly of these buildings was straight forward because of the good design and the inclusion of an illustrated manual guide often lacking in other lasercut wooden wargame scenery sets.

The quality of the buildings really shows in the details such as the playable interiors, stackable floors, the clever overall design and the inclusion of cool extra bits such as petrol pumps, removable garage shed, choice of advertisement panels for the cafe and so on. Designed for the very popular World War Two Bolt Action wargame they are certainly up for the job and are of course also very suited for other wargames and genres. Another cool thing is that the range is really large with 11 sets allowing you to build full towns and cities with minimal effort.

The only slight issue is the chipping of the paintjob showing the white undercoat, although I have been reassured by Micro Art Studio that much less paint chipping will happen with the new commercial production runs as the review models were part of a test run. That said the chipping can easily be solved with some color markers and hobby paints as I have done with some weathering although they can certainly be used on the tabletop without additionnal weathering or painting if you prefer that as they were specially designed to be used straight away after assembly. 

These brand new 28mm scaled scenery sets can now be bought through Micro Art Studio here. The smaller sets such as the small sheds, large sets and walls retail for around €20 while the townhouses and garage retail for around €35 with the larger pieces such as the restaurant and church accordingly priced higher. And although these are not particularly cheap, they are very much affordable considering that these come prepainted multicolor and are of excellent design and quality compared with the standard lasercut sets of other manufacturers. 

And if you're looking for full towns, you can also buy discounted bundles saving you some money while getting an entire town worth of excellent quality buildings to decorate the tabletop battlefield. So if you're looking for World War Two Normandy themed scenery make sure to check these out. Not interested in historical wargaming and looking for science fiction scenery, make sure to check our previous Micro Art Studio Star Wars Legion themed reviews.

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Disclaimer - We received these scenery pieces from Micro Art Studio for reviewing purposes. Please note that this doesn't influence our review as we always strive to supply you with our own independent and honest opinion about the wargame products reviewed.

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