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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Battlefield in a Box: Calais House

As most of you probably know by now, Battlefront have started a new "House of the Month Club" subscription service for their line of 15mm Battlefield in a Box line.  For $21/month you get a new house on your doorstep (note- though it seemed like I was being charged for shipping at check out, I was NOT charged shipping when i got my receipt).  That's 12 fully painted Western European houses to add to your game table for around $250 USD over the course of a year.  But Wait!  There's More!  In addition to the 12 houses included in the subscription deal, you get 2 additional sets at no extra charge!  The first is a set of stone walls and monuments and the second is a set of "house extensions" to break up the boxiness of the houses and add some character to them.

As all of you know by now, I'm a huge fan of the majority of the Battlefield in a Box line so I was excited to get this subscription deal!  So, let's take a look shall we?

Material wise, the house is a strange feeling resin.  Luke described it as "slate" and that very accurately describes the way it feels.  The roof is hollow but has a reinforced "lip" and so should not easily suffer from the chipping seen on the Eastern Front rural houses.  It feels fairly sturdy while still being lightweight.  I wouldn't go dropping this off your table though, but that's true of all resin buildings.

The building itself is comprised of 3 parts- the roof, first and second story.  There is interior detail, but it is unpainted except for the wood floor.  That's A Okay with me, but if you want to go above and beyond you could take the time to paint the interior walls and windows to really bring the buildings to life.  Each floor is large enough to hold 2 medium stands.

The painting is really just "okay" on this house.  The roof is a grey-ish color with a blue highlight.  Not a lot of depth to it, but it doesn't look altogether bad.  The house itself is a medium grey dry brushed over a dark grey.  The window panes and roof trim are white, while the door and interior floors are a chocolate brown.  To be honest, I didn't expect Golden Demon level painting, but the quality was a bit lower than some of the Russian line.  The white trim parts are sloppy and the dry brushing leaves a bit to be desired.  Easy to touch up if you're so inclined, but worth noting.

 Finally, the house itself just looks... bland.  Part of that is simply that I am spoiled on some of their other interesting stuff like the train station, or Russian church.  But a grey box is tough to make exciting!  That being said, it's easy to see from the pictures that the house expansions set will do a lot to break the monotony.  Plus, when you have 12 of these similar looking houses side by side they'll look superb as a town of their own.  It's a little unfair to judge the house standing all alone with nothing else around it after all, since the "look" of a board is the sum of all of its terrain parts.

But the real selling point of this house is what you get for the price.  It all comes down to value.  At $21 a piece, you're paying less than some manufacturers sell unpainted houses for!  Plus, this building is actually fairly large being able to fit 4 medium stands.

A comparatively costed Crescent Root townhouse only comfortably fits one medium base, though the painting quality is at a much higher standard.  Crescent root makes up the bulk of my building collection.  In fact, I own everything they've offered in 15mm.  CR is, in my opinion, the gold standard.  The two building lines should mix and match fairly well, so I am excited to grow my building collection. Hello Caen or Carentan fight!

Similarly, these Miniature Building Authority townhouses are much smaller by comparison, and cost a bit more.  Again, however, they are painted better and look more "interesting".  In general I am not a huge fan of MBA- I think the "convert to a ruined building" concept is neat, but in practice I don't think the effect looks all that great.  Still, I do own a few of their Eastern Front buildings and will likely pick more up in the future.

Finally, JR Miniatures don't really have a comparably sized Western Front building, but in general their European buildings (like this townhouse) predate Flames of War and thus do not have removable roofs.  They're also fairly small and come unpainted, though they are certainly inexpensive!

In conclusion, I think this offering is a very good value.  It doesn't blow the competition out of the water on quality alone, but the overall value is very good.  I'm glad I picked up my subscription, and would happily do so again if they continue offering this kind of deal in the future.

9/12 House of the Month Club Subscriptions

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