At a recent event I attended I was lucky enough to win the new Knights of Dice (KoD) Church and I was greatly pleased after having picked up some of their desert buildings earlier this year. The church is part of a new range titled 'Letters Home' of unpainted pre cut MDF flat pack buildings. I will now take you through my impressions on assembly, painting and finally play-ability on the table for the Church.
The pack does not come with hard copy instructions however the team at KoD have them available for free download on their website. As a test of the design of this church I decided to forgo the instructions and use the force to put this monster together. To complicate matters further I thought it would be a great idea to punch out all the parts from their sheets and put them in like part piles. So no instructions and pieces everywhere, this certainly was going to be a test of the assembly in the most adverse conditions.
At 31.5 x 22.5 cm this building has a mighty footprint so starting with the floor plan I worked my way upwards. From the cover sheet I could tell there were three major components to the build, the first floor, the roof and the bell tower. I worked on them in parallel with each other, moving from one part to the next while waiting for glue to dry and in this way it took me a total of 2 hours to finish it. It was very easy to identify what parts went where, and made basically for an idiot like me who chose not to look at the instructions. The design of the parts meant that they could only ever go where they were supposed to so I couldn't stuff it up no matter how hard I tried.
When finished the church is exceptionally sturdy and robust, with this kit I will not have any problems lugging it to and from events and having the players try and push their tanks through it, or even try and fit an 88 in the bell tower! Overall the build was very easy and intuitive, don't expect this to take you multiple sessions over a week like some kits I have done. It is retailed for $85 Australian and this represents great value for such a large building.
In order to paint it I decided on a simple scheme after referencing the churches in Normandy and keep the painting to a level which could see some abuse at events. I wanted to have this painted in around an hour, so much of the work would have to be done with pre-shading to have the variations in colour show. I sprayed the church first with black then selectively with white where I wanted the colour variation. I then used thinned acrylic paint through an airbrush and to give the church its colour, by using thin paint I was able to use the colour variation already present with the base coats to maximize the effect.
I then used some AK Interactive enamel washes to create some streaks out the windows and such to add some character to otherwise bare walls. I used a white oil paint to create the streaking down the roofs, like a thousand pigeons have pooped over a hundred years type of effect. So all up around a hour to paint and two hours to put it together. I then used a chipping method with a sponge to create some more weathering effects around the windows and openings.
In game terms this church is a real centerpiece for any gaming table, it offers a visually appealing objective to fight over as well as offering tactical options to base your strategy around. With such a large footprint it is a great LOS blocker, you could move entire battle groups in its shadow while maneuvering for better position. The bell tower is an obvious choice for snipers, MMG teams and observers with unhindered 360 degree views however we all know who will be first targeted when the dice start rolling!
There are enough windows to give shooters inside plenty of firing solutions however I will place some obstacles to delineate separate rooms in the big open cross. This will prevent teleportation across a large area and allow for multiple units to be inside. I can definitely see two or more opposing squads shooting it out inside the church from behind hasty barricades.
So would I recommend this church to my fellow Bolt Action gamers? Absolutely I would. The quality is top notch, the ease of assembly fantastic and it looks great on the table so how could I not. If you are concerned about painting just grab some cheap spray cans and channel your inner graffiti artist. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge as the nearest pre painted rivals will set you back significantly more.
Again, you can find this church in the 'Letters Home' range from Australian company Knights of Dice. These guys have been great supporters of the Bolt Action scene here in Australia.