4Ground Raw Models–a Review
I’m considered a bit strange by some of my wargaming friends because I really dislike some of the pre-painted buildings from 4Ground, particularly their 15mm Europe at War range. I think they look a bit “boxy”, they’re too clean and they lack much of the texture that you find on real buildings. I hate the way that most people just build the the things straight from the pack and leave burnt bits of mdf unpainted and showing up from several feet away. I really dislike the laser scorch marks and some of the colours they’ve used are really rather strange, pale blue tiles on a roof for goodness sake, what’s that all about?
I understand why people like the things, they make it very easy indeed for you to get painted buildings on to your table with hardly any work. I even think they’re good value for money. But I still dislike them and I get unreasonably annoyed every time I see a burnt bit of mdf showing up as a patch on a roof.
4Ground even sell the paints that allow people to finish the pre-painted buildings off properly, but nobody seems to actually use them, and I found it interesting that someone from 4Ground, speaking in this video from Beasts of War (watch from 20:00 mins), has described their models as “pre-primed” rather than pre-painted, and says that “they’re not really meant as necessarily the finished article”.
Anyway, I do think that the basic shells of the buildings are really quite good, it just the partially finished look that annoys me, and I’ve been wanting to try painting, texturing and detailing some of their unpainted buildings, what they call “Raw Models” for a while. So I asked for some for my birthday and they duly showed up.
I’ve now finished them and I must say I’m quite pleased with the result.
Below are some pictures of my buildings compared with the publicity shots from the 4Ground we pages. I’ve actually not done very much with them at all but they look quite different from the pre-painted ones. I’ve painted them with emulsion paint, inked them and done some filling, notably of the holes in the roof and on the sides of the chimney stacks. I’ve also added scratch built shutters, which seem to feature on more than 90% of buildings in Normandy.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the laser etched tiles came out when painted. I have some of the tiling sheets from Warbases, but I actually decided I didn’t need to use them in the end. The etching on the roof looks good enough to me.
Compare these with the pre-painted versions of the two houses I’ve built, pictured as they look built straight from the packet.
There’s a slight difference between the raw models and the pre-painted ones that I didn’t notice before I built them. The pre-painted ones feature recessed doors which are missing from the raw models, presumably this is to keep the cost down. I must say that the recessed doors look a lot better than the flush ones. It’s the Carronade show in two weeks, I think I’ll buy one of the 4Ground pre-painted models with the recessed doors and see how it looks once I pimp it up a bit.
As I said I do like the way mine have turned out and they fit in just fine with all the other buildings I’ve got from HACME (right) and Warbases (left). The price of the 4Ground raw models is comparable with the others.
I’m getting on to a village now, I’ll need to build some roads and back gardens soon.
I have never really thought about the pre-painted 4G kits being flawed in the way you describe, but I must admit, your painted buildings look more convincing than the repainted ones. I’m not sure I would use my free time in this way, but I can see the difference.
I’m probably over the top on this one. But people could at least paint the tabs so that they don’t stick out like sore thumbs.
No, you are not alone. I think they look awful out of the box, and for the life of me cannot think why they have to use those stupid looking tabs. Especially on the roofs. Yer gonna glue them together anyway… the tabs provide some small structural benefit I suppose but they look terrible.
Yours on the other hand are rather nice looking, I would put those on my table.