This is one of those side projects I’ve had going on for a long, long while. One of the games we play from time to time is Hind Commander: a modern era 3mm wargame focusing on helicopter operations. While another game I’d like to play is Modern Spearhead, again in 3mm. One thing that both of these games require are built up areas. The ground scale of these games is quite large, only very large and isolated buildings (e.g. large hangers, warehouses, energy plants) would justify inclusion as an individual piece of terrain. Instead, most individual buildings are ignored and human civilization represented by ‘Built up Areas’. So this type of terrain piece actually represents a smallish town, or part of a city which would have dozens, if not hundreds of buildings.
This is the second of these that I’ve built, and it’s been a partially complete project for quite a while. However, my theme for 2020 has been ‘The land of neglected projects’ and this project definitely fits that theme. The first I built featured some terrace houses and you can find that in my terrace houses post.
This one represents an industrial area, with a couple of larger buildings as well as a couple of lockups and a small row of terrace houses, to join in with the more urban areas.
While the miniatures we’ll use are 3mm, the buildings are all 2mm. The difference in scale is noticeable, but going a little smaller makes the hexes look a lot more occupied than they would be with 3mm scale buildings. The models are by Brigade Models as part of their small scale scenery range. Most of these particular buildings come from their Industrial Buildings (SSS-8010) set. These are great little buildings, reasonably priced and quite simple. I tend to pick out the windows and doors, paint a few different parts and then use some drybrushing to bring out the surface detail. There’s not a lot of detail on them, but at this scale you couldn’t really make it out or bring it out if it was there.
Speaking of scale you can see it above next to a AA battery. The only thing giving the battery a run for its money is the chimney. I’ll just briefly mention the battery, I’ve never understood why people use coins to try and indicate scale. Yes, they’re not very big and I suppose before countries really started communicating there was a shared understand of what this meant. However, now that the internet is a thing (and has been for over a decade) the communities we interact with are much more diverse. One thing that means is I’ve probably not ever used the coins that you have in your day to day life. So if you put a 1 euro coin, quarter, dime, 50p piece or whatever piece of scrap metal your local area has decided to assign value next to something that means absolutely nothing to me. I know it’s about coin sized, but in Australia our coins range from 20 to 32mm across which is a fair bit of variance. Your local currency might do the same. That’s why I used the AA battery, it’s a standard nice sized object that almost every person on the planet hs nearby and handles regularly. It is a little large for some of the things I do, and when that comes in I’ve got a LEGO minifig head that’s a good size for comparison. It’s not quite as universal, but I’d say most people on the internet would have some experience either playing or stepping on them.
One other thing to note is the basing. I wanted to used hexagons, because they fit together better than circles (it’s not uncommont to have multiple of these together to represent a larger built up area – a town vs a village, even as far as several together for a full blown city). I also think hexagons are more useful than squares as they can make more varied, organic and more plausible shapes when placed together. Three hexagons form a nice blob of a small city, while you can put several together in a variety of ways to follow the lines of rivers, edges of hills and other terrain elements. That said, the road network needs to be rectangular or it just doesn’t look right. That’s where I came up with the tile you see there. Essentially it is a road down the middle with a perpendicular road offset so it runs through the middle of one of the 2 edges. These can be tesselated together to form nice, neat square grids with just 1 type of tile. I did a bit more descriptive work on this back in the day when I was designing these tiles out.