Studio Tomahawk recently released the 2nd Edition of their popular black powder skirmish rules Muskets & Tomahawks, and so Warlord recently had a good deal on their French & Indian War scenerypack. It hails from the Warlord store, but these are really three little Sarissa kits packaged up together.
For £15 you get a little wooden frontier house, a burned out house and a wooden bridge. All good useful stuff (burning down people’s houses and running away is a big thing in M&T). So let’s take a look at what you get.
Listed separately on their site under the inspiring name of “House – Stone chimney” this is a pretty basic little structure. They actually do a much nicer one that has log cabin corners instead of nasty MDF joins, but this is the one you get in the terrain set.
You won’t have any trouble putting it together though, and it has a couple of nice touches such as a bit of interior detail (floorboards, fireplace and a painting hanging above it). The corners need some love, I just added some coffee stirrers to conceal the joins. Likewise the roof is the usual nonsense, but nothing that some wooden shingles from Warbases didn’t fix in a jiffy.
I “painted” it mostly using inks straight onto the bare MDF, except for the roof, chimney and window frames which got actual paint. I like this set of Liquitex transparent inks, you get three shades of brown to mix and match.
Burnt out house
While not an exact match for the unburnt one, they’re close enough that you could swap one for the other if it burns down. The kit is actually quite detailed, it has structure under the floorboards so you could even leave those off if you want it to look really destroyed. You get about ten or so random planks of wood to scatter around it, but I added a few more bits of cut up sprue, as you never get enough to represent a real collapsed building. Even this isn’t enough really. I decided to basically paint this the same way as the intact building, before adding loads of flat black. You end up covering up some of your previous work, but it does allow you complete freedom when you’re adding the black. I added most of it as a watery black and then worked it around with a progressively dryer brush until you get that smoky look. Simples.
You could easily make one of these yourself in no time out of coffee stirrers, but hey this thing is only £7.50 even if you buy it on it’s own. Less as part of this set.
You can build it without the side rails, but honestly if you’re just going to make a flat deck then I would totally go with the coffee stirrers. There’s not a lot to say about this kit, except that it fits really nicely across stream sections from Last Valley. So if you’re one of the 99.999% of wargamers in the UK who get your rivers and streams from Last Valley then this will suit you nicely.
One of my preferred rule sets for the black powder era is Muskets & Tomahawks, in which rivers are pretty common (pretty sensibly, as on the frontier the rivers were basically the roads). The rules for rivers do say that you should provide a ford or bridge somewhere along it, and this will certainly do.
Again, it was given some colour with those Liquitex transparent inks. I know MDF doesn’t really have grain the same way real wood does, but I find straining it with ink does give quite a pleasing effect for minimal work. The only thing I’ve done to customise this kit if added some matchsticks along the edge of the roadway to conceal some joins.