Nothing says “battlefield” like an absolutely pulverised building or two. These plastic ruins from Warlord make adding a bit of devastation to your tabletop an absolute doddle.

I may be jumping on the bandwagon kind of late here, this is a pretty well-known and popular kit from the look of it. Plastic buildings are a bit of an oddity, but I think this set from Warlord works really well. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot but I’m impressed.

Each set of sprues contains an assortment of random wall sections which you can assemble however you like. This potentially means you can do quite a few ruins without repeating any one structure. As well as the wall sections you also get a separate chimney and some piles of rubble, which match either corners or walls. I’ve seena  few people build this kit with just what’s on the sprues and it doesn’t look bad but to me, this kit is a starting point and with a little bit of work it can look pretty good.

First thing you’re going to want to do is base the whole thing. To make convincing ruins you’re going to need a ton of rubble all over the place and for that you need a base. So I got out the trusty hot glue gun and stuck all the plastic parts down, then started adding some broken up foam to make rubble piles. I like to use offcuts of insulation foam for that, you can often find them being discarded when your neighbours are doing some DIY. To represent fallen masonry I grabbed some old plastic sprues and snipped them into little bits with clippers. I like to leave in some of the corner parts as it gives the rubble the look of something architectural.  Once all that was stuck on I primed the whole thing in grey plastic primer.

Once I’d got to this point I absentmindedly asked folks on Twitter for pics of their ones they’d already made, and John Emmett (going by the excellent handle of @HerrBrush67) posted up his very nice version and mentioned that his rubble was made of kitty litter. So I raided the cat’s kitty litter supplies, mixed in a load of chincilla dust to give it a mix of big and small textures, coated everything in PVA and poured it on. Voila! Instant chaotic mess! I added a few fallen beams made from cut up MDF sprues. I like using wood to represent wood, it looks right when you bend and break it, and you don’t have to paint it to make it look like wood. A quick coat of dark ink usually brings out the natural texture really nicely.

And speaking of rubble: I think the main thing people do wrong when making wargames ruins is not adding anywhere near enough rubble. If you look at photos of actual ruined cities the piles of rubble are big enough to block streets and hide a tank. A lot of wargamers will scatter a few fallen bricks on the ground next to a collapsed house and leave it at that. Of course it still has to work as practical wargames terrain; if you added a realistic amount of rubble you’d struggle to perch miniatures on it during a game. So I tried to add as much as I could without making it totally impractical to play on. I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t be shy. Add as much rubble as you think you can get away with.

To paint I just started by slathering the whole thing in a thin brown coat of cheap paint, then picked out a few details (roof beams, patches of remaining plaster, etc) before messing around with more washes in black and dark brown, making the whole thing patchy and getting into any cracks I’d missed earlier. You really can’t go wrong at this stage and it’s a lot of messy fun mixing all sorts of grotty colours and splashing them on.

Since I was using a lot of washes the whole thing got quite wet at points. To save time I popped it into the oven set to 40º a couple of times. That’s hot enough to dry paint and glue but won’t damage the plastic.

Once it was looking about right the final stage was a thorough drybrushing with light grey over everything, and a little touch of “buff titanium” on a few bits. Just to break up all the grey and brown I added a couple of dead tufts and some hardy flowers sprouting from a corner, and a tiny bit of static grass in one spot.

Overall, it was a fun and enjoyable little build, and I’m pretty sure if I bought some more of these I wouldn’t have much trouble making some more ruins that looked quite different.