15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box – Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230)

15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box - Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230) 1/100, 1:100 Wargaming Terrain

As regular readers will know, I’ve been putting most of my recent hobby focus towards painting a pair of forces for the Western Desert theatre of WWII – While I was in the early stages of doing so, Marouda and I had a game of TANKS! since the last time we played it we enjoyed it as a simple, quick low-stakes game with a few models. So we did so again.

While the game was definitely a fun time, it really did emphasise the need for some “real” terrain to go alongside the actual Tanks I’d been painting and working on. The trouble here is that I don’t (or rather – didn’t) own any 15mm terrain – and while I do have some “28mm” stuff that is generic enough to pass in 15mm, what I do have isn’t really desert themed, so it was going to be rough to have a table approaching what I felt that the models I was turning out deserved. So what to do? While I don’t mind scratchbuilding terrain, our time really is a Zero Sum game, and so after looking around at the options (I don’t have an FDM printer – I may  get one later, but I don’t have one now), I bit my tongue and decided to go for some of Gale Force Nine’s (Battlefront’s sister company) range of prebuilt, prepainted, ready to go stuff – the Battlefield in a Box range. I’ve got a few of their larger pieces for my 40k/Fantasy-themed games and they’re pretty decent pieces, and so while these suckers aren’t cheap, I felt the trade-off would be worthwhile to be able to, you know, just play without needing to build, paint, print, assemble anything. The one main drawback I found was that there are really very few reviews of these things out there on the interwebs, and so I thought I’d also take some pics and write up my thoughts on these as I go about unboxing and checking them out myself.

15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box - Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230) 1/100, 1:100 Wargaming Terrain

After getting through the shrinkwrap, the three pieces in this set were wrapped in a pretty simple and straightforward way in some bubble wrap.

15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box - Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230) 1/100, 1:100 Wargaming Terrain

After unwrapping, I found that the flat roofs were packed into the small ruined buildings upside down. All the pieces are made from a hard resin of some sort. I’m not sure how fragile they might be, as I’ve got no intention of doing a drop test, but they certainly seem hardy enough for tabletop gamer use. 🙂

15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box - Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230) 1/100, 1:100 Wargaming Terrain

All three buildings are decently, though extremely simply detailed for what they are. The building interiors have windows and doors sculpted in corresponding places to the exteriors, though they’re entirely painted black. The pieces are all textured in a simple coat of rough, textured paint that has been given a simple drybrush. There’s a small amount of variation in the finish between the pieces, which makes sense as they’re clearly the products of a prodution line – though it’s not something that bothered me.

15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box - Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230) 1/100, 1:100 Wargaming Terrain

As you can see, the three terrain pieces in this set are very much designed to be game pieces first, so they all comfortably fit a Flames of War infantry stand, and the ruined building could theoretically fit a smaller artillery piece inside.

Given the intent of this review, which is to provide some images and simple thoughts on a set that I was unable to find any information on online aside from box pics, I’m not going to “score” the set. I purchased them myself from an online retailer and they’re not exactly cheap, even compared to GW’s plastic offerings. For those with the time and inclination to scratchbuild or 3D print something, I have no doubt that you’re going to be able to create something better than this. I imagine Sarissa et al also have MDF kits of Adobe buildings that also look far better than these pieces. I’m personally happy with them, though – the no effort required, “open and play” nature of these for me really wins out, and that convenience is where the premium price for these comes from, as opposed to fine detail or sculpt quality.

With a small amount of effort, these could be made to look a lot better as well, but the nice thing is doing so isn’t needed to get them onto the table for a decent looking game.

I’ve got a few more of these to write and post up. While I could combine them into one long post, I’m doing them individually so people who are in the same situation I was in a little while ago (and still am when I look at other sets from BFiaB!) can more easily find these to check out.

14 thoughts on “15mm Terrain Unboxing Review: Flames of War Battlefield in a Box – Ruined Desert Houses (Gale Force Nine BB230)

  1. Perfect – I splashed out on pre-painted stuff ruins for Frostgrave, and that set has seen more action than any of the other scenery in my collection. It was pricey, but the pound-per-play ratio is pennies per game by now. Best bit of gaming stuff I ever bought!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah exactly – and there’s nothing to say that they can’t be touched up/repainted/added to/etc as much as you like at your own convenience – and in the interim you’ve got something that really makes a difference on the table.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice review mate, painted stuff can seem expensive as your. paying for someone’s time to paint them up. I know from my own painted range that it can be prohibitive for some, the difference with mine is it’s painted to the customers colour choice, and has at least 3 colours in all areas, though we don’t currently do much for 15 mm

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cheers Dave. I know that there can often be a bit (or a lot) of pushback against pre-built or prepainted *anything* in the hobby. It’s really down to personal choice as well as the whole “Money vs Time & Skill” aspect.
      For someone younger, or studying, or with a different work/life/financial situation, the value proposition might not be there. For me at least, they’ve been worthwhilee in terms of time investment – being able to play immediately and also not needing to spend that time building and painting it myself.
      I look at it in similar terms to the relative value buying a rugged, cut foam $120 figure case to put $1000 worth of models into rather than using a plastic container and bits of foam – Aside from recently insanely huge and fragile GW models, at least!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve heard good things about the pre-made Gale Force Nine terrain and it was interesting to read your thoughts. You definitely pay to save time and honestly, sometimes we all need that so I don’t think there is any shame in purchasing terrain like this to have more time to paint and game! Not that I think you’re experiencing any shame over this purchase, it sounds like you’re pretty happy with it which is the most important thing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve picked up a few sets over the last months, and I’ve had a couple of their 40k and fantasy-themed pieces for many years as well. I’ll possibly go back and review those older ones and other 40k-esque ones as well.
      In the interim I’ll be working my way through all the rest of the 15mm stuff I’ve bought – mostly because I couldn’t find much at all for most of them aside from the box cover, and I’d have loved to be able to see them properly – and would still like the same for the other sets I’m still looking at/interested in, if only someone had something up in a blog post like these.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. They might be a little $$$ compared to other offerings, but you really can’t beat anything that is time saving and allows us more time to actually game.

    They look good alongside your troops and tanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cheers Mark! The link didn’t work, sadly but I found several shots amongst your other posts using “tanker” as the search string – looking good on your table amongst the 8th army and the panzers! I’ve got a fair few more pieces to post up the reviews of, and even more I need to open, photograph and then post up(!) Painted minis first, though! 🙂

      Like

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