I’m sure many of you guys have seen Robogear models before. They’re generally stuff we know as “those cheap Russian plastic kits from eBay”, because, well, that’s how and where we tend to get them.
A few years ago, I did what lots of us do, and that was to buy a bunch of these kits at once, then build a couple, not finish painting them, and put the rest in a box and forget exactly what’s in there. So when rooting around looking for Mantic terrain a couple of months ago, I found these – which I had completely forgotten about. As they’re so simple, I was able to assemble them all within a day or two, then rather than simply going with the grey that is so common on the tabletop, they got sprayed with brown (also pretty common in the real world) on the exterior and tan on the interior, then we went back to working onsite and I kinda forgot about them until the second half of October.
At that point I spotted them again, and decided to get them done quick and dirty. A drybrush, a paint-on, wipe-off treatment with my Vallejo Model Wash mix, and then a copious amount of weathering powders that got black soot everywhere in my painting area (seriously, I’m still finding little patches now and needing to clean them up!) Matt varnish and done! There are enough smashed-corner parts to make either a few “destroyed” small buildings, a comfortable pair of buildings, or one rather large-footprint (in wargaming terms) building. Especially since I did a bit of bashing within the kit to make a few slightly larger pieces which left me with the bits I used for the damaged internal walls piece.
They’re pretty plain. Even with the weathering done like this they’re quite plain ruins. They’d look better with some posters on them – Imperial Propaganda for 40k, WWII war posters for WWII gaming, Modern advertising posters for moderns or Zombies or Marvel, but… any of those things would then firmly root these rather generic buildings in a certain space and place and time. And I like them being generic enough that I can just drop them into a 40k game, and then into a game of Crisis Protocol, and then into a game of Last Days.
I mean, they do lose that extra bit of detail that would elevate them, but they’re ultimately cheapo background pieces. Cheapo background pieces that without that extra bit of detail manage to work in a nice wide variety of settings without looking too incongruous.