Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sarissa Precision City Block: Review

A key part of Empire of the Dead (EOTD) is the Victorian England setting.  It is not easy, however, to recreate the streets of London in 28mm.  As you may have seen from previous posts our game boards are a little bitsy, lacking in consistency and I want to try to fix that for our EOTD games.

One of the recommended brands of buildings from the EOTD rule book is the Sarissa Range.  They have a number of different types of buildings in 15 and 28mm, from Europe to the Wild West.  The City Block range was the one most suited to trying to create East End London circa 1888, so it was this I settled on.  There is, incidentally, free postage for purchases over £50, which is great when you are in NZ and postage costs are high.  And there is also a range of Victorian terraces coming in the future as well if you want to hold off till then.

I got two each of three different types of building: the residential block, the city block 64 and the city block 86:

They come nicely flatpacked and there is no flash or anything to worry about in getting them ready.  You can also just use PVA glue to stick them together:

I was concerned about how to paint the buildings because they are so clean.  They fit together perfectly and the laser etched brick looks sharp and precise - but I was worried they might be a little too clean.  I settled on spraying the whole thing after putting it together, giving it a wash and then a dry brush.  I used a Tamiya spray because they are the cheapest, nulin oil to wash it and then dawnstone grey to drybrush it.

The MDF is a lot thirstier than plastic, even on subsequent coats - so you will go through a fair bit of paint / wash with these.

The windows are on a separate piece of wood that you insert.  I painted these separately.  The charcoal that results from the laser cutting does mix with and discolour the paint, but only on the first coat.  I used a craft paint to do a base coat and then skull white to add another two layers.  My impatience with painting terrain did mean I laid some of the base coat on a little thick.  You do need to be careful with that because the laser etching is not particularly deep and can easily be covered with too big a dolop of paint.

The railing is a great detail and was the only part of the project that required me to get out a detail brush.  However, the dimensions of the steps up makes it too small for the westwind bases to fit in - something I discovered after gluing.  I am thinking of cutting the middle bits off so the stairs can be used.
Westwind is a little bit too large

The Games Workshop base fits fine

Inside there are walls for the residential block (it is a little more expensive than the others, and the others do not have the inside decor).  Again, the hallway is too narrow for the westwind bases so I left off the middle partition so that the characters can use it.

You can see also that the different levels are removeable so you can have action play out at each level (good for sharpshooters).

Note that paint does impact on the otherwise precise way that the levels slot together, so avoid painting over the little slots.  Here is the finished building (with a bit of garden added in):

On the table these look great.  They are exactly the right dimensions and can be painted up pretty quickly.  They do have a little of the MDF look to them, which cannot be avoided without some great painting skills (which I lack) - but the attributes of these buildings outweigh that (good playability, great price and a nice clean sharp look to them).

I want to print off some Victorian posters like this to put onto the side of them:

Also intend to print off some paper interiors for wallpaper / flooring in time.  The idea is to get some more of these and to get a townscape ready for the new miniatures in June/July from the kickstarter project.

I also need to work out how to do the cobblestones etc, because what I have been doing doesn't really work:

If someone wants a rating for Sarissa, then I would say "double thumbs up".  Very much recommended to you - I forgot to mention that these arrived uber quick from the UK too and when I thought I hadn't been given a piece they were right onto it (in fact I had to act very quickly to stop them sending a replacement after I found the said piece).

I will update the blog in time with photos of the finished buildings.  I have just completed one of the smaller building in a red brick colour which you can see here:

Posted by Danisnotatree


  1. Dwalin (or whatever dwarf he is) not only has traveled through time but across dimensions!

    I agree some cool posters would add, maybe you could print some from the rule book also?

  2. Great review and paintjob too, thanks for sharing.

  3. They looks very good! I've bought 2 laser-cut buildings (not Sarissa) and honesty, I'm not convicted! And I didn't find a good way to paint them because of all the details which are "sculpted". Those ones look better!

    (thanks to join my Blog: I will add your in my blog-roll)

    1. Thanks Sam - yes they do have their particular challenges. I think adding additional detail like posters, street lamps and foliage makes a big different. Looking forward to checking out your blog in more detail.

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