We love a good bit of terrain in the Wargames Illustrated office and we love good MDF kits. They have brought a wealth of diversity and possibilities to people’s terrain collections and ensured home gamers can have packed gaming boards at a relatively low price.
Outlands Terrain is a new company in the business of MDF kits and they are trying to bring something different. Their modular WW2 buildings can be progressively ruined over the course of a battle, thanks to all manner of removable bits, and could be the perfect addition to the tabletops of Bolt Action players (or other 28mm WW2ers) who want to make a statement with the dynamic options in their terrain.
As well as the bakery we are building here there’s another (rather similar) kit of a Brasserie available, and while both are slightly under scaled for a 28mm model to get into they feel perfect for gaming purposes. For the size of the finished model, they’re at the very slightly pricier end of the scale – £20 ($30 US) each – but a lot is going on with these kits.
What you get
Two MDF sheets come in a tightly sealed plastic laminate for La Pâtisserie and when it is punctured it lets out a satisfying sigh of changing air pressure, along with the charred wood smell you’ll expect if you’ve built laser cut terrain before. Nothing too intense though and the wooden sheets are not charred and sooty, which is (we tend to find) a sign of quality to come in the MDF terrain you will be building.
There are a lot of pieces crammed onto each of the two sheets and it’s all rather intimidating. Without instructions, we reckon construction would be nigh on impossible but the Outlands Terrain website has a 16 page PDF available. This is an excellent guide, far beyond the offerings from many terrain manufacturers, and it is something we applaud them for. This kit is listed at difficulty 3 out of 5 on the scale Outlands have decided on. Having gone through the build process we’re curious what kind of masochistic complexity a 5 out of 5 will have because it takes some focus to build this one!
Building La Pâtisserie
This is a tougher build than most MDF kits – there are a lot of stages and a lot of parts. This is because of the modular nature of the final offering. Where a standard piece of laser cut terrain might have a front wall, some separate shutters, and a few pieces of cladding, La Pâtisserie has so much more. A huge chunk of the front here is removable in the final piece, as is an upstairs window, so this means you’ll be constructing multiple sections.
At first, this multi-layered build process seemed excessive to us and we went on quite a journey with the build – the excitement as pieces started to progress, the dismay as areas such as the stairs added a level of unexpected detail and complexity, the satisfaction when those stairs went together and looked great, the tragedy of realising many bits we thought must be offcuts were actually needed for the build …
We’ve highlighted some key parts of the build and given some tips in the captions that accompany this review. If you’re going to make your own, we strongly suggest that you read through them to avoid making some of the little errors we did.
Some of these were down to the haste we tend to apply to the things we put together in the office – we build lots of figures and terrain, we know what we’re doing, perhaps we go a little faster than we should … but a lot of our errors could have been avoided if the instructions began with an itemised listing of the parts you get on the MDF sheets. There are some bits cut and textured that are not used in the build, some that are – it’s tricky to discern which is which at the start of the process.
Putting it all together
As we gradually constructed the walls and added in details we fell a little bit in love with this kit. But it’s one of those relationships that your close friends are cautious about and maybe warn you against in the pub one night:
“Look Wargames Illustrated, we’re worried about you. We all get on with La Pâtisserie, of course, and it sure is a looker – those modular bits draw the eye, but maybe you’d be better off with someone who doesn’t play with your emotions quite so much? Sarissa’s not exactly plain looking and it won’t tease you so much into thinking a part of it is an offcut, then wind you up by revealing it’s an important part once you get to page 11 of the instructions, will it?”
But La Pâtisserie really is quite the looker, as our imaginary friend just said – from the steps inside (which split neatly into two sections for modular damage) to the cavity chimney wall (which can again be progressively destroyed), the roof that breaks down all over the place, and the detailed frontage. With a result like this, some will find the effort well worthwhile and be happy to have a piece of terrain that is toy-like in the play possibilities it offers.
If you want some cool terrain on the table Outlands Terrain have a cool offering here – there have been some slightly modular possibilities before from other manufacturers but nothing like this level of detail.
The question now is how the heck we go about painting it?