Thursday, December 4, 2014

Town Houses and Mansion from Tabletop World

Tabletop World released some very nice timber-framed fantasy houses over the last couple of months. After their latest release - an impressive mansion - it was time for my yearly order. As always this means another review of these new products on the blog.

There are few things in the hobby these days that excite me as much as when Tabletop World release a new building. And although I was quite critical with their Coaching Inn (specifically its size) that piece too is an absolutely beautiful eye-catcher on the battlefield once it is painted. So naturally I was very excited when Tabletop World showed a preview image on their website for their upcoming release. Between the announced release date and its final release date I was checking out their website daily to see if it was out already. Once the full gallery for the Mansion was up it were minutes until I placed my order, catching up on their latest products since the release of the Coaching Inn: Townhouse II, Townhouse III and the new Mansion. Let's take a closer look!

Townhouse III, II and the new Mansion next to each other



Townhouse II

Starting with Townhouse II the guys at Tabletop World tend to an aspect that is all too often neglected when producing buildings for the gaming table: What you actually need to fill the board is regular houses, ones that can form streets and alleyways. These buildings do not need to be extraordinary (though you sure do not want them to look boring, either): There are already enough taverns, blacksmith's forges and coaching inns out there to supply multiple towns. Townhouse II and III were desinged with that gamer's need in mind (note that the "Townhouse" building  - "Townhouse I" so to speak - is one of their older "stand-alone" buildings and not part of this new "range").

Townhouse II was the first building released since my criticism regarding the Coaching Inn's size. The first thing you will probably notice about the building is the balcony which gives it a nice unique touch. The rest is pretty much standard half-timbered house appearance. Of course, that is the challenge when you try to design houses which are meant to be "normal" - they still need to have something special about them as otherwise most customers will go with more exciting buildings instead. Because of that you have to give kudos to the guys for taking the risk of creating fewer centrepiece houses and accepting the challenge to create interesting normal houses.

When I unpacked this new building I was curious about two things. Firstly, how tall is it? I was actually positively suprised to see that it is taller than the Coaching Inn. Ultimately, all these 28mm buildings can only be approximations of properly sized buildings as otherwise your gaming table would consist of no more than four or five buildings (which no one could afford to spend the money and/or time on). I believe what is most important for these buildings to feel right, is that the ground floor has a sufficient height. Figures will be standing next to the walls and in front of the door and windows. That is what counts. The upper floors just needs to fit the rest but unless they have balconies you will not usually see figures next to the upper walls for scale so you can get away with a few less millimeters height. Of course this is different when the building can be accessed from the inside.

The gound floor of Townhouse II with 28mm figures in front

Note the slight difference in height between Townhouse II (left)
and the Coaching Inn (right)

Townhouse II from the side



When I first saw the photos on the Tabletop World website I was immediately wondering whether it would be possible to place miniatures on the balcony. For some reason this is not something that the creators of such houses always keep in mind. For me this gaming value is quite important, especially with a balcony where you will want to place marksmen during a game that make use of the position.

For years I have been using 25mm round bases for all my human figures. Fortunately, this is just small enough to fit on the balcony!

Inside of Townhouse II

25mm round bases fit on the balcony of Townhouse II

However, this first floor is not high enough for many average 28mm miniatures. So if your models are waving torches or pikes as the ones in my photos they will not be able to stand up inside the house. The balcony has a bit more space because of the balcony roof so that will work with most models. The topmost floor is not a problem because there is enough space under the roof.


Townhouse III

Townhouse III is a bit bigger and - at least to me - more visually appealing. I especially like the backside of this house: A big wall of timber-framed beauty that I find strangely impressive in its simplicity.

The stone staircase with the roofing is a nice touch and fulfillls a similar roles as the balcony of the previous Townhouse in that it makes the facade more interesting. To top it off there is additional detail in form of a little bench with a pumpkin and vase and a separate wheel.

Again, the most urgent question was about the height of the ground floor. And yet again, there is the same improvement as with Townhouse II.




Sadly, unlike the balcony of Townhouse II, the staircase is not wide enough for the 25mm bases of my figures. If your humans are placed on 20mm bases they will fit, though.

Unfortunately 25mm round bases are slightly too large
to fit on the staircase of Townhouse III


Mansion

Finally, the highlight of the range: the mighty mansion. This is truly a masterpiece. The dimensions are impressive, the architecture with the tower thingy is just beautiful. Personally, I think this is their best creation to date.

Size-wise the mansion fits right in with the two previous townhouses and will create a lovely city scene when set up with them on the table.




On the first floor normal 28mm figures will have a hard time standing up.

On the top floor figures can be placed without problems
because of the additional space from the roof



Summary

I am very happy with these new buildings from Tabletop World. I feel like they accepted the criticism of the Coaching Inn's low height and have now improved their new products in that regard. It is interesting to learn how a few millimeters on the ground floor can have such an impact on the overall impression of a building when there are figures standing next to it. Now, if the other floors were a bit taller too, they would be absolutely perfect. Nevertheless, these houses are the tallest buildings in my collection and look absolutely beautiful.



The new buildings with the painted Coaching Inn in between


I did not mention any of the standard criteria of a terrain review yet: material, casting quality, sturdiness, etc. I think by now I have written this so many times already - Tabletop World has the highest quality products I have come across in the terrain section. Their resin is wonderful, the casting quality is nearly flawless and I am still surprised everytime by the fact that there is no assembly required apart from a chimney and an occasional delicate piece (such as the staircase roofing of Townhouse III).

Now off to slapping some paint on these beauties!


6 comments:

  1. Can't wait to see what you'll make of them !

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  2. Great article and great and useful photos.
    I think all building are too short.
    (I usually make them about 7cm per floor) :-P

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for another interesting review.

    Tony

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  4. Thank you very much for your review. I'm glad that the building are a little bit higher than before. How tall are your mini on your picture compare to warhammer one please ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both figures are fairly standard 28mm figures. The peasant from Warlord Games is 38mm high to the top of his hat (excluding the little feather and including the base), the gypsy from Westwind Productions is 37mm to the top of his hat (including the base).

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    2. Thank you very much and keep going your fantastic review !

      Delete

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