Friday, July 18, 2014

Gypsy Caravans from Sarissa Precision

In this post I present my versions of the two Gypsy Caravan models from Sarissa Precision.

I first saw the two gypsy wagons by Sarissa Precision on the Lead Adventure Forum and I was instantly sold: the designs of the models looked great.

Gypsy Caravans (source: LAF)
Now before looking any deeper into the caravans I have to say that I am usually very sceptical of laser cut models. They seem to be very popular for all kinds of terrain these days - especially Wild West buildings. Often these models appear somewhat "flat" to me, lacking the details of resin models. However, there are certain structures that lend themselves to laser cut building very well. The dockside crane I assembled recently wouldn't look any better (or probably even as good) had it been scratch-built. The gypsy wagons by Sarissa immediately looked like further examples of laser cut technology done right. In fact, these models look much more interesting than the gypsy wagons I know from West Wind Productions or Old Glory. Actually, judging from the Sarissa website pretty much all of their buildings look damn good to me. Anyway, let's look at the wagons!

The Kits

There are two different versions: The Bow Top Gypsy Caravan and the Ledge Type Gypsy Caravan (see Vardo). As I write this I still cannot find them on the Sarissa website where they should be listed in the "Gaslamp Alley" range. As described in the LAF thread it is no problem to contact Sarissa directly and they will send you a PayPal invoice. That is what I did to get my wagons.

The kits comprise of no more than two sheets plus a sheet with instructions. Pretty fascinating, isn't it?

The contents of the Bow Top Type Gypsy Caravan kit
The contents of the Lodge Type Gypsy Caravan kit


Although the models look nice enough, the one thing I am not happy with is the wheels. They obviously have the problem of flatness. Therefore I chose to replace them with metal wheels from Stronghold Terrain: Each caravan got one set of small and big spokewheels to replace the laser cut ones. I think this improves the models a lot.

Small and big wheels from Stronghold Terrain
The endings of the axles were filed to fit the slots of the wheels

Another modification I did is replacing the original chimneys, which are just plain strips, with some scratch-build thingies.

The first chimney is made from a small plastic pipe and wooden pieces
The chimney of the Bow Top caravan fixed with modelling putty

The second chimney is simply made from wooden sticks of different thickness

The Ledge Type caravan has big windows on the sides so I applied short pieces of wire to represent hinges. Luckily I had this very thin wire left from the crane model. It's a small detail but - again - I think it improves the overall appearance a lot, giving it much more depth.

Small hinges made of thin wire applied to the window of the Ledge Type Caravan

Finally, the assembled caravans are ready for painting:

Painting the Caravans

Painting gypsy caravans is a fun albeit difficult task. It's a great opportunity to go all colourful and fancy. At the same time I found it very difficult to pick the right colour scheme. Most importantly the colours should match the gypsy models painted by Simon Bradley. This means the colour palette comprises of light greens, blues, pink and a bit of red. To get into it I started with brown, though.

Similar to the sample paint jobs from LAF (see above) I chose to go with green for the Bow Top Caravan.

Lastly, I applied some of my Gierburg posters I created years ago.

The Ledge Type Caravan received a matching green-heavy paint job with red details. The main difference is the use of yellow for the decorative colour instead of white.

Just when I thought I was done I realized that lanterns would look great on the wagons. I couldn't find any proper models so I built one myself and added it to the Bow Top Caravan.


I cannot stress enough how impressed I am by these models. The laser cut technology works perfectly for the caravans. In fact, some parts of the models - e.g. the curved roof of the Bow Top wagon - could not have been done any better with a resin or metal model.  For once the scale is satisfactory as well - I have a lot of wagons and coaches and most of them are... well, saying they are 25mm instaed of heroic 28 would be putting it nicely. Lastly, the price is very good too! So all in all I am absolutely happy with the models and highly recommend them.


  1. Great stuff! I also got these two after checking the LAM thread on the Sarissa wagons. The slight modifications you made are excellent and can make a big difference in the end. I might go back and 'pimp' my rides using similar methods - I have lots of little GW bits that could fit in well.

    The paint work is good, although the colour scheme seems to work better on the second caravan. By the way, did you place those dusty white marks on the steps on purpose. They look like realistic dirty footstep marks. :)

    Those specific posters are great to have the caravans blending in (or get them contextualized with Gierburg); however, I would go for different posters since gypsies are supposed to be traveling often and not necessarily staying in the same location for too long. Plus, having their own posters (say with palm-reading posters, for example) would give the caravans a bit more distinct character. Just a thought; they are awesome the way you did them anyway!


  2. Hi Joao,

    personally I much happier with the Bow Top wagon than with the Ledge Type one. But that is due to my painting and I would be interested in seeing how another Ledge type would turn out with a different colour scheme. But I really have enough wagons already (with all the West Wind ones and more still sitting here unpainted).

    I have been thinking about other posters too. I used the three that I had available and was making up background along the way: The Gierburg City Guard hangs those "We want You" posters all across town and it is forbidden to remove them. So when they were put on the wagons the Syr (that's their people's name in Gierburg) just crossed them out but didn't dare to remove them.
    Also, it is part of the Gierburg background that the citizens may not leave the city. The Great City Wall does not only keep enemies out - it also keeps the enemies within. This is a driving factor in the narrative, especially for factions such as the Rebellion.

  3. Nice.

    I agree that the metal wheels look better than the wooden ones.


  4. Fantastic models! Replacing the wheels and adding those few bits of detail really helps. Damn good paint work too.

  5. Those are nice for MDF models. I love the details you added.

  6. This blog and work is one of the best blogs I have visited ever.Keep up the good work. It is very inspirational!!!

  7. Excellent work, inspired and beautiful!

  8. Could you tell me who produces the miniatures please?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...