Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Charlie Foxtrot Eastern European Buildings.

It’s not very often that I get far enough into a wargaming project to start thinking about spending some time and effort on building a battlefield with things for my soldiers to fight over. Usually, by that stage, I’m ready to start painting figures for a different army!

With my Chain of Command Soviets however, events have actually taken a rather interesting turn; my modelling bench currently has no figures on it waiting to be painted! Instead, it is full of bits of MDF, sheets of cork, PVA glue and an assortment of oil drums, barrels, crates and what might be referred to as “battlefield clutter”. I’ve even spent quite a few fruitless hours trawling the Internet for a model tractor that I could have rusting away in a dilapidated barn on the collective farm.

All wargamers know, that sometimes a chance event can inspire you to embark on a project that you might not otherwise have even considered doing. In this case, my chance event was coming across the web site of Charlie Foxtrot Models. I’d been half-heartedly searching for some buildings that would be suitable to use on an Eastern Front battlefield on and off for a year or two, but I’d never got any further than that because what I found was either not the quality that I wanted, or way beyond the price that I could justify paying. I can imagine what my wife would have said if I’d told her that I’d paid over £200 for a model barn!

With Charlie Foxtrot, however you get top quality, precision, laser cut buildings that are definitely historically accurate (I know that because I’ve seen photographs of the very same buildings taken during the war) and are available at a really competitive price. The kit design is well thought out and all the component parts fit together exactly as it says in the instructions, although you can put the kits together without instructions really, as everything is so cleverly and logically designed. These building are obviously designed by someone who has actually been through the frustration of trying to put a kit together and finding that the reality is somewhat different to what was in the head of the designer. Charlie Foxtrot buildings do exactly what it says on the tin.

Having said all this, for my first go at construction, I decided not to launch into the house itself, but rather take a more stepped approach and build the log store (which you can now see attached to the side of the house) first. Doing this enables you to get used to the way things fit together on something a bit smaller. Doing the roof with the waney edge planking was good practice too, as the house roof requires a good eye, to ensure that everything lines up and overlaps correctly.

Once the construction is done, you need to paint the model and here, my dry run with the log store proved invaluable. I came up with an overly complex scheme for painting that and decided that, when I did the house, I was going to make it much simpler by not painting at all. Tucked away in a box at the back of one of the paint store shelves was a bottle of muddy brown wash that I had bought a couple of years ago from Florry Models and never used. Florry make their washes from stuff like mud and clay which, of course, gives them a really natural finish. Using the roof as a practice area, I applied the muddy brown wash in fairly random splodges and decided straight away that that was pretty much all the building needed. 

All the walls were washed once and then, once it was dry, I applied secondary washes but just in selected areas. With that all dry, I used small amounts of an old bottle of goblin green wash here and there, just to give some of the woodwork a bit of a green Russian winter tinge. The windows were painted with Olive Green and the doorsteps with London Grey and that, was pretty much it.

Of course, the fun really begins when you start to put the buildings onto their very own piece of real estate with a few bits of clutter to add a bit of life to the scene. The fencing around the yard is also from Charlie Foxtrot and it did have me a little perplexed to begin with. However, once you realise that you can just cut it and stick it into whatever combinations you need to suit the job, it all becomes a really enjoyable challenge getting it to do what you want it to do. 

Having completed Rural House 1, I shall definitely be adding more Charlie Foxtrot buildings to my Soviet Collective. When you consider the quality of the model and the price tag of just over £12, why would you bother even looking at anything else? As you can see from the photos, my Chain of Command Soviet platoon have settled in and are prepared to fight to the death to stop the Huns from getting their Germanic hands on their property. I’ve already built an outside privy to go in the back yard of my next building and there is no way that any self-respecting soldier of the Motherland is going to let the Deutsches occupy that little piece of real estate.
If you want to get your hands on some Charlie Foxtrot buildings, or see what else they have to enhance your model battlefield than have a look at the web site. You can find a link in the "Essential Links List" at the side of the page.