Sunday, July 6, 2014

A cafe of ones own - Assembling the Starfort Miniatures Cafe - Part One

Note: This was a review copy supplied by Starfort Miniatures.

Regular readers may have noticed that posts have been pretty thin on the ground here of late - unfortunately the exigencies of the service have kept me at it rather harder than I would like. Fortunately, it looks like that particular string is over and done with, at least for the time being and I have been able to get some hobby time in. 

This is the 20mm French cafe which I received from Starfort Miniatures. I've been itching to have a proper go at it over the last two weeks and just haven't had the chance. Yesterday however, I got some breathing space and got stuck in.  The kit is made up of 3mm laser cut MDF and is plain on one side and coated with a sort of plastic coating on the other. 

You can see the coating and the laser cut surface of the kit here. The basic structure is made up of these four walls which slot into a pre-cut base.  The whole thing measures about five and a half inches by five and fits quite happily in one of my five inch hexes. 

The base as you can see here has slots cut into it to hold the walls and other pieces in place. As this was a review copy and early production model, it didn't come with any instructions, so I was a bit mystified by the presence of the slots in the middle of the base...

The model was assembled with normal PVA glue (above) and which I applied with a brush to keep things neat. 

These pieces slotted into the base very easily. It was actually extremely simple to slot the piece with the door way in and then slot the eave in at an angle and let them snap together. They were a reasonably tight fit even without glue. 

While pottering about in the bag of extra bits (windows, cafe signs, etc) I found these two sections. I was baffled at first and then realised that they slotted into the base and acted as bracing for the four walls. This also means that the doorway does look quite so bare when you look into the model from the outside. Clever piece of design that. 

I added the third wall.  This needed a little bit more wiggling to get in right as the wall had to line up with the slots on the base, the slots on the eave and the slots on the bracing pieces. Once it went in however, it was very solid.  Now that I had the trick of fitting it, I added PVA to the edges and then slipped it back in. 

It did leave the question of what the slots on top of the bracing pieces were for?

The last wall (the second eave) has been added and glued in place.

A further trawl through the bag of bits revealed two slim pieces of MDF that could be pushed straight through the wall and that provided additional bracing.  Once I was happy with the fit, I popped them out again, applied PVA and slipped them in again.  I added some elastic bands in case anything shifted while the PVA was drying and to protect from the attentions of marauding cats.  

On the whole, very happy so far.  I have to add the floors, the roof and the exterior detail (window frames, etc) and then paint the thing. Watch this space. 

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