Sunday 7 June 2020

O Gauge Model Buildings for Modern 28mm Wargames

I've been tinkering around with a 28mm Cops and Robbers mini Project during the lock down and got the vast majority of the figures done. Let's face it for a historical gamer 30 figures a side doesn't really count as a Project.

So this got me to looking into terrain and vehicles, both vital to getting a game like this, often played on a small table, to look good.

Vehicles are sorted and as they appear on eBay I pick them up. The 1/43 scale cars and vans are the best scale for the figures and when you leave the immaculate boxes collectors stuff alone, you can pick up some rite bargains.

So that brings me to the buildings. Just by random I came across  O Gauge Cardstock buildings for Model Railway layouts. Now that as it turns out was a good idea. Video below, text and photo explanation underneath that.

I found a company called Purple Bob's Hobbies, liked the look of the photos and ordered the Factory you see in the picture above, the rest is history and a tube of PVA. Link to purchase the kits below,

Above is a picture of the contents of one of the models, this is for a double fronted terrace. The printing is high quality and very realistic, also included is a detailed set of instructions and some clear perspex for Windows.

Above shows the finished Pub model, I think they look brilliant. They are quite time consuming to put together but very rewarding. Here are my top tips to get them looking something like,

1) Follow the instructions, they are quite long but very detailed and getting things out of order can be difficult to put right.

2) When you cut parts out of the card, it will leave a white edge, always paint that edge before you put the pieces together. One great thing about being a gamer is that you will have shed loads of paint lying around.

3) Some parts are very fragile when cut, the 3d parts on the doors and windows especially and I ended leaving them off (best explained in the video) but the model still looks great without them.

4) When complete they are quite sturdy for a card building but these are designed for sitting at the back of a Model Railway layout not for gaming where they will get a bit more handling so I recommend a MDF base.

The above model is the Pub named after the one in my home village, I can still visit the Pub (in normal times) and sit at the table my Grandad used to do his A Level homework. I still need to sort some curtains out for the upstairs windows. The downstairs rooms are a fully fitted bar and snug, I couldn't get a decent photo of it but if you watch the video the detail is on there.

The Factory model (about 17 quid, the Pub is the same price) is huge, 20 inch frontage in the photos above and below are some 28mm figures for scale.

The bottom picture shows the MDF base, cut from an old bit I had lying around, I'm not sure I'd like to try and move the building without it ! I've ordered some roads from Sally Forth which I've been waiting on for a couple of weeks, once I have those I can decide what I am going to do with the pavements on the Pub and Terrace house models.

The buildings aren't the normal 360 buildings we as gamers are used to, they are made in what's called half relief. Not something that all gamers would want but I plan to use them as a background to the game and boy do they look good for that.

These are the backs of the models, just for your information, I will probably put an Artist Mounting board backing on them to give a little more strength.

Price wise they compare well with MDF models and if you are looking at covering a big area with buildings they are ideal. A factory the same size for Sarrisa or similar would be at least 50 quid. On the down side these have taken me a day each to make, they are not quick but you have to remember that other than a bit of edging they are already painted, they are also quite flimsy compared to the MDF alternatives.

So there you go. I don't think card Model Railway buildings are a replacement for traditional gaming buildings but they are very useful tool to have in the box.


  1. Seriously impressive, mate! They look the business.

    1. Cheers AJ, takes a lot to impress me and these did 👍

  2. They look the business!

  3. Those buildings look mighty fine Ken! I’m thinking of making a paper build too. Would you recommend using PVA glue?

    1. Thanks Mike, I used PVA on the card sections of the building and Uhu on the perspex windows 👍

  4. Super looking buildings! I like the factory but the pub is even better!
    Best Iain

    1. Many thanks Iain, very pleased with these, got another to build and will probably get some more next month 👍

  5. Thank you very much for this cool and indeed very helpful tour of/insight into your "mini" project.
    Currently, I am working on a Cyberpunk/Shadowrun table (buildings and vehicles) and was a little afraid that 1/43 scale automobiles might be too large - but when I see those cars along your based miniatures... dat look gooood !!!
    So, not only did you document your work in a fantastic way, it also eliminated my hesitation to progress with my project (I was already thinking of scrapping the 1/43 idea and looking for - yes, you guessed it - 1/48 or 1/56 scale vehicles, which would have exploded costs exponentially).
    Again, heartfelt thanks for your blog.

    1. Many thanks Lou, the figures are "heroic" scale 28mm so around 32mm which makes them work, most non historicals are that touch bigger.
      Thanks for your kind comments and all the best with your project 👍