Thursday, November 12, 2015

3mm Buildings - Updated


I have been working recently on updating my 3mm buildings and town sections. The Monopoly buildings seen in all of my battle reports up until the last one have served me very well over the years. But in the past year or so, a couple of companies have released 3mm buildings that in my opinion are an improvement on the Monopoly buildings. I had been buying stuff as I became aware of it, so I decided to actually get it all assembled, painted and onto the table.

The other reason for updating my buildings is that I wanted to set them up so that my miniatures bases could fit into the towns, and not have to be balanced on top of the buildings. To do this, I devised a sabot system that fits in with both my Hexon terrain and my miniatures' bases. The idea of removable building sections on a larger urban base is not a new idea, but it was new for me to create sections to integrate with my hex terrain.

Again, my friend with the laser-cutting machine came to the rescue, in the form of Dean at Olympian Games here in Canberra. Dean cut me some triangular sections that I could glue onto the corners of a standard Hexon 100mm hex 'template' (or a 100mm laser cut MDF hex). This was sized to leave a 100x65mm recessed section, into which I could fit either a 100x60mm or two 50x60mm bases with buildings on them. Alternately, the building base(s) could be removed and several of my vehicle bases with Infantry sabots would fit within the same area. The corner sections that remain on the building hex section have buildings on them, which would remain when the other sections were removed, so that the troop stands would still be in amongst buildings.

Some pictures illustrating how this works are below. The first photo shows the construction of a Town-Hex section, and how the troops fit into the lift out sabot section. The Hex corners have a triangular section with permanently attached buildings. The middle part is space for either troops (if occupied) or buildings (if not occupied):

The lift-out building sabot can either be left off...

...or the building lift-out can be placed over the top of the occupying troops as shown here.

Some tiles have multiple smaller lift-outs.
A residential area with smaller buildings is shown here, with one troop stand occupying it.

An Industrial area with warehouses, again with one platoon occupying it.

And now the troops go 'down town', to the CBD.

A tank platoon occupying the same tile.
Some samples of buildings from various manufacturers follows:

The first photo below shows a selection of European style buildings. The larger buildings are from the excellent Total Battle Miniatures Skirmish 1/1: 3mm Western Europe range of resin buildings:

TBM Skirmish 3mm Western European terrain range

These come cast on to larger 100x100mm square tiles - to make them fit to my hex system, I cut the tiles up to sizes that would fit my new sabot system.

The smaller individual houses are also resin, from the Simply 6 range, supplied by PicoArmor:

PicoArmor S6 terrain page

Bottom left is a row of European Houses.
Bottom right is a civic building (eg. Town Hall).
behind the row of houses can be seen a hotel.

Bottom left here is a row of shops from TBM.
The hex to its right is a row of S6 individual houses and shops from PicoArmor.
You'll see on many of the tiles I added other scenic items such as the hedges framing the yards.

Also visible in this picture is that the TBM building tiles included cobblestone streets.
I decided to continue this on my other building bases. The right hand tile has a strip
of textured plasti-card added for the cobblestone street (I can't remember the brand).

The photos below show a large number of laser-cut cardstock buildings from Gamecraft Miniatures:

GameCraft Miniatures 3mm City Buildings

Shown are various Town-Houses / Row-Houses and on right of picture are some industrial type buildings. Painting the facades and roofs of the terraces in different colours individualises the buildings a little, and varies them a bit.

Gamecraft Miniatures laser-cut Town-Houses and Industrial buildings.
Gamecraft also does these very nice high-rise apartment or office buildings. These make a good CBD for larger towns.

Gamecraft laser-cut high-rise buildings.

TBM resin buildings (foreground): a hotel (left) and very nice Church (right).
 In the background are a mix of Gamecraft cardstock Town Houses and S6 Resin houses.

A view of some town hexes. Mix of resin and card buildings - I think they mix together quite acceptably.

Another view.

A wider angle view of the Gamecraft cardstock CBD, Town Houses and Industrial sector.

A close-up of the Gamecraft Town Houses.
The mixed colours provide some variety.
I put black card inside all the cardstock buildings to provide backing for the otherwise empty windows.
 Below is yet another type of building, this time 3D printed. It is my Service Station (Gas Station for our American friends...) from Kokoda Trail Models store on Shapeways:

Kokoda Trail Models Shapeways Store

Various Shapeways stores have some nice 1:600 (3mm) buildings. The only problem is they tend to be relatively expensive, but for unique pieces they can work well.

My Service Station. I added a scratch built sign (complete with freehand attempt at a Shell logo).

A close up of the very nice TBM Resin buildings.
These paint up very nicely indeed.

Close up of the Gamecraft laser-cut high-rise apartment or office buildings.

A nice view of a whole bunch of Town hexes assembled as a large town.
The picture shows how the various types mix together to give a nice effect.


  1. Really neat system. I guess you could do something similar with other terrain such as forests?

    Arr your hex tiles 100mm across the flats?

    Kind regards

    1. Yep, hexes are 100mm across the flats.

      And yes, I am considering a similar thing with forests as the next evolution...

  2. Nice idea on the Sabot bases. I think I'll do something similar with my 6mm stuff.



  3. Thats really cool. It must be very satisfying to have worked out a usable and aesthetically pleasing geomorphic solution!

  4. Nice work with those sabot bases, and the 3mm buildings look great, particularly in numbers like that. Particularly taken with the little Gamecraft buildings, which really give that "downtown" feel.