Gothic & Fantasy Buildings Showcase

Hirst Arts

We have discussed the benefits of getting modular pieces that can be rearranged to give you a range of layouts on your tabletop. But why not go one better and make your own building blocks for an unlimited variety?

HirstArt's CastleMolds™ system allows you to do just this, providing rubber moulds to create your own masterpieces in plaster of paris! The moulds are designed to give you the maximum flexibility in creating your pieces, and the still expanding range already contains more than enough pieces to keep you locked in the shed for a couple of years knocking out endless terrain pieces. Each mould provides the simple building blocks to produce any number of different sized buildings and include cobblestones, fieldstone walls, curved blocks (for towers etc), even wood... plus plenty of ornamentation pieces to get the feel just right.

The moulds themselves are a little pricey, but this is due to the rubber used in their construction, which apparently gives it a lifespan in years rather than months (as your regular rubber mould would have even if you weren't punishing it by knocking out 40 dungeon corridors a day and expecting all the pieces to fit together snugly). And once you've gotten hold of them they will quickly pay for themselves when you cover every tabletop with ruins, bridges, keeps and towers. Whats more the website is filled with tips on getting the best use out of your moulds, from building suggestions and downloadable floorplans to painting guides.

If you are planning a large-scale building operation- towns, dungeons etc.- then these moulds should be the first option you investigate. Even if you are planning a fairly modest construction-fest, the ability to create pieces to your own specification and the high quality of the finished product make Castlemolds an easy recommendation.

Voidgamers has a forum dedicated to HirstArts products, with plenty more examples of what can be achieved with these pieces and a little imagination, plus of course news of each update to the range.

Dwarven Forge

This company limits its output to dungeons pieces, with a line called MasterMaze. But what dungeons! These resin pieces come painted and ready to use from the box, with felt bottoms to protect your table. They are also very detailed, to the point where the moving pieces (trapdoors, secret doors, portcullis) actually work! All this luxury comes at a price of course, but not an outrageous one given the quality on offer (a 6" curving passage would be about $10, and large starter sets are available) The range includes the best treasure items I have seen, and is worth a visit for that alone.




Now you might not ever consider purchasing figures from Wizkid's Mage Knight line, given that they are poorly pre-painted plastics with funny bases n' all. But what about the terrain pieces they produce to support the line? Produced in ready-painted plastic, the economies of scale involved mean you won't find many cheaper and quicker fixes than this. You could always repaint the little beggars of course, but its probably only things like the artefacts sets that would even need it.

Check out the product page and look for the 3D Dungeon and Mage Knight Castle sets.

More recently they have put together some paper buildings as free downloads on their Game Resources page. Not bad, though not as comprehensive as the collection at Wizards. Some are a little sterile, but can easily be dirtied up a bit once you have the images on your desktop (indeed its probably better to be able to do this individually for each building).

Ainsty Casting

While we're looking at modular dungeon sets, why not take a look at the Ainsty Dungeons? Reasonably priced (where else can you get two 9cm lengths for less than a fiver I ask you) and they sell the walls and floors separately (so if you are happy with the dungeon floor plans but would like some height for example, you'll be laughing). You'll also find moving parts for the secret doors and portcullis, and though theres nothing quite as elaborate as the Dwarven Forge traps the 'barricade' set should be quite amusing to spring on players that think they have seen it all on a dungeon bash...

There is outdoor fantasy fare too, with presentable (if uninspiring) walls, shacks, a charming tent and plenty of standing stones (some of which are more interesting than taking some actual stones and plonking them on the table).

More unusual still is the extensive 'trader' sets which could add a whole new frontier (the water) to your town for a range of timescales and settings... I seem to recall a lot of WFRP games revolving around ports and waterways- again you should see WK's Pirates & Sea Dogs Showcase (page 4) for these dockside delights. Similarly flexible are the 'sewers' pieces... not that orcs worry about such amenities, but you can be sure that even in the most civilised fantasy city these will be teeming with ratmen, giant crocs and turgid floaters!

Ainsty thoughtfully offer 'starter sets' for most ranges to give you the essentials at an approximate 10% discount.

WFB Armory

WFBarmory, as you can tell from the spelling, operate from the USA, has a small range of decent quality, nicely priced terrain aimed at Warhammer Fantasy Battle players. They feature a nice graveyard set for 32 U$D (you can buy the individual pieces to expand it, including a mini-crypt and some nice wall sections) and some nice primitive huts for 10 U$D each.

Miniature World Maker

Based in Australia but with a worldwide distribution, MWM have a fair few 25mm buildings that might suit, including some specifically geared to fantasy, like an Orc hut and, er Dwarf cottage (unless "dwarf" is an architectural style... I myself never really envisaged the sons of Balin settling down in a Gloucestershire village). The celtic village is nice, and would make nice housing for tribal type fantasy creatures like goblins too.

Scheltrum Miniatures

These guys do some cheap and cheerful miniatures (in fact they are rubbish), but the buildings they are made to accompany don't look too bad from the few actual pictures on their website (note to website designers- I can't tell if I want a miniature based on a rough sketch, at least if I don't have a couple of photographed examples to extrapolate from).

The Dark Ages range look like they could have a plethora of nicely priced pieces, including pictish huts and modular saxon fortification sets.


This German company do some nice castle ruins, wooden fortifications and medieval townhouses, plus a barrow that might also work for your reconstruction of the Battle of the Shire... they don't seem to sell the pieces direct, but they do have a service to send you details on your nearest dealer... try putting the name in your favourite search engine if you just want to browse prices, you'll probably find that the dealer has a better inventory of pieces anyway... they are only available painted (or in some cases base-painted, i.e. needing some detailing) (17GBP for a townhouse to £25 for the ruin).

Arrow Miniatures

Arrow produce some jolly pieces, including some specifically fantastical in design, all available painted or unpainted and most with removable roofs and interior detail... The ancients range includes celtic style houses (from 11U$D) and wooden stockades, the medieval range includes a house 180mm high for $40 unpainted. Based in Rochester (NY).

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