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"Paper buildings at a convention game" Topic

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30 Dec 2011 9:05 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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sharps5410 May 2011 3:52 p.m. PST


I'm going to be running some modern games at upcoming conventions and am interested in everyone's opinions on the use of paper buildings (like the ones by ) mixed with standard 28mm or 1/72 figures and other more solid terrain such as hills.

The figures won't need to enter the buildings (although Scott's 28mm buildings do have interior details if you lift off the roof) but might use them for cover.

So do people think paper buildings (professional ones like Scott's as opposed to printed off my printer) are cheesy or OK at convention games?

For the poll
1) OK by me as long as they look good
2) Heck no!
3) OK for others but I wouldn't play the game
4) Not a convention gamer

Thanks in advance!
Stafford, VA

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2011 3:59 p.m. PST


Jay Arnold10 May 2011 4:03 p.m. PST


I would reinforce them with matte board or foamboard. Also consider dressing the edges with a colored marker to hide where the paper was scored or cut.

Turbopig did a nice city layout using all paper buildings at recruits and it looked very nice.

Paper is great because you can do a real city section without breaking the bank.

Mikhail Lerementov10 May 2011 4:09 p.m. PST


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP10 May 2011 4:13 p.m. PST

One for me as well.

I admit, though, to being a bit of a snob. If you think strips of cut felt are "river" I'll play elsewhere.

So paper is fine if it's as nice as Scott's or Hotz Arts stuff…

Cpt Arexu10 May 2011 4:16 p.m. PST

1, of course. I'm not playing architect, I'm playing a miniatures game, the buildings are just backdrop. There are many good-looking cardmodel products that work fine for gaming, and a good chunk made specifically FOR gaming. To just blow them off is nothing but weak sauce.

TGerritsen10 May 2011 4:22 p.m. PST

1. There's some damn fine cardstock stuff out there.

14Bore10 May 2011 4:24 p.m. PST

I printed up quite a few from another site. Seeing someone write a complaint about blowing around or so I cut wood blocks to glue them on. A 3/4" block just worked well for me, and I like them a lot.

peru52200010 May 2011 4:32 p.m. PST

1. Some of the paper buildings look better than some of the tables with resin buildings on it. Not fair to criticize another gamers table when I am a guest to play in it.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2011 4:44 p.m. PST


Agent 1310 May 2011 5:16 p.m. PST


Sundance10 May 2011 5:23 p.m. PST


DestoFante10 May 2011 5:58 p.m. PST


Deathwing10 May 2011 6:02 p.m. PST

Speaking at the guy who runs paper modeling classes for HMGS cons, I love paper buildings. Though, I almost always back them with foamcore for longevity and stability.


VonTed10 May 2011 6:26 p.m. PST

Just add a little something to make it "more" 3D. Chimneys, awnings, window sills etc… adds a lot to a paper building.

Grand Duke Natokina10 May 2011 6:32 p.m. PST

1. Go for it.

Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2011 6:57 p.m. PST


Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP10 May 2011 7:01 p.m. PST


genew4910 May 2011 8:25 p.m. PST


Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP10 May 2011 10:10 p.m. PST

1. Absolutely.

I have been using cardstock buildings in my convention games for years. Not only do they look good and draw many compliments, but they win awards as well. Anyone who thinks cardstock is so inferior to cast buildings that the game would not be worth playing has simply not been paying attention to the improvements in quality and detail (or perhaps they've never actually seen one and are just prejudiced because they're made of . . . ewwww! . . . paper!)

For some ideas on how to make them look even better, take a look at the tutorial on my Workbench page:

(at the bottom of the right-hand column)



Big Ian10 May 2011 10:49 p.m. PST


Thomas Nissvik10 May 2011 11:37 p.m. PST


TKindred Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2011 11:57 p.m. PST


And heck, I'm also using paper soldiers….. wink

sharps5411 May 2011 1:56 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the comments so far, especially the ones on how to improve the stock buildings!

Stafford, VA

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2011 2:05 a.m. PST

1 for sure as I use my own paper buildings for Samurai warfare!

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2011 6:07 a.m. PST

1 -- They're some of the best looking models you can put on a table, as long as you black the edges. I use them in my games, and they never cease to elicit positive comments. Cheers!

Dynaman878911 May 2011 6:31 a.m. PST


Scott put on a demo game at Historicon once (I think it was Scott – all the buildings were his) and it was a top notch presentation.

The Monstrous Jake11 May 2011 8:49 a.m. PST


Some really good stuff out there in paper.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2011 9:34 a.m. PST

One thing to consider: If you are going to use foam core for support, or as a backing for the buildings, consider using black foam core. Ir cuts down on all the light leaks and reflections, and is available at almost all framing or art shops. I've never gone back to white.

Dynaman878911 May 2011 12:08 p.m. PST

Another option to foam core is foam paper plates. Cuts up easily and is very cheap. This only works for certain building sizes of course, it is great for 6mm and might work well for 15mm – beyond that it may be hard to find large enough paper plates.

flicking wargamer11 May 2011 12:14 p.m. PST

I have run lots of convention games with Scott's stuff. They are great and I get lots of positive comments about them. You do have the danger of people walking by and picking them up to see if they really are paper, but whatever. They are light and amazingly durable. I have even mixed them in with other buildings and they look fantastic.

ordinarybass11 May 2011 2:44 p.m. PST


Conventions should represent the very best in terrain, so if it's high quality stuff and well assembled then all is well. However, I so rarely get to a convention that If there are two games that I am interested in and one has paper terrain and one has "real" terrain, I'll probably go with the later.

vojvoda11 May 2011 10:39 p.m. PST

1 always.
James Mattes

Omemin12 May 2011 11:11 a.m. PST


I use the cardboard from the backs of pads of paper for stiffener. Easy to work and does the job very well. I've used paper buildings for both 15mm WWII and the Old West with many compliments.

They also fit one of my personal requirements for a convention game that I run. I want a table that works well for the game and that new gamers & kids can look at it and say to themselves, "I can do that…." Hence (sorry, Extra Crispy), masking tape roads and streams, pompom woods, and the like.

nebeltex13 May 2011 3:47 a.m. PST


here are our latest freebies…


ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP14 May 2011 6:26 a.m. PST

Well, these responses are very heartening to someone who makes paper buildings! Thanks for the kind comments!

Scott Washburn

Mapleleaf14 May 2011 9:52 a.m. PST

People who are good enough to put on a game at a convention should be given a little slack in presentation. While the visual appeal is important the actual game and its mechanics should be the focus. As long as the terrain looks good and represents what it seks to portary it is OK with me.

We have enough expenses already if you can save a little money by using quality paper terrain then go for it

sharps5414 May 2011 4:00 p.m. PST

I hope so Mapleleaf. This will be my first convention game. I know the rules and they are sound (Force on Force) the big thing for me is the presentation. I'm going to have enough getting figures and terrain finished without building and painting buildings as well. That is why I want to use Scott's excellent paper ones. With the rules I'm using the figures don't need to physically go in the buildings so no worries there.

Stafford, VA

Ron W DuBray15 May 2011 1:49 p.m. PST

I have some card and foam core buildings that look better then a lot of cast buildings and they are more in scale and useable.

so 1 all the way.

Karl von Hessen17 May 2011 4:22 p.m. PST

Anytime you present something at a convention, I feel it should be the best you can offer be they paper or plastic (resin). Personally, I go to conventions partly to see what others are doing in hopes of getting inspiration for my projects. I have seen great buildings made of paper, resin and other materials. I've also seen very poor quality represented in all the same materials. If done well, I would never snub any building simply on what it was made of…So


1815Guy18 May 2011 9:15 a.m. PST


Have a look at these before you spend loads of dosh: They are great, and they are free.


If you want heavier non-blow buildings, put some plasticine inside.


Omemin18 May 2011 10:02 a.m. PST

ScottWashburn, not only do I use paper buildings, I use YOUR paper buildings. Thanks. They're great. Sent a buddy to you for them a bit ago and he loves them as well.

AICUSV22 May 2011 12:49 p.m. PST

I recently played around with building some paper buildings. I tried several different construction methods, here is the one I liked the best;
The I cut all the sides of the building apart and cut off all the gluing tabs. Glued the printed end pieces over 3/16 bass wood and the front and back to matting board. I under cut the wood by the thickness of the board and the board by the thickness of the printed stock. This allowed the printed building to cover the edges at the corners.
Roof was on card stock and used as is. I did no under cutting on the wood for the roof, permitting the roof to glue to the wood.
Assembling the structure, I found that wood not only gave strength to the building, but also presented much better area for glue.

Bayushiseni22 May 2011 6:56 p.m. PST

Very much one. I love paper buildings.

Warbeads22 May 2011 7:41 p.m. PST


Beats not having a game.



Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2011 4:10 a.m. PST


if it looks good then use what you like

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2011 4:11 a.m. PST

In fact it doesn't even have to look that good – depends on what you're trying to do with the game.

Seen some games that have deliberatly tried to evoke a "retro" style and look all 1960's terrain wise – and I think this is a perfectly valid approach.

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2011 9:09 a.m. PST

I've talked aabout this with Captain Apathy and I agree with his observation that consistency is the most important thing about building terrain.

If you have ALL paper buildings, they become their own standard and they look just fine. This is true even if they aren't particularly good paper buildings.

Avoid mixing in resin bridges, wells, etc. and your all-paper-buildings terrain will look just fine.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2011 5:11 a.m. PST


Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP28 May 2011 6:57 a.m. PST

Avoid mixing in resin bridges, wells, etc. and your all-paper-buildings terrain will look just fine.

I'm not entirely in agreement with this. Some styles of paper model wouldn't mix well with certain types of resin buildings, but there are plenty of exceptions. I use mixed media terrain all the time, and I don't think they clash.

In this photo, the three buildings on the left are paper, and the rest are resin:


In this one the two buildings in the center of the village are paper (as is the chateau in the foreground), and the rest are resin:


And in both of these, the buildings are about evenly split between paper, resin, and N-gauge plastic:



I don't think they look bad enough that you need to avoid mixing.


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