I’ve finished building another set of 4Ground buildings from their Port of Plunder series and I couldn’t be happier. I started with the Hovel set and they were fairly simple and a good first experience for me. This set of 3 Colonial Port Houses was more complex and took more time, but building on the experience I gained with the first kits, these went together fairly quickly and the render powder application was much, much easier the second time.
These three buildings came together in the Port House Set in 4Ground’s Ports of Plunder line but you can buy them individually as well. At $73 for the set, it isn’t a small purchase but I’m here to tell you it’s well worth the money. These are instantly my favorite buildings I own (and I have a good selection from various companies).
The set comes with a single story, 2 story and 3 story house. Each building is good-sized and impressive by itself but two larger buildings are especially massive. Each story can hold two good sized units during game play making them very functional as well as good looking.
The multi -story buildings are modular so you can lift up each section and the roof for easy access to each room.
With more fine detail and interesting elements like windows, porches, stairs, shutters and tile roofs, these kits took more time and care to assemble compared to the simpler Hovels. I ended up fouling up a couple doors so they don’t open properly so watch out for using too much glue on the hinges but everything else was relatively easy to problem-free to assemble. The smaller windows were also a bit tricky just because of the small pieces but they are optional anyway.
Now let’s talk about the rendering powder that makes the stucco effect. It gave me some grief on my first experience with the hovels but I’ve now made friends with it.
I experimented with several techniques and I discovered mixing and applying a paste of white glue, the powder and a tiny bit of water was much easier than applying the powder straight on the walls with glue. Applying the paste with a paint brush gave me much more control and it came out looking much better.
After spreading the paste evenly over a wall, I sifted another layer of dry powder over that and pressed it gently down.
I tapped off the excess and let it dry with the wall horizontal so nothing drooped and it turned out great. Much faster and easier than any other method I’ve tried.
I brushed over the entire building with a dry 2″ paintbrush to remove extra powder and then sprayed the entire building with Vallejo Matte Varnish and that got rid of all the dusty residue that was shedding off the walls.
I will make a separate post focusing on this render powder technique soon. If you aren’t prepared it can be a huge pain but using the right methods it’s not a big deal at all.
The tile roofs were a different sort of project than the “teddy bear thatch” but it was easy and I had no issues.
It probably took 4 hours of hobby time over a couple evenings to get these three buildings built and finished.
And now they look amazing on a game board! I know I’m gushing a little here but I really, really like these buildings.
Let’s do a little value comparison. This set of 3 houses costs $73 so that’s about $25 per house.
The Firelock resin houses cost $29 each or $89 as a set with a field. I like resin and those are nice buildings but these 4Ground buildings are larger, more functional and a similar amount of work.
The Miniature Building Authority terrain is the easiest to get on your table (with literally no effort necessary). At $100 for one building these are much more expensive but are still smaller, less functional and I would argue they don’t look as good! I’m not saying anything bad about these other terrain pieces (I have most of them and you should buy them all too) but I just wanted to highlight the value you get with these 4Ground kits.
If you need terrain pieces for Blood & Plunder, I would say these 4Ground kits and specifically this set of Colonial Port Houses is the combination of value and quality you will find anywhere.
You might be thinking that 4Ground sent these to me for free so I would say nice things about them. That’s true but I’m a gamer first and mercenary second so no grains of salt necessary while reading my opinions. These are great.