By Joseph Forster
Last year we reviewed the Ports of Plunder line of 4Ground buildings and terrain and I’m still very happy with that complete set. I recently learned there are more pieces that weren’t included in that set but fit right in! Today we’re going to look at the Spanish Town Hall from the Things in the Basement line from 4Ground Publishing.
First we’ll look at the kit and how it goes together, then we’ll look at how it works and looks on the table.
The box contained instructions, several sheets of MDF and punchboard along with the render powder which can be used to create the stucco effect on the building exterior. There were four different colors of MDF in addition to the corrugated terra cotta colored cardboard for the roof.
Like the other buildings in this series, the kit fits together really well. There are less small and fragile bits and pieces in this line than in some of the other 4Ground buildings like the New France Cabins etc. Assembly went smoothly for me.
The instructions were clear and sufficient although I was initially thrown off a bit because some of the pieces in the photos were different colors from what is included in the kit. Unlike many of the other 4Ground kits, pieces were not numbered or labeled. I thought that might cause issues but all the pieces were distinct enough there was no confusion and no issues in finding what I needed.
I built this over a couple of evenings but you could probably do it in a single session if you took turns working on the first and then second stories so pieces had some time to dry a bit before adding more.
This building is divided into two small rooms on the lower floor with door access from the back and then in the center of the lower floor there is a stairway that leads up to the large single room in the second level. With an access point for the lower level on both sides this is a nice central feature for a battle board which won’t give either side an advantage from unfair door placement.
The scale is the same as the Ports of Plunder line, which means large and impressive. You can see in the picture below that it is much larger than the New France Cabin I built and reviewed recently.
All the roof pieces were pre cut and easier to use than the Ports of Plunder line which requires gluing each strip of shingles on individually.
I left off the clock and sign for the front of the building until after I applied the Render Powder.
The only roof pieces that had to be cut were the strips along the top and joints of the cupola.
And that was easy!
Once you get the building assembled, you could be done! It has several difference colors to it and the pieces themselves have some shade to them and it looks very respectable.
But they include a render powder that you can apply to the exterior that gives it that plastered look so typical of Caribbean structures. The application of this powder can be a bit of a trick but through some trial and error, I’ve made friends with it and I certainly like the finished product. I’ve devoted an entire post to the infamous Render Powder which I would highly recommend perusing before working with the stuff.
This kit came with render powder that was pretty yellow but I still had some of the white powder left from my previous buildings and I decided to use that color instead so it would match my collection.
This building is fancier and has more going on on the exterior than the other Ports of Plunder buildings so I would consider the render powder application more difficult here than on their other buildings. I would recommend building and plastering at least one of the Hovels or smaller buildings before tackling this one if you don’t consider yourself comfortable with crafty/messy materials.
I mix the powder with white glue and thin slightly with a few drops of water, then apply it with a medium and small paint brush.
After covering the main surfaces, I sift dry powder over the wet layer and press it in gently. Let it dry with the fresh side facing up before rotating it and starting the next side. If you rotate it too soon, the wet plaster can slide and cause unsightly cracks and blobs.
Let it dry overnight then brush off all extra powder with a large paint brush before spraying it with a varnish. The varnish will really clean it up and eliminate all the ugly dusty leftovers from the dry render powder. It will also make it look yellow until it fully dries and returns to white.
After the exterior was completely dried I went back and glued on the clock and sign.
And it’s finished!
It fits right in with the other Spanish buildings from 4Ground. Below you can see the layout of the bottom level. There are wide doorways between the side rooms and the stairwell so you could count that as one room for game purposes. The entire third in the bottom of the picture is an exterior space.
And here is the upper story. It just one big room with 2-3 windows on every side. I didn’t dust out the interior very well before spraying the varnish and you can see the dusty areas near the walls.
The doorway is plenty large enough for any B&P mini to move through.
The kit comes with a door but I left if off so it would be more usable.
Clocks like this would have probably been pretty rare in the Caribbean and only present in the most wealthy towns but I decided to go with it.
Right now Firelock Games isn’t carrying this item but you can purchase it directly from 4Ground Publishing. They are based in UK so shipping is a little expensive for USA players but it shouldn’t be bad for the European community. You US players just need to make a big order to make it worth the shipping! The New France and Pioneer Cabins are going to be great options for the Northern theater for the Raise the Black Kickstarter factions.
At $51.85, this kit is noticeably more expensive than the Ports of Plunder buildings which cost, at most, $38.50. But this is a larger and more impressive building than most of them. It’s a beautiful building that would be a great addition to your Caribbean port!
Thanks to 4Ground Publishing for making so many great kits for this game and for sending this to me for review purposes.