Modern City: TT Combat's City Warehouse

It's great to be back making some scenery, although I know this is a little different to my usual scratch building with foam core and cereal packet card.  I've begun work on a City Warehouse for my modern city wargames table.  These boards will be used for a whole slew of games ranging from the imminent A Fistful of Kung Fu (aFoKF) through Mad Dogs with Guns (MDwG), Black Ops and the all-important-and-never-bested All Things Zombie.  This particular model is made by the excellent TT Combat who produce some beautiful kits at incredible prices.  `
And what a kit it is!  There are lots of parts here.  And as with all TT Combat kits, they are made from 3mm MDF.  Not the usual 2mm stuff you get from Sarissa and 4Ground.  No, this stuff is incredibly robust and sturdy.  In my experience they don't warp.  And what's more, the parts always go together really well.

The kit doesn't come with any instructions.  Din't let this put you off though as they can be downloaded from the TT Combat website.
I got this kit last year as a present.  I'm delighted to be getting a chance to build it!
As you can see from these photos, there is a serious amount of stuff in there!
Now, I began with the famous 2p coin and the wrong end of a brush method of taking the pieces out of the frame.  Mel the Terrain Tutor talks about this on his excellent YouTube channel.  That said...
It didn't work for me.  There are so many parts crammed onto a sheet of MDF that in this case, the pieces between the parts were so slim it wasn't working.  At all.  So I went back to my craft knife.  No need to splash out here.  You know the stuff.  One of about a dozen in a pack from Poundland for...well...I'm sure you can figure it out!  You can see the difference between the two methods in the next photo.  The frame on the left was subject to the knife, the one on the right with the penny and brush method.
Not a criticism.  You just have to use what works best for your model.  In this case it was the knife that won over. I also used the knife to remove any hints of the joins from the individual parts of my model.

And then came the debate over the stairs.
I decided to go ahead and assemble this before priming the model.  I began by sticking the individual steps to the wall using PVA which allows you a fair bit of wriggle room.  I've tried this with Sarissa kits and, well, it didn't go well.  But using 3mm MDF, a TT Combat kit will go together easily and stay in place.  No steps falling out because the holes are way too big.  I'd like to hope sarissa would take note, but they're probably not interested in my blog anyway... (but if you want to see me lose the will with a Sarissa kit, you can read all about it here , here and particularly here! - which reminds me I need to get that one finished.)  With the steps in place, I added glue to the plugs and attached the stair rail.  I then did a bit of dry fitting to make sure that everything would line up as best as I could manage.  

Flushed with success, I went on to assemble the external balcony.  I used my trusty UHU glue for this as it bonds much more quickly than the PVA.

And then I got carried away and assembled the external stairs to the roof and the large billboard with lights.  Again, I used UHU for these tasks.
Oh, and let's not forget the walkway for inside the warehouse.


Next came the priming and sealing of the kit.  Now, normally I'd do this with PVA.  But after watching Mel from The Terrain Tutor and Viv at Knights of Dice, I decided t have a go with using a spray paint.  I went to B&Q and purchased a large can of Rustoleum Surface Primer.  My colour of choice was Matt Grey.  To be honest, most of the spays were either gloss or satin. There was hardly any matt finish and certainly no black.  

I laid out my trusty Spongebob Squarepants sheet, set up an area in the back garden with cereal packet card where I would do the spraying, and off I went.  I decided to do the interiors first.  I had originally thought I'd then paint the interior and then assemble the building to spray the exterior.  However, I realised this wouldn't work.  That lovely walkway couldn't be stuck in place until I have added my perspex to simulate glass in the windows.  And if I have that in place before I spray the exterior, then I have one of two problems.  First, painted perspex, which is awful.  Second, I go slowly mad whilst trying to adequately cover all the windows.  Have you seen how many there are in this kit?  
 These phots show how everything looked when one side was done.
 I have to be honest.  Its been a very long time since I've used a spray can.  I was a little nervous, to say the least.  I confess to worrying when a few places appeared to have to much paint on them and the detail was obscured.  Thankfully I was able to get better as I went, and I'm delighted to announce that any apparent pooling must have been happy to soak into the MDF because everything dried out fine. 
 Here are the pieces drying when both sides have been painted.
 I should point out that covering this much MDF used the whole can of paint.  It gives a wonderfully smooth finish, and in no way obscures any of the details etched into the surface.  But at £9 a can, it's an expensive way of doing things.  I think I'm going to have to go back to using my PVA.  It's not as quick in getting the result, but if you've only a small budget for your hobby, it's definitely the better option.
Anyway, I'm going to leave everything to dry out properly.  it doesn't take long.  20 minutes drying time before you can recoat.  24 hour to a hard finish.  I've no paint left to second coat any of it.  And considering the number of washes I'll be applying, I'm going to give it 24 hours.  Just to make sure.  erring too far on the side of caution?  Perhaps.  But I don't want to ruin it.

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